Danish Language Blog

Danes and Cold Water Posted by on Nov 30, 2021 in Sports

(Photo by Szabolcs Molnar from Pixabay; no copyright.)

Danes just can’t stay away from vandet (the water) – even with temperatures approaching frysepunktet (the freezing point), they jump into havet (the sea)…

Vil du med ud at vinterbade? (Wanna go ”winter-bathing”?) The last few years, the Danes’ interest in vinterbadning (winter bathing) has just exploded. For example, there were 25.000 organised vinterbadere (winter bathers) in 2011. Today there’s more than 60.000! And that’s just klubmedlemmer (members of a klub) – in my experience, lots of people take the icy plunge without being in a club…

Why would anybody want at nedsænke kroppen i iskoldt vand (to submerge their body in icy cold water)? Well, for most people it’s only a matter of seconds. Then you rush up again from the sea, with dripping hair and gåsehud (gooseflesh), and speed into the sauna [saoo-nah]. And you’re really happy the Finns invented such a dejligt varmt rum (deliciously warm room)!

(Picture by S. B. from Pixabay; no copyright.)

”Ved du hvem jeg mødte i vinterbadet?” (Do you know who I met in the winter bath?) For thousands of Danes, vinterbadning is not only about cleansing the pores of your skin – it’s a way to meet venner (friends) and have det sjovt (have fun). After your shared kuldechok [KULLehshok] (cold shock), conversations flow quite naturally in the sauna.

Nøgenbadning (nude bathing): No, you don’t have to swim nøgen (naked) – there are clubs both for skinny-dippers and for those who feel more comfortable wearing badetøj (swimwear). But yes, in Denmark people generally seem to be less afraid of nudity than in countries such as the U.S., and you can certainly find Danish saunas where kvinder og mænd i alle aldre (women and men of all ages) couldn’t care less that nobody is clothed.

I don’t know a lot about the health aspect, but it seems like people who regularly vinterbader (go winter-bathing) are less syge (ill). Og man bliver i godt humør (and you’re put in a good mood) – which is essential to get through the dark Danish winter. Spring ahoy!

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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.