As regular readers know I have had a lot of experience of the health service here, from emergency room visits for my son and I, a few trips in ambulances (with lights and sirens), long term prescriptions, surgeries and having a baby with a complicated birth to name a few.
There is a lot of misinformation about how the public and private health service works here, especially around 1813 and emergency rooms. As well as my own experience I did plenty of research when I was invited back to the Expat Focus podcast to talk about all you need to know about the health service as a newcomer to Denmark.
You can listen here or if you prefer read the transcript of the interview.
As regular readers will know I do like to start a post with a reminisce about when I first moved to Copenhagen. Back in 2008 Vesterbro was a very different animal to the one we see now. On our first afternoon living in Frederiksberg we set off on a hunt for lightbulbs and we ended up outside an old row of buildings on Enghavevej close to Tove Ditlevsen’s Mindehave (a century old restaurant which apparently is now a big selling point for the area).
Fast forward to 2018 and this historic row of buildings are a pile of rubble waiting to be replaced by a development of luxury apartments, townhouses and cafes called Toves Gård. The irony of an affluent new development replacing a historic working class one and naming it after a very famous writer whose work concentrated on her experiences growing up in working class Vesterbro is not lost on its detractors.
So a bit more history of these buildings. They were known as Slagtergårdene or the Slaughter Yards. Build around 1860 the backyard was used to slaughter livestock and the row houses at the front were homes to the slaughtermen and their families. After the slaughter of animals stopped the buildings became homes and businesses. This was all at a time when Vesterbro was still a working class area before the rapid gentrification of the area began (you can read more of my thoughts about this here). In fact one of these houses was the childhood home of Storm P, the famous Danish cartoonist, satirist, actor and writer.
When the demolition of Slagtergårdene was proposed there was an immediate backlash from residents and community groups who believed that the historic integrity of these century old buildings should be preserved. A petition was started and a campaign Facebook group. The petition gained over 11,000 signatures but the city council still decided to allow developers to demolish the area and replace it with just over 100 new homes and five businesses.
When I passed by the demolition site a few weeks ago I commented to the older lady next to me on the bus that it was sad to see the buildings go. She retorted that people need somewhere to live. I didn’t get into a debate with her but I doubt people who can afford the price tag of 3.2m Danish Krone for a 68sq metre apartment or up to 10m Danish Krone for 170sq metre family house are short of options for places to live unlike the women who use Cafe Klare, an overnight shelter for women just a ten minute walk away.
NOTE all these photos were taken from public areas and I did not enter the demolition area or any private property.
I thought today I would share another positive experience we have had with the public health service here. If you read any of the main expat blogs here you will undoubtedly hear a lot of negativity about the health service here. I am not, in any way, saying that these are not legitimate experiences but we often simply hear the negatives as people rarely share positive ones, for a number of reasons.So now my disclaimer is out-of-the-way on to the story.
On Sunday morning my son and my husband went up to Amager Strand for my son to try out his new (to him as I bought them on a Mødrehjælpen second hand shop) roller blades. He is a relatively competent ice skater and enjoyed an afternoon at a roller disco last month. Within the first few minutes he took a tumble but got back up and continued. He returned home and complained a little that his wrist hurt. We left it until after lunch (and homework) to see if it settled down. It didn’t so at 1.30pm I called 1813. My call was answered immediately and the medical advisor happily spoke with me in English. We were given an appointment an hour later at Amager Hospital for an x-ray and consultation.
On arrival we were told that it could be an additional hour’s wait so we sat down in a busy waiting room ready for this. Ten minutes after our original time we were called in to see a nurse. He did a few physical checks and then at 2.50pm we were dispatched downstairs for an x ray. Again my son went in straightaway and then ten minutes later we were back with the nurse upstairs.
Sadly my son had a hairline fracture and he was plastered up. We left the hospital. all finished, almost exactly an hour from our original appointment. Throughout we were dealt with efficiently and kindly.
A number of friends on my private social media commented on how happy my son looked in the photos I snapped of him being put into the light plaster cast. Some commented that he didn’t look that bothered by it and was enjoying the attention (they were not commenting spitefully but observationally). I would say this is partly his fascination with all things medical but the main reason was how kindly and cheerfully he was dealt with by the medical staff there. He didn’t feel scared or worried at any time. To be fair he did cry immediately after one picture was taken and knowing him well you can see he was just about holding back the tears in the picture.
The point of writing this is to show that not all experiences of the somewhat overstretched medical services here are negative and for people not to be put off contacting 1813 or seeking medical attention. And yet again to give a big thanks to the staff at the Skadestuen at Amager Hospital and the operators at 1813.
Christmas is less than two months away and the start of Advent a lot closer. If this is your first Christmas in Denmark or you want to know a bit more about how to celebrate in a more Danish way then my seventeen page ebook is what you need. It also includes handy tips to find ‘food from home’.
New Year’s Eve can also be somewhat of an eyeopener if it is your first time!
To get hold of this free guide click here!
If you are a long time reader of this blog you will know that I have posted before about my fantastic hairdresser, Sharon Hatting. Over the years Sharon has become a good friend of mine as well as my talented hairdresser. The balayage colour she does for me never ceases to make me very happy and feel like a superstar (see my last one below). I have another in the diary to brighten me up just before Christmas.
Since the 1st of November Sharon has become one of the two hairdressers in a new salon called Kesh, just on the edge of Frederiksberg and Nørrebro at Ahlmannsgade 1 kld. The location is easy to get to on the 8A bus and from next summer it will be a few steps from the new metro stations at Nuuks Plads on the new Ring Line.
The salon is brand new and has been started and is owned by a lady called Frederikke Darkner. Kesh is quite a unique concept developed by Frederikke. She has a strong background in hairdressing with experience from around the world including working on Broadway in New York City.
As one a small number of certified green hair salons in Copenhagen, Kesh use only products from John Masters Organics and Ingredien. They are safe for both people and the environment. As a bit of an environmentalists this is a big plus point for me as well as the fact that I have eczema on my scalp and often find that I have a flair up after using certain products.
It is also a place for you to relax, located in a cosy basement and they want you to take the time to switch off and concentrate on yourself when you are there. If you wish you can place your phone in a charger in the back and forget about the world for the time you are being pampered. They also guarantee that you will be the sole focus of your hairdresser during that time as they only have one client each at a time even if you are having a colour.In a time when we are constantly bombarded with things from our smart phones and the world around us, what they are doing at Kesh is a real refreshing change.When I popped in last week to visit Sharon and Frederikke in the new salon and to chat about my new colour, I was delighted by the little touches around the place. Instead of the bog standard hairdressing gown you are usually put into, at Kesh you get to feel very special when they offer you one of the jewel coloured gowns made from repurposed sari materials (and the cushions in the relaxation area are also made from this fabric).Frederikke also offers free relaxation classes with a technique called heartfulness and you can read more about that on their website.I see whenever people review Sharon on her Facebook page the overriding sentiment is that not only does she give you a great haircut but that she really listens to what you want but also advises you if there is a better way to get the results. Sharon is able to speak in both English and Danish so language is no barrier, wherever you come from.
You can read more about the salon and make your appointment with either Sharon or Frederikke here. They are offering 20% off a haircut for the whole of November.
I have teamed up with Welcome Group Consulting to offer readers of Dejlige Days a 10% discount for their new Spouse Connect courses launching on 19 November with morning and afternoon classes available. (use the code DejligeD10 at the checkout).
Together with Studieskolen (Denmark’s most professional and well established language school) Welcome Group Consulting offers Denmark’s most comprehensive range of language, culture, and employment coaching courses specifically aimed at spouses.
With specialist language tutors, professional employment coaches and networking events – every spouse deserves to be a part of something special.
There are three courses:
Career Coaching Course (details here)
Danish Language and Culture (details here)
Spouse Connect Danish Language and Culture (details here)
All start on 19 November.
Here is what they say about these valuable courses.
There are as many spouses in Copenhagen as there are nice places to meet and have wonderful experiences. If you want to strengthen your Danish language and your understanding of Danish culture, or if you are into coffee meet ups, exhibitions, celebrations, or play dates with the kids, then the answer is Spouse Connect.
Social life, career and language
Studieskolen are ready to bring you together with like-minded people through interesting Spouse Events, we provide you with Career Coaching, and we also offer you Danish Language & Culture.
The purpose of Spouse Connect is simply to provide you with a fun, versatile, socially and hopefully long-term stay in Denmark.
You can also read more about the course in the CPH Post here