When we first moved here back in 2008 there were a number of things that were considered very normal here in Copenhagen that we thought were pretty weird…fast forward eight years and we do or use all of these things….Number one – mugs for hot drinks without handles.
I couldn’t understand the point of these; won’t my hands get burnt and aren’t they just like a beaker? We now own and use for hot drinks a wide selection of these from a variety of places from Bodum to Royal Copenhagen plus we still enjoy freaking out English guests by offering them their cups of tea in a fancy ‘beaker’.
Number Two – two single duvets on a double bed and airing duvets out the window
When we viewed our first apartment I was struck by the fact the couple living there used two single duvets and as time went on I realised this was very normal for Denmark (and also Germany). I thought it was strange but after using two singles in a hotel I realised that I liked not having to fight for the duvet all night and also it meant that we could have the weight duvets we prefer rather than one person shivering or sweating whilst the other was sleeping soundly in their preferred temperature.
I am ashamed to say we never once aired our duvet in the UK, we now regularly (weather permitting) hang our duvets out the window on a Sunday morning.
Number Three – sleeping babies outside in the cold in their pram
This was horrifying to me when we first moved here. People were leaving their babies outside cafes whilst their mums enjoyed a coffee (still in view) or in yards behind their apartment buildings when there was snow on the ground. I heard the argument that babies sleep better outside and I thought ‘ what is this – the 1950s?’ Then when I had a winter baby I found he slept so much better for his naps outside so I joined the army of women walking their babies around in prams getting them off to sleep and then I would sit whilst he sleep soundly and warmly in the minus temperature. I have never, however, been able to leave him out of sight or in the yard alone.
Interesting article on the BBC website on this very subject
Number Four – Suppositories for babies’ pain relief and nasal sprays for colds
First suppositories for babies. I think the UK is one of the only countries in Europe where parents are appalled by this – I can still see my best friend’s face when her baby had his temperature taken in his bum in a German hospital and her staunch refusal of suppository pain killers. It was a reaction I probably would have shared if I had never left the UK but for the first two years of my son’s life that was how he had pain relief.
Second, nasal sprays. They are a miracle for a bunged up nose and we resisted them for a long time, now they are the go-to cure.
Number Five- all white furniture
I now feel affronted by the amount of colour I see in British interior magazines and have totally embraced the white furniture cult of Denmark. Yes, the odd bit of colour is great but we now stick to sofas, rugs, ornaments, cushions etc for that. The white walls are very logical in the dark winters as they reflect the small amount of sunlight there is and stop you feeling like you are living in a cave for seven months of the year.
Number Six – Communal clothes washing facilities and drying rooms
Danish people are pretty private but are very happy to wash their smalls in a shared washing machine and then hang them in a communal drying room for all to see. I do recall blushing a little at seeing some of my neighbours’ little lacy under things. This aside I was a little disappointed to find that the drying space in our apartment building is in the attic and therefore a bit of a fitness challenge for me to use.
Number Six – Scarves in summer (spring, autumn and winter…)
First time I saw Danish women wearing pretty scarves with t shirts or vest tops in the summer I was baffled. Scarves to me were for keeping warm but actually they look really stylish all year round. I am still not sure I can carry it off in quite the same way a Danish woman can but I give it a go. They do say that Danes wear scarves to keep their heads on!
Finally still a bridge too far…
But one I still can’t embrace is communal swimming changing rooms awash with nakedness – I often feel more Danish than British but the inner prude in me can’t do this so it’s eyes down for me when visiting the swimming pool!