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LIVING IN DENMARK

Six useful products I discovered in Denmark

Denmark is well known for its tradition for high quality design, but which products make a difference to everyday life?

Six useful products I discovered in Denmark
A simple sticker can stop your letter box from overflowing. File photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

Inbuilt bike locks 

There’s no need to carry around a heavy and impractical chain to lock up your bicycle in Denmark, as these all come fitted (or you can cheaply add) an inbuilt lock on the frame of the bike.

The lock is the form of a circular bar which is released by a key and goes between the spokes of the back wheel, meaning it can’t be turned when the lock is in the fixed position.

This way, bikes can be locked while still standing freely – which is just as well, since there are not enough railings and bike stands in the country to accommodate the many, many bicycles.

Of course, a locked bike can, in theory, be picked up and carried away even if the wheel doesn’t turn and unfortunately, this does happen sometimes. But not enough to undermine the public trust in bicycle wheel locks.

Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Rain trousers

Rain trousers/pants (regnbukser) can be bought on their own or with a matching jacket as part of a regnsæt (“rain set”).

These waterproof pants are a novelty to those of us who don’t come from bicycle cultures, but after your first rainy day cycling commute leaves you at the office with drenched trousers, you’ll understand the appeal.

They are designed to fit over your regular trousers and can be stretched over the top of your shoes and held underneath them with a piece of elastic attached to the bottom hem.

While primarily designed for cycling, they also come in handy for walking around during Denmark’s regular spells of cold, damp weather.

Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

READ ALSO: Essential rain gear for a wet Danish winter (and spring, summer, autumn)

The flatbed toaster

There’s something indefinably satisfying about putting two slices of bread in a toaster and waiting for the ‘ping’ as they pop up, warm and ready for spreading.

However, there’s no getting around the fact that toasters are a bit impractical when it comes to thick slices and rolls.

Of course, you can also warm bread in the oven, but it’s more hassle and not for quite the same result.

Enter the flatbed toaster. This device is much more popular in Denmark than the pop-up version and enables easy, simultaneous warming of several slices of bread of various shapes and sizes – including of course, the national favourite, rye bread.

Pro tip: turn the dial less for toasting the second side of the bread, because the element will already be warm. This way you avoid burning the second side.

Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

The cheese slicer

Cheese products popular in Denmark include havarti and the Cheasy range from dairy Arla.

These are both soft cheeses and should be cut with an ostehøvl (cheese slicer), a quintessential Danish kitchen utensil.

There are two types of ostehøvl: a wire-based type and a version that looks a bit like a trowel, with a raised edge and a gap in the middle for the sliced cheese to pass through.

Cutting Danish soft cheese with a knife will turn the block into a crumbling mess, so in this setting you can’t really avoid using the specialised slicers. And while their usefulness is diminished for something like cheddar, there are plenty of softer cheeses in other countries that would surely benefit from being set about with an ostehøvl.

One thing to be aware of: injudicious use of the slicer can cause a “ski slope” cheese block, creating uneven slices and leaving one side of the block thicker than the other. Slice evenly.

READ ALSO: Why does Denmark produce so much cheese?

Foam washing cloths for babies

If you’re a parent and have found yourself struggling with a pile of dirty wet wipes or cotton pads after changing your baby, you may have found yourself wondering if there’s another way.

In Denmark, there is: the engangsvaskeklude (disposable washing cloth) comes in tightly-stuffed packets of 50-100 small, square foam cloths, around 20 square centimetres in size.

The cloths are made from thin slices of polyether foam, a type often used in sofa cushions. Manufacturers say it is better for the environment than other types, and the advantage against wet wipes is they are perfume-free.

They just need to be made damp with a splash of lukewarm water, then you’re ready to wipe – they tend to have a good success rate for picking up baby poo.

A sticker saying ‘no thanks’ to junk mail

We’re talking about physical junk mail here, not the type that goes into your email spam box although if there was a sticker for this, I’d be at the front of the queue.

The reklamer, nej tak (“advertisements, no thank you”) sticker can be ordered from FK Distribution, the company which operates Denmark’s tilbudsaviser (“special offer newspaper”) deliveries. These result in piles of paper leaflets, detailing offers at supermarkets, being pushed through letter boxes every day.

These leaflets are useful for bargain hunters, but many people take them out of their overfilled letter box and dump them straight into recycling containers. If you have a nej tak sticker on your letter box, you won’t receive any of the brochures in the first place.

You can also choose a sticker which says “no thanks” to adverts but excludes the offer leaflets, so you can cut down on the junk mail while still keeping abreast of good deals.

Have I missed any good ones? Let me know.

Member comments

  1. The sticker is not enough you need to register at their website to stop receiving the “reklamer”. It is usually teens that deliver so if you are on their list you will get them. Also you are not required to a sticker on, but it will help the person delivering a lot.

  2. Allow me to add the ‘Swansneck’ (svanehals) fitting used to suspend a pendant lamp amuwhere you want it. It is completely unknown in the UK, and mine have been much admired. Someone somewhere could make a killing selling these in the UK!

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LIVING IN DENMARK

‘Cheaper’,’amazing nature’, ‘reliable transport’: The best Copenhagen commuter towns

Finding somewhere affordable to live in Denmark's capital is not easy, which is why a lot of people consider moving out of the city to rent or buy. The Local readers gave us an insight into life in a commuter town.

'Cheaper','amazing nature', 'reliable transport': The best Copenhagen commuter towns

With the increase in flexible working, more people are looking to smaller towns outside of Copenhagen to either work from home or commute from. Here are some of the popular commuter towns.

Kokkedal/Fredensborg (north of Copenhagen)

From our reader survey, Kokkedal/Fredensborg were the most popular areas people lived.

“We can have a big house with a garden for the kids compared to a small flat in Copenhagen,” one reader said. 

“Houses are affordable for North Zealand compared to Lyngby, Birkerød or Holte for example,” added Judy, another reader. “Not a lot of apartments or rentals available though.”

She said she loved the “amazing nature” of the area, as well as the safety, community spirit and fact it was close to amenities and Hillerød.

The commute however is not the quickest of the commuter towns.

“On the days I work in town it costs 52kr each way, I need to get a bus or walk to Kokkedal then the train and then a bus or walk to work so it takes up to 1.5 hours,” said one reader. 

Judy agreed that it normally took her an hour and a half to get to Copenhagen’s central station. She said that the “cost can be reduced by using a pendelkort and there is a tax deduction for long distance commutes.” However another reader in the area said it took them 30 minutes to get to Copenhagen central.

The worst part about living in the area, Judy said, was that “local trains and buses only run once an hour on weekends”.

“If you don’t have a car, it’s a pain.”

Another reader complained that “the restaurant scene is not great” and that the “general access to culture” was limited, although the Louisiana Art Gallery, they said, was “not far away”. 

What Judy loved about the area was “amazing nature. Safety. Close to amenities. Community spirit. Houses are more affordable than similar areas like Birkerød. Three stops from Hillerød station. by train. There are also buses to towns on the kystbanen line.”

Kokkedal station. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The north of Copenhagen is a popular choice for commuters, due to the area’s many beaches and the good train links to the centre of Copenhagen.

Other popular commuter towns are Hillerød, Holte, Bikerød, Rungsted and Hørsholm. 

Vedbæk (north of Copenhagen)

A few kilometres south of Kokkedal but still north of Copenhagen, Vedbæk, reported our reader Ron, offers “small town life” where “nearly everyone knows each other”.

The wealthy coastal town, he said, “has everything we need, with easy train access to the Copenhagen on the Regionaltog.” In addition, the commute is “very reliable”, taking only 20 minutes on the train to Nørreport.

The downside, he said, was that housing in the area was very expensive. “It’s probably even more expensive in Vedbæk than in Copenhagen!”

The coastal town of Vedbæk is perfect for commuting. Photo: Tobias Kobborg/Ritzau Scanpix

Stenløse (west of Copenhagen)

To the west of Copenhagen, in Stenløse, housing costs are “much much lower” than the capital, according to one reader. They liked the “house prices, quiet, facilities, nature” and fact it was “still close to the city (36 minutes by train to go to Copenhagen Central).”

However they pointed out there are “only a few restaurants” and “a car is somewhat important.” 

The reader mostly worked from home but their commute involved cycling to the station then taking the S-tog to Copenhagen central station and another bike ride of a few minutes. “It takes about 40 minutes. Train is pretty reliable and runs every 10 minutes during the weekdays,” the reader said.

Other popular commuter areas in the west include Roskilde, Ringsted and Slagelse.

Køge (south of Copenhagen)

To the south of Copenhagen and on the coast, Køge was described by a reader as “quieter” and “cleaner” than Copenhagen, with no real negatives. 

“It’s a lot cheaper. I pay around 3,000 kroner for a single room student accommodation – two of my friends that live in Copenhagen pay 7,000 kroner a month – for a student apartment smaller than mine!” the reader said.

Their commute is “30 – 50 minutes depending on transportation mode (S-tog and regionaltog) – it costs around 650 kr a month with Ungdomskort.”

Dragør is another favourite to the south of Copenhagen due to its old-town charm.

The view across the straits to Nykobing Falster. Photo: Hubertus45/Wikimedia Commons

Nykøbing F (southern Denmark)

Nykøbing F, as it’s known, is a city on the island of Falster in southern Denmark, next to Lolland. Despite being further afield, Matthew found his commute “easy and reasonable” and house prices “much less” than in Copenhagen. He found the area he lives “peaceful” and “beautiful” with nothing he doesn’t like.

Odense (Fyn)

As the third largest city in Denmark, on the island of Fyn, Odense may feel far from Copenhagen. But reader Adrian said his commute to Copenhagen by train took “just over an hour. In a quiet carriage it’s relaxing and a great place to get work done.”

Adrian said house prices in Odense were at least half the cost of those in Copenhagen. “Cheaper housing, easy parking everywhere. Odense is a city with a small town vibe,” he said. The only minor point he said was the “lack of ‘cool’ cafes compared to Copenhagen.”

It’s says something about transport in Denmark that commuting from a different island 300km away can take the same time as commuting from a village just 40km north of Copenhagen. 

Some commuters even travel from Malmö in Sweden, taking advantage of the the fast train over the Øresund Bridge.

Do you have experience of living in a Copenhagen commuter town or village? We’re still interested in collecting readers’ experience of the different options. So if you want to contribute, please fill in the form below: 

 

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