Summer Cleaning

Posted on 30. Jun, 2015 by in Daily Life, Vocabulary

(Photo by Lory Lindner at Flickr, CC License.)

(Photo by Lory Lindner at Flickr, CC License.)

Så skal der gøres rent! (Then it’s time to clean up!) If you’re anything like me, you’d rather do overspringshandlinger (”procrastination actions”)… The støv (dust) and the snavs [snaoos] (dirt), unfortunately, don’t automatically disappear… Here are some words and phrases to help you keep everything clean in Danish:


Vasketøj (laundry)

Har I en vaskemaskine/et sted vi kan vaske tøj? (Have you got a washing machine/somewhere we can clean our clothes?)

Der er et møntvaskeri i kælderen. (There is a laundromat/launderette in the cellar.)

vaskepulver, skyllemiddel, tørresnor, tørretumbler (washing powder, rinse aid, clothes-line, tumbler drier)

I kan bare hænge tøjet udenfor. (You can just hang the clothes outside.)


Dig (you)

Jeg trænger til et brusebad. (I need a shower.)

Hvordan regulerer man temperaturen? (How do you regulate the temperature?)

Må jeg låne noget shampoo [shahm-poh] af dig? (Can I borrow some shampoo from you?)

varmt vand, koldt vand, sæbe, håndklæde, tandbørste, tandpasta (hot water, cold water, soap, towel, toothbrush, toothpaste)

Har du børstet tænder? (Have you brushed your teeth?)


Huset (the house)

Hvor er støvsugeren? (Where’s the vacuum cleaner?)

Okay, jeg tager wc’et, så vasker du køkkenet. (Okay, I’ll take the loo, then you clean the kitchen.)

Skal vi også vaske vinduerne? (Are we going to clean the windows as well?)

kost, fejebakke, klud, rengøringsmiddel, børste, opvaskemaskine (broom, dustpan, cloth, cleanser, brush, dishwasher)


Bilen/cyklen (the car/the bike)

Vi tager bilen med til bilvask/mekaniker. (Let’s take the car to a carwash/mechanic.)

Der skal luft i dækkene. (The tyres need air.)

Kæden skal have olie. (The chain needs oil.)

spand, svamp, haveslange (bucket, sponge, garden hose)


På festival (at [a typical, Danish summer] festival)

Something is brewing in the state of Denmark

Posted on 12. Jun, 2015 by in Politics

”Left” and ”right”! The parties SF and Venstre on typical election posters.

”Left” and ”right”! The parties SF and Venstre on typical election posters. (Photo by Bjørn A. Bojesen.)

If you’re visiting Danmark these days, you’ll probably notice two things: 1. Vejret er dejligt [vare-eth ar die-leet] (the weather is nice/lovely). 2. Gaderne er fulde af valgplakater. (The streets are full of election posters.)

On May 27th, plakatophængerne (the poster ”hangers”) hurried to put up huge photos of politikere (politicians) all over the country. Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the Danish statsminister (prime minister), had just announced the date for valget [valyeth] (the election): 18. juni. What’s it all about?

• in Denmark, each regering (government) has a period of 4 years. Before that time is up, the PM has to udskrive valg (call an election).

• in folketingsvalget (the general election), 179 people are elected to occupy the seats at Folketinget (the Danish Parliament) in Copenhagen

stemmerne (the votes) decide how much influence the various partier (parties) will get, and who will be the next statsminister

Traditionally, there are two political blokke (”blocks”) in Denmark – rød blok (red block) is ”left wing” (a bit more socialist), while blå blok (blue block) is ”right wing” (a bit more conservative or liberal). The current ”red” PM (from the party Socialdemokraterne) is challenged by the ”blue” Lars Løkke (from the party Venstre). (Løkke used to be PM, but he’s also been accused of spending his party’s money to buy things for himself, so he’s a bit controversial!)

On a Danish stemmeseddel (ballot paper), each party has its own letter code. Here are the Danish parties, from venstre (left) to højre (right):

RØD BLOK: Enhedslisten (The Unity List; letter code Ø), SF = Socialistisk Folkeparti (Socialistic Popular Party; F), Socialdemokraterne (The Social Democrats; A), Det Radikale Venstre (The Radical Left; B) – BLÅ BLOK: Liberal Alliance (Liberal Alliance; I), Venstre (Left; V), Det Konservative Folkeparti (The Conservative Popular Party; C), Dansk Folkeparti (Danish Popular Party; O).

Helle Thorning-Schmidt (photo from Wikimedia Commons, CC License)

Helle Thorning-Schmidt (photo from Wikimedia Commons, CC License)

I won’t bother you with all the details. :-) It must suffice to say that Danish elections have often been a battle between Socialdemokraterne (the traditional party for workers) and Venstre (the traditional party for farmers – confusing that a ”right wing” party is called Left, don’t you think?)

Lars Løkke (photo from Wikimedia Commons, CC License)

Lars Løkke (photo from Wikimedia Commons, CC License)

Whether or not you’ve watched the Danish tv serial Borgen (”The Fortress”) – which is broadcast in the UK – you probably know that politikere love talking… The ”talk of the town” in Denmark is often skat (taxes), indvandring (immigration) and how (not) to help de arbejdsløse (the unemployed). Dansk Folkeparti has become popular among Danes who want less immigration. (Unfortunately, the debate has often been very ugly!)


This year’s valg is quite exciting, as there is a brand new party on board – Alternativet (The Alternative; letter code Å). I talked to Peter Christensen, who’s a party member:

A poster for the new party Alternativet. The sign says: ”100 % renewable energy.” (Disclaimer: This is not a political blog; Alternativet is covered more in depth because it is something new.)

A poster for the new party Alternativet. The sign says: ”100 % renewable energy.” (Disclaimer: This is not a political blog; Alternativet is covered more in depth because it is something new.)

What is Alternativet?

Alternativet is a political movement where everything comes nedefra (from the bottom). We forge our ideas and positions at politiske laboratorier (political labs) where all kinds of people are invited to participate, all over the country. It’s a bit like open-source software.

Is it a ”left wing” or a ”right wing” party?

We don’t want to place ourselves in any ”block”. We’re against that kind of static thinking. Alternativet is a dynamic party. We’ll cooperate with those people who support our ideas.

What does Alternativet want?

Our three main goals are ecological, social and economic bæredygtighed (sustainability).

How to spot a Danish chicken

Posted on 20. May, 2015 by in Denmark and the World, Design, Food, Society

Reklamer (ads) can be a great way of picking up ord og udtryk (words and expressions). Very often, you also learn something about kulturen (the culture). This is particularly true in Danmark, I think. Ads here very often use humor or ironi or ordspil (word-play) – remember the movie about buspassageren (the bus passenger)?

The following three plakater (posters) were hanging at a banegård (train station). I think they illustrate danskhed (Danishness) in a really nice way. The product they’re trying at sælge (to sell) is kylling (chicken) from the firm Dansk Kylling. Many Danes don’t trust the quality of kød (meat) from other EU-lande (EU countries), so the name and the ads pander a bit to that fear. Of course, you can also look positively at it: People may want to support local landmænd (farmers). There is even the issue of salmonella, a grisly virus that keeps popping up in food stuff like eggs and chicken. If it’s dansk it must be safe, that seems to be the message! :-)

Hvordan ved man om en kylling er dansk? (How do you know if a chicken is Danish?)

IMG_25531. Tjek om den åbner døren i badesandaler. (See if it opens the door wearing slippers.) Danes are notorious for their informality; in fact a survey once found the Danes to be the most casually dressed people in the EU!

IMG_25511. Hvis den går til 1. maj og er lidt i tvivl om hvorfor. (If it goes to a May 1st [rally] and is a bit in doubt as to why [it does it].) Denmark has a strong workers union tradition. The thing is, however, that nowadays most Danes live really nice lives and have only small ”first-world problems”. So, people go to the ”socialist day” of May 1st to enjoy themselves and drink øl

IMG_25521. Spørg hvor den var den 26. juni 1992. (Ask where it was on June 26th, 1992.) As every fodboldfan (football/soccer fan) knows, this was the date when Denmark beat Tyskland (Germany), becoming European Football Champion for the first time ever. The supporter, of course, is wearing a klaphat.

Okay, when you’re done with step 1., the ad asks you to

2. Tjek om emballagen i supermarkedet er mærket ”dansk kylling”. (Check if the packing in the supermarket is marked with ”Danish Chicken”).