Spring in Denmark

Simple Danish Newsletter #14

Hi friends,

As I am writing this newsletter, I am standing in our kitchen working hard on a batch of pancakes (pandekager). I might have made too many, if there is such a thing as too many pancakes.

Spring has arrived in Denmark with full force, and so as I look out the window of our kitchen, I thought, why not share a bit about what spring is like in Denmark (and how Danes go crazy at the first sight of the sun).

I’ll first write a text about spring in English, and then I’ll write the same text below in Danish:

Spring in Denmark
Spring in Denmark is one of my favourite seasons. I don’t always notice that spring is here right away – but one of the first signs I notice is that I have way more energy all of a sudden. I think it has to do with the fact that it is no longer dark when I cycle to work and dark when I cycle back home.

The next thing I notice is the early flowers, like the snowdrops and the Winther aconites. Then comes the first green buds on the trees and the bushes, and suddenly you find yourself surrounded by more green than brown. This light green color is one of my favourites, and for me it is synonymous with spring.

It is not only the flowers that come out in Spring, the Danes do too. At the first sign of sunshine, you’ll see them outside in t-shirts and shorts, living life as if it was already summer.

You’ll see them at cafés, out running, walking around with their take-away coffees or out for beers. The spots in the sun are always the first to go.

The urge to leave work early becomes much, much stronger. The cherry trees start to blossom, and in the countryside, the rapeseed that was planted in the winter show up as yellow flowers on the fields.

The birds start chirping, and I highly recommend you take a trip to the forest where the beech trees are starting to grow leaves.

Spring in Denmark can feel a lot like the whole country comes out of hibernation.

Forår i Danmark:

Forår i Danmark er en af mine yndlings årstider. Jeg lægger ikke altid mærke til at foråret er kommet med det samme – men en af de første ting jeg lægger mærke til, er at jeg pludselig har meget mere energi. Jeg tror, det har noget at gøre med, at det ikke længere er mørkt, når jeg cykler på arbejde, og mørkt når jeg cykler hjem igen.

Det næste jeg lægger mærke til er de første blomster, som Vintergækker og Erantis, der blomstrer. Så kommer de første grønne knopper på træerne og buskene, og pludselig finder du dig selv omgivet af mere grønt end brunt. Denne lysegrønne farve er en af mine favoritter, og for mig er den synonym med forår.

Det er ikke kun blomsterne, der dukker op om foråret, det gør danskerne også. Ved det første tegn på solskin ser du dem udenfor i t-shirts og shorts, og de lever livet, som om det allerede var sommer.

Du ser dem på caféer, ude at løbeture, gående rundt med deres take-away kaffe eller ude at drikke øl. Pladserne i solen er altid de første, der bliver taget.

Trangen til at gå tidligt fra arbejde bliver meget, meget stærkere. Kirsebærtræerne begynder at blomstre, og ude på landet dukker rapsen, der blev sået om vinteren, op som gule blomster på markerne.

Fuglene begynder at kvidre, og jeg kan varmt anbefale dig at tage en tur til skoven, hvor bøgetræerne begynder at få blade.

Forår i Danmark kan føles meget som om, at hele landet vågner af fra vinterhi.

❤️ Our Favourite things

My all time favourite Danish TV-show: Frank og Kastaniegården (Bonderøven)

This is, by far, my all-time favourite Danish TV-show. I think, Frank og Kastaniegården is a hidden Danish gem. If you, like me, like gardening, construction, simple living, and history, then you are going to like this show a lot.

It used to be called Bonderøven (meaning, a country-bumpkin or hill-billy of some sorts), but it was changed to Frank og Kastaniegården.

In the show, you follow Frank, an immensely curious and knowledgeable Farmer, and his family on their farm, Kastaniegården. However, Frank is unique in the sense that he does his farming without the use of any modern equipment. We are not talking stone-age techniques, and he still has a car, but traditional farming, building, and cooking techniques from the pre-industrial era. It is very calming to watch, you learn a lot, and it makes me want to drop off the earth and live off the land. The show has been continuously running since 2008, so there’s quite a few episodes to catch up on. You can watch it on dr.dk/tv here, but you’ll need a VPN if you are outside Denmark.

Community member we are following: Nearly Danish Dame

Brooke, an American living in Denmark, shares stories from her life, Danish expressions she likes, and much more on her instagram account; Nearly Danish Dame. She is worth a follow, and she is quite good at digging up interesting Danish words, or pointing out differences between life in the US and Denmark.

Idiom of the week: En heldig kartoffel

Literally, a lucky potato. If someone is especially lucky, in Danish ,you can call them a lucky potato. As far as I can read, the expression comes from an old sailors game, where you would pass a potato around in a circle, and a person in the middle would try to catch it. If the person in the middle could not catch the potato, it was said to be a lucky potato.

For example: A: Jeg har fri på fredag, så jeg kan nyde det gode vejr.

B: Din heldige kartoffel.

A: Har du hørt at Jonas har vundet i lotto? B: Sikke en heldig kartoffel!

Bonus Idiom with potatoes: En varm kartoffel

Something can also be a hot potato. It is the same expression as in english, where an issue can be a hot potato. Something so hot that it is painful to touch, and so something you would want to avoid. This expression is less used in Denmark, and mostly by newspapers or the older generations.

Word of the week: En bjørnetjeneste

Literally; A bear favour. If someone does you a bear favour, then they are doing something out of good faith, but that will ultimately make you worse off than before. So if, for example, I convince my sister to do my homework for me. In the moment I will not have to do the homework, but in the long run I will fall behind my peers and all my future homework will be more difficult.

The word originates from one of La Fontaine’s fables, about a bear that accidentally kills his sleeping master, because a fly had landed on his head and he wanted to swat it away.

For example: Jeg gjorde mig selv en bjørnetjeneste ved at tage en lur i eftermiddags. Nu er det aften, og jeg kan ikke falde i søvn.

That’s all we had for you for this week. We’ll get back to the pancakes, and we hope you’ll have a great week 😊

Best regards,

Antonina & Rasmus