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Fav 5

Now back in the US for a few days, I’ve been reflecting on my top five Copenhagen highlights. Sure, there are scattered palaces and castles, museums and theaters, but those are everywhere. They’re hardly even a story, and why else would you be travelling? Here are the five attractions that’ll leave your friend’s jaw on the floor.

1) The Paternoster

The “Our Father” elevator in the Danish Department of Agriculture building (Axelborg building) is worth a roundtrip intercontinental ticket in and of itself. Across from Tivoli, walk through the two sets of doors between all the souvenir shops during normal business hours (open late on Wednesdays as a choir will serenade your ride) and be amazed. I’ve given too much away already- just know that you will not be disappointed. Play the piano on top as hard as your fingers can and perform for all the Danish aggies with some beautiful acoustics.

2) Frederiksberg Cisternerne

“The best 15 minutes 40 kroner can buy you!” That’s not their slogan, understandably. But there is some truth in that. The cisterns used to hold the drinking water for Frederiksberg, a town that is more like a neighborhood just northwest of the Copenhagen city center. Taking a bus to the zoo is an easy way to get here, and then simply turn around and look in the park behind you for a glass pyramid. Walk in and enjoy the most interesting museum/art gallery you can find in Northern Europe. It’ll be a quick but worthwhile visit. Near there is also an expansive park, palace, and of course the Copenhagen zoo.

3) Cycle Snake

If on bike, abandon all other plans in order to bike across the “cycle snake” near the Fisketorvet shopping mall adjacent to the Dybbolsbro train station. Luscious, seductive, and irresistible are not usually words used to describe a bridge, but this one deserves them and more. Both sides of this south harbor area are filled with interesting modern architecture, and this is just one example worth seeing even if on foot.

4) Trinity Night Church (Trinitatis Natkirke)

Every Tuesday at 8pm, the church attached to the Round Tower (a more well-known tourist attraction along the walking street) opens up for a free candle-lit concert. Sleeping pads and blankets are handed out and viewers sit and lay on the church floor as a few bands come on and play calm-ish music, interspersed with a nun coming up to the stage and saying something religious-y in Danish. Otherwise it doesn’t feel like a religious event, just a chance to hear interesting music in a sweet venue. Lasts about two hours.

5) The Underwater Sculptures

Between Hojbro Plads and Christiansborg there is a bridge going over the old moat. Walk across this bridge on the east side and look down into the shallow water. An eery set of sculptures lurk down there, hidden from most everyone who passes through this busy area. An interesting story is represented in these sculptures, explained here:

A few honorable mentions:

Superkilen park in Norrebro: an interesting urban park in a Copenhagen neighborhood. If stoked on that, check out banana park for a smaller but also neat urban park nearby.

Grundtvig church: Also in Norrebro, an expansive and sparsely decorated cathedral. Never got to try this out myself but I imagine there’d be some good echoes in there for some yodelling.

That’s a wrap for me. Enjoy the blurry conclusion


Bucket List

Time is a hot commodity for current DIS students, as the end of the semester rapidly approaches. That truly unenviable time when one must decide to maybe figure out how to pronounce the town they live in or else just focus on seeing their 25th European country of the trip. Talk to an actual Dane or simply extract culture from another can of Carlsberg? It’s around this time that students begin developing a bucket list of sorts, and I’ve tried to make my own as realistic as possible: co-opt a current controversial political campaign into a list of basic demands that will improve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for a future crop of DIS-ers.

Here’s the original poster as I saw it in Vordingborg, Denmark:

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I’m pretty sure I was just trying to take a mirror selfie at the time, but turns out that slogan is a bit shocking. ”Islamisme” is simply the Danish word for Islam. This campaign is run by the Conservative Party, and is just part of a whole set of ”STOP” advertisements.


It literally translates to ”STOP HEART LOOSENESS”, which is actually getting at a desire to move away from systematic bureaucracy and into letting people (”hearts”) make decisions.

In the end, it just seems like quite the ambitious task and if there is anything I have learned in Denmark, it is that ”small is good”. I believe it is my role to change Danish society from the ground up. It won’t be easy and it won’t be without roadblocks, but I strongly believe that a brighter future lays ahead for Denmark if they follow my lead.

Firstly, it’s about time:

Konservativ - stop selling crumbly rye bread

Once that horrible practice can come to a close, we can move on to a serious social issue:

Konservativ - stop saying goodbye so cute

”Hej hej”, pronounced ”hi hi”. People just flit around Copenhagen like little birds, and half of their conversations are the sound ”hi”. There’s such a thing as too happy, I’ll have you know. On the topic of language, there is another grievance that must be shared:

Konservativ - stop using the soft d

It comes up in common words like ”bored” and ”street”. You can’t even introduce yourself without encountering this menace. The word for ”food”, for example, is spelled ”mad”. It is pronounced ”mel” with a hint of ”th” at the end. Yikes. Art and culture are our next topic:

Konservativ - stop listening to the grease sountrack

On one hand, I get it. It’s a great movie with fun songs. On the other hand, we invented High School Musical for a reason. Danes graduating high school in the last three or four years have repeatedly cited the Grease soundtrack as the most listened to songs over their school careers. And I hear it’s even played in Danish nightclubs. Better shape up. Lastly, let’s take it to the streets:

Konservativ - stop waiting for the green man

The little green man runs the lives of every Queen-loving Dane. He alone controls when, and sometimes if they will cross the street.

There he is. And in four seconds, he will be gone. But guess what, Danes. When you stand in front of a one way, one lane alleyway and can see to Sweden in one direction and Germany in the next, it’s okay to cross when no cars are approaching. This one will likely not be solved in my lifetime, as I’m sure countless other righteous jaywalkers have tried and failed before me. Regardless, the dark angel looks pensively across her gray yet happy nation.

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Tee-Look-Uh Mar-Guh-Reh-Tuh

Just a gratis phonetic Danish guide for all you wannabe Danes out there. “Tilykke Margrethe!” or Congrats Margrethe!” That’s the phrase of the day here in Copenhagen as the beloved Dronning (Queen) celebrates her 75th in appropriately public fashion. Cameras were being set up across Copenhagen yesterday and today, and Her Majesty did not disappoint. Starting from her royal palace at Amalienborg (hub-bub documented below),

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she was paraded through Copenhagen to the City Hall, where she was treated to an event not dissimilar from a high school band concert inside the building, as it was being live streamed to the peons out front. An hour later and she on the balcony waving once more to her kingdom. The onlooking Danes were respectfully muted, perhaps thinking of their own parents and grandparents of advanced age who do not take well to a lot of ruckus. The sound of waving plastic Danish flags was the dominant noise, performed dutifully by nearly all in attendance.

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Queen Margrethe was born 75 years ago today, and just a week ago Denmark celebrated another monumental, while a bit more sobering, 75th anniversary. On April 9th, 1940, 40,000 German troops entered Denmark at 4:15am and had the country occupied in fewer than four hours. This was a dark time for Denmark, but Margrethe’s birth a week later brought some optimism into the newly-occupied country. A Danish man at the birthday celebrations today told me that Margrethe’s grandfather, Christian X, rode through Copenhagen daily during the Nazi occupation, reassuring his people that Denmark still belonged to the Danes.

Today Margethe does not have to deal with such challenges, but it was nice to see how her birthday can incite such national pride and likely some creative playing hooky stories. Here she is up close, with her son Frederik (the next King of Denmark) and his wife Mary.

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Tilykke Margrethe! Here’s a lame statue as to not distract from ol’ queenie:

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