May 312009
 
 May 31, 2009  Posted by  Tourism, Transportation 21 Responses »
bybus_72

(Edit: This post is updated on September 4th. 2011 to include the latest change of prices for bustickets.)

Public transport in Denmark is expensive but good. The art of taking a bus is not too difficult as the system is well arranged. Here is for example how it works in Århus.

Where can I buy tickets?

overview

An new ticket machine in an Århus citybus. On the window a map of Århus with the different zones.

Tickets can be bought when entering the bus, either at a ticket machine inside the bus (for yellow buses) or by asking the driver (blue buses). Buying single tickets in the bus is more expensive however, so if you are planning on more than a handful of rides it is cheaper to buy a 10-trip card, which in Danish is called a klippekort. They can be bought at the busterminal, the trainstation, large supermarkets and in one of the many kiosks.

klip

A "klippekort" machine.

When entering the bus you can klip your klippekort by entering it in the special machine that will stamp it with a date and time.

Tourists could perhaps consider buying an Aarhus-card for one or two days which includes free transport inside the city.

Locals who are planning to take the bus regularly could benefit from a card valid for a month, which in danish is called a periodekort.

What does it cost?

The price of a bus-ride is depending on the length. The city and municipality is divided into zones, so you pay for the amount of zones you travel. This is a link to a PDF file with a map of the zones in Aarhus. If you buy a ticket in the bus, then a travel within two zones (that is the entire city center) costs Dkr 20 (3,8 USD/ 2,68 Euro), 3 zones cost Dkr. 27  (5,15 USD / 3,62 Euro) and 4 zones (that is for example to villages outside the city) Dkr. 34 (6,48 USD/ 4,56 Euro – prices and exchange rates of September 2011). Each adult can have 2 children under the age of 12 for free. The ticket is valid for two hours, bus changes included.
A klippekort is sold for the amount of zones you want to travel, so there you will have to think for a second if it will be 2, 3 or 4 zones as prices for the 10-ride cards vary. As stated before it is cheaper to buy a klippekort if you want ten tickets or more.

See here for an overview of the prices in Danish

What bus should I take?

At each stop there is a list of buses that will stop there (each busline having a different number), together with an overview of each of the bus-stops along the route of the buses. The overview is basically based upon street names, so if you want to travel to a specific address it will help to know the name of the street you want to go to. People that enter the city by train can turn to the left when exiting the main exit of the train station for a large number of the yellow city buses that have their stops there. People who are looking for the blue regional buses should turn to the right when exiting the train station and walk a few hundred meters to arrive at the main bus terminal.

All information is also available on this page for the yellow city buses and on this page for the blue regional buses.

Yellow and blue?

In Århus there are two types of buses: yellow and blue. Prices are the same for both and the klippekort is valid in both types of buses.

bybus_72

Photo: Midttrafik

The yellow buses:

The yellow buses are the city buses. You enter them in the middle or the back (unlike in Copenhagen btw) and you buy your ticket at the machine or you klip your ride by klipping your klippekort. You leave the bus through the front door.

Photo: Midttrafik

Photo: Midttrafik

The blue buses:

The blue buses are the regional buses. They have fewer stops in town and drive to the villages and cities outside Århus. You enter them at the front where you buy your ticket at the driver or klip your klippekort. You leave the buses at the middle or back.

All right, and how do I get off?

trykThere are red buttons everywhere in the yellow and blue buses with “stop” written on them. Press them and the bus will stop for you at the next bus-stop. There is a special button for people who want to get off with a pram (there is often an open space in the middle of the bus) so that the driver knows that it might take some time to get off.

Anything else?

Remember that you can always ask the driver for information or help.

Other useful links:

A tourist guide on the homepage of the bus company.
A journey planner that can help you finding the right bus and other travel information for your specific journey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final Tip:

If you zoom in long enough in Google Maps, you’ll notice blue bus-symbols on the map.  Click on these and you’ll see which buses stop at that stop. If you choose a busnumber you’ll even see a timetable.

Here is an example:

View Larger Map

May 252009
 

Miniland

Miniland

Legoland is located in the city of Billund, near the first Lego factory.  It is a themed amusement park, what means that the attractions are loosely based upon Lego´s bricks and sets.

Miniland is the world in miniature build of 20 million Lego bricks. It was the first attraction when the park was created in 1968.

The other rides and attractions are Legoredo Town, Imagination Zone, Adventure Land, Knights´ Kingdom, Duplo Land, Pirate Land and Lego City.

For a Park Map, click here.

On Legoland´s website you can find a good map with its opening hours, prices (where you can buy your ticket online) and how to get there. It is also possible to sleep at the park; check for its accommodations.

Lego History

The word Lego is the abbreviation for the Danish “play well” (leg godt), and it was created in 1934, a few years after the carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen started to manufacture miniature versions of his products – a way of minimalizing costs during the Great Depression in the beginning of the 20th century. From there came the inspiration to start producing toys, first made of wood, and later, in the 1940ies, of plastic. The Lego bricks resembled traditional wooden blocks that could be stacked upon one another, but the difference was that Ole Kirk´s plastic bricks could also be locked together.

The three generations: Ole Kirk Christiansen, Godtfred Kirk Christiansen and Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen (at Ole Kirk's 60th birthday 7th April 1951).

The three generations: Ole Kirk Christiansen, Godtfred Kirk Christiansen and Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen (at Ole Kirk's 60th birthday 7th April 1951).

In the 1950ies, Ole Kirk´s son, Godtfred, became the junior managing director of the company and in 1977 Godtfred´s son, Kjeld Kirk, also joined the Lego Group Management, at the time when his father was the president of the company.

It was Godtfred´s interaction with other countries that gave him the idea of the “Lego System of Play”, which was released for the first time in 1955 with 28 sets and 8 vehicles plus additional elements.

In the same year, Lego started exporting to Sweden – the first country outside Denmark to import the Lego toys; in 1956 the first foreign sales company was established in Germany.

Today Lego products are on sale in more than 130 countries and approx. 400 billion LEGO elements have been manufactured since 1949. For other facts, check the company profile on the Lego website.

It was in 1968 that the first Legoland Park opened in Billund.

You can find more information about Lego timeline on the Lego website.

If you can´t make it to Legoland in Billund, you can visit the other Lego themed parks: Legoland Windsor in England, Legoland Deutschland in Germany and Legoland California in the USA.

Lego

Lego

Leg godt!

Source of the pictures: Legoland Press Archieve.

(A list with the 50 most visited Danish attractions in 2008 can be found at visitdenmark.com)

May 152009
 


tivoli-denmark_dl1

Tivoli Gardens, entrance

Created in 1843, Tivoli, also called Tivoli Gardens, is located in Copenhagen, right in front of Hovedbanegården (the central station). When it was created, Tivoli was not intended to be located in the middle of the city. Its 15 acres were outside Vestport (the west port), but due to the fast growth of Copenhagen since the end of the 19th century, it was only until 1850 that the park was situated outside the city.

Its first name was “Tivoli & Vauxhall” which alluded to the Jardin de Tivoli in Paris (this one being named after the city of Tivoli in Italy) and to the Vauxhall Gardens in London.

Tivoli is the second oldest operating amusement park in the world, the oldest being Dyrehavsbakken (the deer park hill), or simply Bakken (the hill), also located in Denmark.

tivoli gardens

Tivoli Gardens, source Wikipedia

Tivoli’s attractions include the rides, which are divided into “wild”, “fun” and “kids”. Click the link “all rides” to watch videos about them.

Tivoli also has Music & Entertainment,  including an Aquarium, a Concert Hall, a Glass Hall Theater, a Pantomime Theater and The Tivoli Boys Guards.

On the Tivoli website you can find information about food, prices and location & transportation.

For a map of the park, click here.

Tivoli Gardens became such a well-known and well-visited amusement park, that in Denmark the word “tivoli” is now often used for fairs, attractions and amusement parks. If you can´t make to Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, you can visit Tivoli Friheden in Århus or Tivoli Karolinelund in Aalborg.

By the way, there are, of course, other amusement parks in the country, like: Legoland in Billund, Fårup Sommerland in Blokhus, BonBon-Land in Holme-Olstrup, Djurs Sommerland in Nimtofte, Givskud Zoo in Give, Knuthenborg Park & Safari in Bandholm, Sommerland Syd in Tinglev or Sommerland Sjælland in Nørre Asmindrup.

Have fun!

(A list with the 50 most visited Danish attractions in 2008 can be found at visitdenmark.com)

May 082009
 

Today, the 8th. of May 2009, is a national holiday in Denmark. It is called Stor Bededag, which literally can be translated into “Great Prayer Day”.

hans_bagger

Hans Bagger_source Wikipedia

It was Bishop Hans Bagger who decided in 1686 to declare the fourth Friday after Easter a national Prayer Day. This was to be a day where the whole country had to pray, fast and go to church. It was created to gather many minor “prayer days” into one general national day so that there would be more time for people to work. The celebration of the day survived a major clean-up of holidays in 1770 by the influential doctor and prime-minister J.F. von Struensee who abolished about half of the number of holidays in the country.

Since the tradition of fasting and other religious practices are not widespread in Denmark anymore, the day is for most people not too much more than another day off in Spring. But the consuming of Varme Hvede (white wheat), a light type of bread that is to be eaten warm, is still popular. The tradition originates from the time when the bakers made large quantities of this type of bread the day before the Stor Bededag, so that they could have a day off from work and participate in the tradition.

Here is a link (in Danish) to the recipe of Varme Hvede.

Apr 272009
 
 April 27, 2009  Posted by  History No Responses »
Original Gesta Danorum parchment page. Page 1, front, of the Angers Fragment. Now located in the Royal Library of Copenhagen, found in Helle Stangerup's book Saxo, 2004.

Original Gesta Danorum parchment page. Page 1, front, of the Angers Fragment. Now located in the Royal Library of Copenhagen. Source: Wikipedia

This picture shows one of the four most precious pages in Danish history.

They became known as the Angers Fragment, called after the city in France where they were discovered. They were written before 1220.

As you can see they contain notes and additions that were meant to be added later. So scholars assume that they are written by the writer himself, a man called Saxo Grammaticus. The huge work he wrote is a history of the Danes, unique in it’s kind, the Gesta Danorum. The Angers Fragment are the only 4 original pages that survived the ages, but luckily a copy of the complete work was found an brought into print in the year 1514.

About Saxo

There is not too much known about the writer. He seems to have followed a family tradition by being a soldier at some point and he was a thoroughly educated writer of classical Latin, as that is the language he wrote his history in. He create the work for the Danish archbishop and statesman Absalon, a highly influential and well known figure in Danish history.

His work: Gesta Danorum

The title of the book he wrote can be translated as “The Deeds of the Danes”, a name that was given at a later point in history to the book. It is an attempt to write the history of the Danes from the earliest beginnings to the time of Saxo, where he extensively describes the achievements and history of his employer Bishop Absalon. There wasn’t a world of science in the 11th. century as we know it today where something is only true when many facts support a theory. So Saxo did what everybody did. He read the books he had at his disposal (a source could have been the Icelandic Sagas), listened to the stories and perhaps asked everybody he knew that could give him some information. Oral tradition was strong in his time before bookprinting and it can sometimes prove to be remarkable accurate. After he had gathered his information he then added what he thought was fitted. Of course he wasn’t free from political influences and he wanted to give the Danes a place in international history. So not everything he wrote are actual facts, especially not in the first period of the history.

That leaves us wondering today which parts are true and which are fiction.  But it is one of the very few sources available and therefore important for the understanding of the (mythical) world of the time.

One of the many stories in the Gesta Danorum is about a certain Amlet, which, probably via a later version, became the source of inspiration for Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Saxo’s work is an often cited work in Denmark as it remains the classical work in and about Danish history.

This is a link to an English online translation of the Gesta Danorum.


Apr 122009
 
 April 12, 2009  Posted by  Reviews No Responses »

Foreigners in Denmark brings many useful information for foreigners living in Denmark. The site is divided into an active forum where the reader can share their doubts and experiences about the country, and a list of topics and sub-topics, with a few articles.

Some of the topics are, for example:

- resources – moving to the country and getting familiar with transportation, libraries, social help and visas procedures.

- career center – the hiring process, job agencies and residence permit.

- learning Danish – language schools around the country, free courses and websites.

- discovering Denmark – touristic attractions, politics and culture.

- family fun – camping sites, entertainment sites and zoos.

- interviews with foreigners living in Denmark.

- immigrants and entrepreneurship – some examples of entrepreneur ventures from foreigners that started their own business in the country.

- starting a business in Denmark – registration, taxes, business groups and advices.

- blogging – blogs related to living in Denmark and Scandinavian.

Apr 082009
 
 April 8, 2009  Posted by  Culture, Religion, Tradition No Responses »

2009_04_07_dl Easter is one of the longest holidays in Denmark. As in the Catholic countries, the Lutheran Church (Folkekirke – “people´s church” – the Danish state-church) celebrates the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Christ. Because it follows the cycle of the moon, the celebration of Easter does not have a fixed date and it can fall between the second half of March and the first half of April.

Palm Sunday (Palmesøndag) – it is the Sunday before Easter, and it celebrates the day when Jesus rode into Jerusalem and its inhabitants laid down small branches of trees in front of him. In churches, it is celebrated with the distribution of palm trees or native small branches.

Maundy Thursday (Skærtorsdag) – it is the Thursday before Easter, and it marks the day when Jesus had his last meal with his disciples. The bread and wine they ate and drank became symbols for Jesus´ body and blood, and they are remembered at the communion during a mass.

Good Friday (Langfredag) – it is the Friday before Easter, and it honours the day when Jesus was crucified at Golgatha (a place outside Jerusalem, used by the Romans to execute insurrectionists and criminals).

Easter (Påskedag) – it is the third day after Jesus´ death and it marks his resurrection, when he appeared again. Families gather in a festive lunch, where they traditionally eat fish, lamb, other kinds of meat and cheese. The meal is accompanied with special beers and snaps (an alcoholic drink). Tables are decorated with daffodils (påskelilje), colored eggs (påskeæg) and lamb dolls (påskelam).
Easter Monday (Anden Påskedag) – this day does not mean anything in itself. It is just an extention of the big celebration of Easter.

Gækkebrev – it is a Danish tradition. Around Valentine´s Day people start sending teasing letters without signing them. Instead, the letter holds a number of dots that corresponds with the number of letters of the sender´s name. If the one receiving the letter guesses who has sent it, he or she will get an Easter chocolate egg. But if the receiver does not guess who has sent it, then he or she gives an Easter egg to the sender.

In Denmark, shops are closed on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter and Easter Monday. Some supermarkets might be open on Easter though. Schools are closed during the whole holiday.

 

A heathen tradition

Before the celebration of the resurrection of Christ, Easter was celebrated to announce spring.

Easter happens near the beginning of Spring in the northern countries, a time when the light and the leaves start to return after the long, dark, and cold months of winter. The ancient Saxons celebrated the return of spring with a festival where they commemorated their goddess of spring through their symbols of fertility: rabbits and eggs.

The word Easter comes from Ôstarâ (old German) or Ēostre (old English) or Esther (English), which is the name of the Germanic goddess that personified the dawn, and was associated with spring and fertility. In some Anglo-Saxon and German dialects, the month of April was called after the goddess, because that was when the spring festivities took place. When Anglo-Saxons were converted into Christianity, the celebration of the resurrection of Christ replaced the pagan festival, but kept its heathen symbols.

 

To read more about heathen traditions, check:

Ship models in Danish churches

Christmas in Denmark

Valentine´s Day in Denmark

Apr 032009
 
 April 3, 2009  Posted by  Language No Responses »

imgp0954200Danish is a Germanic language and part of the Scandinavian Languages. It is spoken by appr. 6 million people of which 5,5 million live in Denmark itself.  Its predecessor is Proto-Germanic, the language spoken in North and West Europe long before this part of the world came in contact with the (Roman) habit of writing.

It is slightly different from Swedish and Norwegian, but not that much, so it is generally considered possible for people from Sweden, Norway and Denmark to understand each others language. The other main Germanic languages, German, English and Dutch are less closely related and can not be understood by a Dane without some knowledge of them. (Most Danes speak excellent English and some German due to teaching at school). Icelandic and Faroese are two other closely related languages that have their own history and that can’t be well understood by a modern-danish speaking person.

The main characteristic of Danish  is that many sounds and words are very similar to each other and are pronounced in short bursts of sound. This makes it not easy to recognize and pronounce words for beginning students. Sentences like: “Der er en ø i åen” (There is an island in the river) is more or less pronounced like “De e n ø i o’n”, and when the soccerclubs from Aalburg and Odense meet (AaB and OB), it is hard for a foreigner to explain a Dane which of the two is winning as the foreigner will probably hardly hear the difference in name.

Another difficult letter is the so called “soft d”. This is a “d”, usually at the end of a word, pronounced in a typical Danish way that might make it sound as a sort of “L”, although it definitely is not an “L”.This letter is very hard to pronounce correct for non-native speakers.

Grammar is not too difficult, although certainly not without exceptions and rules that need to be memorized and studied. One striking feature is that new words can easily be made by combing other words, like “misundelsesskat” (“jalousitaxes”) or “privatøkonomien” (“the private economies”).

More facts about the Danish language can be found at this factsheet of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

If you want to listen to some Danish this site from the Danish national broadcasting corporation has a list of all its internetradio stations.

Related Article:

German influence on the Danish Language.

Mar 212009
 
 March 21, 2009  Posted by  Culture No Responses »

 

The Danish painters who worked in Skagen at the end of the 19th century and beginning of 20th century formed an important and unique group. They worked with local motives and painted on the spot, creating a recognizable and, for the time, modern way of painting. Two of the most prominent of them are Anna and Michael Ancher.

Anna and Michael met each other in 1874 in the village of Skagen, where Michael was one of the first of the group that gathered and became known as “the Skagen painters”. Anna, who was born  in the region, was also part of the group. Their marriage was in 1880.

Artists of Skagen. From left to right: Martha Johansen, painter Viggo Johansen, Norwegian painter Christian Krohg, P.S. Krøyer, Degn Brøndum (Anna Ancher's brother), Michael Ancher, Swedish painter Oscar Björck, Danish painter Thorvald Niss, teacher Helene Christensen, Danish painter Anna Ancher and Helga Ancher.

P.S. Krøyer, Hip Hip Hurra. In the painting you can see some of the artists of Skagen. From left to right: Martha Johansen, Viggo Johansen, Christian Krohg, P.S. Krøyer, Degn Brøndum (Anna Ancher's brother), Michael Ancher, Oscar Björck, Thorvald Niss, Helene Christensen, Anna Ancher and Helga Ancher (Anna and Michael´s daughter).

Michael Ancher

Michael Ancher was born on Bornholm, the easternmost island of Denmark, in 1847, and died in Skagen, the northernmost area of Denmark, in 1927, where he lived since 1874.

Michael Ancher_Vil han klare pynten_1885

Michael Ancher. Vil han klare pynten. 1879.

Michael has painted many scenes with Skagen’s fishermen. In 1879 he became famous with the painting “Will he round the point” (Vil han klare pynten). In this painting we can see some fishermen looking at the sea, wondering whether another fisherman would be able to arrive safely at the harbor.

Other of his famous paintings are, for example, “The lifeboat is carried through the dunes” (Redningsbåden føres gennem klitterne) (1883), “The crew is saved” (Mandskabet reddet) (1894) and “The drowned man” (Den druknede) (1896).

He has studied at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi), where he was taught the classical way of painting, which was quite different from the way he and his colleagues painted in Skagen.

Michael and his colleagues exposed their paintings on the walls of Hotel Brøndum, and in 1946 both the Hotel and the paintings became a museum. In 1967 the house where Michael and Anna Ancher lived with their daughter Helga (who preserved the house as it was after Anna died) also became a part of the museum.

 

 

Anna Ancher (1859-1935)

Anna Ancher. Girl in the kitchen. 1883

Anna Ancher. Sunshine in the blue room. 1891

Anna Ancher’s father was Erik Brøndum, the owner of the Hotel where “the painters of Skagen” gathered and lived while they were in the city.

She is one of the best known female painters in Denmark. Anna studied three years with Vilhelm Kyhn, who kept a private painting school for women in Copenhagen. She also studied at the atelier of Pierre Puvis de Chavannes together with Marie Triepcke, who later married Peder Krøyer (one of the most talented painters of Skagen).

 

Unlike Marie Triepcke, Anna Ancher continued painting after she got married. Anna painted interiors and everyday situations of the locals in Skagen, such as fishermen, children and women.

Some of her paintings are “Girl in the kitchen” (Pigen i køkkenet) (1883) and “Sunshine in the blue room” (Solskin i den blå stue) (1891).

Mar 142009
 
 March 14, 2009  Posted by  Tourism No Responses »

The earlier mentioned “Visit Denmark” organization also provides videos for everybody who wants to advertise or just tell about Denmark. This sub-site is called ConsiderDenmark.com and it let people choose from different subjects to create a film. The result, complete with an introduction and a finishing “outro”, can then be downloaded in various forms.

This one about tourism is a nice and realistic one. It doesn’t boast about things that can’t be found in Denmark nor does it exaggerate the things that can be found.
I particularly like the catchy phrase: “A good holiday in Denmark is the sum of simple things”.