The Copenhagen Post - July 2023

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This month

The stunning story about a celebration to the nation

The jazzy voice of

- how a Zimbabwean singer embraced Denmark

Fourty-five stars

The taste of Denmark

Follow in the footsteps of Danish wine makers

Danish culture must evolve New perspectives on problems internationals face

July 2023
Print version ISSN: 2446-0184 Online version ISSN: 2446-0184
Exploring Business
Page 8 Pages 16-18
The full list of Danish Michelin restaurants Pages
Partying hard
Photo: Jesper Bjarke Andersen

THE COPENHAGEN POST SAYS: Open-minded? I took a glance in the mirror …

In March this year, The Copenhagen Post did a survey asking our users various questions including if it’s hard to make new Danish friends. A large majority of the more than 225 respondents either “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that it was.

Since we conducted the survey the editorial team have spoken to numerous internationals asking them how they made Danish friends. Some have succeeded. Others find it difficult to get under the skin of the Danes. And others don’t have the feeling they have any close Danish friends.


In this edition of The Copenhagen Post, we dig into the question of culture. A new report concludes that Danish culture needs to evolve for global talent to contribute significantly to the Danish economy.

At the hearing healthcare giant Demant and the tech company IBM the management teams are aware of the cultural and social barriers that often become very visible when internationals join a Danish company.

As Thomas Kovsted, the CEO of IBM Denmark, says about the Danes: “We’re super social in the office, but when we go home we check out socially.”


drive from the town of Birkerød where I grew up. I went to school with most of my closest friends. I was one of the few from my group of friends at upper-secondary school who left the Copenhagen area to study. I went to Aarhus – just three hours away from the capital – but returned to Copenhagen as soon as I could, even though I really enjoyed living in Jutland.

I graduated from the Danish School of Journalism in 2008. The number of people I met during my years as a student or employee who I consider close friends, including my wife, is closer to five than ten. The same is true of the number of times my colleagues and I have gathered outside working hours with partners joining in the fun.


Does that mean I’m not as open-minded as I tend to believe? Does my history make me a part of the problem (if it is a problem)? And if it is, what should we do about it? The truth is that I don’t really know. I do, however, think we can all be more aware that settling in this country can be hard.

On the other hand, newcomers can also take the first step. I think it would be pretty cool to receive an invitation from a colleague from another culture. 

Best regards,


Editorial Offices: The Copenhagen Post Ryesgade 106A, 2. th 2100 Copenhagen Ø

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Design: Scandinavian Branding Printed by Erritsø Tryk

All these things made me reflect on my own social life. I see myself as an open-minded individual, but the bare bones of my life might suggest otherwise – or at least seen from a newcomer’s point of view.

I live in Østerbro, a 20-minute

Jesper Skeel CEO

Lennart Nielsen Head of Sales

Hans Hermansen Contact Director

Uffe Jørgensen Odde Editor-In-Chief

Uffe Jørgensen Odde Ansvarshavende chefredaktør/Editor-in-Chief

Nicolai Kampmann Co-Editor

Ben Hamilton Managing Editor

Christian Wenande Layout

The Copenhagen Post | CPHPOST.DK July 2023 2
Photo: Bjørn Pierri Enevoldsen photos: Jesper Bjarke Andersen (main) Pixabay, Destination Sjælland/ Danni Aaslev
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The jazzy voice of Copenhagen

– how a Zimbabwean singer embraced Denmark

Miriam Mandipira remembers the first time she visited Denmark – well, maybe not the exact year, it was 2005 or 2006, but definitely the month.

“It was November!” the Zimbabwean multi-genre singer-songwriter grimaces, moving forward in her seat, crossing her arms to caress her shoulders, casting her eyes sideways as she laughingly reminisces.

“I was like: WHAT ... IS … THIS?”

She omits the words frozen, but it’s implied by the look in her eyes as she enunciates each word rhythmically, dramatically.

She then breaks out into a toothy smile:

“It was such a shock to my senses. I knew it would be cold,” she says, and then in a highpitched shrill: “But I didn't like that at all.”


The first thing Mandipira remembers doing after leaving the airport is stopping off to buy thermal underwear – several pairs.

It was on that day she formed her first impression of the Danes.

“I always knew they are warm and kind people, but what I grew to love about Danish culture was the way the people are so resilient: even in winter there is a way to dress so that the quality of life does not get compromised,” she recalls.

Despite the cold, Mandipira has not for a single moment considered leaving the cold of a country she made her permanent home in 2007, where she has gone on to forge a successful career in music – primarily in jazz and blues.


If you had told Mandipira the school girl she would end up as one of Denmark’s most acclaimed international singers, she would have probably nodded knowingly.

Not only was she talented, but already as a teen she was aware of the role Scandinavian aid organisations like Danida played in helping African countries like Zimbabwe to make social,

Miriam Mandipira has been living in Denmark since 2007. She has gone on

cultural, economic and political strides.

While studying ethnomusicology at the Zimbabwe College of Music in Harare – her tendency to perform in her uniform won her a music college scholarship she didn’t even apply for – she was exposed to Scandinavian ideals on a program funded by all three of the countries’ aid organisations.

It left a good first impression.

“Scandinavia’s always been part of my life – even in Zimbabwe with its promotion of art and culture,” she says.


Nevertheless, when Mandipira moved to Denmark, the first nine months – as they often are for spouses of Danes who come from countries outside the EU –were very trying while she waited for the authorities to decide on whether she could stay.

“Even though I was married to a Dane, I knew the decision could go one way or the other. It's very, very disheartening; it makes you feel like you are just hanging in the air,” she recalls.

“Sometimes it felt like the Immigration Authorities suspi-

The Copenhagen Post | CPHPOST.DK July 2023 4
Some like it hot, but the Jazz Festival’s most powerful voice found her home in the coldest place she’d ever known – even though it hasn’t always been easy. But hard work and a strong mind helped her achieve success

to forge a successful career in music – primarily in jazz and blues 

ciously processed visa applications without any regard for the individual case. I do know there are people who try to exploit the system, but I am not one,” she says.

Mandipira was only interested in getting one thing from the state.

“I am not here to exploit the system – I've always been able to fend for myself. But yeah, I feel you are categorised into the wrong basket by default. That they didn’t take my situation into consideration. Because I’ve heard of cases where people like me are denied a visa and thrown

out of the country,” she says.

“You cannot work – you really can’t do anything.”

IMPORTANT TO LEARN DANISH Mandipira needed a distraction and duly threw herself into learning the language “as quickly as possible”.

She saw it as a means of independence.

“Coming to Denmark as a 30-year-old and having to rely on a spouse for everything just wasn't me. I needed to be able to understand and express myself,” she recalls.

“And really that applies to everyone: don't forget to learn the language. It really was a big help for me, even though I don't use Danish that much in my

Neighbourhood: Nørrebro – I love that part of the city. It’s vibrant and lively, with a myriad of cultural influences, which for me as an African woman means I can turn a corner and buy things like these [hair extensions] or special cuts of meat that are not common in Danish shops. It also has the funkiest cafes and all sorts of live music options.

Live music event: Couleur Cafe in June – an explosive celebration of African culture, art, crafts, food and dance. Last time I attended, I ate good food, bought things for my hair, plus clothes and jewellery.

Festival: Copenhagen Jazz Festival – there’s the main festival, but also so many fringe festivals, like Jazz & Roots.

Season: Summertime – the freshness of the air and the music – so much quality, all in a relatively short space of time between June and July.

Museums: Anything to do with Vikings. I have always been crazy about them, and I love to read and learn about them. The first thing I did when I arrived here was to visit all the Viking museums – and to finally taste some mead.

The Copenhagen Post | CPHPOST.DK July 2023 5
Miriam Mandipira recommends … : Photo: Jesper Bjarke Andersen
Coming to Denmark as a 30-year-old and having to rely on a spouse for everything just wasn't me.
- Miriam Mandipira, singer-songwriter

daily life and on stage. In fact I speak English on stage because it’s the language I am more comfortable with and feel in. I haven't used Danish enough to actually deliver the same level of emotion when I speak it.”


Mandipira’s music career in Denmark started with networking visits to venues like Mojo’s and La Fontaine on her brief visits to the country – “two parallel worlds of blues and jazz”.

She credits her experience for not hesitating when venues invited her to take part in a jam session, or open mic, to showcase her talent.

“Personally, I am rather on the shy side, but when it comes to my work, I put that aside,” she says.

“To this day Mojo’s holds a very special place in my heart. Because they didn't just give me a chance, they literally wrapped me up. And didn't let go. To hear Danish musicians tell me: ‘If you're here to stay, I'm ready to play for you’ was very heartening. They helped me hit the ground running.”


In Zimbabwe particularly, Mandipira was used to crossing genres – mid-song if need be. But in Denmark the distinction between style and genre is far sturdier.

“With my first band I did everything: from the American jazz songbook to Afro jazz and Motown. But in Denmark there is an unwritten rule of keeping the styles and genres separate. Everything has its own box,” she says.

“And that was the way between 2007 and 2012: constantly moving between a lot of different chairs!”

Certainly, there are times when Mandipira wishes the Danes could be less stringent at separating styles and genres to give everything a little more soul and spontaneity.

She respects the discipline, but in return, being less stringent with style and genre could add a little more soul, she reasons.

“You might know how to sing. But what does it do to you when you sing? Because whatever it

Miriam Mandipira

Age: 46

Education: DiplomaFB in ethnomusicology

Profession: Singer-songwriter

In Denmark since: 2007

The Copenhagen Post | CPHPOST.DK July 2023 6
Miriam Mandipira on stage doing what she loves: performing  Photo: Jesper Bjarke Andersen

does to you, it will do exactly the same for the audience. That’s why I choose to channel emotion with my singing style. I always want the listener to ‘feel’ the song I am singing and ‘know’ why I am singing it.”


Her fifth year in Copenhagen proved to be her most challenging when her Danish husband unexpectedly passed away after suffering a stroke.

The emotional toil was immense, and it didn’t help matters that her continued residency was suddenly under doubt.

“There was a lot of turbulence in my life – at different levels at the same time. As an immigrant, I was thinking: ‘Okay, my papers are tied to me being married’,” she remembers.

But Mandipira needn’t have panicked. Her fluency at the language, overall integration efforts and marriage were enough to prove a connection to Denmark.

“I was already well established by that time and they could see that

my career was also beginning to pick up speed. I knew who I was and what I wanted. My life was very much wrapped up in my work, and it was at this time that my focus became narrower and a little more tailored for me,” she says.

Nevertheless, Mandipira has not yet got a Danish passport because Zimbabwe does not permit dual citizenship. She is hopeful it will follow the lead of its neighbour Zambia, the homeland of her second husband.


Mandipira regards Denmark as ‘home’ – even when she visits Zimbabwe, she finds herself talking about going “home to Denmark”.

But she continues to struggle with the authorities in such situations.

“Coming from a non-Western country can be a different experience when you travel. You’re subjected to much more invasive questioning at borders, and you can't really fight it. You have to show much more documentation: that has been my life,” she says.

“It's not something to complain about: it's just what it is, though I can’t help questioning the reasoning behind it. You learn to circumvent it by always having more unnecessary paperwork and documentation than you need so you don't have any problems. So that I found problematic and I still do, but I find my way around it by always getting my papers in order beforehand.”


Today, Mandipira has started calling herself a singer-songwriter – with good cause, as her next album is composed of original material.

There’s a twinkle in her eye when she tells me this is her time – serendipitously she’s exactly the same age, 46, as Tina Turner was when she revived her career in the early 1980s.

“Her passing hit me hard – so I started listening to an audio of her biography, and that’s when I realised that my career is maybe on a similar trajectory,” she says.

“Our new album [‘Ndiwe’] is very meaningful to me. It gives me goose-

bumps like when I first started in music. It is Afro-inspired soul, a little bit of rock and even some pop. So yes, we are bringing it on,” she enthuses. 

Copenhagen Jazz Festival:

Miriam Mandipira is performing twice at this year’s festival: on July 5 and 8.

The first show, performed by Miriam Mandipira & A Very Big Band, is at Bartof Station in Frederiksberg at 21:00. Tickets cost 250 kroner.

The second show, performed by Miriam Mandipira & The Soul Family – as part of Roots & Jazz Copenhagen – is at Balders Plads in Nørrebro at 17:30. The concert is free entry.

Concerts should contain sneak previews of new album ‘Ndiwe’ – ‘It’s you’ in Shona – which is due out this September.

The Copenhagen Post | CPHPOST.DK July 2023 7
Miriam Mandipira getting ready to hit the stage at the ‘Gotta Dance!’ show at the Royal Theatre  Photo: Jesper Bjarke Andersen

45 Michelin stars to Denmark

Denmark received 45 stars distributed to 32 restaurants when the Michelin Guide awarded this year’s accolades

Danish gastronomy belongs among the world’s elite. On June 12 Michelin sprinkled 45 stars on a total of 32 Danish restaurants.

It is not only in the big cities that you can experience the highest standards of cooking. The industry organisation HORESTA has put great effort into expanding the Michelin map in Denmark outside the capital. And Pia E Voss, the managing director of HORESTA, is pleased about that.

and recognised in the same way as the restaurants in the capital,” said Voss.

A report from VisitDenmark shows there has been a large increase in the number of tourists who choose to come to Denmark because of the gastronomic offers.

From 2017 to 2022, the number of foreign gastro-tourists in Denmark increased by 49 percent to 1.9 million a year. It is especially the number of gastro-tourists outside the big cities that has increased.

Geranium, Copenhagen Noma, Copenhagen

“North, west and south of the capital, there are many exciting dining experiences at a very high gastronomic level. They must be seen

It’s particularly Norwegians, Germans and Brits who cite food experiences as a good reason for choosing a holiday in Denmark.

Koan, Copenhagen

AOC, Copenhagen

Alchemist, Copenhagen

Frederikshøj, Aarhus

Henne Kirkeby Kro, Henne

Jordnær, Gentofte

Kadeau, Copenhagen

Kong Hans Kælder, Copenhagen Koks, Ilimanaq (Greenland)

Domæne, Herning

Tri, Agger

Villa Vest, Lønstrup

Aro, Odense

Grand Royal, Vejle

Alouette, Copenhagen

Domestic, Aarhus

Dragsholm Slot Gourmet, Hørve

Formel B, Copenhagen

Frederiksminde, Præstø

Gastromé, Aarhus

Jatak, Copenhagen

Kadeau, Bornholm

Lyst, Vejle

Marchal, Copenhagen

Mota, Nykøbing Sjælland

The Samuel, Hellerup

Substans, Aarhus

Syttende, Sønderborg

Søllerød Kro, Holte

Ti Trin ned, Fredericia

The Copenhagen Post | CPHPOST.DK July 2023 8
The Danish Michelin restaurants:



Welcome to Greater Copenhagen! Let’s get you off to a good start, ja? Taking place in the heart of Copenhagen on 22 & 23 September, International Citizen Days 2023 bring together public authorities, private organisations, and local communities for two days of endless inspiration on housing, job and social life relevant to all newcomers.


22 September, 16.00-20.00


Halmtorvet 11, 1700 Copenhagen

Job & Career

Friday is all about job and career, giving you the chance to meet interesting companies looking to hire international talent together with a broad range of organisations offering guidance on how to start or boost your career in Denmark. You will be introduced to the inescapable codes of Danish workplace culture, join professional matchmaking sessions, and have plenty of opportunities to mingle and widen your network in an incredibly ‘hyggelig’ setting while warming up for Saturday.


23 September, 10.00-15.00


Halmtorvet 11, 1700 Copenhagen

Housing / Culture & Leisure / Job & Career

Saturday offers a good mix of housing, job, and social life, inviting the entire family to join including kids. With a lively fair representing the city’s rich cultural scene, sports clubs, and associations, you are invited to engage in unique talks, debates, and fun activities covering all the essentials of relocating. You will be guided through the jungle of housing options, banking services, tax laws, language classes and career opportunities – all under one roof – to get off to the best possible start.


"Even though it seems big, the capital is still a very small town"

Here I never get used to … the cycling. I do not bike because I get so stressed. I need to try to keep up with the others. I am not conditioned to do that. I’d rather walk and spend time with my thoughts. I use public transportation.

don’t waste their time going to see the Little Mermaid. Rather see some art exhibitions or workshops.

Isettled in Denmark because … I fell in love with a Danish man. It was love at first sight. I was very settled in Finland. I never thought I would move anywhere else. I was really grounded. But when I saw him, there was nothing I could do.

The difference between Finland and Denmark is … since they are close to each other you would think that they are similar, but they are culturally so different. I grew up in a forest where I had my space and not many people around me. They like to put their houses far away from one another.

Here the houses are very close to one another.

My favourite thing about living in Copenhagen is … the size of the city. Even though it seems big, it is still a very small town. Where I live, I have everything that I need. I have my shops, I know people on the street. Especially when I was living in Nørrebro and had a gallery there, the shopkeepers made my morning coffee every day. There is this community, even though it is a big city. That makes me feel like I am in a small town again, and it makes me feel at home.

Jeg kan tale … flydende. I can also write, although I’d rather somebody check it over. I am prone to making up my own words, which make total sense to me. But other people are like: what on Earth do you mean?

On an integration scale of 1 to 10, I would … want to say 10. But I think it is gonna be 9 because I have never embraced the ‘hygge’ thing. I don’t really go to dinner parties. I don’t invite anybody to my place. I like my privacy. This might sound weird, but I have had a Danish friend for 20 years and she has never visited my home. We have always met in cafes and in galleries.

I think the best way of making Danish friends is … through school or work or something. I have one really good Danish friend that I made. But I really had to work hard on that too.

If I should recommend a visitor to Copenhagen then I would tell them …

The best places to visit on a budget are graveyards like Assistens Kirkegård. It’s interesting because you might not know all the famous people who have died in this country. But just visiting that graveyard gives you a feeling of the country Denmark is. There are people having picnics between the graves and there are people taking the sun with their tops off. It shows how Danes deal with life and death. It’s part of their life and it’s used as a park, not only as a graveyard.

The three words that I think best describe Copenhagen are … similar to what I would say about jazz. And for me, jazz is surprising, cosy and safe. But it’s more than that. Because it’s also modern and so old-fashioned. It’s diverse. 

Age: 48

Job: Artist - n 2008 she was the winner of the Art Icon of Denmark award.

The Copenhagen Post | CPHPOST.DK July 2023 10
Hailing from Helsinki, Mari Keto moved to Copenhagen 20 years ago. Even though she has been here a long time, she is terrified of bikes
Mari Keto from Finland has been living in Denmark for 20 years  Photo: Lars Wahl

Tiebreaker thrillers and serial killers

On June 21 the first Pub Quiz Night arranged by The Copenhagen Post took place at the craft beer bar Too Old to Die Young in Copenhagen.

Nationalities from several countries attended the event and for just over two hours the enthusiastic teams competed for the winning prize: a voucher worth 1,000 kroner and 500 kroner for the runners-up, who won their prize on a tiebreaker question.

Jesper Skeel, the CEO and publisher of The Copenhagen Post, was happy to see that the event was a success.

“Our tagline is ‘Your Danish connection’. This event and our reporting taps into that. It was a great night and we’re planning more events in the future,” he said.


The quizmaster of the night was the managing editor Ben Hamilton, who with great enthusiasm and experience encouraged the teams to do their best to answer the 40 questions.

All of the questions were related to the evening’s theme, ‘Bad Things’, which included everything from cocktails and serial killers to drugs and sex.

The winner of the quiz – by numerous points – was the team ‘Trailer Trash’.

“We would do it again – winning is always good,” the team's captain Nick Smith said.

They were not the only ones awarded a prize, however, as every participant received a voucher for a free drink at the end of the contest. 

The Copenhagen Post | CPHPOST.DK July 2023 11
The winners 'Trailer Trash' were led by team captain Nick Smith (centre left)  Photo: The Copenhagen Post Bossi, Julia Schenner & Sarah Faouzia Oueslati
The first Pub Quiz Night held by The Copenhagen Post got the participants’ brains working
Managing editor Ben Hamilton ready to rack some brains  The quiz was held at the Too Old to Die Young bar  Photo: The Copenhagen Post Photo: The Copenhagen Post

In the footsteps of the Danish wine makers

It’s hard to compare Denmark with European wine giants like France, Italy or even Spain. But wine production has grown immeasurably, both in terms of quality and quantity, since Denmark was recognised as an official wine country by the EU in 2000.

Hans Werge, a recognised Danish Wine Academic, explains why.

“The amount of vineyards has increased, the number of relevant grape varieties is increasing all the time, and interest has grown. In addition, the summers have become increasingly dry, sunny and hot, so there is great optimism among winegrowers about their future prospects,” Werge says.

Many of the Danish vineyards are open to visits. In Røsnæs near Kalundborg, around 100 km west of Copenhagen, Dyrehøj Vingaard can be found. With more than 50,000 vines, Dyrehøj is the largest of its kind in Denmark.

The area is known for its dry climate and calcareous and sandy slopes, which make the location, at least by Danish standards, close to perfect for the production of wine.

Two more vineyards less than

Municipality, they are heavily visited during the summer as the locale is the home of thousands of summerhouses – many of which are owned by Copenhageners.


The sunny years of 2018, 2020, 2021 and 2022 turned out to be great for Danish wine production.

ies tailor-made to be more resistant to typical Danish conditions, such as local fungi.

Most importantly, they must be able to cope with the Danish climate.

“These hybrid vines are crosses of old Asian or American varieties. They are very resistant and can ripen at low temperatures and with little sun,” Werge explains.

“Unfortunately they taste terrible – even when ripe. But when crossing these with well-known European va-

rieties – such as Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and many others – it has been possible to produce varieties that taste good.”

There is common agreement among wine experts, Werge claims, that Denmark’s highest quality potential is in the production of sparkling wines.

“In recent years, wine companies based in the French region of Champagne have invested heavily in the UK, fearing that their home patch will become too hot to make great wines. Perhaps it’s not completely unthinkable that Denmark could take on a similar role in the future,” Werge says.


Werge also believes that Danish wine production is best suited to sparkling wine – as well as white varieties in general.

“So if you’re into Sauvignon Blanc or a dry Riesling, it’s likely you will enjoy the Danish wine Solaris. Quite a few other green grapes have also shown great results, and in general you shouldn't be afraid to try Danish white wine. In addition, a number of vineyards now produce mulled wines according to the port wine method – many of which also taste very good,” he says.

“We’re looking at a very exciting future that would have been almost unthinkable 15 years ago.” 

danish on a sunday

danish films with english subtitles

In July and august we screen the family drama ’Chrysanthemum' and the lars von trier films

‘Antichrist’ and ‘The House That Jack Built’.

The Copenhagen Post | CPHPOST.DK July 2023
In recent years, home-grown vintages have been gaining far more recognition. Visiting the vineyards can be an alternative way to spend a day with friends or family
Dyrehøj Vingaard is in Røsnæs, around 100 km west of Copenhagen  Photo: Destination Sjælland/Danni Aaslev
Read more at cinemateket dk and visit us at Gothersgade 55


Untitled-5 1 19-06-2023 11:24:59

Partying hard – and celebrating the nation

They sing, they dance, they shout, they drink.

They celebrate that they finally, after three years in upper-secondary school, can put on the special white cap they call ‘studenterhuen’.

As internationals have most likely experienced around Midsummer Day, youngsters drive around town in open trucks while people in the streets wave back at them.

On the day of ‘Studenterkørsel’ – the day when a class drives around town – they visit their classmates' homes where parents, other family members and sometimes friends congratulate them on finishing their exams.


Warburg, from the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies at the University of Copenhagen, there’s a sense to the madness – much more than just Danish youngsters partying hard and drinking their brains out while being feted by their loved ones.

"The graduation is a rite of passage that youngsters go through in three phases: the isolation phase, the transition phase and the final phase, where they reintegrate into society,” Warburg said.

She has researched the traditions of all Danish high schools and, according to Warburg, the students began driving around towns in the 1930s. Back then horse carriages were used. But the purpose hasn’t changed.

“On the day of driving around they in fact behave really crazily, but as society we think they are incredibly sweet despite their madness. In fact, when we wave or honk our horn, we are thanking them for their future work for Denmark,” she said.


So when the young graduates sing, dance and drink their way along streets across the country, they aren’t just celebrating themselves.

In fact, all the traditions are part of a ritual that pay tribute to the nation of Denmark, Warburg explains.

“Today the young women are typically dressed in white or red – the national colours. The truck is often adorned with beech branches, which is no coincidence, as the beech is the Danish national tree. The Danish flag, Dannebrog, is usually also

Upper-secondary school graduates partying on June 23 

present,” she said.


Finally there’s the student cap, which is a central object and symbol in the ritual.

“You cannot wear the cap before graduation. That will lead to misfortune and you’ll, according to the myth, never graduate,” Warburg said.

The cap, first introduced by traditional upper-secondary school graduates in the 1850s, is also red and white and equipped with the Dannebrog cross. This cross is connected to the nation – not Christianity in itself, Warburg explains.

If you look closely you’ll see there is a small mark on the front of the cap’s desk. It’s the cockade.

In the centre of it sits a small metal cross, which is the national bow-armed cross that you see in the Dannebrog order founded by Christian V in 1671.

This is, according to Warburg, to remind the Danes that God helped the nation to victory when the Dannebrog fell from the sky during a battle near Tallinn in Estonia in 1219. The myth says the flag gave the fighting troops more courage, which led to a Danish victory.

“So it’s not just some random cross,” Warburg said.


In recent years, even though the cross is not only a Christian symbol, young people who believe in

The Copenhagen Post | CPHPOST.DK July 2023 14 SURPRISINGLY DENMARK
It may look like Danish youngsters drinking their brains out once again. But there’s a deeper sense to the madness, a professor explains.

other religions can have other symbols on the cap.

“And if you’re an atheist, you can have a maple leaf. I think that’s very inclusive,” Warburg said.

There’s also sex in the air. In Copenhagen many students drive to Kongens Nytorv, where they dance around the equestrian statue.

“A horse is a large virile animal. As a society we embrace that because we need future generations. These traditions and celebrations are all about creating a better future society – and sex is a key to that. And the graduation also symbolises the transition from being a child to a grown-up,” Warburg concludes. 

The original cap

1856: Studenterhuen, the cap, arrives in Denmark after originating at Nordic student meetings. At this time the brim is black.

1880s: The brim of the cap becomes white, and it is decorated with red ribbon. The cap is called the 'summer cap' and back then the cap was only worn by men.

1930s: Women adopt the white student cap. The tradition of driving around towns in horse carriages begins.

1970s: Graduates taking the higher preparatory exam (HF), higher trade exam (HHX) and higher technical exam (HTX) get their own student caps. Later on graduates from various other schools get a cap. Today a lot of them also drive around towns celebrating.

Source: and Margit Warburg

The Copenhagen Post | CPHPOST.DK July 2023 15
All photos: Uffe Jørgensen Odde Hats off to the latest batch of graduates 

Report: Danish culture needs to evolve


Danish culture needs to evolve for global talent to contribute significantly to the Danish economy, a new report concludes.

The report is written by Dr Julia Jones, PhD, a cross-cultural competency trainer, expat coach and owner of the company International Talent, where she helps Danish companies and organisations to relocate, integrate and retain international employees.

Named ‘The dark side of hygge: Acculturation of for-

eign workers in Denmark’, the report serves as her final project towards completing her bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Southern Denmark. The report doesn’t involve original research, but instead uses published research on the topic, extracting the results and presenting them in a cohesive narrative.

According to Jones internationals “need to understand their own cultural norms and values, as well as the Danish ones”.

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A new report provides new perspectives on problems internationals face in Denmark
Dr Julia Jones, PhD, author of the report ‘The dark side of hygge: Acculturation of foreign workers in Denmark’  Photo: PR

“This is important to be able to navigate everyday life without interpreting cultural misunderstandings as personal rejection. Avoiding feeling personally rejected is important to be able to understand that neither the Danish nor one’s own perspectives are inherently right or wrong, but simply different,” Jones told The Copenhagen Post.


A key finding is, according to Jones, that “Denmark’s cultural value of equality shapes a socially and culturally homogenous society with a clear division between public and private life.”

She explains that the equality ideal, the homogenous society, and the division between public and private life form a triad of cultural factors that can potentially explain the complex dynamics observed in the interactions between foreigners and Danes.

“On one hand, Denmark scores low for cultural tightness when focusing on aspects considered private by Danes. However, when considering values and behavioural practices on a broader scale, Denmark’s cultural tightness score is high. I believe this intriguing dichotomy can be attributed to the presence of the strong public-private division,” Jones told The Copenhagen Post.

She adds that in tight cultures, deviations from the norm are often openly sanctioned.

“However, in Denmark, where openly sanctioning would imply acknowledging inequality, Danes tend to employ subtle methods of sanctioning, such as gentle withdrawal and disconnection,” Jones said.

This has, according to Jones, two significant consequences.

“Firstly, foreigners may interpret this behaviour as a personal rejection, leading to feelings of frustration, anger or shame. Secondly, the subtle nature of these sanctions makes it challenging for foreigners to infer cultural norms,” she said.


In her study, she draws two major conclusions.

Firstly, it is essential to shift the perception that the responsibility for successful acculturation lies solely with foreign workers.

Instead, there should be a growing awareness that integration difficulties arise from the interactions between Danes and foreign workers.

And ultimately, it is Danish culture that needs to evolve for global talent to contribute significantly to the Danish economy.

“I believe that foreign workers have the potential to bring about positive change by challenging Danish culture. I often wonder whether both Danes and foreigners could benefit from greater freedom to express more of their authentic selves in public spaces,” Jones said. 

What internationals can do:

Julia Jones urges internationals to become advocates for change in organisations and social circles.

“I advocate that it is essential for Danish employers of foreign workers to take responsibility for educating both their Danish and international workforce about the intricate dynamics that arise in intercultural interactions. By providing resources for cross-cultural competence, organisations can facilitate smoother and more effective collaboration among their employees, along with a lower staff turnover rate among their international employees,” she said.

Super social - but only in the office

Following the report ‘The dark side of hygge: Acculturation of foreign workers in Denmark’, Thomas Kovsted, the CEO of IBM Denmark, reveals how the tech company is working on including a growing number of internationals.

“One thing is how it’s at the office. Another thing is related to family life and relations besides that. I think Danish companies play a key role in these matters,” Kovsted told The Copenhagen Post.

“We encourage our employees to join different company clubs. These clubs offer employees the chance to meet in a non-business context around a certain interest – sports, art, wine etc. In general I believe that Danish companies can benefit from paying attention to guide foreign employees on how to build meaningful non-business related networks when hiring talents from other

countries and cultures.”


Even though reports show internationals in general find satisfaction working in Denmark, too many, according to Dansk Industri, leave the country again too soon because it’s a struggle to feel included.

But as various reports have already shown, the need for well educated employees will only increase in the years to come, leaving Danish companies with a headache if they don’t manage to become better at creating a workplace culture where non-Danes feel welcome, Kovsted agreed.

“In fact, in my opinion we as a society already have a problem,” he said.

Kovsted, who has worked for IBM his entire career and was appointed CEO of the Danish division in 2022, contends that more attention must be paid to cultural differences.

“I’ve worked 20 years in inter-

national leadership positions and that gave me a deeper understanding of different cultures. In Denmark we’re super social in the office, but when we go home we check out socially,” he said.


“I don’t have ambitions to change Danish culture. That’s not up to me, but companies have to pay attention to the cultural difference. The first step can be just to explain Danish business and leadership culture and why Danish colleagues act the way they do,” Kovsted said.

According to Kovsted it’s crucial for both Danish colleagues and managers to understand and recognise the management of a diverse team, where several languages are spoken.

“The point is that we need to help internationals to understand the culture, and great management depends on whether you understand each other,” Kovsted said. 

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The CEO of IBM Denmark urges companies to pay attention to the cultural difference - and internationals to join clubs or in other way engage in activities
Photo: PR Thomas Kovsted, CEO of IBM Denmark 

Calls for a united approach to internationals

Demant SVP argues that

of a new discourse

how the hearing healthcare giant works with inclusion

At the headquarters of the Danish hearing healthcare giant Demant just west of Copenhagen, the number of internationals in the office has increased a lot in recent years. Today they account for 10 percent of all employees.

“In the years to come we expect that more will join,” the company’s SVP HR, Henrik Christiansen, told The Copenhagen Post.

The Demant SVP participated in a debate regarding internationals working in Denmark at Folkemødet on the island of Bornholm, where politicians, employer organisations, trade unions, companies and many others gather every year in June to discuss matters related to society.

“If we as a society really want to be an attractive destination for internationals, it’s crucial that companies, organsiations and the authorities work even closer together,” he said, explaining how Demant internally works with inclusion.

“In relation to internationals, we have implemented a resource group where we currently have 65 international employees, with whom I have an ongoing dialogue about how they experience the workplace,” Christiansen said.


According to Christiansen, the international employees were asked, among other things, to give the management feedback on what they think Demant as a company can do to improve, how the company can make life easier for them, and what needs to be done in order for them to do their jobs better.

“In reality, it’s all about how life in Denmark can be improved,” Christiansen said.

Reading the feedback was an eye-opening experience.

“There are things that we can do. But many issues relate to society. In fact, it’s what you might think are the little things that tend to be highly important

and matter,” Christiansen said.

In comparison, Christiansen reflects on how companies map their customers’ journeys to get a deeper understanding of their needs. The same approach needs to be applied to newcomers to Denmark, he thinks.

According to Christiansen, you can map their journey over three different phases: the decision phase, the relocation phase and the settling phase. And newcomers tend to have different questions and concerns across the three phases, he contends.

“If we could get a better understanding of the moments that really matter, we would be better off and able to deliver on the ambition of making Denmark a top destination country for internationals,” Christiansen said.


The HR SVP explains that an introduction to the Danish labour market is highly appreciated by internationals at Demant.

“But they also have a bunch of internal questions: What to expect from our company culture? How we as managers act?” he said, adding that “a lot of our employees really want to learn the Danish language”.

“Not because their colleagues can’t speak English, but because some have a hard time finding their way around in the local community or communicating with the authorities,” he explained.

According to Christiansen, connecting with other internationals was also requested, so Demant established a mentor programme.

“That’s important but it can’t just be for the beginning, as they’ll need a future network as well,” he said admitting that Demant can improve a lot.

“In co-operation with the authorities we must become better at helping newcomers to understand things such as the tax system, healthcare and the school system,” Christiansen said. 

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Demant SVP HR, Henrik Christiansen  Photo: PR
internationals themselves should be part
and reveals

Summer course in Danish language and culture

Spend your summer in Copenhagen and join our three-week course where we dive deep into Danish language and culture. Language teaching every morning and cultural activities afternoons and evenings. Lots of networking with other interesting people.

Read more and sign up at

- 11/8



Get Your Biering’s: The secret to leading Danes

He made the mistake of telling his employees he was the boss.”

This was the verdict of a client of mine, a CEO, after he attended the first employee briefing given by his new CFO, an international recruit: “I told him never to do that again. He will surely lose their trust.”

Danes do not want to be bossed around – and basically don’t want a boss at all (fun fact: 99.7 percent of Danish companies are SMEs).

Even if we have to have one, the boss has to pretend not to be one.


But wait! Don't Danes appreciate honesty – perhaps even bluntness?

Sure, they do. But they don’t like you being too vocal about your power. That has to be done very delicately – if not completely invisibly.

You might say: “If I am not allowed

to say I’m the boss, how will they know I’ve decided something?” And you are not alone. Many international employees struggle with this according to our research at Project Onboard Denmark.

But believe me, your employees know you’re the boss. You can spot a boss in a Danish workplace by how softly spoken they are – the softer the delivery, the higher up the food chain they are.

There’s no need to speak in caps lock when everyone knows they should pay attention (or at least outside corporate level interactions, when spectacular Wolf of Wall Street-style diatribes are permitted – but that’s another story!).


Leadership in Denmark involves delicately balancing authority and collaboration.

So, rather than being an authorita-

Green Spotlight: Time for some plane talking

Is the plane doomed by climate change?

“The number of flights over a lifetime should be limited to four,” according to Jean-Marc Jancovici, an influential French expert on energy issues, who is a firm believer in the principle of equality for all people. It’s the only way to fight global warming, he maintains.

The difference between the amount of CO2 emitted by a train (14 g/passenger/km), a car (104g/passenger/km), and a plane (285g/passenger/km) is staggering.


Controversy surrounding flying has been swirling for quite some time. In 2010, the Swedes ranked top for being the most frequent flyers.

And yet, it’s in Sweden that an anti-flying movement has found its roots. The term ‘flygskam’ (flight

shame), coined in 2018, describes that sense of guilt people feel when they opt for the plane, despite their awareness of the time bomb.

‘Smygflyga’, which means ‘fly in secret’, rapidly emerged as a consequence of the public shame. Many social media influencers still today refrain from posting pictures of their flights.

By 2019, ‘flygskam’ had become the buzzword of the year.

Obviously, Greta Thunberg boosted the trend. That year, she made headline news for choosing to reach the World Economic Forum in Davos by train. It took her 32 hours.


The hashtag #Tågskryt quickly spread among the Nordics and then COVID happened.

Now that the lockdowns are over, younger generations are back to trav-

tive figure who dictates every move, aim to be a facilitator and guide. Think of yourself as a trusted partner who provides support and empowers employees to excel in their roles.

While you may have an irresistible urge to micromanage every detail, resist the temptation.

As you navigate the Danish work landscape, it's important to establish genuine connections with your team. Danes appreciate a leader who takes the time to appreciate the diversity of talent in the team and who understands individual strengths, aspirations and challenges.

Engage in meaningful conversations, listen actively, and foster an environment of open dialogue.


This is not a waste of your time. It is gathering information for your strategic thinking – and at the same time earning the respect of your employees, creating a space where they feel comfortable sharing ideas and concerns.

In Denmark, we say: "Det handler ikke om dig" (it's not about you).

It's a gentle reminder that any perceived lack of respect isn't personal; it's just how we roll. We question authority and have a mischievous knack for poking fun at experts and people in high places.

So, don't take it to heart when your employees give you a hard time. Consider it a recognition of your leadership role if they affectionately tease you, and don't hesitate to join in with the banter – as long as it's self-depreciating. 

elling more than ever. Travel shapes youth, after all.

However, social media platforms have shifted towards a more positive tone with ‘tågskryt’ (train bragging) –another Swedish word, this time to express the pride of taking the train.

In 2023, Swedish politicians are posting selfies of their business travel by train, and Facebook groups are sharing tips on how to travel across Europe by train.

A family with young children chooses an eight-hour train ride to go and see their grandparents in Stockholm once a month instead of a one-hour flight. A 15-year-old girl travels by bus from Copenhagen to Maastricht to visit her sister over a long weekend.

Habits from the 1980s are quietly resurfacing.


Night trains are rising from the ashes.

“The European Sleeper awakens and its ambition is to be the harbinger of a revival of the overnight rail lines that once linked the continent’s cities before the age of discount airlines,” reported Politico in its last edition.

Combined ferry and train tickets are encouraging the joy of slow travel to the extent the trip itself is once again

After 20 years in the Danish diplomatic service, including stints in India, China and Israel as deputy ambassador, Signe Biering Nielsen is turning her diplomatic binoculars onto the (in her view) intriguing Danes. She is an executive advisor and coach with a focus on internationals in Denmark. See LinkedIn and Instagram for more details.

becoming a discovery.

Remember that wise man Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote: “It’s the journey that matters, not the destination. 

Sibylle is a French journalist, columnist and author who writes for a variety of French, English and Italian language-publications, specialising on the green transition. Having lived and worked in San Francisco, Milan, Berlin, Rome, Calgary and Paris, she speaks five languages. Follow her on Instagram @sibdevalence

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Sibylle De Valence Signe Biering Nielsen

First Summer in Denmark? How to spend your 18 Hours of Daylight

Get woken up at 4am by your children. Tell them it's not morning yet. Cower with fear before the day ahead when they respond "Then why is the sun up??"

Spend the next hour covering every window with newspaper and masking tape. Use towels and pillows to plug gaps in the 'black out curtains'. Rue the day.

Draft a complaint letter in your mind to IKEA. Put a pillow on your head, imagine the thrill you will feel when you slam the receipt down on the customer service desk and demand a refund. Know that there is no way you will find that receipt and if you did there is no way you would subject yourself to IKEA on a summer Saturday.

Awake fully. Consider installing better curtains. Be aware that by the time you have completed this project there will only be four hours of daylight every day and you will try to get enough Vitamin D each morning by looking directly at the light in your fridge.

Play lawn games with adults. There are many options including: throwing a ball at a trampoline made just for throwing balls at, throwing sticks at other sticks, throwing beers at other beers.

Burn some coals in a disposable lasagne pan and call it a grill.


Celebrate the longest hottest brightest day of the year with a huge bonfire in the light of day in which you burn the effigy of a witch. Huh? What? Why? Ask too many questions and they might wonder how you’d look at the top of a well-lit pyre.

Follow a studenterkørsel around and watch some drunk teenagers in sailor hats barf in their classmate’s parents’ bushes and then be moved to tears when the drunk teenagers spend the rest of the stop trying to clean up the bush with some paper towels and a Føtex bag.

Enjoy a gorgeous, pristine Danish beach, unmarred by permanent signs of tourism or hoopla because who’s gunna put all the effort into permanent hoopla when it’s only warm enough to swim three weeks a year?

Cool off with a nice bowl of Koldskål: cold buttermilk with lemon and broken cookies. Mmmm wet dairy crunch soup, refreshing!

Go to a loppedmarked and prepare for the next six months of julemarkeds.

Fall completely and head over heels in love with this city in any park, on any bench, with your legs dangling over the side of any canal. Gape at how everything is crisp and beautiful and glimmering in the most brilliant sunlight on the planet. Forgive the false claims that hygge and duvets and candles and nisse stories and really good cookies can make up for 10 months of cold and darkness and not enough pretty snow.


Acknowledge that winter sunsets at 3pm are actual-

ly a fair trade for this perfect five minutes of warmth and birds and blooming trees and smiling strangers. Let the fleeting but absolute perfection of Danish Summer turn you instantly into a buddhist monk until you have to get up to keep one of your kids from pushing her brother into the canal.

Bike home and feel that monk thing again with the wind in your hair and your kids asleep in the cargo bike for a 10-minute nap that will somehow have the same effect on their tired bodies as snorting coke off the back of a nightclub toilet. Admire the masses of these smooth golden people you are gliding by. They look like the statues on the covers of the Ayn Rand novels you had to read in high school.

Have a drink in your shared garden and watch the kids pick flowers and say they are going to make

juice out of them. What is it with these people and flower juice.

Make a pact with the other parents that you will break up the water gun fight and enforce a building-wide cease-fire/bedtime after just one more glass of something cold in the 8pm sun.

Tell your children that it's past bedtime at 10pm. Consider whether a move to the equator is worth the hassle when they answer "THEN WHY IS THE SUN STILL UP?" 

The Copenhagen Post | CPHPOST.DK July 2023 21
Abby Wambaugh has been living in Denmark for five years  Photo: Sif Bang Mikkelsen Comedian and 1/3 of the Coping In Copenhagen Podcast Abby is a writer and comedian from the United States who co-hosts the podcast Coping in Copenhagen. Abby Wambaugh

Ben’s Brainteasers



Work out what connects each selection of clues, and deduce what links your six answers to solve the grid!

Answers will be revealed in the next edition of The Copenhagen Post

? ? ? ? ?

? ?



An old man’s ahead of me, and as much as I know I’m running faster than him, I can’t catch him.



Clockwise from top left, the answers were: Airports named after them; known as fifth Beatle; romantically involved with beauty queens; members of famous trilogies; winners of Ballon D’Or; played for Man United. Link to all six: George Best.


Hanging up washing on a clothes horse

The Copenhagen Post | CPHPOST.DK July 2023 22
Margaret Thatcher, Mary Robinson, Benazir Bhutto, Golda Meir, Indira Ghandi, Julia Gillard Cynthia Nixon, Jamie Lee Curtis, Charlize Theron, Sade, Warren Beatty & Annette Bening Elizabeth Taylor, Kenny Logan, Elizabeth of York, Michael Douglas, Emma Rhys-Jones Florence, Grace Kelly, Tom Ford, Patricia Reggiani, Lil Pump, Radric Davis Pia Olsen Dyhr, Marco Evaristti, Daniel Agger, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Lars Eller Mistress of UK politician, murdered AI park executive, submissive lepidopterologist, crime matriarch, WHO general secretary

Did you know…?

The Copenhagen Post gives you three fun facts about Copenhagen and Denmark

Embracing non-alcoholic beer

Danish brewery Carlsberg, founded in 1847 by brewer JC Jacobsen, is one of the world’s largest beer producers thanks to the success of brands such as Carlsberg, Tuborg and many others. In recent years Danes have shown massive interest in non-alcoholic beers. Since 2015, the Danish market for these variants has quadrupled and Carlsberg now commands a 45 percent share. As late as in April this year, a non-alcoholic variant of the Tuborg Classic, originally launched in 1993, was released.

1,419 islands

Denmark is a small country, but the country has a large number of islands: 1,419 to be exact, of which 443 are named and 78 inhabited. Some of the inhabited islands are home for just one person or family. Over the years the cost of these tiny islands has been the source of much debate. The island with the highest population is Zealand, where around 2.3 million people live.

Studying since 1479

Founded in 1479, the capital is home to Denmark's oldest university, as well as one of the oldest in Northern Europe. The University of Copenhagen was inaugurated on 1 June 1479. Based on a German model, it consisted of four faculties: Theology, Law, Medicine and Philosophy. Today, nearly 37,000 students and 10,000 employees, more than 200 research centres can be found at Denmark's largest educational institution.

Sources: Carlsberg Group, University of Copenhagen, VisitDenmark and Berlingske.

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Photo: Carlsberg Group Photo: Kjetil Løite Photo: Christoffer Regild
★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★

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