Denmark has stolen children from their foreigner parents

Monday, March 24, 2008

Danish Elephant Trick

Materials: none

Instructions: Give your friend these instructions:

  • Think of any number from one to 10.
  • Multiply it by 9. [Pause while they do this]
  • If it's a two-digit number, add them together.
  • Now, subtract 5 from the number in your head. [Pause again]
  • Now, think of the letter in the alphabet that corresponds with the number you are thinking about. For instance, if you are thinking of the number 1, it would be "A". Number 2 would be "B". 3 is "C", and so on.
  • Now, think of a country that starts with the letter you're thinking of.
  • Spell the country in your head. [Pause here]
  • Think about the second letter in that country's name. Now, quickly think of an animal who's name begins with that letter.[Pause here]
  • Now, think of the animal's color.
  • [Pause and concentrate] That's funny... this can't be right... there ARE no gray elephants in Denmark!
(The country will always start with D and they will always choose Denmark, so the animal will start with E. It will fail if they think of Eagle or Emu, but that's a chance to take.)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Danish Google search

People from Denmark must be real stylish, as their top search term was evisu (Japanese designer brand). Other important things for the Danes: rd (Danish mortgage company) [], papillon, dolphin olympic (wtf?), ingeniøren (The Engineer, Danish weekly engineering paper), wozniacki (Danish tennisplayer), krone (the Danish currency, DKK), fredericia kommune (Danish municipality), morten andersen (multiple record-breaking Danish NFL kicker) and det moderne gennembrud (Nordic literature in the late 19th century, Georg Brandes). Jesus, these searches seem pretty focused on their own country! It’s gotta be pretty difficult and tough to gain a big danish audience on your blog if you are not danish yourself or live there.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Denmark surpasses Sweden for world's highest tax burden

When it comes to choosing a place to live abroad, we all know the Scandinavian countries have it made. The standard of living is high, upper education is subsidized and everyone seems to have a job and a nice living situation. But all of this comes at a price; it's called taxes.

Sweden has long been known for its high taxes, the highest in the world in fact. But Denmark recently beat out it's northern neighbor for first place according to Danish newspaper Dagbladet Børsen (a daily business and finance paper). Based on a figure giving by tax authorities in both countries, the Danes have the highest tax burden in the world at 48.4%, compared to the 47.8% that Swedes pay. As an interesting side note, Swedish and Danish salaries are paid in krona and krone; both countries still use their own currencies instead of the euro.

Although the percentages for taxes may seem high for those of us that don't live in more socialized countries, the Scandinavians certainly aren't feeling an economic burden; the standards of living in these countries is quite high. In the most recent United Nations Human Development Index, Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden were all ranked in the top 15. Add to that government structures that provide for universal health care and paying near 50% for taxes seems to make a little more sense. Health care, Volvos, vikings, IKEA and moose; who wouldn't want to live there?


Sunday, March 09, 2008

Danes: Ikea guilty of "cultural imperialism"

A low-price furniture storm has been brewing on the other side the Öresund bridge over the past week with newspapers accusing Sweden's Ikea of trying to walk all over the Danes.
Popular daily Nyhedsavisen led the charge on Valentine's Day with a front page headline accusing Ikea of "bullying" Denmark.

Why is it, the paper wondered, that Swedish and Norwegian place names are always associated with the shiniest, comfiest furnishings in the Ikea catalogue, while the names of Danish towns are reserved for doormats, rugs and carpets?

"It seems to be an example of cultural imperialism," Klaus Kjøller, Assistant Professor in Political Communication and the Danish Language at the University of Copenhagen, told The Local.

"Ikea has chosen the objects with the lowest value and given them Danish names," he added.

Doormats and rugs such as Köge, Sindal, Roskilde, Bellinge, Strib, Helsingör, Bröndby, Farum and Nivå are all "seventh class" citizens in the hierarchical world of Ikea furnishings, according to Kjøller.

"Ikea is a very professional company. I don't think this can be a coincidence," he said.

But according to Ikea spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson, that is exactly what it is.

"It has never been our purpose to name carpets in a way that would be considered negative by anyone," she told The Local.

While expressing regret that anyone might have taken offence, Magnusson stressed that "it is just a coincidence that it happened to be carpets that were given Danish names."

But Klaus Kjøller is not convinced.

"It's hard to imagine it's not intentional," he said.

In an unrelated but interesting aside, the Copenhagen academic also pointed out that "it is exactly 350 years since the Swedes took the Halland, Skåne and Blekinge regions from Denmark."

Source: The local

Saturday, March 01, 2008

An Interview with Kurt Westergaard

Kurt Westergaard is the cartoonist/illustrator who drew the most famous of the Mohammed cartoons. Because of death threats, he has moved around constantly under police protection. The German publication Der Spiegel has a very good profile of Westergaard. (in german) (in english).

The History of Denmark