Denmark has stolen children from their foreigner parents

Thursday, June 05, 2008

How to Be Private in Public

One thing that distinguishes the Danish character from the American character is attitudes toward privacy.

Danes do not slap bumper stickers onto their cars, they do not wear buttons declaring allegiances, and they don't wear t-shirts that give away anything personal, anything private.

Perhaps the Danes' almost extreme private nature is a result of living in a small place. But whether it's a chicken or an egg problem, Danes' privacy serves well their living small. Most Danes do not cover their windows, so when you walk down the street it is possible to look right into most homes, even right through them into their back gardens. But it's really not culturally acceptable to look. So it's okay to have big glass windows on the front of your house and to live inside your house just as if it were all closed off to the world: no one will look in. When houses are close together and not far from the street, but when you want to get as much light from outside in to counterbalance the long dark winter, then the rule of not looking is necessary.

On the street, Danes do not look you in the eye, much less greet you in any way.

More: Into Denmark

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I never really thought about it that way. But I think you are right.