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Dorms Disclosed: Håndværkerkollegiet

Students review their own housing and accommodation in Copenhagen. Here is the second review.

Håndværkerkollegiet. One of the hardest words for an international student to learn and awkwardly pronounce when a new Danish friend asks, “So, where do you live?”

When moving to Denmark for my Master’s, I had already experienced “residence life” in my first year of university back at home in Canada. So naturally, I was intrigued to see the similarities and differences in residence life in Copenhagen, Denmark.

And first off I can say, it is not referred to as residence life here in Denmark,
it is ‘kollegium’ life.

Check out the dormitory in pictures here

Ikea on request

My one year and eight months of living in HVK has been divided between two rooms; a so-called international room and a Danish room. The difference? Absolutely nothing.

Each room is a Scandinavian-ly, white-walled, 10 square meter room equipped with an entrance way that includes a built in wardrobe and sink area. All international rooms are Ikea furnished (bed, desk, bookshelf, night table, lamp), however in the Danish rooms, furnishing is available upon request, which is the route I chose to take.

The rooms are small and cozy but still with enough space to dance like nobody is watching or house a visitor or two from back home. And hey, if you want to learn a new language or discover new music, you can simply open your window and take in all the sounds from the surrounding rooms. Once the windows are open, privacy is lost.

Sharing is nice

Each floor consists of 22 rooms, 2 kitchens, and 2 bathroom areas (3 showers and 3 toilets in total). Coming from a family of four girls, sharing kitchens and bathrooms hasn’t been much of a problem to me.

We have the luxury of a cleaning lady who keeps the bathrooms nice and tidy. But for the kitchens, we have to get down and dirty as the neatness of the kitchens are the floor’s own responsibility.

As for other common areas, the basement is one big common area, divided into 5 rooms that contain things such as a 52 inch TV, couches, ping-pong table, football, pool table, workout equipment, and most importantly, a party room with a bar. This space all opens up to a medium-sized yard where you can relax and enjoy the sun (when it makes an appearance!) on the grass or picnic tables, or you can enjoy a BBQ with your floor-mates.

Far from the city

HVK is tucked away in Copenhagen NW just next to the A-line station stop, Emdrup station. The surrounding area is mainly residential housing with a few small supermarkets and a Fitness World within walking distance.

Also just up the road, there is a pond with a path, perfect for evening runs or romantic walks. With only a 5.5 km bike ride to Nørreport station, being a part of city life is accessible, but at times it can feel a bit removed. However, for those going to school at University of Copenhagen’s North Campus (like myself), a 7 minute bike ride down one road makes it quick and easy to get to early morning lectures.

Family time

One of the best things about living at HVK is the “family-like” atmosphere. Being in student housing of a smaller size (100 residents) and sharing everything but sheets, the social scene at HVK is very ‘hyggelig’.

Each floor is a mini-family, filled with meal clubs, movie nights, kitchen parties and growing friendships. When the whole building gets together for different activities (always including drinking of course – even at the General Assembly) it is like having a big family reunion.

There is a lot of tradition in the building and as Danish culture goes, it is of course found in local party rituals. And what are they like? In one word: Drunk. For some reason, parties here are never without a theme. Personally, I love it! It makes things that much more enjoyable to watch guys prance around in dresses, or a male burlesque dancer spanking a dominatrix.

Check out Frankrigsgadekollegiet

Party time

When living at HVK, I have had the opportunity to take part in many different parties including Tour de Cuisine, Tour de Mose, Half-Year parties, Thursday cafes and last but not least, the 36 hour bar, where the floor that drinks the most amount of beer wins a trophy. There is much more than drinking cheaply priced beers (3 for 20kr!!), this is when the spirit of ‘kollegium’ is most alive.

At some parties, dinner is cooked by one of the floors and served to the whole residence hall and at others, there is healthy competition between the floors with a soccer tournament (football for you Europeans) and of course, drinking games.

The people

Meeting people in the building is fairly easy, once again, because everything is shared. However, a bit of ‘outgoing-ness’ can go a long way. It is a fairly even mix of guys and girls, but the international-to-Danish ratio is a bit skewed at 25 pct. international to 75 pct. Danish. For internationals, this is a very nice way to experience Danish culture when moving to a new country. However, in the beginning, it can feel a bit intimidating when breaking into the floor.

The people living here range from 18 to 27, studying things from Educational Sciences to English Literature. Those living in Danish rooms can live here as long as they want to as long as they are studying. For those in international rooms, it is only allowed to live here for a year. However, depending on how involved you are in the building, it is possible to later end up in a Danish room, just as I have.

All-in-all, I have loved my time here at HVK. I have made many new friends from many different cultural backgrounds and it is going to be hard to leave my HVK family.

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