Danish Travel Destinations – Danish Culture for kids

Copenhagen (København)

As one of Europe’s oldest capitals, Copenhagen has many museums and shops, narrow canals, colorful row houses, lovely parks and quiet lakes to enjoy. You can have fun at the Tivoli Gardens amusement park and stroll the Strøget, the longest pedestrian street in Europe.  You can stop by Amelieborg Castle, the winter residence of Denmark’s royalty. The castle combines four palaces and a courtyard. You can witness the changing of the guards daily.  If you wander to the harbor of Langelinie, you can see the famous Little Mermaid statue 

The quaint island of Funen (Fyn) is the birthplace of storyteller Hans Christian Anderson. Among the Renaissance architecture are more than 120 castles including the popular Egeskov Castle, manor houses and unique museums.

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Grenan

The main peninsula connecting Denmark to Germany offers a wide variety of sights and styles. The northernmost tip allows you to put one foot in the North Sea and the other foot in the Kattegat. You can see the Lønstrup Cliffs and the shifting sand dunes of Råbjerg Mile.

The capital of Jutland, Aarhus (Arhus) and the lively city of Alborg provide a taste of the modern life, while fabulous white sand beaches dot the western coast. Built around 700 A.D., Ribe has ancient architecture, old-world charm, and well-maintained cobblestone streets. There is plenty of history to see at the Ribe Cathedral and St. Catharinæ Church & Abbey, as well as many museums.  The Viking Museum is of particular interest.

The Kronborg Castle near Halsingor

The Kronborg Castle is one of the top places to visit in Denmark. This famous castle was Shakespeare’s inspiration for “Elsinore” in his famous play Hamlet. Millions of tourists visit the castle each year.

This 10-mile bridge connects to Sweden from Denmark and transports over 6,000 travelers by car or train every day.  The construction of the bridge began in 1991 and took nine years for the work to be completed in 2000.

The Original Legoland in Billund

Legoland opened in 1968. This theme park offers 4D cinema, rides and games for all ages.  There are indoor activities and exhibitions. The park is built with the famous, colorful interlocking plastic toy bricks.  You can see Miniland, in the middle of the park.  This is also a miniature version of the world make out of millions of Legos.

Danish Language and Alphabet – Danish Culture for kids

The Language

The Danish language belongs to the Germanic family language within the Indo-European languages. The language is similar to English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, and Icelandic, all of which descend from the ancient Teutonic language.

There are about 5.5 million speakers mainly in Denmark, but also in Greenland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Canada, the UAE and the United States.  Danish was the official language of Norway and also Iceland.

The first written work of Danish literature was Gesta Danorum (History of the Danes) written in Latin to record the early history of Denmark and includes Scandinavian myths and sagas, including the Hamlet story.

The Danish Alphabet (Dansk Alfabet)

Aa (a)  Bb (be)  Cc (se)  Dd (de)  Ee (e)  Ff (aef)  Gg (ge) Hh (hå)  Ii (i)  Jj (jåd)  Kk (kå)  Ll (ael)  Mm (aem)  Nn (aen)  Oo (o)  Pp (pe)  Qq (ku)  Rr (aer)  Ss (aes)  Tt (te)  Uu(u)  Vv(ve) Ww (dobbelt-ve)  Xx(aeks)  Yy(y)  Zz (saet)

The letters C, Q, W, X and Z are only used in words from other languages.  Before 1948, the sound written å was written aa, which can still be seen in some place names such as Aalborg and Aabenraa.

danish alphabet

 

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Danish Children’s Songs

Children’s songs are about special times of the year, fun activities that children like to do, and include finger plays and action songs. Here is a list of popular Danish songs:

Den Lille Ole med ParaplyenHist, Hvor Vejen Slar en BugtHun skal LeveJeg Gik Mig over So Og Land

Kappe, Klappe, Kage

Lille Peter Edderkop

Mester Jakob

Nu det Jul Igen 

The Little Sandman with the UmbrellaOver Where the Road Makes a TurnLive for Long (a birthday song)I Traveled Over Sea and Land

Clap, Clap, Cake

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Brother John

Now, It’s Christmas Time

 

Danish Common Words and Phrases

 

Greetings

HelloGoodbyeYesNo

Thank you

Excuse me

What’s your name?

My name is…

Where are you from?

I’m from…

What time is it?

Goddag/Hej (polite/informal)FarvelJaNej

Tak

Undskyld

Hvad hedder du?

Jeg hedder …

Hvorfra kommer du?

Jeg kommer fra …

Hvad er klokken?

Days of the Week

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

MandagTirsdagOnsdagTorsdag

Fredag

Lordag

Sondag

Numbers

ZeroOneTwoThree

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Nine

Ten

NulEnToTre

Fire

Fem

Seks

Syv

Otte

Ni

Ti

 

Common Danish Names – Danish Culture for kids

These are the top names for boys and girls in Denmark:

Boys’ Names

Jacob, Mason, William, Jayden, Noah, Michael, Ethan, Alexander, Aiden, Daniel, Anthony, Matthew, Elijah, Joshua, Liam, Andrew, James, David, Benjamin, Logan, Christopher, Joseph, Jackson, Gabriel and Ryan.

Girls’ Names

Sophia, Isabella, Emma, Olivia, Ava, Emily, Abigail, Madison, Mia, Chloe, Elizabeth, Ella, Addison, Natalie, Lily, Grace, Samantha, Avery, Sofia, Aubrey, Brooklyn, Lillian

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Danish Holiday and Celebrations – Danish Culture for kids

Christmas – Jul

The Danish word for the Christmas holiday is Jul, from the Old Norse jól meaning “midwinter”. Midwinter celebrations were an important part of Scandinavian culture since early times and this word is now used to refer to “Christmas”.  In many countries, Christmas is celebrated on the 25th of December, but in Denmark the most important day for celebration is Christmas Eve on the 24th.  This is when the entire family meets to celebrate. Juleaften (Danish for Christmas Eve) or Yule Eve starts around 6 p.m. with a traditional dinner of boiled potatoes, red cabbage and brown gravy served with roast duck or goose.

Some families enjoy a special Danish version of roast pork called flæskesteg or a special sausage called medisterpølse. For dessert, ris á l’amande is served with chopped almonds and vanilla  added before serving cold with a hot cherry sauce. The person who finds the one un-chopped almond in his portion receives a small prize. Afterwards, the candles are lit on the Christmas tree. There is time for dancing and singing of carols before the gifts are opened.

Other Holidays

Other Holidays with special meals include New Year’s Eve, Easter and Martin Mass. New Year’s Eve traditionally is celebrated with boiled cod, Easter with elaborate lunches and roast lamb for dinner, and Martin Mass with roast goose. At many of these holidays, special seasoned beers are enjoyed.

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Among the traditional celebrations is “Shrovetide” (fastelavn) which is held in February. Children dress in fancy costumes and go from house to house singing songs and begging for money, candy or even buns. The “1st of May Celebrations” was first intended to celebrate the workers’ unions, but now these celebrations have turned into parties with speeches, music and food. “Saint Hans” is a midsummer celebration held on June 23rd with singing, speeches and a bonfire.  Here, a doll symbolizing a witch is burned. Besides these national celebrations, farmers and other rural residents hold harvest parties in August and September to celebrate the fall crops.  Many Danish people have a three week summer holiday in July or August each year.

About Danish History – Danish Culture for kids

Denmark became united in the 10th century during the Viking period when the country was converted to Christianity by King Bluetooth.  In the 11th century, the Danish Vikings controlled England.  In 1397, what is now Denmark, Sweden and Norway were one country with one queen.  This country was called Kalmar Union.

Denmark became a constitutional monarchy in 1849.  It adopted a constitution which took powers away from the King. The people of Denmark gained rights.  June 5th is the day in honor of this first constitution. It is now an annual holiday in Denmark called Constitution Day.

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Sweden eventually became a separate country in 1523.  Denmark and Norway stayed united until 1814.  At this time, they controlled many islands in the Atlantic Ocean including Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland.  Then, Iceland became independent in 1944.  After World War II, Greenland and the Faroe Islands became a part of the Kingdom of Denmark.  They have their own governments and limited power.

The current Prime Minister of Denmark is Helle Thorning-Schmidt who was elected in September 2011.  She is the first woman prime minister of Denmark.  Denmark is a Kingdom.  This means is has a monarch (a king or queen).  It is the oldest present-day kingdom in the world.  The current monarch is Queen Margrethe II.

 

 

Danish Games – Danish Culture for kids

These games are three popular children’s games. You might have played different versions of these games that probably have different names from the Danish names.

Barrel Cat

In medieval times, children would place a cat in a barrel and hit the barrel with sticks until the cat ran away.  The superstition was to drive the evil spirits out of town with the cat.  Today, children fill a barrel or other round object with candy and treats.  The container is decorated with pictures of cats and it is hung from a tree or the ceiling of a room.  The children hit the barrel with sticks until the candy falls out.  Whoever opens the barrel gets to be the King/Queen of Cats for the day and wears a crown the rest of the day.

Capturing Chains (Laenkfange)

This is a variation of tag. One child is “It” and must chase the other children.  When a child is “touched”, that child links hands with the person who is “It”.  Now, the two of them continue to tag and collect the others.  The last person to be tagged is the winner.

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Kick the Tin (Spark til Daasen)

This is like the American game of Hide and Seek.  Someone is the person who is “It”.  The others hide and the “It” must kick a can and call out the name of each child found.  If “It” does not kick the can, the child can get away.  Captured children are put together in an area and these children can be released.

 

 

 

 

Danish Fashion and Traditional Clothing – Danish Culture for kids

The traditional costumes of Denmark vary from region to region and date back about 250 years ago.  Clothes were homemade from wool or flax yarn.  Many of the colors of the fabric were made with vegetable dyes. Women often wore a bonnet, a piece of linen cloth underneath it and a scarf to hold it in place. The bonnet was made of lace or embroidered.  Skirts and petticoats (worn under the skirts) were covered by an apron of fine silk or embroidered cloth.  A blouse and jacket completed the outfit.  Often the blouse had hooks and laces in the front with patterns and a light scarf worn around the neck to cover the shoulders and throat.

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Men’s clothing was made mainly of wool and flax, too.  However, their knee breeches were made of leather.  They also wore home-knitted white woolen stockings that reached above their knees.  Men wore several jerseys, several long shirts and jackets.  The buttons were made of tin and the wealthier Danish men wore silver buttons.  Both women and men wore clogs.  Men wore leather boot tops and both men and women wore leather dress shoes with buckles in the front.

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Some people say the people of Copenhagen are more fashionable than any other place in Scandinavia as Copenhagen ranks as Europe’s fourth largest fashion city. A large number of fashion companies like InWear, Carli Gry, Huset Sand, Red & Green have popped up to sell goods in local shops as well as to market them internationally.  Copenhagen hosts its own fashion week in February and in August. The popular clothing designs range from comfortable biking to Nordic flair styles and resemble western clothing and high fashion cities.

Danish Etiquette – Danish Culture for kids

Greetings

Greet someone with a firm handshake and eye contact.  Don’t forget to smile.  Shake hands with everyone present (even children) when you see them and when you leave.  It is polite to shake hands with women first.

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When Dining at Someone’s House

Bringing a bottle of wine, a dessert or flowers, and even a book to someone’s house when you are invited over is an appropriate thing to do.  You should take your shoes off before entering a home.  It is polite to offer to help with preparation and clean up.

When sharing food, it is not polite to take the last item off the plate.  You should also not begin eating until the host/hostess takes the first bite.  Don’t rest your wrists on the edge of the table.  Try to eat most everything served to you. It is important to make eye contact when you are toasting while eating and when speaking.  Sometimes dinnertime can last several hours. Be patient and enjoy the company and conversation.

Some General Tips

Danish people like their privacy.  It is not polite to invite yourself to another person’s house.  Instead, you should wait to be invited.  Danish people do not show emotion in public.  They do not like to be interrupted when speaking.  They avoid arguments.  There are no formal introductions at dinner parties, meetings and conferences.  You need to just start a conversation.  The Danish people are very informal.  It is important to be on time.  Don’t be expected to make small talk or someone ask how you are doing.  This is reserved for people who you know quite well.  Make sure you say thank you as Danish people are very thoughtful and love to be appreciated.

Danish Cuisine – Danish Culture for kids

Most Danes have three regular meals a day, usually consisting of a cold breakfast with coffee, a cold lunch at work and a hot dinner at home with the family. Some also have a snack in the middle of the afternoon or in the late evening.

The basic Danish breakfast consists of coffee or tea and fresh bread and rolls with cheese or jam. Cereals such as cornflakes, muesli and oatmeal are also popular with children.

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In Denmark, lunch is usually a cold meal consisting of a few simply prepared pieces smørrebrød which is an open sandwich usually on thinly, sliced rye bread.  Toppings include cold meats, sausage, cheese, fish or a hard-boiled egg with sliced vegetables of onion, radish, cucumber, tomato and parsley. Remoulade (similar to tartar sauce), mayonnaise and liver paste are used as a spread.

Dinner usually is one main course, often a meat dish of pork, chicken or a fish with potatoes and a vegetable or salad. Occasionally, beef is served. Red cabbage is the national dish. Dessert is ice cream or a fruit dish. For special occasions or when guests are invited, more elaborate meals are prepared.

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A popular traditional Danish dessert usually served around Christmas time consists of æbleskiver, small pancake doughnuts, which are fried in butter and served hot with, jam and sugar.

 

 

 

Danish Children’s Stories – Danish Culture for kids

Danish folklore is made up of folktales, legends, and music. Many of the folktales have trolls, elves and goblins as well as Nordic mythology figures.  The popular nisse is a well-known legendary figure in Danish folklore when it was believed that there were household gods.  Each farm had its own nisse living in the barn loft or stable.  Dressed in gray with a pointed red cap, he was a short man who would be quite bothersome if you did not treat him right. It was believed that if you treated him right, then he would be helpful.

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Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish author and poet (1805-1875).

He wrote plays, travelogues, novels and poems, but he is best remembered for his fairy tales. He wrote hundreds of fairy tales which are known throughout the world and have been translated into more than 125 languages. Many of these fairy tales have been made into movies, plays and ballets.  His first fairy tale collection included  The TinderboxThe Princess and the PeaThumbelinaThe Little Mermaid and The Emperor’s New Clothes among other tales.  His second collection includes The DaisyThe Steadfast Tin Soldier and The Wild Swans.  Other popular fairy tales are The Snow Queen, The Red Shoes and The Little Match Girl.  You may know some more fairy tales that Hans Christian Andersen wrote.