So I decided to go to Denmark in search of a prince to marry like my fellow Tasmanian, Princess Mary. While I did not manage to find a prince, I did however manage to learn quite a lot of shit…..
We shall start with Shit That I Did Not Know Was Danish….
- Lego – Now apparently the largest selling toy company in the world (they are ecstatic to be beating Barbie), Lego started right in Denmark in the 1920’s and still uses the same structure for their blocks. A block made 80 years ago will still fit a block today.
- Pandora Bracelets – I am so glad that I didn’t know this to tell my Mum before I left!!
- The Little Mermaid – This is a fairytale written by the famous writer Hans Christian Anderson and yet I didn’t realize. There is a Little Mermaid statue in the harbour of Copenhagen and it is ridiculously underwhelming…. well until you take the boat tour and they inform you that the mermaid statue has had its’ head decapitated twice and it had to get recast.
- Aqua – Hooray! We can thank the Danes for that horrific song “Barbie Girl” that rang out in the 90’s and made everyone’s head hurt.
Awesome Danish People
- Niels Bohr – For any fellow science nerds out there you shall also share my excitement! Known for his quantum model of the atom known as the Bohr atom, he postulated that electrons can move through energy levels of a set quantity in an atom. For those of you who are not science nerds, know that this is kick arse. When the German’s decided to create atrocities against the Jews in World War 2, it was Niels Bohr who negotiated with the Swedish government to immigrate 90 percent of Danish Jews in the city to Sweden in return for him agreeing to go to the United States and work with Albert Einstein on the Manhattan Project. This is basically the race to see who can make the atomic bomb the fastest. Anyway, not only is he a quantum physics and Nobel Prize winning genius, he is a pretty fucking awesome Danish guy!
- Danish People in World War 2 – Speaking of World War 2 and the Jews, the Danes showed a lot of compassion towards their Jewish population. During the war, the Red Cross would send care packages to all of the Danish occupants of the concentration camps courtesy of the Danish Government worth up to 2 million dollars. These care packages, despite being raided by the camp control, managed to keep majority of the Danes alive. At the end of the war, the government sent a whole bunch of white buses to collect their citizens and bring them home. Upon arrival home, most of the prisoners discovered that their fellow countrymen had kept all of their affairs in order for them and when they came home, they came home to lives that resembled what they had left behind. I was moved by how considerate these people are of each other.
- Queen Margaret the Second – Tell me any other queen in the world that is cool enough to help provide the Danish translation of the Lord of the Rings and to provide all of the illustrations for it? Enough said!
- Hans Christian Anderson – Once upon a time there was a small boy who moved to Copenhagen at the age of 14 and tried his hand at the national ballet. After being terrible and them ousting him, he then tried his hand at the choir. He was also terrible at that and kicked out of the choir too. He then tried his hand at the theatre and was absolutely fabulous… well for a while anyway. While he was working at the theatre he became renowned for his incredible stories. And so he wrote a few of them down and they became published and after many, many years, Disney decided to make movies about his stories like “The Little Mermaid”, “Frozen” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. He became very famous and lived happily ever after, the end.
Other interesting facts
- “Hygge” is a fabulous word, and while it has not direct translation to English, anything that can be thought of as being a good time can be ‘hygge’.
- The Danish revolution happened in a pub…. apparently.
- Buildings in some parts of the city don’t have square corners. They are cut at an angle to allow fire trucks to be able to adequately turn around corners and so that fire hoses didn’t kink and stop working after the God-knows how many-th fire they had in Denmark.
- The Danish Government just passed a be able to take any valuables off immigrants settling into Denmark to help pay for their stay in the welfare state….. shame on you Denmark!
- Christiania is the only self contained community that regulates themselves with their rules. They consider themselves an entity outside of the EU. In the Green Light District (where a shit ton of marijuana is sold) they profit over a million dollars a year. Not bad for a place that was created by homeless people and junkies breaking in and settling in abandoned buildings of the army barracks.
- Woden is the English name for the Norse god, Odin. It is his name that gives rise to the day of the week known as Wednesday. Thor’s name gave rise to Thursday. And the goddess of fertility Freya gave her name to Friday.
Oh and I also learned that Denmark is fucking cold and one needs to take thermals. Other than that, that is me for the week! Until the next!