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Copenhagen: Tips and Tricks

You have arrived in Copenhagen, and you are from somewhere else entirely. Things are tough for a stranger in a new city in a foreign country: The University Post has prepared a list of a few items that will help make your stay in Copenhagen easier

Are you a new student, just arrived in Copenhagen for one or two semesters? Or maybe you are planning to stay even longer? Below are a few tips and tricks that will make life easier.

1. Maps and websites: know how to get around

It’s no good being somewhere new and potentially exciting, without knowing how to get to any of the new and exciting places. First off, get yourself a map of Copenhagen at any tourist office – check the box to the right for the address of the main office in the centre of town.

While the weather is still right for it, we recommend that you check out the city’s parks – any large, green square on the map is a great place to go for a sit down or a stroll with a bottle of wine and a few good people. Beautiful spots include: Ørstedsparken, Frederiksberg Have and Kongens Have.

Check out OUR ‘BEFORE YOU LEAVE’ GUIDE, which will take you through the various parts of the city – rather than rushing to do these things at the end of the year, take Copenhagen in at your own pace.

If you need to go far, use (they have an English language option) to find out how to from A to B. Typing in any two addresses will tell you how to get anywhere in the country using public transport. Maps are also available on the site.

Public transport is pricey in the long (and short) run, so we highly, highly recommend that you get yourself a:

2. Bike

Denmark is the only country in the world where there are more bikes than trees, people and oxygen molecules. People bike everywhere: It’s cheap, it’s environmentally friendly, it keeps you fit and a high speed bike downhill feels as good in your 20s as it did when you were a kid. You should get a bike – it’ll save you roughly DKK 150 every week in transport costs.

Check our DANISH CYCLING ETIQUETTE for advice before you take to the road.

As a biking nation, the Danes value their bikes. Therefore, bikes are expensive, so it’s worth looking at second-hand bikes. Unattended and stolen bikes are eventually sold by police on auction, and buying one of these is of the cheapest ways of getting yourself a bike. Check the fact box to the right for details.

Until then, you can also rent a bike. There are instructions on how to do so here.

If you do feel like splashing out on a new bike, you might want to start by buying:

3. A lottery ticket

Things are expensive in Denmark, so winning a couple of million DKK is not a bad way of financing your stay in Copenhagen. Cynics may say that it is statistically unlikely that you’ll win the lottery, but then it’s also statistically unlikely that most cynics have been to Copenhagen.

You can buy a ticket in any kiosk, and the national lottery is called ‘Lotto’. We would recommend that you gamble online, but the site is in Danish. The Danish lottery takes 50% of your earnings and gives it to … obscure handball clubs in provincial Denmark, and that kind of thing. So you’re being charitable, sort of.

If you are unwilling to ride on any odd bike, this is also an excellent way of securing the funds to buy a solid gold bike. OR check out our TOP 5 PLACES TO GET FREE OR CHEAP STUFF.

4. WD-40

Water repelling oil for your (regular or solid gold) bike. Get a hold of some of this, or borrow some off any of Copenhagen’s 1,000,000 bike-obsessed citizens. WD-40 was originally designed to repel water and prevent corrosion in nuclear missiles, but has an alternative use in lubricating your already rusty chain during the Copenhagen winter.

WD-40 has a fanclub, and you can check their site for lists of the many other uses of WD-40, ranging from the above mentioned, to (…) deodorant replacement.

5. Piratos

Haribo’s Piratos is one of the saltiest varieties of salt-liquorice out there. Danes love salt liquorice. They put it in their ‘sweets’, ice cream and drinks, and sooner or later one (Dane) will approach you with some.

It might look harmless, but it’s a strong ‘sweet’. Having a bag of Piratos handy will allow you to work up an immunisation to the flavour at your own pace. You might even, as often happens, end up liking it – Stockholm Syndrome-style.

When you’ve overdosed tremendously on ammonium chloride (the main flavour ingredient of salt liquorice), you might want to check out OUR GUIDE TO HEALTHY EATING. Also, we might add, a good way to eat for very little money, and for meeting good people with dreadlocks.

6. Order drinks

Click here for a small image of useful words/numbers for ordering drinks in Denmark. ØL means beer, RØD and HVID are red and white respectively, and VIN is wine. FISK means fish, but is actually a (subjectively) horrible and cheap type of shot that are typically bought in batches of 10, tipping the gentle balance of being slightly tipsy and horrifically drunk in the direction of the latter. Chances are you will be exposed to this in your first couple of days here.

You can listen to the pronunciations of all of the above words and numbers here. Click the ‘listen’ on the right-hand side.

Or you could FALL IN LOVE WITH A DANE – that’s a pretty good incentive to learn the language.

7. Further information & a stress ball

The Survival Guide – Denmark Step-By-Step, published by EVX for volunteers, covers everything from standard social conduct in Denmark, to Danish food and customs. It also contains excellent suggestions on fun ways of meeting people. You can download the guide here, and further prepare yourself for the Copenhagen experience.

In their guide, EVX write that handshakes are the safe way to go when greeting people you don’t know yet know very well. This leads us to the final item on our list: stress ball. Don’t make the wrong impression – exercise those hand muscles for that firm Scandinavian handshake.

Need more tips?

If you liked this you may want to browse through the University Post guide to love, cheap bikes, part-time jobs and everything else you need to know about student life in the Danish capital, our GUIDE FOR BEGINNERS.

Have fun in Copenhagen!

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