University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


Release the monkeys: It's May Day

PREVIEW - Tomorrow 1st of May, the international workers day, has two scenarios in Denmark. Cold beer and frigid weather, or warm weather and tepid beer. Here is what the University Post expects, and it won't be pleasant

This year’s International Worker’s Day will be unique: Danish Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, has announced she is not attending. Instead she will be visiting Copenhagen’s rival cities Aarhus and Aalborg.

This is akin to the queen not attending her New Year’s speech on live television or cardinals taking a pass on the papal conclave.

Whether this means that this year’s International Worker’s Day turns into complete monkey frenzy or if it enables actual ideological progress is currently unknown. However, based on years of experience, the University Post reckons that it will either be the first, or all fizzle out into nothing.

Two sides to every story

International Worker’s Day, 1st May has two sides to it: On one side you have red flags plastered on everything – including people – outraged voices in megaphones and tear-wrenching tributes to times long gone along with rose-colored visions for the future. This is a leftover from the heyday of socialism and the labour movement,

On the other side, you have droves of drunk people. You have them to an extent that makes it fit for an anthropological study. Engaged in diverse, but distinct and traditional rituals, you see all sorts: pupils as young as twelve skipping school for their first encounter with Dionysus, high school students under the influence of alcohol and hormones, university students chilling, bong-heads sharing a pipe, and of course the emblematic Old Socialist.

He is usually older than 40 and continuing the fight against injustice from ’68. His wrinkles of wisdom, red leather pants, a large flag and a wobbly walk, are all tell-tail signs.


There are some cool things you can do regardless of how red or indignant you might be. Around the site and among innumerable beer vendors, you can get a taste of classic Danish delicacies like hot dogs, smørrebrød and snaps.

You’ll find DJs pumping out electronic beats and Rastafarians playing reggae all around the park. And of course, for this festive occasion, the Danes dance.

If you speak Danish, you’ll of course also be able to enjoy politically-charged speeches, coming from all sorts of organizations, large and small, red and blue and even religious. If you don’t speak Danish, this is a good chance to study the art of Danish ‘Drunken-talk’, which has even fewer consonants than regular Danish. Or you can try the universal language of love which on this occasion seems to be a tongue spoken across all nationalities and ideological flags.

Some Danish workplaces have the day off on 1st May, but all the shops are open. The University of Copenhagen’s official policy is that it is a day off for staff.

Stay in the know about news and events happening in Copenhagen by signing up for the University Post’s weekly newsletter here.