Danish Language Blog

Danish Cabin Fever Posted by on Apr 30, 2020 in Uncategorized

As frequent island-dwellers Danes have their own concept of cabin fever: økuller. (Image courtesy of Tanja Schwarz-Krapp at Pixabay.)

Hvordan går det? (How are you doing?) A lot of people in Denmark are currently suffering from coronakuller, the Danish equivalent of cabin fever! Of course, this is caused by the worldwide pandemic, which makes people stay hjemme [yemmeh]. Let’s get our heads out of that cabin! 🙂

Truth be told, Danes are notorious homebodies (so fond of their hjem, homes, that they even give them names)… Friends from other cultures have sometimes asked me: Where are all the Danes? Well, now there are more opportunities than ever for indoor hygge. Still, even for hygge hardliners, just staying inden for hjemmets fire vægge (within the four walls of the home) may drive dig til vanvid (drive you nuts, literally ’to lunacy’). Maybe you keder dig (feel bored), lider af hudsult (suffer from ”skin hunger” = lack of touch) or savner familie og venner (miss family and friends)…

In Denmark, people have a long tradition of feeling isolated on small islands… (And remember, during winter, the Danish  archipelago isn’t exactly the Caribbean!) The dizzy, antisocial mindset that this creates is called økuller. (My dictionary translates kuller as ’tantrum’, which must be an approximation…) And of course, due to corona, people have started talking about coronakuller. Another word, based on the English expression, is kahytfeber (cabin fever).

As I’ve got to understand, one of the best tricks to combat kuller and isolation [eessohlaSHOHN] is creating rutiner (routines) for yourself – and of course to talk as much as possible with andre mennesker (other people) online and across the hedge. Here’s a routine for you: Every morning at 10 pm, study Danish for 1 hour! 🙂 And then, every evening, revise what you’ve learnt.

Here are a few other aktiviteter (activities) to stop life from being too ensformig (monotonous) i denne coronatid (in this corona period):

gå en tur (go for a walk). In Denmark, the lockdown doesn’t mean you can’t go hiking or biking. Although the country is humble, there are plenty of forests, beaches and fields where maintaining social afstand (social distancing) is a breeze. 🙂

få en ny hobby (get a new hobby). Now is the time to start blogging, paint a beautiful landskab (landscape), become a kickboxing pro in your basement or test all opskrifterne (the recipes) you’ve got floating around in your kitchen…

• stream lots of Danish films and songs to really get the language into your mind. (Remember, Danish pronunciation is only difficult until you get used to it – then it will feel perfectly natural!) Unfortunately, the main Danish TV station DR most often blocks their online shows for viewers from outside Denmark, but there’s plenty of stuff available at sites like YouTube – such as the film Upstairs with English subtitles, or the semi-classic pop song De Første Kærester på Månen (The First Lovers on the Moon).

How do you stay healthy during lockdown? Share with the other readers in the comments section! 🙂

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About the Author: Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.


  1. Javier:

    Hi Bjørn,
    Just a note to say I really enjoy reading your posts. Always interesting to see how languages adapt to new scenarios.
    Thank you!!
    All the best

    • Bjørn A. Bojesen:

      @Javier Hi Javier,
      thanks a lot for your note; it means a lot to get feedback! 🙂
      kind regards, Bjørn