Introducing Denmark 101: The Podcast

Hear ye’, hear me!? After creating Denmark 101 videos on youtube for the last couple of years several of you pointed out that it would be much more convenient if you could consume my Denmark 101 series in a pure-audio/podcast format. So, after sitting down and chewing on a traditional Danish licorice pipe for a bit, I realized that you were, of course, absolutely right.

From there, it was only a matter of figuring out just how to make it happen.  These days in addition to running VirtualWayfarer I also work full time with a standard 37+ hour work week and creating content is a fun passion, but also incredibly time consuming.  Just for quick reference, let’s say I’ve shot 2,500 photos during a trip like my recent jaunt to Myanmar and Thailand. I’ll cut that to 1,000 which then get edited. I can edit most shots in, let’s optimistically say, about 45 seconds a piece on average.  That means I’m looking at around 11-12 hours of pure editing time before I make the final cut and then spend an hour or two uploading, tagging, and labeling those photos. That’s not even beginning to discuss video and then writing the actual content here on the site.

This left me with a conundrum. How to make Denmark 101 more accessible for you, but without having to re-record 50+ episodes on top of the content I’m already committed to creating for you. Luckily, I’ve been working closely with my Dad to launch his podcast, Insights into Education [iTunes, Android], which provided me with a great excuse to flesh out my skills and learn just how Podcasting works before progressing with the Denmark 101 podcast. I also had the benefit of being able to pick Evo Terra‘s brain a bit who quite literally wrote the book on the topic and is a prolific podcaster.

The end result? The Denmark 101 podcast which is a hybrid that splices audio-pulled directly from the Denmark 101 videos, carefully edited and re-mastered, with added context and added structure.  While the Denmark 101 video series is already at Episode 50, I’ll be posting one (or more) Denmark 101 Podcast episodes per week. As this post goes live, the first 9 Episodes of Denmark 101 are already available on iTunes and Android.

 

Wait, what’s Denmark 101?

 

In recent years Scandinavia, and in particular the Danes, have been the focus of a lot of attention. The Danish approach is unusual, it’s creative, and has a wonderful mixture of traditions and novel approaches to things which the rest of the world finds absolutely fascinating.  Denmark 101 was initially launched as an effort to share my experiences and observations as a traveler, sojourner, and quasi-expat with a heavy cultural communication oriented background with new arrivals and visitors.

Over time, it’s evolved to be an exploration of Danish culture, traditions, and society that is often viewed more often by Danes curious about an outside perspective, than visitors preparing for a visit to Denmark. Topics that will be covered include the Danish approach to nudity, how to make Danish friends, how to meet Danes, Danish manners, and even a look at Janteloven.

My goal with Denmark 101 has to educate, and make observations, but to avoid the pitfalls that often plague expat narratives and commentary about their adopted cultures. I also seek to deep-dive into Danish culture far beyond the most casual and high level narrative which you’ll normally find on top 10 lists and basic guides scattered across the mediascape.

 

Ready to listen?

Sound interesting?  You can find Denmark 101 in your iPhone’s podcast app where it’s free to stream. To jump to iTunes just click here. If you like what you hear please make sure to subscribe to the podcast to ensure you’re updated when new episodes are posted.

If you’re on your Desktop, use an Android device, or any other type of podcasting device you can access the feed directly via Libsyn here.

Denmark 101 is 100% free. My only request is that if you listen to and like the podcast, that you leave a review in iTunes or consider sharing it with friends, co-workers and family. You are my best advocates and are the key for helping the podcast take off.

Copenhagen Warning: Public Museums are No Longer Free

Pick up a guide book or read a blog and it’ll probably still mention that Copenhagen’s spectacular museums are free. Tragically, due to the election of a pack of brutish neanderthals more than 8% of Denmark’s cultural budget will be cut over the next 4 years. This means Copenhagen’s public museums, including the National Museum of Denmark which is home to a lovely exhibit on Denmark’s prehistoric period, have been forced to impose hefty admission fees. The changes were implemented in April of 2016 and will remain in place for the foreseeable future or until a more intellectually focused government returns to power. For a political group that’s robustly vocal about preserving and celebrating Danish history and culture, they’ve manage to illustrate their commitment in the most peculiar of ways. These cuts have also led to the closure of the Royal Danish Navy Museum, which will be incorporated into the Royal Danish Arsenal Museum (Et tu, Brute?).

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek - The Museum

As of this post’s publication a day’s admission ticket to the National Museum costs 75 DKK for adults, the Open Air Museum costs 65 DKK, The Royal Danish Arsenal Museum costs 65 DKK, while the National Gallery costs 110 DKK.  Other exhibits/museums within the network will also have admissions prices imposed. So, instead of serving as a refuge with knowledge and a budget friendly alternative to sitting in the rain, visitors to Copenhagen who encounter harsh weather should be prepared to shell out or ship out. Presumably the only group that’s actually happy about this change is the team behind the Copenhagen Card which may finally actually be worth purchasing.

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek - The Museum

There are also several changes at one of Copenhagen’s other most prominent and famous museums: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek.  While the museum has always charged, and currently charges 95 DKK for admission the free day has been moved to Tuesdays. Due to increased demand I’ve had reports that they’ve implemented a cue and ticket system, which makes walk-ins significantly more difficult on Tuesdays. They’ve also implemented a new charge (an additional 110 DKK) for the special exhibits which include a significant chunk of the museum including some of their primary art/painting collections.

Danish National Museum

So, if you’re planning a visit to Copenhagen, make sure you come prepared.

The Danish museums are, and remain, fantastic museums which are well worth the time and cost, so I still highly suggest you make an effort to go, or at the very least, to prioritize one or two if you’re on a tight budget.  Keep your fingers crossed, and on this end we’ll continue to advocate for a restoration of the funding initiatives that made art, culture and history more accessible to everyone.

Denmark 101 – Are Danes Rude? – Episode 5

A common complaint from tourists and recently arrived expats is Danish rudeness when it comes to navigating city streets. More specifically, that Danes will bump into you in passing but fail to apologize or comment.

While this obviously depends on the severity of the accidental bump, it is something I’ve heard commented on repeatedly. But, is it actually due to rudeness or a cultural difference? In this video I explore the Danish approach to efficiency and how that shapes the need to (or not to) apologize after a mild street collision.

Denmark and its’ residents are a fascinating group. In this video series I leverage my observations and research to share with you insights into how to get the most of your interactions with the Danes and your time in Denmark regardless of the duration of your visit. One day or ten years – my goal is to share observations I’ve made from my 5 years of living, studying, and working among the Danes.

If you’re Danish, hopefully you’ll find this series interesting, a bit informative, and not too outlandishly inaccurate. So far the feedback and input has been great and I look forward to continuing to further exploring Danish culture with you.

If you’re a foreigner coming to Denmark, I hope this helps you build upon observations and insights the rest of us had to find out the hard way.

Topics that will be covered include the Danish approach to nudity, how to make Danish friends, how to meet Danes, Danish manners, studying in Denmark, working here, traditions, key behaviors, taxes, dating and even a look at Janteloven.

Stay tuned for future updates – this is just the beginning!  Can’t wait?  Jump to YouTube and view all of the latest episodes and while there make sure to Subscribe!

 

A Road Trip Through Denmark in Fall

If you crack a guidebook for Copenhagen you’ll find a number of great (and not so great) suggestions.  Everything from a visit to The Little Mermaid (yuck) to the incredible vista out over the Sand Buried Lighthouse or Skagen’s world famous light. One thing missing is a suggestion to see Denmark, in Fall, as the leaves change.  This past fall I had the pleasure of, mostly by happenstance, taking a week-long road trip with family through Denmark at the end of October. The results were a complete, and utterly enchanting, surprise.  Of course, if you’re somewhere with four distinct seasons, the beauty of fall is a given.  But, there are some places that are better equipped to charm your socks off and, after my road trip, I’ll happy add Denmark to that list.

What makes it special? A large portion of the Danish countryside uses buried power lines. Fences are also usually less-than-blatant, or artfully done where present. This creates rolling farmland, with fresh fall/winter cover crops sprouting (or blooming), with a sporadic mixture of small stands of trees and large forests. The forests themselves range in density and plant life fairly significantly throughout the Danish landscape. With a wealth of islands, exposed coasts, and inland lakes Denmark’s forests are also typically heavily blended with many types of trees thrust together in a veritable tree-bouquet that adds rich texture, depth, and in fall a brilliant array of colors.  All of which is dotted by small one and a half lane country roads, brilliant coast line, charming old farm houses many of which are brightly colored and have thatched rooftops…and then of course, brilliantly hygge historical Danish towns.

If you’re visiting Denmark from abroad, another great incentive is that depending on how and where you book, the country which is famous for its 180% tax on new vehicles has tax-free rentals specifically available for visiting foreigners which results in drastically reduced rental prices and in many cases unlimited mileage. These rentals require that you and your drivers don’t live in Denmark and are not Danish citizens. If you meet these criteria, renting a car suddenly becomes a very affordable way to see the country.

So, without further adieu, here is a mixture of color photos taken during my week-long road trip through Denmark, including visits to the island of Fyn, Sjaelland, and Jutland. Don’t miss the full album on flickr here.

The Back Roads of Jutland

Danish Bike Culture Is Even More Amazing Than You Thought

Over the last few years Copenhagen has become world famous for its incredible biking culture. It is no secret that there are a LOT of bikes in Copenhagen. The most commonly cited statistic is that more than 50% of Copenhageners bike daily to work or school. That, in and of itself, is pretty spectacular – but it is also just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the amazing bike-centered things going on in Copenhagen. After a somewhat rocky roll out, last year’s big announcement introduced Copenhagen’s new and heavily updated city bike program which replaced the recently retired free bike program.  While the reception has been luke-warm to the new bikes due to their cost and the fact that they are no longer free, the updated bikes possess GPS, electric engines, electronic maps and a plethora of perks for the price of about $4 an hour.

Copenhagen in June

The city of Copenhagen has also undertaken and recently completed a number of expanded bike lanes many of which are now roughly the same size as traditional car lanes.  Other projects include cycle superhighways, bike-only stop lights, lean-rails for bikers waiting at lights, and proposals for built in street-based notifications to help bicyclists time their speed to avoid red lights and delays.  The latest of these safety innovations was introduced September 4th (in Danish) and focuses on tackling an emergent problem – the collision of Copenhageners exiting public buses and bicyclists who, while technically required to stop and yield to those disembarking from buses, don’t always remember to stop.  Copenhagen’s solution?  An innovating plan to build lights into the bicycle paths which will direct bikers to stop when a bus is present and unloading passengers.  In effect, this is a modern and updated take on the old school-bus “STOP” sign.  It’s precisely because of initiatives like this that bike-usage in Copenhagen is continuing to grow. Biking is safe, incredibly good for you, convenient and a priority across all levels of society.