Danish Pride and Prejudice

Job Brouwers
Job Brouwers is currently on exchange in Copenhagen, the exchange program is part of his Bsc in Economics. He is mainly interested in macroeconomics, currencies, and international trade.

The (bad) drinking habit I talked about in the previous article about my exchange in Copenhagen brings me to the most heard prejudice about Denmark. “Beer is so expensive there!” A lot of people think that the beer in the supermarkets, terraces, clubs and pubs is way more expensive than in the Netherlands. In fact, the beer at Nyhavn – I often call it the Champs-Élysées from Copenhagen – is indeed really expensive. It is not uncommon to pay 50 Danish kroner (€ 6,70) for a small glass of beer. But besides being in the chic clubs you will be able to buy your beers for prices equal to the Dutch prices.

Knowing that Danes are heavy drinkers and knowing that a lot of people think that beer is expensive here, I came up with an idea to organise an event with two other Dutch students. An event in which we could make sure that the Danes could continue in lowering their life expectancy, the poor students could drink cheaply and, of course most important, all the students in Copenhagen get to know the Dutch culture.

We decided that the event should be a beercantus, because what else is a more typical Dutch student party than a beercantus? Apparently students from all over the world are really curious for this beercantus in Copenhagen, we sold all our tickets in about three hours!

Even though Danish people drink a lot, they also work out a lot. Copenhagen hosts a lot of great parks, which are often used by people exercising. Besides working out, everybody in Copenhagen has a bike. But a strange thing I noticed during my biking trips from home to university and back, is the fact that nobody uses a bicycle bell when they want to pass another cyclist. I heard the Danish people are too proud for using their bells. The traffic system in Copenhagen is designed for biking. In that way cities in the Netherlands quite look the same like Copenhagen. There was no doubt for me to buy a bike as well, and so I did the first week I got here. But when I told some Danish students that I still wanted to bike to university in December, they wished me good luck. They said that it’d be impossible to bike in Copenhagen in the winter months due to the strong wind. Well, let’s see about that by the time it’s December!

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