hamlet-danish-cartoon

Do you need to learn Danish to live in Denmark?

hamlet-learn-danish

Do you need to learn Danish to live in Denmark? The answer is No, and Yes.

You can work, live and study in Denmark without learning Danish. I know a number of British, American and French people that have lived here years without learning the language. There are companies who use English as their first language, and a few who will allow you to work in a Danish speaking office without Danish. However after eighteen years in Copenhagen my advice would be learn it, and learn it as quickly as possible. No matter how difficult, annoying or time consuming it feels, and stick with it until you are fluent. Also don’t be tempted to drop out of a course with a view to returning, as you won’t and you will regret it.

The Danes are speaking the English very good

Pretty much everyone in Denmark, old and young speak and or understand English. But as polite and helpful as Danes generally are in speaking English, it can be wearing for them. And you are in their country.

Do you want to sit at a meeting or meal with five Danes, and everyone speaks English because of you? Do you want to be doing that five or ten years after you have lived in Copenhagen? No you don’t, so learn their language.

learning-danish-copenhagen

It’s a long hard struggle to learn Danish

It is difficult learning Danish. As you start taking tentative steps to speak Danish you meet the frustration of speaking Danish only to be answered in English, by someone with a smug grin on their face, who appears to be rubbing your nose in it. They are in fact just trying to be helpful. That one happens a lot at the beginning, but it eases off as you improve.

Is it a waste of time learning Danish?

One of the arguments for not learning Danish is ‘what’s the point, only 5 and a half million people speak the language’. I’ve heard this a few times. Well unless you generally talk with a couple of million people per year, I really don’t think that argument is anything other than an excuse for laziness.

Some people have a natural ear for language, and a have a memory that suits language learning. For others like me, it’s just hard painful work. It took me five months on a part time course (at Studieskolen in Copenhagen) to get enough Danish to blag my way through a job interview in Danish. This involved quite a bit of nodding along, and occasionally repeating the last word they said in a vague attempt to look like I understood what they were talking about. It takes a little time to build up the fluency, but you will only pick it up after first doing a course. The idea that you will pick up Danish through osmosis, aint gonna happen, just as, ‘I will learn Danish later’ isn’t going to happen. Do it now.

learning-danish

Some of the Danish language schools

www.kbh-sprogcenter.dk Copenhagen Language Center
www.studieskolen.dk Studieskole (Is the one I went to)
www.kiss.dk Københavns Intensive Sprogskole – Copenhagen’s Intensive language school. (Always wondered if Gene Simmons teaches there. In full make-up)

 

 

copenhagen-wildlife

The joy of Brønshøj’s Utterslev Mose in the Spring

copenhagen-wildlife

I am incredibly lucky to live in such close proximity to Utterslev Mose, near my home in Brønshøj on the outskirts of Copenhagen. Every day I take a walk or cycle around to clear the design cob webs, have a nice think, get some exercise and enjoy the beauty of nature at her finest. Come Spring it becomes a feast for the eyes at Utterslev Mosen.

As a cyclist you need your wits about you as you manoeuvre around some very precious obstacles.

utterslev-mose-broenshoej

utterslev-mosen-bronshoj

copenhagen-lakebroenshoej-copenhagen

 

 

design-museum-copenhagen

The Design Museum Copenhagen

Copenhagen’s Design Museum offers a rich and varied guide around Danish design. From furniture, products, fashion and graphic design, the classic Scandinavian influences and the icons of Danish Design like Arne Jacobsen, Børge Mortensen and Verner Panton feature.

While the world renowned furniture, products and fashion design quite rightly feature strongly, the rich tradition of Danish poster design and logo design is also well represented. Web design is also featured which is great to see the world of the web entering into design history and gaining recognition.

The collection is stunning, with new exhibitions changing regularly. Highly recommended.

design-museum-copenhagen

graphic-design-museum-denmark

web-design-museum-copenhagen

scandinavian-design-museum

arne-jacobsen-design-museum-copenhagen

Finding the Design Museum in Copenhagen

Bredgade is just off Kongens Nytorv, the square that contains Magasin and Nyhavn harbour. About ten minutes walk, just past Amalienborg, the Royal Family’s winter residence and the very beautiful Marmor Kirk. If you carry on past the design museum you will eventually come to the Little Mermaid. So no excuse for not visiting.

 

bronshoj-bk-floodlight

Brønshøj BK football illustrations

bronshoj-bk-floodlightMy local football club are Brønshøj BK. They have been in the top Danish league, and are more often than not in the second tier. Currently in the third tier of Danish football, but will hopefully get through their play off group.

Their stadium is Tingbjerg Stadium (Idrætspark), about 10 minutes from my flat, so if Aberdeen don’t have a game at the same time I try and head over there. It is a 3000 capacity stadium with 600 seats, and has a wonderful charm. The combination of passionate local supporters and nice compact stadium with recently added floodlights, and beer and hotdogs and snaps , make for a great experience.

Brønshøj BK play in yellow and black, and are known as The Wasps (Hvepsene).

Bus 2a from Copenhagen Central Station (Hovedbanegården) going towards Nørrebro, will get you there.

I have been working on the illustrations as I also experiment with my Aberdeen FC work, and will be adding more shortly.

 

bronshoj-beer-tingbjerg

bronshoj-bold-klub

cycling-copenhagen-norrebro

The time I cycled into a Danish policeman and knocked him over

On moving to Denmark, one of the first things I had to do on my arrival in Copenhagen was to purchase a bicycle. My then girlfriend found one in a newspaper. A price was agreed and borrowing my girlfriend’s bike, I just had to go and get it.

copenhagen-airport

The time I got on a plane and I didn’t know where it was going

It had begun with a series of delays on my journey from my flat to Copenhagen Airport. Followed by a series of delays in the airport from queuing for, well it’s Copenhagen Airport, so everything then.

norrebro-bryghus-still-life

Still life illustration work in progress

norrebro-bryghus-still-life

This is a work in progress for my portfolio. It is based on a meal in The Nørrebro Bryghus restaurant in Nørrebro in Copenhagen.

I had a very enjoyable meal with my good friend Pedro.

As an illustrator the advice given is always to stick to one style. This is with regard to selling as an illustrator, to be memorable for art directors. I have always had difficulty following this advice, and when younger the constraints stopped me being able to work at times.

So there’s the cartoon work that is the majority my iain.dk website, the still life like the above image, portraiture (new ones coming soon) and more detailed character design.

I justify my switching of styles by pointing out Sir Paul McCartney wrote Helter Skelter, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, and Hey Jude. So if the great man can switch style as he pleases so can I.

I appreciate putting myself in the same sentence as Sir Paul is an act of laughable egoism, but if no one else will do it…

cycling-copenhagen

Top 3 tips for visiting Copenhagen

I get asked from time to time for tips on visiting the city of Copenhagen. There is of course lots of information available online, but here are my top three.

cycling-copenhagen

  1. If you are even remotely physically capable of cycling, hire a bike. The centre of Copenhagen is relatively small and you will be able to get around far more comfortably than with public transport. There is an enormous amount of building work going on in Copenhagen due to the Metro being extended, making taxi and bus journeys much longer.
  2. If you are on a budget and the price of alcohol is an issue, you might be interested to know, unlike Norway or Sweden, purchasing alcohol from a Danish supermarket is as easy as in the UK, US or Germany, and a similar price.
  3. Try and get to Louisiana Art Gallery if you can. 40 minutes on the train to Humlebæk, and a 2 minute walk. A stunning art gallery with glorious views. www.en.louisiana.dk
cocks-cows-copenhagen.governator

Cocks and Cows burgers Copenhagen

cocks-cows-copenhagen.governator

The Governator at Cocks and Cows. No I couldn’t possibly, oh alright then…

If you are in Copenhagen, and fancy a nice burger. A nice big burger. A huge burger to satisfy the biggest appetite, then Cocks and Cows www.cocksandcows.dk is well worth a visit. There’s one just off the main square Rådhuspladsen part of the SP34 hotel, another at Gammel Strand, and one on Østerbro.

 

roskilde-festival

Roskilde Festival Art

roskilde-festival

It’s not all sex, drugs and rock n roll at Roskilde Festival, but it is mainly…

Whether staying for the whole week, camping on site, or a short visit with a one day ticket, The Roskilde Festival is a fantastic experience not to be missed.

The 2016 Roskilde Festival is from the 25th of June to the 2nd of July. Details on the official website. To be honest it doesn’t really matter who is playing, it is the experience that is magical. Go see for yourself.

The art of Roskilde Festival

There are lots of places to read about and see images from the Roskilde Festival. Here is some of the excellent graffiti art that is on display.

roskilde-festival-graffiti-art-2

roskilde-festival-graffiti-art-1

roskilde-festival-graffiti-art-3

roskilde-festival-graffiti-art-4