Copenhagen With Max Wileman
Let’s skip the cute introductory sentence, I likely only have a couple minutes of your time with which it is my civic duty as your Australian mate to convince you to join me in Denmark. (This doesn’t count as a cute intro).
Every Australian blogging about Denmark will begin by mentioning Hygge. With your best interests, I am also obliged to mention it, but I’ll keep it quick:
Hygge is best translated as ‘cosy’, and basically captures the spirit of an entire culture. The Danes are big fans of everything cosy; including beers, picnics and pastries.
The important difference however is that Hygge is shared with friends. It’s because of this Hygge that Danes have been rated the happiest society in the world.
Denmark is not the only nation with this drawcard, but nevertheless it’s crucial to understand that the country gives the best of both worlds when it comes to language.
The first language of Denmark is mind-blowingly ‘Danish’. It’s a crazy and fun language with a ‘Y’ that’s secretly a ‘U’, a ‘J’ that prefers itself as a ‘Y’ and an Ø, Æ, Å that are all intended to publically shame you when asking for directions.
But once you’ve had a good crack at speaking Danish, the good news is that you can repeat each question in English because the Danes speak English perfectly. Perfectly enough to have amazing banter with, and perfectly enough that I’ve met Australians living for multiple years who never even so much as learned how to say ‘thanks’ properly in Danish.
Society- Jante Law:
I could easily be disagreed with, but in my experience I would argue that Danish society and governance is mainly different from Australia due to a set of heavily engrained social rules called Jante Law. Jante Law basically commands that you don’t think you’re better than anyone else, and the result is a society where people are very genuine and humble personally, yet proud as a nation.
I would ascribe Jante Law as the reason why I found the Danes to be so grounded and welcoming socially, in what I’d describe as the opposite of ‘Influencer’ culture which is pretty pervasive in Australia.
This can also be seen their government system; the Danes have one of the highest tax rates in the world, which is used to fund an amazing welfare and education system. Students in Denmark are able to rent apartments and travel during holidays simply through the paid education system and some good budgeting.
Denmark is also a landmark for progressive ideologies. It was the first country to legalise pornography and held the first gay marriage in a church.
As a child who was told since he was 2 that he was special (even as a twin, no joke), its amazing to experience such a society where everyone acts so collectively. I tried to highlight how this influences facets of society but it truthfully seems all-pervasive. The only way to understand it is to experience it, and I would argue that it’ll blow your mind wide open.
I had way more things to talk about, I failed miserably to capture everything about Denmark. With more time I would’ve talked about the history, the mouth-watering pastries, the badass bicycle system, or the weather which is actually good conversation here because its so elusive.
But all in all, I’m loving my trip and would highly recommend to you all.
Bachelor of Business
Handelshøjskolen i København
For more information about the UTS Global Exchange program please visit: www.global-exchange.uts.edu.au
Leave a Reply