My Guide to a Successful Relocation is now available directly from me!

I have been selling my book via Amazon since I published it last year but I have decided to also offer it via my website too. I have a secure shop on the site and it is possible to buy the paperback version slightly cheaper directly from me, especially if you are based in Denmark or mainland Europe. It is a really useful book if you are planning on moving to another country (not just Denmark) or you are in the early stages of relocation. Thank you!

DOKK1 in Århus

I have been over to Århus a few times this year as I am supporting Copenhagen Housing‘s Århus arm in offering packages to people relocating to this city. One morning there I stopped by the public library/space DOKK1.

It is hard to define this fabulous places as just a library as it offers so much more. It is a library in the traditional sense with books etc to loan and it also houses a borgerservice section, but the rest of the library is dedicated to places for people to meet and have fun. All the spaces connect so the children’s section is not hidden away from the rest of the space. There is a feeling of flow and connection within the building and this makes it a very flexible space. One day a section could be a play area, another day an auditorium.The part that really blew me away was the children’s section, with games, places to play, dressing up boxes, a puppet theatre and a section where they can play with things we forty somethings remember from our childhood like a typewriter, something completely alien to our kids in the smartphone generation. There are also sections for study, relax, enjoy a coffee and also places where events take place. DOKK1 has an extensive list of monthly events.

A lovely little quirk is that this huge gong sounds every time a baby is born in Århus Hospital.And the best thing is all this is free as it is a publicly funded place, through taxes and business support. If you are in Århus, I would definitely recommend a visit to here. The architecture inside and out is amazing and if you are with kids of any ages it is a wonderful to spend an hour or two.

Whilst we have great library facilities in Copenhagen, I think the city could really benefit from a place like this, aimed at the community and used by them.

Refuse services in Copenhagen

So this may not be the most exciting title but believe me this information is gold, especially if you are new to the city or have moved from an apartment to a house, like we did.

How does it work?

First of all how does the refuse and recycling system work here and what can you put where? The kommune has produced this useful set of signs, which should technically be put on the bins, but these are so useful to have a quick guide to recycling. Here is the link to the one  in Danish and the one in English.

Where are my bins?

So now you have an idea of what you can put in what bins but the next question is where are these bins located. Copenhagen Kommune has a nifty site called Easy Refuse (www.nemaffaldsservice.kk.dk). You enter your address and in the summary page (overblik) you can see all the different bins associated with your address and their locations.

When will they be emptied?

You can also see how frequently they are emptied. In the calendar area you can find the schedule of collections to either print out or download to your own electronic diary. This is a godsend if you live in a house where you have the responsibility to put out your own bins. In our first week in our new house we forgot to put out our household bin until we heard the bin trucks at 6am.

In you live in a house (villa) you can see the bins you are obliged to have and the ones you can order if you need them, such as green waste, cardboard (strange this one is a request bin and not obligatory) and a compost bin.

But what about bigger items you need to take to the tip?

There is a web page dedicated to this (www.kk.dk/genbrugsstationer) where you can see the ones closest to you and their opening hours. There are guides to how the tips work and what can be taken there. There are also swap centres where you can take decent things you want to get rid of and also go and see what there is you might need. This website helps a lot with more detailed information about using the tips.

You can apply to have access to the tips 24 hours a day using your phone  – you can apply here.

This information is also on the Dejlige Days Welcome website along with a ton of other free resources and guides about life in Denmark and Copenhagen. Did you know you can also buy my book – My Guide to a Successful Relocation – directly from me on that website to. In many cases it will be cheaper this way than via Amazon.

10 books to help you explore Copenhagen

I wrote a while ago about fiction books based in Copenhagen or Denmark and today I thought I’d write about a selection of books which give you an insider view of Copenhagen. Although I have lived here a very long time I still enjoy reading these types of books, especially if they feature interviews or essays about the city. If you a new to the city these books are the perfect way to delve a little deeper into life here.

So here are 10 books to read about Copenhagen (in no particular order except size for the photo!)

Number 1 Wallpaper City Guide: Copenhagen

The Wallpaper Guides are a perennial guides to cities that not only look good on your shelves but also feature cool rather than fashionable places in the city. Concentrating on landmarks, hotels, 24 hour guides, urban life, architecture, shopping, sports and escapes outside the city they are perfect for both travellers and new locals.

Number 2 CitiX60 Copenhagen

This funky little guide features recommendations in the city from 60 local creatives. I found this guide refreshing as it doesn’t serve up the same old ‘hidden’ places as other guides. Just a question how many guides does a place have to be featured in before it is no longer a hidden gem?

Number 3 Copenhagen Green: The Guide

Copenhagen is a pretty green city but there are many more places to enjoy the outdoors and ‘green’ lifestyle than the usual spots. This guide will introduce you to a whole new aspect of the city.

Number 4 88 Sights in Copenhagen

The strapline of this book say it covers ‘the well known, less known and completely unknown’. It does exactly that and there are some fascinating places in the book that would otherwise remain hidden to you. A book to help you really explore the city. Look out for this book in various bookshops in the city, I got mine in the bookshop in Magasin.

Number 5 The 500 Hidden Secrets of Copenhagen

This is possibly my least favourite of the books here, simply because a lot of the places in the book are not really hidden. Nevertheless it lists fives of many different types of places in the city from food places to historical castles. It is a worthwhile addition to your bookshelves as a reference book to help you find places you need. But skip the 5 Danish phrases section as there are grammatical errors in the bit.

Number 6 Secret Copenhagen

Now here is a book that lives up to its title. I had heard of literally a fraction of the places in this guide and I am certainly going to explore the secret Copenhagen more with this book as my guide.

Number 7 Destination Copenhague

This is a beautiful little book of mainly photographs of the city with addresses of places featured. I love it as it really is ‘my’ city in the pages here.

Number 8 The Monocle Travel Guide: Copenhagen

This is also a guide with lists of places to visit, shop etc but also features a section of fascinating essays about the city and also some really interesting walking tours. This is a book to understand more about the culture of the city as well as places to go.

Number 9 Lost in Copenhagen

I simply love the typography of this series of city guides. This guide is the most hipsterish of the selection here as is shown by the fact the only two neighbourhoods it features are Vesterbro and Nørrebro. The interviews in the book really show you another side to the city  including ones with a Christiania resident, fashion designers, DJs and food bloggers, amongst others.

Number 10 Startup Guide Copenhagen

This is part of a series of guides about the startup scene in a number of cities and is the book to have if you are looking at starting up here or want to be part of that scene.

I picked all of these up in various shops around the city but most are available either via the links in the titles or via Amazon.

Family Fun over Easter

For those of you still in town and looking for some family fun here are a few suggestions.

Experimentarium in Hellerup will have the roof terrace open over Easter and there are tons of easter related activities happening here over the holiday week. For more information (in Danish).

The Frilands Museum has a special opening for Easter from Thursday to Monday. If it is a sunny day this a great place to enjoy some fresh air. They have a number of activities available over the weekend too. For more information (in Danish).

Rosenborg Castle has Easter activities for children where they will learn how to be part of the Royal Court of Frederik IV. For more information (In Danish)

For arty children the Glyptotek has Easter activities inspired by the works in the galleries. For more information (in Danish)

SMK has its kids’ workshop area open over the holidays and there are also tours especially for children. 

At the National Museum children can make the traditional Danish gækkebreve. For more information here

Carlsberg Visitors Centre will be running easter egg treasure hunts. For more information here

Of course Tivoli is open now and the Spring displays are always worth seeing.

For more inspiration Børn i Byen website has compiled twenty five family activities over the holiday week. See the list here.

 

 

 

 

Cherry blossom avenue at Bispebjerg Cemetery

The cherry blossom avenue in Bispebjerg Cemetery used to be a secret place for only those in the know. Over the last few years it has become a huge tourist attraction. Last year they put signs up to help people find it and this year I hear there will be 150 people drafted in for directions and I guess maybe crowd control!

I’m not sure I’ll make it up there this year, so these photos are from 2015. It looks the same every year, which is the beauty of it. Get there early or late to miss the crowds.

Easter creativity

I used to create these kind of photos for the blog a long time ago but after my accident and then my pain and medication cycle I lost some creativity.  In fact I lost all my desire to create anything like this. A few weeks ago I watch a series of videos about making Easter flat lays (you can check it out here) and I suddenly found that I was ready to do these again. And it was fun. A lot of fun.

I made a huge mess of all the things I wanted to include and dashed around looking in my boxes of vintage bits and bobs for items that would complement the Easter decoration I have.  Almost everything in these photos come from shops like Tiger, Søstrene Grene, the supermarket or Notre Dame. All super inexpensive and I get most out each year, adding a few extras. There are of course more expensive items from Royal Copenhagen, Georg Jensen and my favourite ceramicist, Helle Gram. And some things I have made.

Add in some fresh flowers (this year from my garden), some little chocolate eggs and sugared almonds the scene is set. I will be putting these decorations up later in the week to coincide with the end of term for my son. Whilst not a religious person I love to celebrate Easter as it marks the real end of winter and start of warmer days.

I hope these photos have made you smile and given a little inspiration for your own Easter decorations or table.

An explorer in a new place

With a weird synchronicity we found ourselves making a big change in our living situation almost exactly nine years since we left the UK to start our Danish adventure. For the last nine years we have lived in city apartments and for a lot of that time it suited us. But as my son got older and we looked for more quiet around us (and at the same time not worrying about the noise we made) we decided to move to a house or villa as they are called here.A lot has changed in Copenhagen over those nine years but it is still a city I am in love with. It has matured into a different kind of love than the heady early days. I still get my breath taken away by the city, I still love the people here and our life. But most of the time it is the kind of love that makes you feel comfortable and safe.  That this is my city and my home – this makes me happy. I have changed areas completely with the latest move but that feeling doesn’t change.

One thing that helped moved to a whole new area is the experience that I have gained from creating the local written guides I produce for my clients. Even moving within a city can pose a lot of the same questions as moving to a whole new city – where is my local pharmacy/supermarket/post office/ bakery etc? As well as looking at ways to get around either by public transport or by bike. It helps if you already know a city, you have a basic structure of how things work and where you are most likely to find things. Yet this doesn’t remove some of the basic problems. I again found myself bobbing up and down on the bus on a new route unsure of which was my stop (just as I did nine years ago) but at least Maps on my phone makes it a little bit easier. I will admit that I walked around Amager Center for more than was normal looking for the exit to the metro station area. I kept ending up at H&M, and I almost started to believe there was two branches in there (for the record there are not).

I am enjoying the local area and it is exciting again to be an explorer in a new place, albeit with a lot more confidence and knowledge. If you are new to Copenhagen and you feel you need that little extra help finding your way in your new neighbourhood (even if you have been there a while), do drop me a line via my Dejlige Days Welcome website and we can work together. I believe that people underestimate how much this kind of guide can help them. I think we often have the thinking of ‘how hard can it be?’ when two months in you are still struggling to find places and it is starting to be an issue. Honestly there are only so many questions you can pose on Facebook forums. I catch up with a number of clients who didn’t take the local guide and I can see how much they would’ve benefited from it from the start and how much those that have taken it have valued it. I hope to hear from you!

Still loving Danish public health service

Yesterday I was reminded why I wrote this piece in The Local in 2015 about private vs public healthcare in Copenhagen.

RigetsHave

After a long wait whilst the doctors decided if I needed an MRI scan with the state of the art machine at Rigshospital, I was given an appointment for a scan a couple of weeks ago. I understand the decision process surrounding it. One scan in the machine is not cheap so there must be a medical need for it.

Last summer I had a MRI scan at a private clinic and although the appointment times were more convenient and radiographer was competent, the experience wasn’t as good as the one yesterday. At the private clinic I lay in the scanner and just listened to the loud noise until the scan was done. I had no idea when it would be over and at what points I could wriggle my fingers. The scan takes up to an hour and that is a long time to lay still. I can’t recall being given ear defenders either. The scan was inconclusive.

At Rigshospital I was called in well before my appointment time as I arrived early. I was asked to change and leave my stuff in a locked changing room. The staff were polite and efficient. I was given ear defenders and they gave me an emergency buzzer to hold in my hand. Before each cycle of scans, I was told though my headset how long the section of scanning would take (anything from 1 minute to five minutes) and when I could stretch and move. Anyone who has had an MRI scan know it isn’t the most comfortable experience especially if you feel a little claustrophobic.

I was given an injection of contrast half way through and I was warned it could make me feel a little nauseous later on. Once the scan was over and the pleasantries dispensed with, I headed back to the changing room. I was a bit slow in there as I felt a little sleepy and was checking my messages when there was a knock on the door and the radiologist wanted to check I was OK.

Add to that how clean the hospital is, how helpful the staff are (not just this time but other times too), the general positive environment around you from hearing the orderlies chatting to patients to the public art installations. I still believe you can’t match this experience in the private sector.

I now have to wait and find out if this king of MRI machines has seen anything significant but overall the experience was much better than the private one.

 

Moving out etiquette

There has been something of an unintentional break here due to sickness (mine and my son’s) and then moving into our new house on Amager. I like to get the boxes unpacked as soon as I can and this time we are lucky enough to have a carport to store the empties in rather than simply moving them from one space to another. We are seeing the end of boxes now and I had a lovely surprise of opening one to find that it was only half full of things and the rest was packing paper.

When we moved in we discovered a lot of stuff left behind by the previous owners, some of which is useful and other stuff not so much. It made me think about the etiquette of moving out of somewhere. I may be a bit too nice to people who move in after me but here goes.

One – do a general clean and tidy For example wipe out all your cupboards. You don’t need to go mad but a quick swipe with a damp cloth is enough. Give the bathroom a clean. Mow the grass. If you have a pet make sure there are now hairy mats for people to discover.

Two – clean your white goods  A lot like above it doesn’t need to be a deep clean but people appreciate a clean washing machine drawer, if nothing else. It is amazing how many people think that something that cleans other things cleans itself – they do not and there is often a lot of scum left around dishwasher doors and in the washing machine. In our last place the washing machine had such a build up of dirty soap and goodness knows what else throughout the whole machine that it, and all clothes washed in it, stank of ponds (needless to say we needed to replace it).

Three – leaving stuff behind Now in fairness some of the things the previous owners of our place left were great and we were delighted. Some we could make use of but wouldn’t necessarily chose and other stuff should simply have been taken to the dump, which is less than ten minutes away. It is polite to give the buyers of your place the choice to take things but lazy and cheeky to simply leave it. The toilet brush full of brown water was not something I was not pleased to discover.

Four – empty your wheelie bins I think this speaks for itself as no one want to move in to find all their bins full and no clue as it when bin day is.

Five – refuse info  Now this is one where people have to be really nice but when we moved in to discover the aforementioned full bins it would have been super to know the bins days. A quick note on a piece of paper on the fridge would have enough. Interestingly you can find your bins days on the kommune website (I have a post about waste and refuse coming up soon – should be useful to many people) but I missed one before I had time to find it and then had nowhere to put our rubbish.

Six – stuff you should leave Paint pots so people can touch up any marks with the same colour. All manuals for appliances. Takeaway menus for local places.

Seven – a bottle of wine I’ve never done this one but wouldn’t it be nice to have a bottle of fizz waiting there for you to toast your new home with?

Thankfully I didn’t have the experience my parents had when we moved into a new place when I was about three. There were brown smears on the walls, which my mum was convinced were poo, fleas in the carpets (which promptly were ripped up and thrown out of the windows) and the power disconnected and all the wires for the cooker ripped out. All on one of the coldest days of the winter.

What do you think? Any horror stories or things to do to add to the list?