jueves, 8 de marzo de 2012


A line from the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, an officer from the palace guard says something is rotten in the State of Denmark after seen the ghost of the dead King appears. It has been said that the famous sentence describe the corruption of the country but maybe its not so. In my opinion, the soldier meant that Denmark is just a cemetery, a place with no life. A land without passion where their inhabitants behave the same, look the same and talk the same. Here is one my accounts on my experiences in the country of Hans Christian Andersen.

It has been written that the Danes are not a nation… they are a tribe; this is the strength of their community and the reason why they trust each other without reserve. A tribe has an inner strength, it is homogenous to a degree never obtainable for a nation, and exactly the tribal sentiment is decisive for the Danes conception of the world around them.

The Danes have travelled all over the world and established trade relations with every part of it. But they have never worked their way to a synthesis of different elements, which is the condition for talking about a real nation. We can establish that the strength of the wolf is the pack and the strength of the pack is the wolf; however the strength of the Danes is their unbearable awareness of their closed tribe. In the United States, for instance, the population is a mixture of Europeans, Asians, Native Americans, and black people. They are always with something proposed; Irish-American, Spanish- American. It’s the nation that forms a common framework around the different peoples. But in Denmark, of course, you can be only a pure Dane or a foreigner. They don’t assimilate people in any way.

My experiences with the Danes are always full of surprises. I visited the country for the very first time a long hell time ago and I married a local girl. After a brief period of time we moved back to Spain where we live. We got two kids who are bilingual and Denmark and the Danes are like my second country. Nevertheless, I find them quite amusing and annoying, especially when it comes to understand their behaviour. Denmark is for me like a small cream pie with a strange flavour. A flavour that is difficult to describe. My memories of the place can be divided in two; the ones I don’t remember, and the ones I don’t want to remember. But today, I will make an effort for you.

Let me tell you that on my first year in Denmark I was arrested by the police because I was involved in a food fight with a woman who hated foreigners. The thing is that I spent some hours at the Police Station after being released without charges. In my first week there, I learnt that the Norwegian think that a bottle of beer and the company of a dog is party, the national sport of the Swedish is suicide and the Danes are almost absurdly law abiding. The most terrible crime in Denmark is a bike theft. I also learnt that people in restaurant don’t talk, they just whisper to each other. I was told that the silence is the way they have to show respect for the dead ones. I am not completely sure.

Egalitarianism, reliance upon the state, is very Danish. Actually everybody speak the same and act the same and even at the same time. They even agree to watch TV at Christmas when they got together to watch Julekalender . A show as fun as Angela Merkel telling jokes. But not all the Danes look quite the same, young people look happy, blonde and healthy, old lads, on the contrary, are kept in cells away from the curiosity of the visitors.

From my experiences I can tell that Danish have problems in their relation with other people, problems with affiliation. This problem is solved by a strong tendency towards consensus, and also by a strong emotional relationships with pet animals, they also have a tendency to hysteria when something extraordinary happens outside their ordinary life. In those moments, I advise you to run for your life.

The food in Denmark is not bad, but worse. Years travelling all over the world did not teach their nationals how to cook properly. They, like the Irish, eat everything with potatoes the worst thing they got is something called frikadelle.

In Denmark you can’t smile to a child on a train. His parents would think you are a paedophile or a murderer, especially if you have the Mediterranean look. The best thing you can do is to remain silent until the arrival of your lawyer and remember, according to the law you are innocent until shown your passport. It goes without saying that you can’t play with kids, and beside Danish people never play hide and seek, because nobody wants to look for them.

Another important subject is the language. Danish, let me tell you, is quite similar to Swedish. Like I knew some Swedish, I created a new method to learn Danish. I put a potato in my mouth to imitate the guttural sounds. In the end, I succeeded; Blood, sweat and tears.

Sex in Denmark is another important issue. It can be as painful as learning Danish. hat women there, like in the rest of Scandinavia, are unable to have sex without alcohol. So it has been some speculation about when they experience their first orgasm, without being drunk. It has been argued that most of the women receive to Mr Pleasure when they are in their thirties. Another important matter when it comes to sex is fidelity. A new survey by the University of Aarhus shows that 60 per cent of women are unfaithful in Denmark, the rest 40 per cent are unfaithful abroad.

Surprisingly if you are a foreigner. You are not allowed to raise the flag of your own country in the garden. You can raise the flag of your nation only together with the Dannebrog. The Danish flag should be hoisted first and lowered last. Even at the Christmas tree. At the beginning I thought that was strange and sad, until I heard the Danish Christmas carols. Compositions created to make your life miserable. Once I was tempted to kill myself with one of their flags. You can imagine my misery.

In summary, Denmark is a country built for Danish and not for foreigners. It is a nice place to visit from time to time. It is like going to the cemetery to put some flower on your relative's graves. You go, you do your thing and you come back. The trip makes you think that you are still alive and you got things to do. So Denmark is a good therapy for those who think they have to die to know hell. Yeah, something is rotten in the State of Denmark.

Sergio Calle Llorens

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