FOR THE LOVE OF DENMARK

We love it and maybe you will too?

Greetings and a warm "Hej" from UglyDucklingAbroad,the place where you can experience the essence and charm of Denmark all in one place.

Whether you're a homesick Dane, a Daneophile, or just plain curious about the enchanting world that inspired Hans Christian Andersen's fairytales, our platform is tailor-made to satisfy your cravings. Created by a Danish native living abroad, our deep love for everything Danish is reflected in every corner of our platforms.

We offer a handpicked selection of articles which will take you on a journey into the wonderful world of Danish traditions, habits, and delicious food. From the cozy vibes of hygge to the festive spirit of Christmas, Easter, and Midsummer mixed with our favorite places to go when in Denmark, we have it all.

But we also provide insight into more serious topics like Danish parenting and Work-Life Balance.

So, grab your favorite cup of coffee, get cozy, and let's dive into this Danish escapade together! Your journey into all things Denmark starts here, and it's just a click away.

And don't forget: Your questions and stories are highly valued here – we're all ears and can't wait to hear from you!


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Christmas Calendar 2023

🎄✨ Welcome to the Ugly Duckling Abroad Digital Christmas Wonderland 🎅🎁

Dear Festive Friends, We are thrilled to invite you to unwrap the magic of our Digital Julekalender (Christmas Calendar).

Get ready to embark on a daily journey filled with joy, surprises, and the spirit of the season, all from the comfort of your digital devices.

Just like the cherished Advent calendars of yesteryears, our digital version brings a modern twist to the countdown to Christmas.

Behind each virtual door awaits a delightful surprise, carefully curated to sprinkle a bit of holiday enchantment into your daily routine.

What can you expect? From heartwarming stories and festive animations to interactive games and merry quizzes, our digital calendar is brimming with festive cheer. And yes, there may be exclusive offers and some giveaways hidden amidst the yuletide magic! 🎁🌟

Join us as we celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in the digital realm. Unwrap a daily dose of holiday delight, share the joy with loved ones, and let the festive spirit illuminate your screens.

Wishing you a season filled with warmth, wonder, and a touch of digital holiday magic!

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Countdown to Christmas

🎄✨ We are thrilled to invite you to unwrap the magic of the Ugly Duckling Abroad digital Christmas Calendar 🎅🎁

Starting December 1st Ugly Duckling Abroad encourages you to embark on a daily journey filled with joy, surprises, and the spirit of the season, all from the comfort of your digital devices.

Just like the cherished Advent calendars of yesteryears, our digital version brings a modern twist to the countdown to Christmas.

Behind each virtual door awaits a delightful surprise, carefully curated to sprinkle a bit of holiday enchantment into your daily routine.

Wishing you a season filled with warmth, wonder, and a touch of digital holiday magic!

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Why are Danes so Happy?

When international surveys ask citizens around the world how happy they are with their daily lives and personal circumstances, Denmark always comes in among the top three happiest countries in the world. But what makes the Danes so happy?  Is it the tuition-free access to high-quality education, or the no-fee public health care? Is it the relative lack of crime and corruption, or just plain Danish hygge?

 

According to the World Happiness Report, happiness is closely linked to social equality and community spirit, and Denmark does well on both. Denmark has a high level of equality and a strong sense of common responsibility for social welfare. Even though there are nine major political parties in Denmark, none of them seriously supports dismantling the Danish welfare state. 

 

"I'm happy to pay taxes"

People living in Denmark pay some of the world's highest taxes - up to half of their income. On top of this, Danes pay a 25 % value-added tax on most items, and a tax of up to 150 % on new cars. 

But most Danes will tell you that they are happy to pay taxes because they can see what they get in return. Most healthcare in Denmark is provided with no fee to the patient. University students pay no tuition and receive a grant to help cover expenses while studying. Childcare is subsidised. And the elderly receive pensions and are provided with care helpers who visit them at home. 

Most Danes believe that it is everyone's responsibility to work if they can, and pay taxes to support the common good. If everyone pays their fair share, a social safety net can remain in place to support the very young, the very old, and the sick. The social safety net also supports people who lose their jobs for up to two years while they look for new jobs, although a system is in place to make sure they are actively looking for work.

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The Land of LEGO

Lego - the very word brings a flood of nostalgic memories for many, and for others, it ignites a passionate spark of creativity. These iconic interlocking bricks have captured the hearts and minds of millions around the world, transcending generations and cultures. In this blog post, we'll explore the enduring appeal and magic of LEGO, from its humble beginnings to its profound impact on play, education, and beyond.

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Mortens Aften: A Feast of Tradition

Saint Martin's Day, also known as Mortens Aften in Denmark, is a cherished holiday that commemorates the life of Saint Martin or Martin of Tours. This year, on November 11, 2023, people around the world will celebrate this significant day. But before we delve into the details of this festive occasion, let's first explore the history behind it and the customs associated with Saint Martin's Day.

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In Danes We Trust

In Denmark, trust is the basis of most social interactions as well as business and government. In fact, Danes are considered some of the most trusting people in the world.

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To Be Danish...

To be Danish is like trying to assemble a quirky puzzle, with pieces of culture, history, social norms, and even a dash of language all thrown into the mix. It's a blend that defines the identity of those who proudly consider themselves part of Denmark's family portrait. And in this Danish family album, we've got some cultural traditions that might seem as puzzling as trying to teach a reindeer to dance the tango, but hey, they make perfect sense to Danes!

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Halloween in Denmark

Whether you like it or not, Halloween is here to stay.

 

First of all, when is Halloween 2023?

Halloween consistently falls on October 31st in American and Irish traditions. In these countries, Halloween 2023 is celebrated on October 31st. However, in Denmark, Halloween is observed either on October 31st or on the weekend nearest to October 31st.

 

So, what exactly is Halloween, and why do people celebrate it?

Halloween is a holiday that has captured the imagination of people around the world. Whether you're a fan of dressing up in spooky costumes or prefer to steer clear of the eerie festivities, there's no denying that Halloween is firmly established. But have you ever wondered where this holiday comes from and how it has evolved?

The word "Halloween" itself holds clues to its origins. It derives from "All-Hallows'-Eve," which essentially means "All Saints' Evening." On this special day, all the saints without their own celebration day are commemorated. However, over time, Halloween has become intertwined with the Celtic festival of "Samhain," pronounced as "SOW-in," also known as the Celtic New Year.

Halloween serves as a unique transitional celebration between summer and winter. It's a time to bid farewell to the warmth of summer and welcome the chill of winter. As the summer goes into hibernation, it deserves our thanks with wishes for a fruitful return, comparable to an ancient Thanksgiving feast.

In Norse tradition, which refers to the society and culture of Norway and Iceland from around 800 to 1350, as well as in Celtic folklore, Halloween holds the status of a New Year's celebration. This is why it is consistently observed at the end of October, symbolizing the conclusion of summer and the onset of late autumn, with strong associations with themes of death and rebirth traditions and modern festivities."

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Autumn in Denmark

As summer's warmth gradually yields to the crisp, cool embrace of autumn, Denmark undergoes a breathtaking transformation. The lush green landscapes turn into a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges. Autumn in Denmark is a season of sheer enchantment, where the country's natural beauty takes center stage. In this blog post, we will explore what makes autumn in Denmark so special and why it's a must-visit destination during this time of year.

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Hoptimist, A Natural Mood Enhancer

In the vast world of design, there are creations that catch your eye, and then there are those that capture your heart! The Hoptimist is one such figure that springs into action with a gentle tap, spreading joy, happiness and optimism like a warm hug.


While we can't confirm the exact origin of the term "Hoptimist," it's a reasonable guess that it combines the Danish words "hop" (meaning "jump") and "optimist" (which is the same in Danish); a combination that perfectly captures the essence of this cheerful creation.

 

The Hoptimist isn't just a relic from the past; it remains meaningful and impactful, even if it's seen as quirky and whimsical. It serves as a delightful present for both children and adults, blurring the lines between a toy and a design piece, often becoming a cherished possession that stands the test of time. This concept of an item evolving and resonating with you as you grow older draws inspiration from a Danish tradition rooted in Hans Christian Andersen's literary fairy tales, which were crafted to be read and appreciated in various ways as one progresses through life's stages.

 

The creative genius behind the Hoptimist is Hans Gustav Ehrenreich, who started by experimenting with various objects in his small workshop. Everything he made was unique, from small silverfish to wooden items sourced from around the world. Ehrenreich's innovative spirit led him to create a product characterized by simple yet captivating forms. 

 

Bimble and Bumble represent the very first Hoptimists from Hans Gustav Ehrenreich's workshop. In the spirit of their time, they sport vibrant colors and harmonious, round shapes. Bimble, the charming lady in a dress, boasts smiling eyes, while Bumble, the attentive gentleman, dons an open-eyed expression and a dapper top hat pin atop his head. A simple press on their heads sets them in motion, bobbing up and down as if they're having a hearty laugh. It's wonderfully silly and utterly genuine. It's astonishing how effective they can be at brightening one's spirits. Bumble and Bimble undoubtedly steal the spotlight among the Hoptimist models, although there are also variations like a bird and a frog. 

 

For those seeking a touch of elegance, the "Sort aske" (black ash) series is inspired by Danish and Nordic design with a hint of rawness. These Hoptimists, crafted from dark-colored ash wood, radiate character and distinction. Their classic style is perfect for homes that prioritize quality and durability.

 

At the heart of the Hoptimist company's mission is the goal of bringing smiles to everyone, regardless of age or circumstance. The company sponsors local initiatives like the soccer team, Team Rynkeby, and supports the Danish hospital clowns who bring smiles to the faces of sick children in hospitals.

 

In a world that could use a bit more positivity, the Hoptimist reminds us that even the simplest things can bring joy. So, whether you're a design enthusiast, a gift-giver, or just need a reason to smile, consider welcoming a Hoptimist into your life. It's more than just a design icon; it's a timeless symbol of happiness and optimism, crafted with care and cherished by generations worldwide. With Hoptimists available for every occasion, you'll always have a reason to spread joy and positivity.

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Sarcasm 101: A Guide to Understanding the Art of Danish Irony

Denmark, a land of picturesque landscapes, stunning architecture, and cheerful people, also boasts a unique sense of humor that can leave newcomers scratching their heads. If you've ever encountered a Dane delivering a seemingly serious comment that turns out to be dripping with sarcasm, you're not alone. Welcome to the world of Danish sarcasm and irony, where words are often the opposite of what they seem.

 

The Danish Twist on Humor

Danes are known for their dry, understated humor and their love for a good dose of irony. It's a form of wit that's deeply ingrained in Danish culture and daily life. So, what exactly is Danish irony, and why is it so prevalent?

 

Danish Irony: Saying One Thing, Meaning Another

At its core, Danish irony involves saying something with an underlying, often opposite, meaning. It's the art of expressing one's thoughts or feelings through subtle humor rather than stating them directly. This can be a bit perplexing for newcomers, especially when you're trying to understand whether the Dane in front of you is joking or not.

 

Examples from Everyday Life

Let's dive into some everyday situations where you might encounter Danish sarcasm and irony:

1. The Weather:

You ask a Dane how they're enjoying the sunny day, and they respond with a deadpan expression, "Oh, it's just lovely," even if it's pouring rain. In Denmark, talking about the weather is a national pastime, and a touch of irony is almost mandatory.

 

2. Compliments:

You receive a compliment from a Danish friend, like "You're not completely terrible at cooking." Before you feel offended, remember that this is Danish humor at play. They're often showing affection through a humorous lens.

 

3. Workplace Banter:

At the office, a Danish colleague might say, "Great idea, let's definitely do that," with a subtle eye roll. This could be a way of expressing skepticism without being confrontational.

 

Navigating Danish Sarcasm

Now that we've explored some examples of Danish irony, let's talk about how to navigate this unique form of humor:

1. Pay Attention to Tone:

Tone of voice and facial expressions are key indicators. If the tone seems overly serious, it's likely sarcasm.

 

2. Context Matters:

Consider the context of the conversation. If the statement seems too absurd or contradictory to be true, it's probably irony.

 

3. Join the Banter:

Embrace the humor and respond in kind. Don't be afraid to engage in witty banter with Danes—it's all part of the fun.

 

Cracking the code of Danish sarcasm and irony may take some time, but it's an enjoyable journey into the heart of Danish culture. Embrace the wit, go with the flow, and remember that it's all in good fun.

So, the next time a Dane tells you that Danish summer weather is positively delightful, you'll know they're just adding a touch of irony to brighten your day.

 

Happy joking, and remember that humor knows no borders, even when it's as dry as the Danish summer!

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Hidden Gems in Denmark

Denmark is known for its rich history, beautiful landscapes, and unique cultural attractions. While many of its attractions are well-known, there are also some hidden gems that might not be as widely recognized by tourists. Here are a few of them...

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Janteloven: Denmark's Sneakily Ingenious Guide to Mediocrity

Greetings, dear readers! Today, we embark on a new journey to the land of hygge, bicycles, and smørrebrød.

But hold on tight, because we're about to explore a quirky Scandinavian concept that could make even the most self-assured individual question their place in the world. 

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the Danish Janteloven – the unwritten rulebook for embracing your inner average Joe!

Now, imagine a place where everyone strives to be… well, kind of okay. Forget the global race for excellence and self-improvement; in Denmark, they have their very own playbook for mediocrity – and it’s called Janteloven. Don't worry if you haven't heard of it; you're not alone. The Danes have been keeping this humorous yet baffling gem a secret for ages.

 

Janteloven, or "The Law of Jante," was first coined by Danish-Norwegian author Aksel Sandemose in his 1933 novel "A Fugitive Crosses His Tracks." The story is about a boy who grows up in the fictional provincial town of Jante in the 20th century, where the inhabitants are so petty that they must be unusually modest to avoid each other's envy. Janteloven is essentially a set of ten tongue-in-cheek commandments designed to encourage folks to blend into the background like a well-mixed cocktail. Let’s break it down, shall we?

 

1. You shall not think you are anything special.

In other words, leave your dreams of becoming the next international superstar at the door. You're not Beyoncé; you're just a Dane in a sea of bicycles.

 

2. You shall not think you are as good as us.

Remember, your accomplishments are cool and all, but they're nothing compared to the guy who biked to work during a blizzard while eating smørrebrød.

 

3. You shall not think you are smarter than us.

Sure, you might have a PhD in astrophysics, but can you pronounce "rødgrød med fløde" correctly? Didn't think so.

 

4. You shall not convince yourself that you are better than us.

Even if you can recite Hamlet backwards while juggling meatballs, you're still not getting a superior status.

 

5. You shall not think you know more than us.

Your Wikipedia rabbit holes are adorable, but the Danish Janteloven knows that true wisdom lies in nodding politely while discussing the weather.

 

6. You shall not think you are more important than us.

CEO? Nobel Prize winner? Sorry, but Denmark's population of humble bakers and artisanal cheese enthusiasts would like a word.

 

7. You shall not think you are good at anything.

Oh, you won the national pastry competition? That's nice, dear. But can you assemble a LEGO set without instructions?

 

8. You shall not laugh at us.

It's not polite to snicker at the collective love for chunky knit sweaters and decorative porcelain ducks.

 

9. You shall not think anyone cares about you.

Your dog might adore you, but in the grand scheme of Danish life, you're just a background character in the epic saga of Nordic coziness.

 

10. You shall not think you can teach us anything.

Danish innovation brought us LEGO and hygge; what more could the world possibly need?

 

Now, you might be thinking, "Is this for real?" Well, yes and no. The Janteloven has seeped into Danish culture in various ways, shaping the Scandinavian mindset to appreciate modesty and equality. However, it's also important to note that the Danes don't take it too seriously. In fact, they often poke fun at themselves for adhering to these rules in a way that only they can.

 

So there you have it – the Danish Janteloven, where being delightfully average is the name of the game. The next time you find yourself striving for the stars, just remember the wise words of Jante: "Why reach for the stars when you can settle for a cozy candlelit dinner and a nice cup of coffee?"

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Hygge, The Art of Coziness

We'd love to share with you the enchanting world of Danish hygge – a concept that has the power to offer a wonderful escape from our fast-paced lives and bring so much comfort.

 

Hygge is more than a word; it's a way of living that revolves around creating an inviting, cozy atmosphere, finding happiness in life's simple pleasures, and nurturing meaningful connections with our loved ones.

 

At the heart of hygge lies the art of making our homes cozy and warm. Danish homes are beautifully adorned with soft, gentle lighting that immediately creates a sense of calm, luxurious blankets that invite you to relax, and the soft, flickering light of candles that add an air of intimacy and serenity. Just think about the possibility of transforming your living space into a haven of relaxation and comfort.

 

Surrounding yourself with warm, cozy lighting, layering textures with soft fabrics, and bringing elements of nature indoors through potted plants or fresh flowers – all of this contributes to the hygge experience. This ambiance not only helps you unwind from the stresses of the day but also brings a sense of solace.

 

Imagine crafting your very own hygge-inspired haven, where every detail contributes to a feeling of tranquility and contentment. It's a concept that holds a lot of appeal and can truly make a difference in our lives.

 

Want to know more? Here's an article about Hygge.

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Let's Talk About the Weather

Denmark, that picturesque Scandinavian jewel, has a lot more to offer than just stunning landscapes and rich history. One thing that defines the Danish experience is its unique weather patterns. Nestled between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, Denmark's climate is like no other. Let's take a closer look at what makes Danish weather tick, how it affects daily life, and the challenges it brings.

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Quirky Danish Expressions Decoded, Part 3

How'd you like the first two parts? Don't worry, there's enough weird and wonderful Danish expressions to fill a bucket full of holes! These expressions might not have a direct translation in English or any other language, yet they encapsulate sentiments, concepts, and cultural insights that resonate universally.

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Quirky Danish Expressions Decoded, Part 2

How'd you like the first part? Ready for some more weird and wonderful Danish expressions. These expressions might not have a direct translation in English or any other language, yet they encapsulate sentiments, concepts, and cultural insights that resonate universally. Not to worry: Part 3 will follow very soon...

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Quirky Danish Expressions Decoded, Part 1

It's time for some fun!

It is said that 'The Danish Language is a Weird One'! In this blog post, we're embarking on a linguistic journey to uncover the delightful world of weird and wonderful Danish expressions; expressions that might not have a direct translation in English or any other language for that matter, yet they encapsulate sentiments, concepts, and cultural insights that resonate universally.

Can't wait to see your comments on this one...

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Who's your Grandparent now!

The Heartwarming Danish Grandparent Naming Tradition: A Unique Kinship Terminology

In Denmark, a beautiful tradition reflects not just family ties but also a unique linguistic distinction. The Danish grandparent naming convention, rooted in the concept of "kinship terminology," holds a charming significance.

 

The Danish words for "mother" and "father" are "mor" and "far" respectively. From these simple foundations, the naming tradition unfolds seamlessly. Referring to a grandmother on the mother's side, a child uses "Mormor," where "mor" represents mother, and "mormor" means "mother's mother." Similarly, "Morfar" is used for the grandfather on the mother's side, with "far" signifying father. This succinct nomenclature eloquently encapsulates unique relationships and familial roles.

 

On the paternal side, the tradition continues to shine. A grandmother on the father's side is known as "Farmor," while the grandfather is "Farfar."

 

The Danish words "far" and "mor" work harmoniously to create these titles, preserving family connections with simplicity and grace.

 

This practice distinguishes Danish from languages that use the same term for both grandmothers and grandfathers. It doesn't merely convey relationships; it celebrates each grandparent's individual role, honoring bonds with grandchildren.

 

The Danish grandparent naming tradition reflects the importance of family, weaving generations together through language, history, and love. For Danish children, these terms aren't just words; they're a window into cherished memories and shared experiences.

 

Remember this Danish tradition, where simple words weave a tapestry of family. It reminds us that meaningful connections are often found in the simplest terms.

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Tour de France Celebration in Tivoli

For all you lucky people currently in Copenhagen:

Tivoli hosts a celebration of Jonas Vingegaard and the Danish Tour de France riders…

 

Wednesday 26th of July, 16:00 @ Plænen

"Celebrating the Danish cycling heroes

The Danish cycling heroes and especially Jonas Vingegaard, should be honoured for their achievements, excitement, unity and for once again showing that Denmark is a true cycling nation. We'll be doing this on Wednesday 26 July in Tivoli Gardens, and we hope you'll join us. All you need is your Tivoli card or an entrance ticket to join the party.

 

Follow the riders on the big screen

As soon as the Garden opens at 11.00 am, you can get in and secure the best seat. We'll be showing the live broadcast from TV2, so you can follow the celebrations on the streets of Copenhagen and Rådhuspladsen - right up until they arrive at Tivoli Gardens.

 

Big celebration on the lawn

Harlequin and Columbine will lead the way with Pierrot cycling on the yellow cargo bike when Jonas Vingegaard and the other Danish cycling heroes are driven in Line 8 from Tivoli's main entrance to Plænen, where the programme starts at 16:15.
Stine Bjerre invites Vingegaard and other Danish cyclists to the Lawn for a chat about this summer's fantastic achievements. The programme will also include speeches, sing-alongs and music from Scarlet Pleasure.

We look forward to honouring the cycling heroes with you and bringing an end to a fantastic month of cycling.

Please note that entry is on a first-come, first-served basis and that filming will take place" 

 

The program and message above is from Tivoli; please note that updates to the program will be posted on the Tivoli website:

https://www.tivoli.dk/da/kultur-og-program/program/2023/tourfejringitivoli2023 

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Delicious Danish Food

Denmark is known for its delectable cuisine that combines traditional flavors with modern culinary techniques. Here are some dishes you should definitely try when visiting Denmark.

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10 Places to Visit in Denmark

Denmark offers a wealth of beautiful destinations to explore. Here are 10 places you should not miss when in Denmark, including easy link to finding a place to stay (in collaboration with Booking.com):

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Welcome to UglyDucklingAbroad

As a proud native of Denmark, born and raised in this Scandinavian gem's idyllic landscapes and charming streets, my heart beats to the rhythm of Denmark.

But life took me on a different path, leading me to a new chapter in a foreign land. While I've embraced the adventures and experiences that living abroad has offered, a part of me always yearns for the familiar embrace of Denmark.

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