Copenhagen Jazz festival has already started!

Hi, all!

One of the most exciting festivals in Copenhagen has already started! Next 10 days we will have streets full of jazz and joy. I will try to post few concerts a day, so you can see what is happening and choose where to go!

If you are around the Round Tower, come inside of Studenterhuset (Købmagergade 52, 1150 København K)

13.00 Line Bøgh & Nye Mennesker (Free entrance)

16.00 Kalles World Tour (Free entrance)

Later, continue to a place called Huset-KBH (Rådhusstræde 13, 1466 København K)

16.00 Fantastic Tranquebar are playing (Free entrance)

And THE concert, recommended by one of Huset-KBH jazz experts. You wouldn’t like to miss it, would you?

21.00 Miss Legarth + Mads Mathias (Stardust, 100DKK)

Enjoy!

And tomorrow is a new day with new concerts and venues!

 

Born in Turkey, grew up in Canada, holds a Danish passport: “I’m used to changing my nationality to suit the situation”

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Johannes Dessau

A little bit late, but here it comes new interview with one more Dane. Johannes Dessau – World citizen, talks better for himself than any other person would do.  

“I’m hungover. Hungover because I spent the night and early morning at a dive called The Moose. The clientele is a mix of Danes, expats and tourists, all drunk off their faces. At my table we had two Brits (from Nottingham they would repeatedly announce, drawing back an imaginary bow with their hands. I believe this is International Sign Language for “Robin Hood”.), an Estonian, a Zambian, a Canadian, 2 Danes, a REALLY drunk German and me. Nationality, country of origin or language always comes up in conversations between strangers here. People usually ask if I’m from the States, or North America if they are polite. I say that I grew up in different places, mostly Canada, but my parents are both Danish. Yes, I do speak Danish. No, I wasn’t born in Denmark or Canada. I was born in Istanbul, and no, I don’t have Turkish citizenship.

You’re from where? Oh, that’s so interesting. How long have you been in Copenhagen? Why did you come?

Thanks for coming out for a night at The Moose with me! Now that we know a little more about each other, we can move on to the questions this article is supposed to cover. ”

Often, when I see you meeting new people, you introduce yourself differently – sometimes you are Danish, sometimes Canadian, sometimes Dane from Canada… Is there any reason you do this? Does your introduction of yourself depend on whom you are talking to?

I’m used to changing my nationality to suit the situation. Danish bureaucracy is rigid and easily confused; presenting as a full-blooded Dane is the fastest way to get things done (I’m very lucky in this respect). Meeting Danes in a social setting, I say I’m a Dane that grew up in North America. They would call bullshit if I tried to say I was purely Danish, and growing up abroad makes for interesting conversations. With an international crowd such as at the Moose, I think it’s helpful to emphasize the split between being Canadian and Danish. It helps establish a common ground with other travelers.

Do you think it is important to define one’s nationality? Why?

Nationality is a great way to establish a connection between strangers, or proclaim one’s individuality. It’s starting to get a bit silly though. I think our picture of nationality in Copenhagen is becoming increasingly diffuse, as we all sort through the same shit on Facebook and Netflix, and the city fills with international couples, Erasmus students, refugees and the many, many more such people who already immigrated in the last half century. We still need these imagined communities, but I can see us evolving to the point where our nationality is just a vestigial tail, ready to drop off.

I noticed, that it is really important for a Dane his/her nationality and a country. We can see it in Dannebrog, which is being used in any occasions and everywhere, we can see it in their everyday language and efforts to protect their culture, etc. Why do you think it is so? Is it something related with history, or a good welfare system that they have and want to keep it?

I’m not sure I can speak on behalf of all Danes, but I’ll try. Certainly older generations feel that it’s important to preserve Danish culture. Many Danes roughly around my age don’t seem particularly interested in the country’s history, showing national pride, following politics or voting at all. I think they don’t identify with the country so much as they do with their generation. This is funny to me, since they are all so Danish in this train of thought and their mannerisms.

What makes you Danish? And what makes you Canadian? 

I couldn’t really say. I try on each nationality to suit the situation, like coats for bad weather. People often comment on how aspects of me are particularly Canadian or Danish.  A particularly Canadian “aboot” or a rude comment (being slightly rude is apparently Danish, or maybe it’s just the opposite of being Canadian?). I don’t really notice these details and if I do, I chalk it up to my experiences and time spent in each country, not some sort of geographic osmosis.

Can you call yourself local in Copenhagen? Why? What do you think makes one’s self local?

Talk to somebody who was born and spent their entire life in a place like Amager or Frederiksberg, and they will destroy any sense you had of belonging in Copenhagen! My opinion? Knowing the area and having a network of friends isn’t enough. You need to know your neighbours and grocer by name, notice when one of them has gone on vacation, and see their kids grow. It’s hard to be local in a big city.

You came here for 2 weeks’ vacation and it had passed 3 years since that day. Is it difficult to start everything from the scratch in a place like Copenhagen? We, foreigners, often notice that it’s pretty hard to find Danish friends, even though Danes are really nice and friendly. How was it for you, who is someone in between – Danish Canadian, Canadian Danish, or whoever you are?

I found it very difficult to move countries. It’s a very strange feeling to be sitting in a new home, bored, pick up the phone to make plans for the evening and realize you don’t have anybody to call. Finding a place to live was a struggle, and getting a job even more so, since the CVs are so different here. There’s a thousand other details that people expect you to just know. I’m very lucky though. I have a Danish passport, and a large family that lives in Copenhagen. I have so much respect for people who come here without those advantages and make the decision to stay.
Danes are hard to befriend, but I won’t lay the blame solely on them. Immigrants have a very different experience as they are forced to adapt to a new country. We have to depend on each other in a way that Danes never do, unless they too have spent a long time abroad.

What is that you do not like about Denmark or Copenhagen? Or at least something you would like to criticize or improve, compared with Canada, for example.

Some mountains and real forests would be nice. Short of annexing Sweden, I don’t see that happening any time soon. I do wish that there was space for different immigrant communities to establish their own districts within Copenhagen. Where are all the Polish and Filipino restaurants? Why don’t Danes spend their weekend shopping in Turkish bazaars? In Canada there’s a very real sense of pride about one’s country of origin that’s lacking here. I’m still not sure how much this is the Danish governments’ fault for its focus on integration, and how much is because of immigrants fighting to become part of a society that is so strange to them.

What is that you love about Denmark and Copenhagen?

Copenhagen is the littlest big city I’ve ever seen. Amazing how one can bike from one end to another of a capital inside of two hours. Being able to hop on a bus or train and visit any country in the EU and further East is also a fantastic opportunity and something you shouldn’t take for granted.

1 favourite Danish word – Currently, Røvbanan (Banana ass) Danish slang is the best.

2 favourite dishes – Pariser Bøf (Steak tartar on fried bread, topped with a raw egg, horseradish and salt.

3 words to describe Copenhagen – Djævleøgen. The devil’s island. Technically all of Zealand, but hey, DEVIL’S ISLAND is metal as fuck.

4 favourite places– Cisternerne, Copenhagen’s old underground water reservoir, which has been turned into a giant art gallery. There’s a techno concert there in July which you have to go to!

5 ways to create friendships in Copenhagen – One beer is all it takes.

 

Interview section “Meetings with locals” is a space, where I speak with locals about  different aspects of life and Copenhagen. Do you want to be one of them? Fill up the contact form below and I’ll get back to you. Know someone who might be interested and interesting? Put us in contact – I would love to hear from you!

 

 

Events in Copenhagen May 20-27

Hej, hej guys!

Let’s take a look and let’s make a plan for upcoming week – what will you do in Copenhagen. 

  • If you want to feel a part of something big, join the Bike picnic on Sunday, 22nd of May. You’ll bike a reasonable distance, enjoy time with your new friends and see Copenhagen from different perspective.
  • When you feel tired after biking all day, head to Christiania and visit Loppen. On the 22nd of May, starting at 20.30, Steve Gunn (US) and Of the Valley (AUS) are playing. Never heard about them? Time to discover something new! Entrance fee 125kr.
  • Fan of architecture and photography? Don’t forget about the Black Diamond library and for 40kr visit visual artists’ Søren Loses and Julie Boserups photo exhibition
  • You think Copenhagen is an expensive city? What about paying what you feel? You don’t believe me? Just visit One Bowl community restaurant and you’ll see it yourself. You can visit them every Wednesday 18.00-21.00 in Drejervej 13, 2400 København NV and try their food which you will give your own value to.
  • And last, but not the least, upcoming CTC! You don’t what is that? It is Copenhagen Theatre Circle – an amateur theatrical society.  These guys focus on high quality performances in English – which makes them attractive for most of us. CTC is having Fringe festival 26th-28th of May in Østerbro,  Krudttønden, Serridslevvej 2, starting at 19.30

 

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    What’s going on? Where? When? Is a regular section of my blog where I post various events happening in Copenhagen. If you organize some event and want to let me know about it, or work with it together – feel free to contact me via any of those channels. 

10 things NOT TO DO in Copenhagen

I want to believe, that every time one travels, new horizons arise for this person. I want to believe, that those horizons show unbeaten paths and lead through new roads towards the experience of new things. That’s why I thought about offering you 10 things  you should NOT do in Copenhagen. Let your comfort zone be broken and step out to new roads.

1. Don’t go easy and drink only Carlsberg. Dig deeper and find Ale nr. 16, Svaneke, Jacobsen (fancy version of Carlsberg), discover BrewPub, Nørrebro Bryghus, Amager Bryghus, Fermentøren. Those places are full of different flavours of beer – if you think you are beer lover, this is your MUST DO no. 1.

2. Don’t buy pastry in 7/11 even though they claim having the best croissants in town. C’mon, Denmark is a land of Danish pastry (known by this name abroad and wienerbrød in Denmark). Meyers bageri, Emmerys, Holm’s bager, Lagkagehuset – just a few names and all of them are waiting for you!
3. Don’t waste your money on public transport, rent a bike and go as far as you can. Following the biking rules, though 🙂 One of the places where you can rent a bike for a reasonable price, is Baisikeli. They rent used bikes for a few hours or the entire day. Check it out and enjoy!
4. Don’t get stuck in the city center, take your bike to visit Assistant’s cementery, Bispebjerg cementery, fishing town Dragør, Kalvebod Fælledparken or Amager Fælledparken. You can also take a train to Helsingør, visit this beautiful little town and Hamlet’s castle.

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5. Don’t visit the Little Mermaid in the morning. You would definitely win more and would be less stressed if you came in the afternoon when most of the tourists are gone.

6. Don’t go back to town after you saw the Little Mermaid. Continue walking, pass by little yachts and soon you’ll see a bigger version of the mermaid… more modern and sexy – let’s put it that way.
7. Don’t leave Copenhagen without having tried liquorice – this strong flavor root is very much a Danish thing and each individual has their own opinion about it. Either you love it, or hate it – there’s no other way. I still can’t handle strong salty liquorice, but I’m getting softer towards the one in small amounts and surrounded by chocolate. Travels are about trying, so go for it!
8. Don’t leave Copenhagen without spending a night in the “Moose”. A weird, smoky place opened for everyone until 8am. Cheap beer and random conversations with not so sober Danes guaranteed. Do that if you want to make a Dane to talk to you – they won’t do this while sober.
9. Don’t eat McDonald’s fast food – head to one of the most typical Danish things – hot dog stand. Be aware though, the best one is called DØP or Den økologiske pølse. Ecological hot dog which can also be vegetarian – can you ask for better fast street food? Opened 7 years ago, DØP is feeding now not only tourists like you, but also local Danes. Find their stand by the Round Tower or Helligåndskirken (church of the Holy Ghost) on the walking street.

10. Don’t limitate yourself by visiting only Tivoli, which is amazing. Have you heard about Bakken? This is actually the oldest amusement park in the world, founded in 1583. Going 10km up to the North of Copenhagen you will not only see fantastic coast and a deer park, but you will also enjoy rides in an old style.

Been there, done that? Share this in the comment section.

 

Refugee family girl: The only thing I do mind is when people want to reduce my ‘danishness’ due to my cultural background

Asia Ali – Danish girl, with Egyptian, Iraqi and Persian roots. This time we talk with her about the reasons she is in Denmark, being Danish and live with this, as she says, weird Middle East mix.

Where is your family originally from? How did your family end up in Denmark? Why Denmark?

Asia
Asia

 

My dad is Egyptian and my mom is Iraqi and Persian, which makes me a weird Middle East mix. My parents met in Iraq and fled to Europe during the gulf war of 1990. My uncle was very politically active and it was too dangerous for the entire family to stay. He ended up in Sweden, and that’s where we were heading. Denmark was never our end destination but we had to seek asylum here – and I am so grateful that we did!

Have you got a chance to get to know your roots and visit your parents country?

Yes, luckily my parents wanted us to know our extended family and understand where we come from. As kids we used to spend 4-6 weeks in Egypt during the summer. I feel more connected to my Egyptian roots because of it. Peace never found its way to Iraq so I have never been there. My mom’s side of the family is spread out all around Europe, but visiting them has in some ways felt like getting to know my roots as well.

Do you consider yourself as a Dane?

I do consider myself a Dane. I’m proud of my heritage but the Danish way of life is my reality and what I know.

What does it mean to be Dane for you?

I don’t know. It’s not like I’ve ever been anything else. I have never had to be me outside of being Danish. In relation to my Arabic background I guess it means that I think and feel in Danish and I understand all the unwritten rules. And that my Arabic suffers greatly!

Do you often receive questions like “where do you come from?…. Originally…?” How do you react to them?

That is a question any dark haired, brown-eyed person in Denmark gets asked. I actually don’t mind it. Most times it comes from a place of curiosity and I am proud of my roots, so why should this question bother me? The only thing I do mind is when people want to reduce my ‘danishness’ due to my cultural background. It’s weird to me that some people think they have the authority to determine what I am or am not.

Do you remember something from your childhood – was it easy or complicated to fit into a Danish culture? Did the other kids accept you as one of them?

I was always around a lot of different cultures growing up. I went to a very culturally diverse school so we were all used to being the same but different. Sometimes I would be the only brown kid that hung out with the ‘real Danes’ but no only really cared. For the white kids though, I was often their token brown friend. Shitty, but true.

We both love Copenhagen – I know why I do, but why do you love it? 

I like the small town-big city vibe that I think is pretty unique to Copenhagen. I love the people, the atmosphere and all the different areas that each has their own charm!

You said, sometimes you love to be a tourist in your own city. Why? Is there still something to discover in Copenhagen?

I sometimes forget to move outside my comfort zone and being a tourist forces you to. When I first moved to Copenhagen 3,5 years ago, I was so easily fascinated by everything and went to see every cultural and historical site I could! With time, you get complaisant and everyday life kicks in. You forget look up and see the beauty of the city because you just focus on getting from A-B. The tourist outlook is refreshing and reminds me why I fell in love with the city to begin with!

What‘s your favorite thing to do in Copenhagen? What would be the first place you‘d take someone who visits you?

I love Copenhagen in the summer! I am a self-proclaimed ‘Cykelkøbenhavner’ and I try to take my visitors out for a bikeride around the city. Nørrebro and Christianshavn would probably be the destination. The park/sun/Carlsberg/summer hygge is when I feel Copenhagen is showing herself from her best side so that’s definitely a must.

1 favourite Danish word. Det ved jeg ikke.

2 ways to create friendships in Copenhagen. Be proactive and persistent – us Danes are slow to initiate friendships!

3 favourite Danish dishes, RUGBRØD, Danish strawberries and gammeldags æblekage.

4 words to describe Copenhagen. Best place ever. Seriously.

5 favourite places in Copenhagen. My apartment and Nørrebro in general!

Interview section “Meetings with locals” is a space, where I speak with locals about  different aspects of life and Copenhagen. Do you want to be one of them? Fill up the contact form below and I’ll get back to you. Know someone who might be interested and interesting? Put us in contact – I would love to hear from you!

 

How to be good tourist? (Part II)

Yesterday I wrote about how to be a good tourist using the language (read here), now let’s talk how to behave like a good tourist.

  • I’m pretty sure, none of you likes when somebody else tells you how to do your job… Well, same here, in souvenir shops. During busy days in summer, we have over 300 customers, who buy basically the same things – fridge magnets, decorative plates and snowballs (yes, my friends already know where I’m heading with this…) So, yes, we see, that the snowballs are fragile… We are able to see that. No, you don’t need to tell us to wrap it well and no, you don’t need to tell you that you’re flying far away, we hear it from your Spanish, Russian, Italian, Indian, or American accent. We know where we work and we know our target group – rare Dane would ever buy a snowball with sinking Little Mermaid inside…
  • If you are Dane, you don’t need to let us know this, expecting that the prices accidentally lower just because you have Viking blood. It’s ridiculously funny when a person comes and says: “Jeg er dansk, hvor meget coster det?” (I’m danish – how much does it cost?) The price could only get higher if you ever ask this question again – you can personally pay some extra tax for SKAT. 😉
  • Ohhh, one of the funniest things in the shop was to answer to people from India question “Is this for a boy or for a girl?” In Scandinavia, and Europe in general, we are so “cool” that even bags are unisex. Get familiar with that, different items for different genders are no longer an issue in Copenhagen.

Indian Woman (IW): Is this for a girl or for a boy? (holding black bag with “Copenhagen” in red on it)

Me: Mmmmm, I really think, it’s for both.

IW: A?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Me: Mmmmm, in Europe we have many unisex things… (realized that maybe I shouldn’t have said this… )

IW: ?!?!?!?!?!?!

Husband comes: Mmm, maybe this is for a boy?

Me: Mmmm, might be.

IW: No, this is for a girl. (strict and knowing)

Me: Mmmm, might be.

IW: Yes, I think this is for a girl (strict look to her husband meaning – no more discussion. Straight look to me – she knows what she’s saying)

Me: Sure, this is exactly for a girl.

  • You know, Denmark has pretty nice nature and many forests. Copenhagen is rich of parks where you can chill alone or with your friends or walk a dog. Therefore, whistling in a shop if your shop assistant is not behind a counter for a couple a seconds, is a big no-go. We are not there the fawn when you whistle – get a dog for that.
  • Let’s talk about colors. Specially, when it comes to traffic lights. So, RED means DON’T GO. Which means – don’t move any muscles of your body to move forward. Stand still mode is on. You move – you pay 100 euros for a nice policeman waiting for you on a corner. GREEN  you are free to go. Really, just go and feel free, you can even run, if you want. Just make sure  GREEN is for you and not cars. Just saying. If you see ORANGE – that’s waiting mode. It might mean or you’ll get GREEN for yourself soon, or it might turn RED for yourself. I do cross the street when it’s ORANGE, but only after I’m sure I’m not putting neither myself, not others in a danger. 
  • Now, let’s remember – CopenhagenP1120079 is full of bikes. And Angry Danes as well. You fail – you get shouted by a Dane. It’s not hard for them to get off the bike or get closer to you if you are on the bike and tell what they think about you. Don’t understand Danish? No worries, they’ll translate it to English for you! Or body language, if you are Italian. Danes are so sweet, aren’t they? 🙂
  • So, how to be good with bikes?  First of all, bikes are a vehicle in Denmark. This means, that we have our space on the street, called lane, just as cars have their own space. And this lane is exclusively for bikes. Just as you don’t walk on a highway (I hope you don’t, do you?!?!?!), don’t do the same on a bike lane. Second, pretty pretty please, use hand signals, showing others what you gonna do. Third. So, you bike on the lane, you show signs and suddenly you see amazing building you want to take the picture off. What do you do? Wrong! You don’t stop in the middle of the lane and dig in your bag looking for a camera! You show a sign that you’re stopping, you go with your bike on pedestrian zone and you take a picture. Easy-peasy. Ah, and fourth, you don’t drag your luggage on a bike lane. You simple don’t, please… If you follow these simple rules, you’ll enjoy Copenhagen bike experience more than anyone else!
  • Be smart and not naive – you’re in wonderful place, but so are thieves. Keep your phones, wallets, money, documents in a safe place and never put them on the counter in any shops. Don’t write down your PIN code in the phone (c’mon, it’s normally 4 digits, everybody can learn it) or, more important – DON’T say it out loud in shops, even in your own language! Thieves like travelling and learning languages. Don’t make their job easier and your life harder.
  • And last but not the least, just simple advice – if you are american, skip Starbucks or Hard Rock cafe and get lost in the city, looking for nice Danish cafes which are waiting for you on every corner. (And it’s not called 7/11, believe me). I’ll make my post about it.

Copenhagen is a wonderful city, and it’s amazing how many people come here in summer. If we all treat it with love and respect, it will give the best of it for each one of you. Enjoy my beloved city and let me know if I missed something or share how did it work if you used any advice! 

How to be a good tourist? (Part I)

There are plenty of “top’s” and “best’s” in our lives: top 5 ways to lose weight,  top 5 ways to hook up with someone, best client, best song, best movie… But how to be the best tourist? How to behave when travelling in order to leave good impression of you and your country? 

Having more than 1,5 years experience of working in one of many souvenir shops in Copenhagen, I have my opinion on how to be a good tourist. I’ll share it with you right now, just one little thing: if you have no sense of humor and take things too personally – skip this post and go straight to another one.

Let’s start with some advice:

  • If you are Chinese, Italian or Russian, please, learn some English (I don’t even ask you to learn local language called Danish). The fact that you’ll speak your native language won’t make our communication easier. Few sentences – like “hello, good morning, good afternoon” “how much” (don’t forget to learn the numbers from 1-1000), “I take this”, “thank you”, “bye” – would be really really useful.
  • If you are Italian and you don’t speak English, please, don’t make chaos and scandals inside of the shop, if you don’t get want you want. Speaking louder never meant being more clear. Try to use at least some English keywords and never get angry that personal don’t understand you – when we’re hired, we’re not asked to speak Italian, even though is really beautiful language.
  • If you are from Eastern Europe – say “hello” when you enter the shop. You are a guest in our zone, it’s always nice when you say “hi” or at least reply, when we say you “hi”. Have some manners in Western World 🙂 Also, don’t forget to say “thank you”, specially when we run after you when you forget your credit card in the shop.
  • If you are British…. Keep the way you are.

Ex. Brit.: I’ll take this one, thank you.

Me: That’s 38kr.

B. Thank you!

M. (put a thing in a paper bag and give it to Brit.) Here you go.

B. Thank you!

M. (taking the money) Brit.: Thank you!

M. (giving the change) Brit.: thank you!

M. (giving the item) Here you go!

Brit: Thank you!

M. Have a nice day!

Brit: Thank you! You too.

  • When you travel somewhere, it’s okay to do some little homework and research a tiny bit about your destination. So then you could avoid questions like that, when you are in COPENHAGEN: “Excuse me, I am walking here in town and I notice that there are so many statues of the mermaid in all of the souvenir shops. Do you know why?” The only thing I want to answer is “Sorry, dude, never noticed that, it might be a little coincidence…”
  • Please, notice tiny difference between Tourist information center and souvenir
    The little mermaid by Edvard Eriksen
    The little mermaid by Edvard Eriksen

    (or any other) shop. While former is a company (both private or public) specializing on providing tourist with information and answers to the weirdest questions, former is a shop, based on an intention to sell things, and is not supposed to know which days museums are opened. Employees, of course, might know it as we live here, but we are not supposed to. So, no angry faces and unsatisfied looks if you get an answer: I don’t know.

  • When you pay, don’t throw the coins on the table that they would almost fall on the floor – this is really disrespectful. It might be, that you are cooler than us, as we are “only souvenir shop assistants”, but most of us traveled from our home countries to study in Denmark, we speak at least 2-3 foreign languages and have higher education (or are going to have). We don’t have to be disrespected because of our job – we already have lots of mistreatment from our boss, so you don’t have to add anything to that.  We sell you over prised souvenirs made in China, but not our self respect.  Don’t forget that or later don’t complain that we didn’t smile at you. 🙂 Remember, customer is not always right – when he/she is not right, it means, he/she is wrong. And disrespecting other is wrong. 
  • Keep on smiling and be patient if you came in during the rush hours – you’re on holidays, small presents won’t run away. There is almost never a shortage of goods in tourist shops.
  • You know what’s the most important what good tourist does? There is this really good expression:

    once in Rome, behave like Romans do.  

    And that’s what good tourist does. 

If you think, it’s good manual for you or your traveling friends – show some love and share.

If you have to add something – feel free to comment.

Journalist Ane: “I always had a dream of becoming the president of Greenpeace or a journalist”

Ane Feierskov Knudsen
Ane Feierskov Knudsen

Ane Feierskov Knudsen – Danish journalist, who does not want to work in media for many reasons, although she’s one of those persons nowadays press really needs – sensible, fair, able to listen and put herself in other person’s shoes.

 

Ane, why did you choose to study journalism?

I have always had a dream of either becoming the president of Greenpeace or a journalist. I wanted to change the world and make it a better place, to tell the stories of the people, who weren’t in a position to tell them themselves. And I just loved the idea of meeting strange and interesting people in strange and interesting places and listen to what they had to say about life.

What do you think about Danish media? What are the biggest problems/challenges it is facing right now? 

Over all I guess Danish media is fine. We have freedom of speech and the media are certainly using that right to the fullest – sometimes to a point where I don’t necessarily agree (for example the Muhammad cartoons). I feel that maybe the media is in a phase, where they are a bit desperate in their competition with each other and with social media, which means that even serious news papers are now employing commentators to write op eds that are just completely wack just to get attention and to get a crazy debate started on Facebook. And those debates are often very scary. Racist and misogynist and just plain evil. I wish the media would moderate much more on social media and stand up for a serious and not so emotional debate. They should be forerunners in a factual, serious and sober discourse. Not stir up negative emotions just to sell a few extra papers that day. Also politically I feel that media has a responsibility for the very widespread political alienation and disgust with politicians. Again, we need a factual, serious and sober discourse – not trash talk.

Every time we talk, you mention that you don’t want to work in media. Why?

Because of the above mentioned reasons and because the news media in particular are just spitting out random news as fast as possible with no regard to actual relevance or substance – they just need to be the first with whatever that is going on. The competition is rough and they need to make money. I think this is an unhealthy way to work – for the people who do it and for the media in general. I am not tough enough or rough enough and I don’t believe I would survive long in that sort of environment. I would die inside. And nothing would change.

Is there any regulation controlling the journalist and making sure their work methods are ethical? Is this working? What could be improved?

Yes, we have an independent public organization called the Danish Press Council. Most media outlets have obliged themselves to follow the code of ethics set out by them. If you feel mistreated by the media, you can complain to them. A few ‘news outlets’ are not following these guidelines though.

What I think could definitely be improved, is not supporting these news sources through the state. To be supported by the state you should certainly be obliged to follow the code of ethics set out by the Danish Press council.

You are so sensible to the other one, specially, so considered the weaker. Why?

I don’t know. I think that maybe it’s easy for me to put myself in other people’s shoes. And if you can do that, you will understand life from many other perspectives than your own. And also I’ve been through bad times, I’ve fucked up, I’ve hurt and loved and I think it’s very important to remember that none of us are perfect and we all deserve all the chances that we can possibly be given.

You’ve been working with refugees. What’s their situation now?

Well, I am no refugee expert here. But I’ve heard there’s more refugees in the world today than after WW2. That sounds like a lot. In Denmark and Europe I believe the situation for refugees is tough. Almost all countries in Europe are experiencing a rise in right wing extremism and at the same time the governments are toughening up the immigration laws. In general I think it is a very sad situation and the solutions are not visionary – all the politicians are thinking about is to shut the borders. To build walls. But in reality the European population is declining and we need more people in our workforce in a few years. And in reality we are blowing at some very dangerous fires: The right wing extremism and the radical islamism. I wish we could be more welcoming and let these people in and take care of them and let them be part of this country, that actually has quite a beautiful foundation of socialistic democracy.

Why do you think they choose Denmark?

I don’t actually think they know much about Denmark. And many of them are actually trying to get to Sweden but get stopped at the Danish border. But besides that, I think some of them have family or friends here and the rest of them probably heard some random anecdote about Denmark from a human trafficker and thought that sounded like a great place.

What’s their image in Danish media?

Over all not great. But I think the media just reflects the politicians that reflect the people and the other way around. It’s a vicious circle. But the media certainly jumps on every little tiny unresearched negative story they can find – and that’s very sad to watch.

Ane’s top 5: 

1 favourite Danish word: Ø

2 ways to create friendships in Copenhagen: Go to school and get a job 

3 words to describe Copenhagen: harbour bath, love, youth

4 favourite dishes: Brændende kærlighed, pad thai, chili con carne, pasta alla puttanesca

5 favourite places: Big Sur, Vestjylland, Nordvest, Italy, Berlin

Ane opens the interview section “Meetings with locals”. Every week you’ll have a chance to read an interview with local Copenhagener about different aspects of life. Do you want to be one of them? Fill up the contact form below and I’ll get back to you. 

3 things you shouldn’t miss in Copenhagen in May

Last month of spring is approaching soon and there are few things you shouldn’t miss in Copenhagen. Apart of regular events, concerts or exhibitions, there are some festivals or yearly events which you might wanna experience if you live or travel here.

1. 48 hours food festival in Nørrebro, starting on the last weekend of April: 29th-1st of May. Visit a red square in Nørrebro and try Tanzanian cake or, if you are crazy meat lover – argentinian choripan. Don’t know what it is? One reason to visit food festival!

2. Go back in time during the Medieval Market in Valby on 13-16 of May! This is a perfect time to sharpen your skills in various crafts or even in a couple of battles.

3. Akua Naru – american hip-hop’er, who’s lyrics are influenced by her early interest in works of cultural theorists and political activists. As it is mentioned in her website,

“Naru’s powerful poetic lyricism, talent for story telling, and ability to integrate historical narratives into her music with unmatched eloquence, have drawn the attention of scholars and activists around the globe.. Naru admits to writing “to fulfill the void she needs filled since access to female voice has been so limited in hip hop”.  Due to a legacy of slavery and silence in which being black and women has meant exploitation, marginalization, and damaging stereotyping lasting right up to today, Naru defiantly declares her intention to “provide a body of knowledge”and “honor her mothers mothers voices” by centralizing black women’s experiences in her work.”

Concert takes place in music cafe Huset-KBH (Rådhusstræde 13, 1466 Copenhague), 14th of May, 18.00h.

Entrance fee: 120kr, paying at the door. 90kr, buying online 

Listen to this amazing mix of sensuality, softness and deepness.

 

5 noticed signs before leaving my job

It is pretty common for people to create some kind of comfort zone and live inside of it without checking  out what’s happening outside of one’s personal walls. It brings us some kind of security about what’s gonna happen. It is also common to live in the future, saying that “I will do this and that when…. ” (you may include anything after “when”: When it stops raining, when I have more money, when I finish this and that, when my kids grow up, when…) It is not that common to trust life, take a risk and make a twist in one’s life. I did. Why?

There were few signs. Which one day I started to listen.

1. Present job did not satisfy my needs. First of all, economic reward of being a sales assistant in a souvenir shop is not the highest one. It was enough though, when I was recently moved to Copenhagen and didn’t have social activities or big needs. Also, maybe even more importantly, it didn’t compensate labor conditions, which were – to put it in a nice way – a little bit different from what we would expect from such a country as Denmark. Secondly, after the first week as a shop assistant, I started to miss a challenge and a possibility to learn something new – this leads to the second reason why I quit.

2. No room for professional development.  Being a souvenir shop assistant leads you to… continue being a souvenir shop assistant. Your boss basically does not care about your professional intentions, because you are only a tool, bringing benefits to him and if you don’t do this good enough – he’ll easily substitute you with another. There are many of them, bringing their CV’s to the shop.

3. I looked at the mirror and didn’t like the reflection I saw there. 4 days a week doing something you hate and wish to quit, does not make one neither happy, nor satisfied. One can try to adopt as many positive thinking strategies, but it comes the time when it is not possible to close the eyes and pretend everything is fine. I was becoming a person, who forgot to smile, to dream and to laugh. I was only complaining to my friends about my work and how bad it was. I was crying every time I had to go to work (sometimes even at work) and I was extremely happy when I hadn’t. One day I asked myself – how did it happen, that I’ve lost my dream somewhere in between my job and negative emotions? It was about the time when I realized I can do way more than selling bad quality overpriced Copenhagen fridge magnets made in China.

4. The whole concept of business model was clashing with my ideals and opinion about some things. When you start to be critical about the thing you do and stop being happy just because at least you have a job, you might find something, what disturbs you. For example, it disturbed me the working conditions when one works 10-12h without a lunch break, without permission to sit down, without permission to go to WC (illegal? I’m pretty sure, it is). It disturbed me owner’s attitude towards the customer – “Isn’t he happy about the prices? Nevermind,  during the summer we have 250 paying customers in one shop, it’s fine, if we have 249 as well”. When one see that something is going against one’s believes or principles, it is a sign, that there is something different happening inside and some decisions will have to be made soon. 

5. My body was craving for change – during the last month I had such a weird health issues, that I couldn’t pretend everything was in order. I do believe that when we ignore any of the signals mentioned above, body is one of the last resources which knocks on our door and screams for help and some little care. It represents not only physical problems, but also inner troubles we’re facing through out the time. And it’s better to give some love to it before it goes nuts.

What’s now? 

To be very honest, I do not know. Now the time is mine, my life is back to my hands and I trust that something good is about to happen.

It was about the time to make a change.

 

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Stories and portraits from the fairytale's land