Tag: Denmark

How to Create Scandinavian Hygge at Home

Winter, especially January and February is a time when many of us can feel a bit low in energy. All we crave is a big cozy blanket and a cup of hot fragrant tea. And perhaps a pumpkin pie. And a good movie. The holiday season is over and spring seems to be still a long way off, so no wonder we get a bit of the winter blues “knocking on our door”. And let’s face it: winters can be rough. Days are shorter and colder, we don’t get as much sun anymore so it might be a bit challenging to stay positive, even indoors. In Scandinavia (i.e. Norway, Denmark and Sweden) the weather never really gets crazy hot and autumns as well as winters are long and dark so Scandinavians know pretty well how to improve the winter blues with a bit of hygge. If you have read my old-favorite post on the reason why Danes are thought to be the happiest nation on the Earth, (hint-hygge), then you know what I’m talking about.

So let’s get started and make our homes a bit more hyggeligt!

Light

A pleasant warm glow is one the easiest (and probably cheapest) ways to make your home interior feel more comforting. Since bright sunshine is not too frequent in Scandinavia, Scandinavians try to get as much of natural daylight as possible: after all it is essential to our well-being and is tends to make us happier. Get rid of heavy curtains and keep window sills free from ornaments. In Scandinavia people rarely use any curtains at all, but if you feel you need some privacy, get sheer floaty fabrics and semi-transparent white material curtains instead. Keep it light!

Rustic Modern

Forget cheap plastics, imitations and extremely bright, bold colors in your interior. Stick to organic furnishings: move towards wood, ceramics and stone. Choose quality, natural products which will create “modern rustic” feel. Scandinavians love producing and supporting local designers and rather invest in a few, but well chosen home accessories, such as an interesting frame, a chic rustic mirror or alike. To create a more Scandinavian-like interior, avoid too much acrylics and “temporary fashionable” items, rather invest in a few but well-made and well-designed pieces. Also consider soft rugs in tonal colors (preferably soft, warm grey) and smooth, simplistic patterns.

Candles

A big part of Scandinavian hygge is cozying up in the afternoon with a good atmosphere by the candlelight. Scandinavians LOVE lights – all the time, everywhere, for any occasion (or no occasion at all). Candles are light during cozy afternoon chats, for lunch time, evening by the TV and sometimes even in the office to create a more home-y, relaxing atmosphere. It’s probably not surprising why: Danes love enjoying the little pleasures in their lives and candlelight helps creating intimacy and coziness in the smallest everyday moments, which is something hygge is about. After all, hygge is all about the constant pursuit of homespun pleasures, such as wearing cozy fluffy socks, having an interesting chat by the candlelight, eating yummy oat porridge topped with nuts or baking Danish Drømmekage together in a good company.

Fun fact: Danes burn more candles per head than any other nation in Europe, according to the European Candle Association.

A few tips to make your home more of a hygge place:

- Candles – ALWAYS light up a few. Even in a daylight!

- Don’t be in a rush – rushing somewhere destroys tranquility and, therefore, hygge.

- Treat yourself. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but has to make you feel the life worth living.

- Enjoy the things. If there’s something you dislike – change it.

- While buying interior items, stick to the same color pattern. Gray is always a good choice.

- Choose soft, pleasant and natural over cheap, bold and vibrant.

 

Why Danes Are The Happiest Nation On Earth? The Answer Is “Hygge”

The happiest nation on Earth have their own little secret, which is actually accessible for everybody despite their location nor nationality. It’s “hygge” – a concept, which means a cozy, relaxing and enjoyable way of life.

Danish Hygge

I know, and I am not even sorry – one of my favorite places on Earth is Denmark, and I cannot help but think of it every day I wake up if I am not there. I have fallen in love with Denmark many years ago, and its nature and culture have not been the only things I’ve fallen in love with – “hygge” was yet another one. “Hygge” takes a very big and important place in Danish lifestyle. The concept “hygge” supports enjoyment of small things in one’s life, such as a warm tea and a cozy plaid during the grey and rainy day, a relaxing and sunshiny Saturday morning, fluffy socks that your friend has given you as a present for no significant reason or an interesting lifestyle magazine, which you’ve recently subscribed to. Those are the little things that make our lives more interesting and worth to live for. We go through such little experiences without thinking too much of them, and that is exactly why Danes claim to be happier than the rest of people – simply because they know when to stop and enjoy those little everyday pleasures that we don’t pay too much attention to. Even if you think that you don’t do anything significant, you’re just having a Friday afternoon conversation with some mint tea with a friend – you’re actually doing “hygge”. Acknowledge this.

The central part of “hygge” is people, time, and the time you spend with the people you love.

The central part of “hygge” is people, time, and the time you spend with the people you love. The author Helen Russell, which has recently published a book “The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering The Secrets of the World Happiest Country” claims that “hygge” effect is taking place everywhere in Denmark: Danes enjoy having a cozy dinner by aromatherapist candle light, the smell of freshly ground coffee beans, fluffy socks, giving small gifts to your friends and colleagues for no reason… Yet certainly, the most crucial of that is treating others with love and respect, which starts from love for yourself first. The author claims that living the “hygge” life does not really require any investments: one is not required to try too hard, or invest. All you need to do is to start enjoying the little things that are already happening in your life, and know when you should just stop, relax, and enjoy the moment.

Shopping Guide To Cheap Outlets in Denmark

Are you sick and tired of paying a fortune for good and well-known clothes and shoes brands? Shopping in Denmark can be very expensive and it may seem impossible to be able to purchase clothing that Danish girls love wearing, such as Samsøe Samsøe, Designers Remix and by Malene Birger. One thing I’ve learnt from my Danish friend so far is that it is always possible to get a good bargain in terms of price-quality equation, where the quality of the product is outstanding and the price paid is small. Such quality branded clothing can normally be purchased in outlets, where you can get your hands on the popular and normally expensive brands. Try visiting outlets in Copenhagen and its suburbs – I guarantee you, you won’t be disappointed.

Clothes On a Rack

For the last couple of years, outlets have become a very popular trend in Denmark. And of course – why not? Who doesn’t like a good bargain. In outlet stores you can save up to 80% of the original price on some of the highest fashion and popular brands within the categories of clothes, shoes and/or accessories. Yet another advantage – visiting outlet stores you can find all clothing essentials (plus accessories, normally) at one place. Big exhibitions such as Outlet Messen sell more than 3.000 well-known brands while permanent outlets such as DanskOutlet always rely on reduced prices on their different assortments of everyday clothes, party dresses and sports wear.

Good to know

If you choose to visit a store with permanent location and opening hours you don’t need much planning though when you visit one of the big exhibitions it is a good idea to start your day early to avoid massive queues and improve your chances of snatching the best items offered. There can sometimes be a lot of people shopping, so it may be a little challenging to get an overview of the heaps of clothes and shoes. But whether you choose one or another you will for sure be guaranteed some valuable purchases.

Outlet list

You may be wondering where and when the different outlets take place. At the shopping portal katoni.dk you can find a complete list with outlets in Denmark. By typing your location, you will get an overview which the outlets are closes to your location. As you can see, whether you are looking for your newest party dress or fitness outfit you will find it at outlets. That way you don’t need to ruin your savings account or use half of the day walking from store to store the next time you want to go shopping in Denmark.

Happy (and cheap!) shopping!

Use Your Summer Wisely

Once the exams are passed, the school books put aside and the weather in Denmark starts actually reminding of summer it could be worth thinking of how to use summer to plan study and career activities. After all, July in Denmark is a big holiday month when nearly all companies (universities including) are taking a break – so using that time to carefully plan the next steps could be more than just a ‘good idea’.

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pictoquotes/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pictoquotes/

 

Relax

First an foremost, relax. It’s summer and you need to get some ‘fresh air’ to refresh your body and your mind. You need to ‘restart’ and recharge your batteries, get new energy and focus on new things with the fresh eyes. To do so, it would be best if you simply forgot your PC for a couple of days and used these days for active leisure, such as biking, camping or simply gardening and assisting someone plucking berries (and putting some in your mouth, too). Use the time wisely and do not think about your problems and issues at least for a while. Trust me, you need that.

Get back with the ‘fresh eyes’

Once relaxed, you are ready to make a strategic plan for whatever you want to do next. Do you have an aim to find a study job starting from September? Make a list for potential places where you can work, give your favorites a call, engage in a discussion. Want to focus 100% on your studies and achieve best possible results? Purchase all the books in advance, go through the study list, read an article or two to get ‘hooked’ on the topic. Want to start a new activity? Make a list of interesting after-class things going on, pick one or two and research more on what is it like. Give yourself time, start planning and acting.

Get a taste of your future career

If your aim is to start your professional career, it could be a good idea to identify a couple of ‘dream jobs’ and ‘dream companies’. After that, try to write a list of skills yet needed to acquire and look for places and/or courses where you could acquire the skill. Want to get better at finances? Maybe you could get an extra course in university. Want to learn about the PR? Maybe it could be good to find an interesting PR specialist on LinkedIn and invite him/her for coffee. After all, if you manage to find someone who works in your area of interest, ask if you could be a “job shadow” during their day – maybe there would be a possibility to volunteer in that company and actually see what that person is doing and how the job actually looks like? Or maybe you could just ‘hang around’ in the company for a couple of hours seeing how it feels like? Start making lists and acting.

Have fun and… network

Network has recently become such a buzzword that is used all the time and everywhere. But, believe me, there is a huge reason why this is the case: networking does bring value in both short and long-term. During the summer people are usually a lot more relaxed and willing to meet, as they have time and are not occupied with work and work-related activities. Use that time to get in touch with the ‘right’ people no matter what your goal is – and try to manage and keep these relationships active. Try to keep your ‘eyes and ears open’ no matter where you are – who knows, maybe you will meet a potential HR recruiter of your dream job during the Roskilde festival, while standing in the line for beer? Or maybe in a party? Be active, go out and try to find new people. New people = new opportunities!

5 Things No One Tells You Before You Move To Denmark

If moving abroad was easy, everyone would do it, right? Yet looking at the statistics it seems that only around 232 million migrants live abroad worldwide. Knowing the fact that there are over 7 billion people on Earth, the fraction of 232 million looks incredibly small… So if you have decided to move abroad and are currently residing outside of your home country (or have done that for a while) – congratulations! You are a part of a small amount of people, who can proudly call themselves risk-takers. 

1. Leaving home takes courage

Every year students leave the comforts of their homes to experience living abroad, culture shock, learn a new language, travel, meet new people and open a new chapter in their lives which usually is quite demanding. It takes time to do your research, it takes time to prepare mentally for changes and, once you arrive, it is hard to cope with homesickness. Sometimes you may find yourself thinking that you would just like to pack your luggage and go home right now. However, such moments do pass and usually become the situations that change you most. All in all, travel changes you. Not only does the fact that you have lived abroad changes you – the new culture, new friends and new environment impacts you, so you have to be flexible and adaptable. Does it surprise you that the great majority of employers prefer to employ candidates who have lived abroad for a while, believing that they adapt to changes faster?

time to travel

2. Learning Danish is not easy

Before moving to Denmark you might have heard of the Little Mermaid, vikings or the fact that Danes are a biking nation. You might have also heard that Danish is similar to Swedish, which is similar to Norwegian, which makes it easy for Scandinavians to understand each other without any problems. Wrong! There are a number of Danes who speak English to their friends from other Scandinavian countries as they might have different dialects, especially if they lived in smaller cities further away from capitals. It takes time to adjust. And for internationals, it definitely takes time to learn the language since, unfortunately, none of Scandinavian languages are easy to learn. If you happen to speak German it will probably go a lot easier and if you have a good command of English language (particularly grammar), Danish grammar will seem to be easy to understand. Unfortunately, a lot of internationals struggle with pronunciation.

As Danish is said to be a hard language to learn, Danes really appreciate if you speak at least basic Danish and show an effort in learning it. Even though nearly everyone in Denmark speaks perfect English, people are still thrilled and happy hearing foreigners speaking Danish. Besides, if you speak at least OK Danish your chances of getting a job in Denmark increase at least twice.

language

3. It takes effort to find Danish friends

If you happen to be in US, you notice that people have no problems talking and chit-chatting with strangers. In Denmark, people usually try to keep distance and do not chit-chat without a specific goal. Danish keep their childhood or school friends for a really long time and barely make new friends when they start working. However, if you do show an effort in communicating with Danes it does pay off probably a lot more than anywhere else in the world – you can be sure that you have “earned” a friend for life.

friends

4. Simple things = best things

Internationals are usually surprised how simple Danish cuisine is. Traditional meal of Denmark is… sandwich! Yes, you got it right, sandwich. Danish are proud of their traditional open sandwich, made out of a dark, buttered rye bread (called rugbrød) and the topping (called pålæg) which is usually meat, fish, cheese or spreads. Danes try to “layer” bread with additional things on top, such as vegetables and greens and so on making the sandwich, one of the easiest and simplest dishes existing, actually look nice and appetizing. If you want to make a Dane happy, give him a couple of good-looking open sandwiches, a jug of beer and initiate a discussion. By doing so a couple of times, you might find a friend (re-read nr.3).

Danish sandwiches

5. The less, the better

Before you come to Denmark, you probably have taken more than 2 big luggage bags with you full of clothes, shoes and toiletries. Maybe even some food. Ask yourself whether you really need to pack everything you own? Do you need to bring bed bedding or a toothpaste – can’t you buy it in Denmark? After all, Denmark is all about second-hand purchases. It is very easy (and nearly every single student) buys second-hand furniture, clothes, accessories, kitchenware and so forth. Remind yourself, that you will most likely purchase some things in Denmark and will not be able to bring all of it home, if you ever intend to. Remember, that Copenhagen has IKEA (cheap furniture) and a number of great second-hand stores where you can get probably everything you need.

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What Is YOUR Denmark Like?

Denmark indeed is one of the happiest countries on Earth. The country has a number of reasons to be proud of: economy, focus on healthy lifestyle, great work-life balance, safety and security, to name a few. A number of internationals, including Princess Marie of Denmark, share their opinions and experiences of living in Denmark, a country that all of them started calling home not too long ago.