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Do you need to learn Danish to live in Denmark?

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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.

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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.

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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)

 

 

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The joy of Brønshøj’s Utterslev Mose in the Spring

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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Still life illustration work in progress

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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…

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Roskilde Festival Art

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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.

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Back to work after a relaxing summer

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Back to school work

With August about to turn into September, I find myself happily going up through the gears back into proper work mode. I’ve had a great summer, my first real break in many years. My batteries are recharged, and I’m raring to go from my base in Copenhagen.

One of the best aspects of living in Copenhagen is the work, life balance. The business side of the city clearly winds down a bit during the peak summer months, but then cranks back to life with everyone refreshed, with ideas and eager to explore possibilities.

We are three!

My design business will shortly be three years old. I am very proud of what I’ve achieved, and grateful to all the clients I have been lucky enough to meet and work with. Here’s to the next three years!

So if you want to see some of my work, here is web design.

This is for graphic design, specialising in logo design.

And my other core area Illustration.

Skål, Slangevar, Cheers!

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The fast developing Copenhagen harbour district of Nordhavn

I was working on a web design project for a client in the Nordhavn region of Copenhagen. Nordhavn is the harbour area of Copenhagen and is undergoing an enormous amount of development, with new housing and businesses. It also contains the UN City building. The project required me to take some photos, so I got myself down to Nordhavn as soon as there was a bit of sunshine…