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Lord Mayor served pancakes at City Hall

Calls to break through the 'Nordic introversion'. Danish cultural barriers should be surmounted says ambassador and Lord Mayor

Living in Copenhagen should be a cultural experience. But how do you become integrated into this seemingly ‘cold’ society? On Monday October 4th, the Lord Mayor of Copenhagen hosted an informational event at City Hall to help newcomers get involved.

Finding your footing

Over thirty different booths, mostly sports clubs, were displayed at the event. The KTK86 Triathalon club, Natha Yoga Centre, Amager Chess Club, Pan Idræt GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender) sports club and American football, among others, welcomed students and other non-Danish speakers.

‘Let’s Meet in Denmark’, featured at the event, is an online platform where internationals and Danes can meet. According the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, foreigners stayed an average of three years in Denmark in 2000, now they are moving away after only one year due to the increasing difficulty to integrate into Danish culture.

»You don’t feel like you have experienced a culture if you don’t meet the people,« says Lotte Kolck from The Nydansker (New Dane, ed.) Society, adding »who will break the ice? ‘Let’s Meet in Denmark’ is a great opportunity to do that.«

Tackling the cultural barrier

American PhD student Jo Nissenbaum overcame the barrier of meeting Danish students through rugby. During her master’s program she joined the Copenhagen Exiles’ rugby team.

As a result of what she considered her successful integration into Danish society Nissenbaum decided to stay in Denmark to do her PhD at the University of Copenhagen. Without rugby she thinks that she would never have been able to meet as many of the Danish friends as she knows now.

Her teammate Llew Pilbeam, a geology student, adds »it is easy to make friends with someone you have just played with.«

Penetrating the impenetrable

»The impenetrability of Danish Society,« can be broken by getting involved in various associations and clubs according to guest speaker, Nick Archer, the British Ambassador to Denmark.

In his address he proclaimed his love for Copenhagen and noted that the situation for internationals has greatly improved over the years. However, he also urged everyone to relax as the renowned Nordic introversion can be frustrating at the start.

»We cannot change Nordic culture, but we can be smart as to how we, as foreigners, engage with Nordic society,« preaches Archer to the large audience of foreigners at City Hall.

For pictures of the City Hall event, see the University Post’s gallery here!

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