University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


Comment: Why are UCPH canteens closed evenings and weekends?

She has studied in China and the UK, but she has never encountered such restricted opening hours

My question came to me one day when I was writing a report in my office. I had underestimated my workload, and did not finish work until 18.30; by that time I was starving. I was then thinking about where to eat – it was a cold and rainy winter day, I lived 7 km north of Nørre Campus, and I had not prepared any dinner in advance. The public transportation to where I lived was not so convenient (there was only one bus every hour), which meant I had to catch the bus on time, otherwise it could be really difficult to get back. My only choice was to buy a take-away in a kebab shop near the campus, and the kebab shop was the only place I could find, which offered warm food within reasonable walking distance.

Afterwards I was browsing the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) website and the discussions on the University Post, but, unfortunately, didn’t find anything useful regarding the canteens’ opening hours.

I used to study in Shanghai, China and in Belfast, UK. China is a special place with regards to the opening hours of canteens, which are from 7.00 to 21.00 or even later, because students always live in shared rooms on a very large campus and there is no public kitchen available, therefore they have no choice but to go to the canteens. But I am doing research in Nijmegen, Holland, at the moment, and the canteen is open from early morning until the evening.

Skriv en billedtekst, jah?

DTU at least offers a muffin

The opening hours of the canteens in the UK vary from one university to another, for example, one of the canteens at Imperial College opens daily (both weekdays and weekends, and during the evening) because students are working very hard in the library and have the need to use the canteens. On the other hand, Queen’s University Belfast, where I was doing my master’s, had no canteens open in the evening. Then again Belfast is such a small city that many of the businesses are run around the university campus and you can easily find many kinds of fast food restaurants within 5 minutes walking distance.

I was wondering, whether the opening hours of the canteens in Copenhagen is a special culture, so I looked up the opening hours of the canteens at Copenhagen Business School (CBS). To my surprise, canteens were open after 6 PM during weekdays, and, to the best of my knowledge, there was no warm food served after 6 PM at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), but you could find a small café, which offers muffins or sandwiches.

As far as I know, there are quite a few researchers still working after 5 PM (and some of them, occasionally, even 8 PM) or during Saturday and Sunday. And there are some people like me, who sometimes have to work to, e.g. meet a certain deadline. I asked some of my colleagues about their working hours and lunch/dinner situations, and some of them threw an interesting answer at me:

Colleagues avoiding uni on weekends

”I do not come to the university on Saturday and Sunday simply because either I am too lazy to prepare my lunch/dinner, or there are no canteens open on weekends.”

No pain, no gain. At least that is what the opening hours of the canteens at UCPH suggest to me – you should cook if you want to work during non-regular working hours. However, you can never predict something like an urgent task or having to work longer than usual at the university on an empty stomach.

So why do canteens at other universities in Copenhagen or other places around the world are able to be open during the evening? It sounds strange to me that the biggest university in Copenhagen area has no canteens open during the evening or weekends, if there are people, and quite a few, who are working during the night and weekends.

Read response from canteens: WHY we are not open in the evenings and weekends.

Like us on Facebook for features, guides and tips on upcoming events. Follow us on Twitter for links to other Copenhagen academia news stories. Sign up for the University Post weekly newsletter here, and then follow the University Post on Instagram here.