I know it sounds weird but the average Danish summer, such as we are having now, makes me wish for autumn and even winter. There is that joke that started going around on social media last year – the Danish summer is the best day of the year!
Danish summer is a confusing beast. Two days ago it was so hot and humid that I was falling asleep in the afternoon and then the next day it was breezy and chilly. I dashed out of the house this morning in cotton trousers (which was fine) and a coordinated T shirt, feeling pretty good until I realised that a long sleeve or jacket was really needed. The sun may be shining but it’s still blooming chilly.
Yesterday I found myself saying to my son that we should stand inside the station to keep warm – it’s almost July and this isn’t what I should need to say!
With Autumn and Winter you know where you are and there are no weather surprises. I know the expression is that there is no bad weather just bad clothes but I like to know what section of my wardrobe I need to raid rather than wearing clothes to cover four seasons in a day.
I hope, as we go into the school holidays, that the summer will stop being so schizophrenic and stick with warm and sunny with a light breeze – lets hope the weather goddess is listening!
Sadly in the modern world we tend to accumulate too many things – whether it is clothes, books, furniture etc – the list goes on. No matter how hard many people try they are still left with things that they no longer have use for. Of course a big step forward is to declutter and stay decluttered – who hasn’t read the Marie Kondo book over recent years, even if you didn’t put it into practice?
But the question is where to get rid of unwanted things?Sell your stuff
If you want to sell your unwanted things there are a number of places to do this in Denmark.
- Den Blå Avis is the first place to think about selling things and also to get an idea of the going price for your item. It costs to list an item but the reach is pretty good and the investment is worth it for more expensive items. Be prepared for people to haggle you down so be strategic in the amount you list for and the lowest price you are prepared to take.
- Loppemarked or flea markets are another option if you have a lot of things to sell or you could go in on a stand with a friend. Many of the popular markets get booked up very quickly so you may need to plan ahead. Generally you pay a set amount of money for a stand and you need to get there early with your own table. I’ve made a reasonable amount of money taking a flea market stand every couple of years but I’ve learnt to be aware of light fingers around my stand and also to take a lot less for items than they are genuinely worth.
- To sell kids stuff such as toys and clothes you can use the website Reshopper or join some Facebook groups such as Copenhagen Parents
- The Sell, buy, swap Facebook page is also one worth looking at.
Giveaway your stuff
Quite honestly for small things and clothes giving away can be the best option for the money you will get back is minimal if you sell and donating stuff helps others less fortunate.
- The most obvious and easiest place to donate clothes is in the Røde Kors clothing banks located all over the city and country. You can often find them in the car park of a supermarket or outside, outside some schools and various other locations. To find your nearest one you can use their website here. They are running a campaign with TV2 called Smid Tøjet Danmark 2017 and you can find out more about this here – many schools are participating in the programme. You can also donate non clothing items to Røde Kors shops.
- Other charities run charity shops and look for donations including Danmission and Kirkens Korshaer.
- Blå Kors also take donations including furniture.
- Also for furniture you can take it to your local Kommune recycling place or contact the Kommune to arrange for the item to be taken away (although there is a cost to this).
- Mødrehjælpen shops are also a great place to donate children’s (0-6 years) clothes and toys. Find your local place here.
- If you want to give to an individual you can list your item on the Facebook group – Free your stuff Copenhagen but be prepared to be messed around by some people who will agree to take your item and then never respond to messages or simply don’t turn up to collect it. There are always more people interested in your item so if people are rude or not responding move to the next person in the queue. People will add kø on a thread and this indicates they are interested and waiting in line. Once you have given away your item, remove it from the listings.
- For book donation you can post your books on Free Your Books Copenhagen on Facebook.
We waste a huge amount of food in Europe and at a time when we are seeing a rise in Food Banks in places like the UK and also here (this organisation FødevareBanken is a example and they are also looking for volunteers). There is a very active movement in Copenhagen to reduce food waste and to encourage food sharing.
- The Facebook page, Food Sharing Copenhagen, is a great place to start to find out more about food sharing events in the city and their website explains more about the scheme
- Kultur Nørrebro, a Kommune initiative, also runs a food share initiative, more information here.
Hope this gives some help to reduce your clutter and help the world a little!
Having a baby is one of the most exciting and scary things we do in life and that is when we are in our own countries. Having a baby in a new country can be even more daunting as you are navigating a different languages, process and culture. This was one of the reasons I decided to write a ebook guide to having a baby in Denmark (and it covers the first year too).
For many expat parents to be in Denmark this may be your first baby and you need a lot of help, advice and support in the journey through pregnancy and into that first year. Equally you may have other children but had them in your home country or somewhere else completely.
Almost eight years ago I had my son Frederiksberg Hospital. He was one of the last babies born there before they closed the maternity unit. As he was my first child I had no idea about anything really, not having been a particularly maternal young woman and being one of the last of my friends to have a baby. I muddled through in some parts of my pregnancy and in others I was led by the medical team around me and the rest of advice from books, the internet and friends and family. I enjoyed my pregnancy and despite a difficult birth, my experience in the hospital here was also excellent. I found the first year a little tough but then who doesn’t?
Things have moved on a lot from those days all those years ago, both in the consumer landscape of Denmark to the services that are offered to pregnant women and young families. In some ways this makes things a lot easier but in others there is more information to find and to know where to look.
In preparation for this guide I thought about all the things I learned when I was pregnant and a new mum but I also had a great focus group of expat mums and mums to be who really helped me out, both endorsing the information I was including but also sharing with me the things they had found tough or information they had wished they’d had. So a big thank you to those women.
If you are expecting a child here in Denmark or have just had a baby then this guide will be an enormous help to you, I wish I’d had something similar myself all those years ago. If you would like to get hold of the guide you can visit my secure shop here.
May 3rd DEMA (Danish Emergency Management Agency) will go through the annual sounding the sirens all over Denmark. This will take place at noon and sounds like an air raid siren. There is no need to worry or do anything. On this date the first year we lived here I was walking home after a morning at Danish language school and I was a bit panicked. Looking around no one else was so in a rather sheeplike manner I didn’t panic either!
If you’d like to read more about it and also what to do if it sounds at any other time, this link will help.
There is something about human nature where we like to mirror other people’s behaviours. Think about if you are talking to someone about something sad, exciting or happy – we mirror the tone and facial expressions of the person speaking. This is something you notice yourself doing if you don’t speak the same language as someone, you can gauge how they feel by their smiles or frowns and match them.
I am a big believer that in life you get what you put out and that is something that is really essential in expat life. I notice that people who have a negative view of life in their new country seem to attract negative experiences. Is this because they are looking for them and miss the positive or is it that their attitude means they attract negative experiences without actively trying?
I recall when I first moved to Berlin that I would be smiley and polite to people I met in shops and in the street and also other expats. I would be open to asking questions and listening but in time (and quite a short time) I realised that in many cases this was not being mirrored back to me. My smiles would be met with suspicion and negatively or sometimes simply ignored. My requests for information from other expats already living in the city – simple things such as good places to go swimming – would be met vague answers. It was very much for this reason that I started to write my own blog about places to go as I was sure (and I was right) that there were people like me also finding life difficult. I’d like to say that I remained smiley and positive but that wasn’t the case and I wonder that if I had whether I would’ve had a better experience. I certainly saw negatives over the positives.
Moving back to Copenhagen it was nice to be back somewhere where my smiles were returned, where people were willing to help when asked and the positives outweighed the negatives. I have been around town with other expats who moan about Danes being rude and show surprise when I get smiles in places where they usually don’t. I understand that it can be soul destroying to feel that your new life is tough but starting with a positive attitude to the people around you is a big step towards a positive experience.
I notice on the expat forums that when people ask simple questions such as where to buy something for example, some people feel it is necessary to immediately criticise the food selection in Denmark.
Someone asks for a doctor recommendation and there are a number of posts about how all Danish doctors are rubbish (based on that one person’s experience). This is not a way to feel comfortable in a new place nor to make others feel welcome.
I have recently offered a few things for free on a free cycle Facebook group and a number of people have said they would like things to then simply not bother to reply to messages about collecting them. Common courtesy says you reply to these especially when you have reached out in the first place. If some expats are behaving in this way there is no wonder they find others less than friendly to them.
I was listening to a podcast recently about teaching kids good social media etiquette and it also goes what I am talking about here.
- Does this need to be said now?
- Does it need to be you that says it?
- Is it honest or true?
- Is it helpful?
- Is it kind?
- If it is yes to all the above then say or do it, if not don’t.
So as we say to our son good things come to people who do good things. Smiles elicit smiles, help begets help, politeness brings it back to you. And the same goes for the opposite.
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!
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.
I had the ambitious idea of organising two brush lettering for beginners workshops on the 8th and 9th of April. This is the first weekend of the Easter holidays and the perfect opportunity for some adult time before the holiday begins.
Lucy Blair is an experienced calligrapher based in the UK and she will be coming over to teach two identical workshops over the weekend where participants will learn brush lettering for beginners. You can see her work on her instagram account @littleoldgoose
The class will cover the following: an introduction to brush lettering including beginner skills of up and down strokes. Participants will learn to create a words, layout, how to develop their own style and decorations and embellishments.
You will also receive a pack to take home including an instruction sheet, a small sketch pad and a Pentel Aquash brush pen.
The class will be taught over three hours and costs 640dkk. The cost covers teaching time, equipment you will use during the class and the take home pack, light refreshments and plenty of hygge!
This is a unique chance to learn this skill here in the city from an English speaking teacher. You will go away able to create beautiful brush calligraphy and have the skills to start to develop your own style.
The class will be taught in English, is open to adults and no experience is necessary. This is something I know a lot of people are interested in so take the chance now and book your tickets via the links below and I look forward to seeing you there!
Tickets for April 8th
Tickets for April 9th
As some readers may know I offer a joint package with Copenhagen Housing and they are expanding their home search services to Århus this year. As part of that I will be offering the same package with them but for Århus. This is very exciting especially as Århus has been named as the European Capital of Culture this year.
To launch the new Århus department of Copenhagen Housing, a very special event will be held at Highlanders Bar on 2nd March. This is a fantastic opportunity to meet follow expats, have fun and put yourself in with a chance of finding your new home in Århus, free of charge!
The program of the evening will consist of a reading by me from my book “My Guide to a Successful Relocation”, an opportunity to learn more about Aarhus Housing and how they can help you with your housing search, and ……… a fun quiz!
The lucky winner will get a free housing search in Århus worth 4500 kroner.
Refreshments will be provided.
Sign up for the event by mailing your details to email@example.com, please write “Aarhushousing launch” as the subject.
I really hope to see some of you there.
I was in the city centre and as I needed to find somewhere warm to wait for the Round Tower to open, I decided to have a little wander around the Main Library on Krystalgade. I used to spend a fair bit of time here when my son was a toddler and I thought it was great then. It is even better now.
In the main area on the ground floor, I was delighted to see some tables with handpicked books on them, just like a bookshop. The choice of books in both libraries and bookshops can sometime be overwhelming so these tables are perfect to guide you to a decent read. As you come to expect in Denmark, the design of the library has been taken very much into consideration from the lounge chairs dotted around to the casual and cosy seating at the front of the library – this is really a place that makes you want to stay. There are also tons of study or work tables around the place too.
The English language section of books for children is also amazing with a number of early reader books available. Although you can order any book from the library’s vast catalogue, it is wonderful to be able to browse, especially with your children. I have many happy memories choosing library books with my mum and this can’t be replaced with a search bar.
The children’s section is different from when I spent time here five years ago but is still excellent with a wooden castle, toys and also a puppet theatre. I was sad to see that the filthy naked doll my son was obsessed all those years ago with has gone to the big doll’s house in the sky.
I wrote previously about libraries here in Copenhagen but I do feel this place deserves a post of its own.