In, kako je na Danskem? // So, how is Denmark?

Najin prvi odgovor je ponavadi: “Hmm… zanimivo!?”. Težko je na hitro opisati najino izkušnjo, ker naju Danska preseneča prav vsak dan znova, že od prvega dne.

Our first answer is usually: “Hmm… interesting?!”. It is hard to describe our experience in few sentences, since Denmark is surprising us constantly, from day one.

Pričakovala sva visoke cene in mrzlo vreme… stopila pa v eno najbolj sproščenih in veselih držav. Skoraj bi rekla “severni balkan.” In če predpostavka o cenah drži (in gre seveda z roko v roki z danskim standardom) pa naju je presenetilo celo vreme – sredi septembra sva se še kopala v morju sredi mesta, do sedaj sva le dvakrat oblekla nepremočljive kolesarske hlače na poti v službo zaradi rosenja dežja in le en dan ali dva so bile temperature dejansko pod nulo. Danci sicer pravijo, da je letošnje leto bolj izjema kot pravilo, vendar se nimava nad čem posebej pritoževati (razen morda občasnega močnega vetra). Bomo videli… prihajata namreč januar in februar in midva imava še vedno plan, da se v službo voziva s kolesi.

We expected high prices and cold weather… and entered one of the happiest and most relaxed countries. And as much as the first part, regarding high prices, is true (and of course also goes hand in hand with their standard), we were surprised even by weather. We were swimming here in the sea in the middle of September, so far we have only put on waterproof biking pants twice due to sprinkle of rain and only once or twice have the temperatures really gone below zero. Danes say this year’s weather is more exceptional than regular, however, we have nothing to complain about (except maybe occasional strong wind). But let’s see… January and February are coming and we are still planning on going to work by bike. 

Ena izmed prvih stvari, ki jo lahko prebereš o Danski, je trditev, da so po statističnih raziskavah ‘najsrečnejši narod na svetu‘. Seveda si je to težko predstavljati ali razlagati, dokler njihove sproščenosti ne doživiš v vsakdanjem življenju. Nekateri pravijo, da so tako zadovoljni, ker v primerjavi s povprečnim Evropejcem veliko bolj verjamejo, da njihov glas na volitvah nekaj šteje in lahko vplivajo in soustvarjajo lastno državo. Med drugim tudi v povprečju veliko hitreje in veliko bolj zaupajo neznancem. Po drugi strani pa tudi veljajo za ene večjih porabnikov anti-depresivov. Kakorkoli, zdi se, da so lahko srečni in mirni tudi zato, ker živijo v uspešni in stabilni državi in jih zato manj skrbi za njihov vsakdanji kruh ter lahko bolj sproščeno uživajo vsakdan.

On of the first things you can read about Denmark is a claim, that they are by statistical researches ‘the happiest country in the world‘. Of course it is hard to imagine what it means until you are here and experience it first hand in everyday life. Some say, they are so satisfied because they believe they can influence country’s decision with their vote far more than average European. Also, they trust a stranger sooner and easier. On the other hand, they are also one of the biggest antidepressants consumers. Anyhow, it also seems they can be happier and peaceful since they live in successful and stable country and therefore don’t need to worry about their income and job but rather focus on joys in life.

Težko rečeva, ali so res ‘najsrečnejši’, ker za to še nisva okusila dovolj sveta. Je pa res, da so nasmejani, zadovoljni in predvsem sproščeni – in to veliko bolj kot sva si predstavljala in veliko bolj kot v državah, v katerih sva bila do sedaj. Zakaj, po najino? Znajo se pošaliti na svoj račun in iskreno in direktno povedati svoje mnenje. Seveda dokler paše znotraj njihovih ‘politično korektnih’ okvirjev. Stvari počenejo transparentno in odrito – slišala sva že razlage, da to izvira in protestantske tradicije. Nihče v stanovanjih nima zaves, saj ničesar ne skriva. Ne kupujejo si razkošnih avtomobilov (no, to verjetno tudi zato, ker za avtomobile plačajo 150% davek na osnovno ceno), niti ne ‘lišpajo’ svojih hiš, da bi pokazali svoje premoženje in status. Nimajo namreč v zavesti, da bi morali biti boljši od drugih ali da bi se morali komurkoli dokazovati. V danski zavesti in danščini obstaja celo beseda oziroma prepričanje ‘Janteloven‘, ki opozarja na to, da ‘nisi boljši od vseh ostalih’ in spodbuja enakost in občutek skupnosti. (Seveda se potem marsikateremu tujcu zdi, da so Danci zaradi tega prehitro zadovoljni z vsem, kar vpliva na kvaliteto dela, napredek in učinkovitost. Ampak to je že druga tema in jo bomo načeli kdaj drugič, v živo.)
Na kratko: zdi se, da recept za dansko srečo temelji na tem, da si ne komplicirajo življenja po nepotrebnom. Napisanih pravil se sicer striktno držijo, po drugi strani pa se niti najmanj ne obrememnjujejo z družbenimi normami in pričakovanji.

We cannot really say if they are truly the happiest nation, since we have not seen enough world to know. However, they really are far more happy than we expected and faaar happier than people in countries where we have been so far. And why would that be in our opinion? They know how to make fun of themselves and they can tell what they think quite honestly and directly. Of course only until everything fits their ‘politically correct’ limits. They are very open and do things transparently, which supposedly origins from their Protestant tradition. And all of that also reflects in everyday life – nobody has curtains in their apartment, since ‘they have nothing to hide’. They do not buy expensive cars (well, that might be due to 150% tax on original price of a car as well) or pimp their homes on the outside to prove their wealth, since they do not feel the need to prove it to anyone. In danish minds and even their language there is a word ‘Janteloven‘, representing a believe that ‘you are not better than the crowd’, which is trying to enhance sense of equality and community. However, many foreigners seem to notice that it makes Danes also far too soon satisfied with everything and is influencing quality of work, progress and effectiveness. But hey, that’s another story and let’s leave it for now.
Bottom line: it seems like they are happier because they do not complicate their lives if it is not necessary. They obey the written rules strictly, however, they do not care about other people’s opinion and expectations or any other so called ‘social norms and standards’. 

Primer nekonvencionalne reklame danske turistične agencije // Just an example of unconventional commercial of Danish tourist agency

Pojem ‘Danci, ki neradi komplicirajo’ pa se rahlo postavi na glavo, ko pride do javnega prometa. Po petih mesecih tukaj nama je vseh 135 opcij nakupa karte, con in pravil še vedno v veliki meri uganka. Tako sva na primer dobila kazen neko nedeljo, ko sva se ob enih zjutrah na praznem metroju, premočena od kože (to je bila ista nedelja, ko sva v dežju kolesarila čez pol mesta zaradi najinega kavča – beri prejšnji zapis), vračala iz pisarne proti domu (ja, pozno delo čez vikende zaradi oddaj obstaja tudi na danskem), ker sva kupila le karte zase, ne pa tudi za svoja kolesa. Izkazalo se je, da je bila aplikacija, ki sva jo uporabljala za preverjanje povezav in cen žal v lasti drugega prevoznika, kjer so kolesa brezplačno vključena, vendar ni zagotavljala točnosti podatkov za druge prevoznike. In, ker smo na Danskem in so to (nekje) napisana pravila, se kontrolorja niti podrazno nista dala pregovoriti.
Morda tudi zaradi zapletenosti javnega prometa (in res visokih cen – ena vožnja z javnim prometom stane 1.6€, v prometnih konicah pa celo 2€) tukaj vsi kolesarijo. Seveda na to vpliva tudi teren (Danska je izredno ravna – najvišja točka Yding Skovhøj meri le 173m!) in podnebje, saj skoraj nikoli zares ne dežuje, temveč le prši ali pa dež po desetih minutah preneha. Poleg tega je za kolesarje tukaj izredno dobro poskrbljeno – kolesarske poti po vsem mestu so široke, urejene in imajo svoje semaforje. Kolesarji striktno signalizirajo ustavljanje ali zavijanje, preostali vozniki pa so previdni in strpni. Vozniki so celo pozorni na luže in se jim, če se le da, izognejo, da te ne poškropijo ko voziš ali čakaš zeleno luč na kolesarski stezi poleg ceste. In, kar se je presenetljivo izkazalo za zelo pomembno (in nevarno) – na kolesarje in kolesarske steze so izredno pozorni tudi peščci!
Zaradi takšne priljubljenosti kolesarjenja se je razvilo posebno kolo, ki ga starši uporabljajo za prevažanje otrok po mestu, imenovano ‘Christiania bike‘, ki je postalo prava znamenitost Copenhagna.

However, the term ‘uncomplicated Danes’ turns upside down as soon as you start using their public transport. After five months here we still don’t quite understand all the 135 types and ways of buying the tickets, zones and rules. For example – we were going home one Sunday morning, at 1AM on an empty metro and we got the penalty for buying tickets only for ourselves and not also for our bikes we had with us. It turned out that the app we were using for checking prices, best routes and travel times is owned by another transport company, which does not guarantee to show correct information for travels with other companies. And of course, since this is Denmark and that rule sure is written (somewhere), the conductor had no mercy.
Maybe it is due to this complicated system and high prices (one ride costs 1.6€ and even 2€ in rush hours) that everybody is cycling here. Of course it is also an influence of the flat terrain (highest point in Denmark Yding Skovhøj being only 173m) and mild weather, where it rarely rains heavily or at least stops after ten minutes. They also take really good care of bike roads all over the city, which are wide and have their own traffic lights. Besides, everyone signals every time they stop or turn direction and drivers are patient and pay attention. Drivers even try to avoid puddles on the roads so they do not splash you, when you are waiting for the green light or biking on the cycling path beside. However, what now seems most important (and dangerous) are the pedestrians, which are here well aware to watch out not only for cars and roads but also cyclists and cycling paths.
Due to popularity of biking a special type of bike developed, which is used mainly by parents to transfer their kids around – it is called ‘Christiania bike‘ and it became one of the main attractions of Copenhagen

Na hitro bi rekla, da so Danci izredno prijazni in odprti in da je Danska ali vsaj Copenhagen najbrž eno tistih (redkih?) mest (oz. držav), kjer se kot tujec lahko počutiš še najbolj domačega in sprejetega. Življenje ti olajša (in olepša) že to, da prav vsi tekoče govorijo angleško- vozniki avtobusov, neznanci na ulici, prodajalci v trgovinah, otroci v osnovnih šolah… in nikomur ni težko ponoviti stavka, če vidi, da ga ne razumeš v danščini. Pisana danščina je sicer dokaj logična mešanica nemščine in angleščine… pri govorjenju pa pol besede požrejo, preostanek pa izgovarjajo kot bi imeli polna usta in z deli grla, za katere niti veš ne, da jih imaš.

Briefly we would say that Danes are very open and friendly and Denmark, or Copenhagen at least, is probably one of those (rare?) cities (or countries) were you feel most accepted and ‘at home’ as a foreigner. Firstly: everyone speaks fluent English, which makes your life much easier (and nicer). May it be a bus driver, old person that randomly talks to you on the street, shop assistant or child from primary school – everyone friendly repeats his sentence in English, if you ask. Thank God, since Danish is… well, written Danish is rather understandable mixture of German and English. However, when they speak, they usually say only first half of the world and it sounds like they have full mouth and speak with certain parts of their throats which you don’t even know you have.

Presenetljivo pa imajo Danci zelo poseben odnos s svojo zastavo. V primerjavi s ponavadi resnim, protokolarnim in spošljivim odnosom v večini držav, svojo zastavo tukaj uporabljajo (tudi) za skoraj banalne namene. Poleg tega, da jo izobesijo ob praznikih, pa jo na različne načine uporabljajo tudi na zabavah in slavjih. Danske zastave in zastavice se tako lahko najde v vsaki trgovini z živili – na servetah, darilnem papirju, zobotrebcih, nalepkah, na vrvici… z njimi okrasijo svoja stanovanja kadar gostijo zabavo, božične smrečice, rojstnodnevne torte in raznorazno pecivo na praznovanjih. Vsak slavljenec naj bi na svoj rojstni dan ob sebi vedno imel stojalo z dansko zastavo, pa naj bo to doma, na delovnem mestu ali na praznovanju v parku. Še bolj zanimivo postane, ko vkorakaš v navadno trgovino, povsem okrašeno z danskimi zastavami – in to preposto zato, ker imajo znižanja (pa niti ne gre za dansko podjetje!). Doživela sva celo ulice, povsem okrašene v zastave, ker je enota nekega podjetja praznovalo obletnico obratovanja na tem naslovu.
Danci sicer pravijo, da to ni povezano z nacionalizmom… kakorkoli, zavestno ali podzavestno, izražajo ponos – in kdo bi jim zameril, navsezadnje so le najstarejša kraljevina na svetu. Verjetno pa svoje naredi tudi estetska in preprosta zastava. 

Surprisingly, Danes have a very special relationship with their flag.  In comparison to many other countries, where flag is something highly respected and almost sacred, they use it (also) for almost banal purposes and see it more as a sign of celebration of any kind. Therefore, you can buy danish flags of different sizes in almost every supermarket – they are on gift-wrapping paper, paper towels, stickers, on the string… they use them to decorate their apartments in case they host a party, Christmas tree, birthday cakes  or simply any pastry on a special occasion. Anyone, who is celebrating his birthday, should have a stand with danish flag by himself all day long, no matter where – may it be working place, home or celebration in the park. However, it gets even more interesting! You can come in the shop, full of danish flags, simply because they have discounts. Also, we have witnessed whole street decorated in danish flags of different sizes, because a company there celebrated anniversary of operating.
Danes say it is not connected with nationalism… well, may it be consciously or subconsciously, it reflects their pride. But who can blame them really, they are the oldest monarchy in the world. But, to be honest, also their nice and simple flag makes it much easier to use it everywhere.

Danci se radi zabavajo in družijo. Skoraj vsi se v popoldanskem času redno rekreirajo – v poletnem času to pomeni tek, kajakaštvo ali plavanje, pozimi pa skoraj vsi obiskujejo fitnese. Poleti izkoristijo vsak sončni žarek in se pogosto dobivajo v parku, kjer cele gruče ljudi sedijo, pijejo, žarijo… ko se dnevi krajšajo pa ‘zimsko depresijo’ premagujejo v svojem slogu, ki ga zelo uspešno promovirajo povsod po svetu – v danščini za to obstaja celo zelo poznana in promovirana beseda oziroma občutek, imenovan ‘hygge‘, ki opisuje nekaj podobnega kot ‘ustvarjanje prijetnega ambienta in atmosfere ter uživanje v prijetnih vsakdanjih življenjskih trenutkih’. Kar v praksi pomeni mir, svečke, tople nogavice ali dobra večerja v družbi prijateljev čez vikend.
Med Božičem, glavno ‘hygge sezono’, se za tri dni, med 24. in 26. decembrom, zaprejo vse trgovine in mnoge restavracije, saj se ljudje zbirajo na domovih in družijo. Če je prejšnji dan še vse polno zaradi zadnjih nakupov, naslednji dan mesta izgledajo povsem zapuščena in na ulici resnično skoraj ne srečaš žive duše. Seveda se ne ustavi pri trgovinah, ampak na božični večer med določenimi urami prenehajo voziti tudi avtobusi – ker seveda nevedni tujci tega ne pričakujemo in nikjer ni obvestil o neobratovanju, moramo potem pešačiti štiri kilometre preko mesta.

Danes love to gather and have fun. Almost everyone is doing sports in the afternoon. In summer that means running, swimming or kayaking and in winter more or less everyone goes to fitness. In summer they really want to take in all the sun they can get, so huge crowds of people are gathering in parks, just sitting, drinking, grilling… when the season changes and days get shorter and colder, they get through ‘winter depression’ in their own special and nowadays very internationally promoted way. And they even have a word for it: ‘Hygge‘ would be translated into something like ‘cosiness’ or ‘feeling or mood that comes taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, every day moments more meaningful, beautiful or special’. In reality it means peace, candles, warm woolen socks, good dinner with friends on weekends and similar.
During Christmas time, year’s main ‘hygge season’, all the shops, supermarkets and even many restaurants are closed for three days between 24. and 26. of December, for people to gather at homes. If the streets are full of last-minute shoppers a day before, on Christmas Eve the city looks completely empty and you can hardly meet anyone on the streets. Of course all this also affects the already complicated public transport and unexpectedly (and unannounced) the buses stop driving for a couple of hours in the afternoon. Therefore it can happen as it did to us, that we foreigners, lacking the ‘common knowledge’, have to walk four kilometers across town to get home. 

Kar pa se hrane tiče, bi težko izpostavila nekaj zares danskega. Kar je zanimivo, glede na to, da so nekatere njihove restavracije mednarodno priznane – med drugim je bila Noma v Copenhagnu večkrat razglašena za najboljšo restavracijo na svetu. Še najbolj posebna in poznana ‘tradicionalna’ hrana so odprti sendviči, t.i. ‘smørrebrød‘ ter svinjska jetrna pašteta (v zadnjih 100 letih je reja prašičev in izvoz svinjskega mesa eden večjih državnih dohodkov). Običajen kruh je tukaj malo drugačen, kot ga ponavadi jemo mi – rjav ržen, ponavadi s semeni ter rahlo kisel in vlažen. Tako kot se radi rekreirajo pa načeloma radi tudi jedo kvalitetno in zdravo hrano – zaradi takšnega povpraševanje (vsaj tako sklepava midva) so cene bio izdelkov tukaj skoraj enake običajnim izdelkom. 

Regarding food – we could hardly point out something truly danish. However, they have some of the best restaurants in the would – let’s just mention world famous Noma for example. What we could consider most traditional could maybe be open sandwich, ‘smørrebrød‘ as they call it, or danish pork liver paté ‘liverpostej’ (in the past 100 years or so the production of pigs and pig meat has been a major source of income for Denmark). Regular bread is here different that the one we would consider ‘normal’ – they usually eat rye bread, which seams a bit sour and moist. And just as much as they like to do sports, they also like to eat quality and healthy food, therefore many of organically labeled products reach almost the same prices as normal ones. 

Seveda smo vsi že slišali, da Danska velja za izredno razvito, ‘trajnostno’ in zeleno deželo. Prihajava iz Slovenije, kjer danes že verjetno čisto vsak ločuje najmanj pet različnih vrst odpadkov in imamo to že globoko v naši zavesti… tukaj sva zato pričakovala še veliko bolj dosleden in odgovoren odnos do okolja. Naj vas razočarava – Danska je ena izmed držav, ki proizvede največ odpadkov na prebivalca v Evropski Uniji. Odpadkov ne ločujejo, povrh vsega pa približno 80% vseh smeti sežgejo. Ironično, v tej ‘zeleni’ deželi skoraj vsakdo v trgovini ob nakupu kupi še plastično vrečko, v katero potem spravi svoje ekološke izdelke… 
Po drugi strani pa imajo veliko t.i. ‘flea marketov’ – tržnic z oblačili in izdelki iz druge roke. Veliko študentov ali družin se tako odloči ‘zakupiti’ stojnico in na njej prodajati rabljene izdelke za smešno nizke cene. Kar je super za okolje in prijazno za žep, ker tukaj med stvarmi lahko najdeš komaj ali skoraj nikoli nošena oblačila, torbe, pohištvo…
Poleg tega se nama zdi izredno smiselno in ‘ekološko’, da nima vsak svojega pralnega stroja v stanovanju, temveč je skoraj v vsaki kleti stanovanjskega bloka pralnica, kjer rezerviraš svoj termin in plačaš za posamezno pranje. Tako trije pralni stroji brez problema lahko služijo tudi do 100 stanovanjem.

Of course it is well known that Denmark is considered to be one of the greenest and most sustainable countries. We come from Slovenia, where nowadays probably everyone separate at least five different types of waste on daily basis and it has become quite natural to all of us. So therefore we expected Danes to be even more responsible and strict as far as impact on environment is considered. Well, let us disappoint you. Denmark is one of EU countries that generate more waste per capita, and is world leader in incineration of household waste, they are not separating anything and are burning 80% of all waste. Ironically, in this ‘sustainable’ country everyone with every purchase also buys a plastic bag, in which they then put their organic products.
On the other hand they have many flea markets with clothes, furniture and other useful products. Therefore many students or families decide to rent one of the stands on such markets and sell the stuff they don’t need any more for really low prices. Which is great for environment and good for budget shoppers. Also, second hand things here are rarely or almost never used things, so it is really great.
What also seems like a very reasonable and environmentally friendly are the common washing rooms in almost every housing. Therefore not everyone has their own washing machine but rather common space, where you can book and pay for each washing and three washing machines serve perfectly well for up to 100 apartments.

Poleg ostalih ‘zanimivosti’, naju je presenetil tudi način gradnje, saj skoraj nikoli ne uporabljajo betona ‘in-situ’ (betona, vlitega v opaže na gradbišču), temveč v veliki večini gradijo iz prefabriciranih elementov (za vse tiste vedoželjne, ki niste ‘iz stroke’, in vas zanima razlika). Prav tako tudi nenosilne stene večinoma ne gradijo iz ‘knaufa’ temveč kar iz OSB plošč. Najbolj nenavadno od vsega pa je, da se v deželi s stalnim in relativno močnim vetrom okna odpirajo navzven – razlogi za to so nama zaenkrat še nepojasnjeni, saj nama tega fenomena ne znajo pojasniti niti arhitekti… včasih se celo zdi, da še nikoli niso prav zares razmišljali o tem.

Beside all the other ‘fun facts’ we were also surprised by their way of constructing buildings. They almost never use concrete in-situ, but rather work with precast concrete elements (for all those who do not know what we are talking about, but would really like to know the difference). They also build most of their non-structural walls with OSB boards. What is really surprising for a country with often and strong winds, their windows are mostly opening on the outside. We still do not know the explanation for that, since even architects themselves cannot really explain why they do it like that. And sometimes it even looks they have just thought of that for the first time in their careers.

Vse to je seveda le najina osebna izkušnja in subjektivno mnenje, morda pa boste od koga drugega slišali povsem drugačno izkušnjo. Kakšno več pa rečemo marca, ko se za nekaj časa vrneva v domovino. 

However, all above is of course just our personal and subjective opinion and you can maybe hear a completely different story from somebody else. 

POLETJE // SUMMER

ZIMA // WINTER

Foto: Simon Jemec

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