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Comment: Why not lay off the booze?

Most of us enjoy partying and having a few drinks, but should this turn into a daily habit? asks exchange student Anda Comanescu

Coming to Denmark from abroad, you cannot help but feel surprised – not only because of the beautiful architecture and women we can admire here, but also because we see people sitting at cafes and drinking beer from as early as 10 o’clock in the morning.

Exchange students quickly adopt this habit, but not even they can keep it up as bravely as Danes do.

Weekend or weekday, school day or early in the morning, drinks like beer and pear cider are always on the tables at cafes, gaining ground over the traditional water or coke.

Random goodbye parties

Late at night, the party starts with cocktails, mixed drinks, shots and ends early in the morning in a strange place you didn’t remember walking into.

During the semester, the exchange student party week starts as early as Tuesday with Bar 7, continues Wednesday and Thursday with Student house (Studenterhuset) and Kulør bar and finishes Saturday after more Kulør bar or other parties.

Now, during the summer, there are festivals around town, random good-bye parties for exchange students, days at the beach or barbeques, all with the purpose of getting drunk or at least having a few drinks.

More drinks on weekdays

Copenhagen is far from boring. However, specialists have expressed concern about Danish habits, and exchange students should pay heed to.

Anthropology professor Vibeke Steffen from the University of Copenhagen did her fieldwork in Alcoholics Anonymous. She points out that alcohol consumption among young Danes has increased in the last few years, and is turning into a daily habit as it expands beyond the weekends.

At the street festival Copenhagen Distortion on Friday I didn’t really know what I was in for. I was hoping it would be more than a day out. It was.

Copenhagen distorted

As soon as we got there and took a look around, I heard one of my friends asking ‘how can they be so drunk in the middle of the day?’ It was a chilly day so I only had my warm tea that I had brought in a thermos.

I wonder if I don’t understand Danish culture at all. Is there more to being Danish than just drinking beer?

Is there more to it than urinating close to a bush – and pretty much where everybody can see you instead of taking the time to queue at one of the many ecological toilets?

Why not lay off the booze?

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