Sticky Notes of Thoughts

…because some thoughts are worth remembering

On Danish Drinking Habits

2014-03-21 15.58.18

The Danes can drink. A lot. They are all business at work, so they start going home around 4pm to pick up their children or for other household obligations. Come Friday, however… it’s a whole other thing.

Some say the number of words dedicated to a topic reflects the importance of that topic in a culture. Hanging around Danish graduate students, I learned words for beer (øl) for specific occasions…something I would not have encountered in my language class: goøl (beer you carry in your hand in transit to another party as not to lose your buzz) and “køøl” (beer while you stand in queue before a concert as not to lose your buzz). Indeed, I did spot people on bikes on Friday evening with goøl in hand, presumably going from one party to another.

They don’t mess around with their drinking games, either. Here’s one: you point to another person and you say “you drink!”. That’s it. Oh, there’s a variation to that game. The other person can say “only if you drink!”. It’s no wonder that after 9pm on Friday nights in any apartment complexes with a veranda or a social gathering place, you hear people singing songs merrily (sometimes to bad 80s music from the US). Have I mentioned they also schedule their hangovers? Practical and sensible, true to the North European stereotype of affinity for structure and order. They seem to block out a whole day after to recover.

A Danish friend stopped going out drinking as frequently when he moved away to another country. He just had this realization that the entire weekend was available to him for whatever he pleased, something that hadn’t occurred to him when he lived in Denmark.

The Danes aren’t known for their friendliness, but with a beer in hand, they seem to transform into a carefree bunch, all handsy and musical. But don’t expect any “break throughs” you had with a Dane to carry over to Monday. The walls come right up for the week.

Photo: Carlsberg…whose tagline used to be “Probably, the world’s best beer”


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This entry was posted on April 9, 2015 by in Culture, Denmark and tagged , .
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