Randers Ramblings

Posted on 31. Oct, 2014 by in Geography, History, Tourism


Niels Ebbesen in Randers. (Photo courtesy of storebukkebruse at Flickr.)

Randers [RANNors] is a by (town, city) in Nordøstjylland (North Eastern Jutland), between the cities of Århus and Aalborg. This efterår (Autumn/Fall), I got a bit of work up there. I must say I’ve fallen in love with the city!

Randers lies next to Gudenåen, the only å (stream) in Denmark that’s wide enough to be considered a flod (river). It’s also very close to Djursland, Jyllands næse (Jutland’s ”nose”), which is as wild and hilly as it possibly gets in Denmark. For some reason, the Randers area is called Kronjylland (Crown Jutland). The locals I asked, didn’t know why.

What really attracts me is stemningen (the mood, the atmosphere). There are several gågader (pedestrian ways, literally ’walk-streets’), winding past little torve (squares) and kirker (churches). The streets are lined by small butikker (shops), cafeer (cafés) and gallerier (art galleries). Many of the bygninger (buildings) are nicely decorated with small figures etc. People seem to be less stressed than in Copenhagen or Århus, strolling through the gader (streets) as in an old movie.

All of a sudden, you leave the narrow streets and find yourself in a broad, sloping avenue [aveNEE], with plenty of air to breathe. It gave me a really ”French” feeling when I first saw it. :-) In the middle of the avenue you’ll find the biggest horse-without-a-rider you’ve ever seen: Den jyske Hingst (the Jutlandic stallion) by the sculptress Helen Schou.

Historically, Randers was known for its production of handsker (gloves) and reb (rope). A classic reklame (ad) had the text Hæng Dem ikke i Bagateller, brug Randers Reb! (”Don’t make a fuss over trifles, use rope from Randers!” This is a wordplay on ”hæng Dem ikke” – don’t hang yourself – and ”hæng Dem ikke i bagateller” – don’t worry about trivialities.)

Randers is also the home of Niels Ebbesen, who in 1340 became a national helt (hero) for killing a German greve (count) who had invaded Jutland with his hær (army). There’s a statue of Niels Ebbesen next to one of the churches.


One of the domes of Randers Regnskov, as seen from afar. (Photo courtesy of Malene Thyssen at Wikimedia Commons.)

Finally, Randers is a famous destination for børnefamilier (children’s families), who go to see Randers Regnskov (Randers Rainforest). In the cold Danish winter you can enter these domes, and all of a sudden you find yourself in the company of tropical planter og dyr (plants and animals)…


Posted on 27. Oct, 2014 by in Slang, Vocabulary

veryTo say something is ”very something”, the ordinary Danish word to use is meget:

Du ser meget glad og tilfreds ud. You look really happy and content.

Jeg er meget overrasket! I’m very surprised!

This word sounds nothing like it’s written. It’s usually pronounced [maath], somehow rhyming with the first syllable of the English word rather. If you watch tv in Denmark and hear a politician saying Det’ [maamaath] vigtigt, she’s really just saying Det er meget, meget vigtigt. (It’s really, really important.)

The language spoken in the streets of Denmark has a lot of ways to express the idea of very. Many young people say mega [MEHgah]: Det er bare mega irriterende. (That’s just ’mega’ irritating. – It’s often written as two words since mega has an independent stress and can be seen as an adjective here.) If you think this is just another international ”bug” in Danish, well, look how closely it also resembles the good ol’ word meget;-)

There are a lot of other slang words like this. Some have been in the language for a while (and are at least a bit accepted):

smadder- • Du er smaddersød. (You’re very/so cute. This is already a bit old-fashioned.)

skrup- • Han er skrupskør. (He’s totally crazy.)

kanon- • Det smagte kanonlækkert! (It tasted ”canonically” delicious!)

død- • Jeg synes hun er dødsmuk. (I think she’s ”deadly” beautiful.)

Others are quite recent and are mostly used by youngsters:

super • Det er super ærgerligt. (That’s ’super’ annoying.)

herre- • Filmen var herregrineren. (The movie was very fun. – Litterally: The movie was ’lord-ishly’ ’laughter-ish’.)

A few are based on swear words – some people might get offended, so I recommend not using these too often! :-)

skide • Vi havde det skide hyggeligt. (We were enjoying ourselves very much. Literally: We had it hyggeligt like sh*t.)

pisse • Det er pisse ligegyldigt. (That doesn’t matter at all. Literally: That’s indifferent like p*ss.)

Here we also find the f-ing word, taken directly from English, but used without the sexual meaning in Denmark (it’s just a ”bad word” used to intensify a meaning).

Finally, a handful of words have their very own ”very prefixes” that are normally not used in front of other words:

pæredansk • (very Danish, literally ”Danish like a pear”).

Ardent Love in Two Languages

Posted on 30. Sep, 2014 by in Food


Brændende kærlighed. (Photo courtesy of Thomas Angermann at Flickr. Licensed under Creative-Commons.)

A classic of det danske køkken (Danish cuisine) is brændende kærlighed, which translates as ”ardent love” or ”burning love”. It is basically an elaborate version of kartoffelmos (mashed potatoes). A little ”love” is added, typically in the shape of bacon…






Brændende kærlighed

4 pers.

1 portion kartoffelmos (se under)

300 g svinebryst eller røget bacon i tern
2 løg
Pynt: evt. klippet purløg

Steg flæsk eller bacon sprød på en pande. Skær løgene i tern og steg dem møre i det afsmeltede fedt. Fordel blandingen over kartoffelmosen. Pynt evt. med klippet purløg.
Server hertil: Syltede agurker eller asier samt solbærsyltetøj.


4 pers.

ca. ¾ kg store, melede kartofler
35-50 g smør
ca. 3 dl kogende mælk
salt og peber, evt. muskat
evt. hakket persille, purløg eller dild

Skræl kartoflerne og skær dem i mindre stykker. Kog dem møre i vand uden salt og damp dem derefter omhyggeligt, før de moses med kartoffelmoser, et solidt piskeris eller en purépresse.
Kom mosen i gryden med fedststoffet. Pisk den kogende mælk i, lidt ad gangen, til kartoffelmosen har en passende konsistens. Varm den igennem under kraftig piskning, og når den er let og varm, smages den til med salt og peber. Evt. drysses hakket persille, purløg eller dild over anretningen.
I stedet for at bruge persille, purløg eller dild, kan man tilsætte kartoffelmosen andre hakkede krydderurter, hakket spinat eller grønkål eller en koncentreret tomatpuré.

Ardent love

4 persons

1 portion of mashed potatoes (see below)

300 grams of pork brisket or smoked bacon in cubes
2 onions
Decoration: if convenient, clipped chives

Stir-fry pork or bacon in a pan until crisp. Cut the onions into cubes and fry them tender in the rendered fat. Distribute the mix onto the mash. If convenient, decorate with clipped chives.
Served with: Pickled cucumbers or pickled large cucumbers and black currant jam.

Mashed potatoes

4 persons

roughly ¾ kg of big, mealy potatoes
35-50 grams of butter
roughly 3 decilitres of boiling milk
salt and peppe; if convenient, nutmeg
if convenient, clipped parsley, chives or dill

Peel the potatoes and cut them into smaller pieces. Boil them tender in water without salt and steam them carefully afterwards, before mashing them with a potato masher, a solid whip or a purée press.
Put the mash into the pot with the fat. Whip the boiling milk, little by little, until the mash has a suitable consistency. Heat it through while vigorously whipping it. When it is light and hot, add salt and pepper to taste. If necessary, sprinkle chopped parsley, chives or dill onto the collation.
Instead of parsley, chives or dill, one may add to the mash other chopped spices, chopped spinach or borecole or a concentrated tomato purée.


Adapted from two different recipes from the Danish classic cookery book ”Frøken Jensens Kogebog”