A week in Danmark

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Zorba
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A week in Danmark

Postby Zorba » 2006-04-23, 11:10

Hej!

I'll be spending about a week in Denmark in June, travelling alone. I wondered you could give me some suggestions as to where I should go and how I should spend my time. Obviously I spend a few days in Copenhagen but beyond that I'm open to suggestions. Jutland? Bornholm?

Am interested in history and keen to see anything connected to Viking heritage. Also like literature and languages but only know Hans Christian Andersen from Denmark and no Dansk (yet) - any suggestions?! I like the outdoors (cycling) and natural beauty too. Am gay but prefer to meet people in low-key cafes and bars rather than clubs of screaming queens and leather bears looking for one-night stands.

Sorry if this is a bit off-topic for the language forum but we don't seem to have a section specifically for travel?

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pasalupo
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Postby pasalupo » 2006-04-23, 12:04

There is much to do in a week. In Copenhagen there are, of course, the musea. The National Museum would be a must, if you are interested in Vikings and national treasures.
For Vikings you will find more in Jutland, e.g. the settlement Fyrkat near Hobro, the Viking cemetary Lindholm Høje near Ålborg (with a good museum connected).
A good museum for archeology is Moesgaard near Århus. They have now an exhibition about Århus at the time of the Vikings.

If you want to know more about Andersen, the first place would be the museum that is dedicated to him in Odense. I don't like this place, because it's too commercial.

About the language. How much do you want to learn? Most Danes understand English and they are more than eager to show their language skills. If you want a museum dedicated to life and letters, it's more difficult to make some recommendations. In Jutland there is a museum dedicated to Steen Steensen Blicher, who wrote some sort of peasant realism (and really good!), but it makes more sense to see these places if you are acquainted with the works of these writers.

About gay places. Pan in Copenhagen would be a good place. since it's for everybody. I wouldn't know where the queens go. You should be prepared that most of the gay places are in Copenhagen, the scene in the rest of the country is rather modest and mostly populated during the week-ends. There are some nice cafés, but you would mostly encounter mixed places.

I think your decision to see Denmark by bicycle is a good one. Do yourself a favour and have a look at the many parish churches and discover the many mural paintings.
Gentles do not reprehend.

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Zorba
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Postby Zorba » 2006-04-23, 15:17

Thanks for your prompt reply.

Perhaps then I'd be best to split my time between Copenhagen and Aarhus with a day trip to Lindholm on the side?

The Andersen is not essential, more just a passing interest. As regards Danish language and litearture, I obviously realise that I'm not going to become fluent in a week and that the standard of English is pretty high. So I guess I am asking not so much about places to see on my holiday but more generally about Danish literature that I could read at any time and background info (books, websites) on the language.

Will check out the Blicher ref. - thanks for that.

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pasalupo
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Postby pasalupo » 2006-04-24, 6:42

OK - sounds like a great trip. When you are in Århus, give me a hint and we might meet. That's the town where I live.
I think you'll find out that most of Hans Christian Andersen is overrated. He has written a handful of really good fairy-tales, but most of his enormous output is terribly average.
Other writers from Danish parnassos are Meir Aron Goldschmidt, Henrik Pontoppidan and Johannes V. Jensen (at last his novella about Christian II. is wortwhile to read still nowadays). Then Hans Scherfig and Hans Kirk. If you want a gay auther, then Herman Bang. Jens Peter Jacobsen was an inspiration for Rilke.
Some writers of thrillers have discovered the east of Europe. Leif Davidsen started this thread with "The Russian Singer"; others include Jan Stage (A Kiss from Kaliningrad) and Jens Henrik Jensen (The Court Jester from Murmansk). They may not be the most valuable items in present day literature, though.
Recent authors of some accomplishment are Peter Høeg and Jens Christian Grøndahl. Grøndahl is to some degree reflecting on conditions of present-day life.

Karen Blixen ("Isak Dinesen") was short of money, thus she wrote her tales in English. Another bilingual writer was Jens Baggesen.
Gentles do not reprehend.

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Zorba
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Postby Zorba » 2006-04-24, 21:20

Alrighty... Thanks for the low-down on Danish literature. I'll definitely check out some of the literary links and post some (opinionated) feelings on here when I'm finished!

And closer to the time I'll give you a nudge and see about maybe meeting up.

If anyone else has advice for what I should see in Copenhagen/Aarhus/Denmark, would really appreciate it.

In the long term I would like to learn a Scandinavian language, but I've heard Swedish pronunciation is much easier to handle than Danish... and there seems to be more Swedish learning materials available... anyone got any thoughts on this? Maybe I'll know more when I visit the countries.

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pasalupo
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Postby pasalupo » 2006-04-25, 9:59

Here are some links:
http://www.visitdenmark.dk
http://www.visiitcopenhagen.dk
http://www.visitaarhus.dk

As to the language - there has been a thread recently on Scandinavians languages. Danish phonetics is rather irregular. Learning materials on Swedish and Norwegian might be easier available. However, if you speak one of these languages, the others are more or less accessible. Of course it depends on which of the countries is the focus of your interest.

Later ...
Gentles do not reprehend.

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Postby Aleco » 2006-04-29, 19:30

Skagen!!! Very nice and if you have time - the little island of Læsø is worth a visit - very cosy :D

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Zorba
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Miss Smilla

Postby Zorba » 2006-05-27, 21:22

Hej

I'm not sure if this is better here or on the Lit forums (and possibly it is ten or fifteen years too late!), it's a couple of questions about the Peter Høeg novel "Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow" that I've just finished reading.

For those who don't know the novel, it's a crime-thriller with (I think) a considerable amount of psychological depth and insight. There is a suspicious death of a child in a poor Greenlander immigrant community in Copenhagen and a curiously bitter-yet-sensitive outsider, Smilla, investigates the crime.

I really enjoyed the novel but I'm a little nonplussed as to some of the observations that Høeg makes, particularly regarding the relationship between Danes and Greenlanders - the novel is pretty negative about the status of the Greenlanders in Denmark. Without meaning to step on anyone's toes (I know nothing about the situation whatsoever), I'd like to learn a bit more - could anyone point me in the right direction (websites, books etc)?

Also, does anyone know about Høeg himself of Greenlandic descent or why did he get involved with writing a novel so closely tied to Greenland? Is he popular in Denmark? Your opinions about the novel would also be appreciated.

Tak!

Zorba

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pasalupo
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Postby pasalupo » 2006-05-28, 1:40

Hm, maybe some moderator could move this to literature. I am not sure if those who might want to say something will read this thread.

Høeg has no greenlandic roots. You can read more about his own background in De måske egnede. English title: Borderliners. In this book he plays on his own biography and blends it with fiction. This has been analyzed recently by some literary scholar. If someone is interested in this particular aspect, please contact me and I can send you an article (which, unfortunately is only in Danish. Since it's from a pay-site, giving a link won't do.)

Høeg is popular, but his most recent book is not a big success, probably due to negative reviews. But when it was announced that was going to publish a novel, this was big news.

As to Greenlanders in Denmark: This reflects very well the mainstream idea of Greenlanders living here and the problems they face in terms of acculturation.
Gentles do not reprehend.


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