Ah, the summer season is upon us and with summer comes… Tourists! *Clears throat*
Usually I’m a pretty mellow person but there are some things that can make my blood boil in a blink of an eye and this topic is definitely one of them. Just an FYI: I’m going to speak in general terms and it is all based on my own personal experiences. Oh, and it may get a bit ranty.
Now, I don’t know if people outside Denmark realise this but we are proud people. At least proud enough so that if you fuck with us we probably won’t welcome you back into our country with open arms. Because Denmark is small we cannot rely on numbers to work in our favour so to compensate our society is based on brain power. Literally. Being intelligent and using that intelligence is our biggest resource in general, which is why we tend to invent a lot of stuff, and why we’re one of the leading countries when it comes to green energy and the robotic industry along with our programs for the elderly. I’m not trying to brag, I’m just trying to explain why Danes get offended when people from other countries treat us like shit. Because we have to be very international to survive we learn early on to respect the country you’re visiting and try to follow their rules and customs (of course to a certain degree). What then pisses me off is that many tourists visiting Denmark doesn’t seem to extend the same fucking courtesy.
This is especially bad when it comes to Chinese and Japanese people. I’ve both read and heard that they think people from Europe are rude and I find that extremely funny – heavy sarcasm may occur – because you know who’re the most rude tourists you will ever come across? You guessed it: Chinese and Japanese people!!!
Because they always walk in groups they’re loud – even in churches where a quick look at other people would tell you to shut the fuck up – they don’t care about who they annoy or bump into AND that they have no problem walking straight into your shot if you, God forbid!, would want to take a semi-decent photo with – probably in their eyes – a mediocre shitcase of a phone. Quick note: the last one rubs me the wrong way so much that when I meet them on Danish streets I deliberately walk into their shot. The defiance is strong in this one.
A very important piece of information that I think every tourists ought to know, but that I dedicate especially to all Chinese and Japanese people is that it is forbidden by Danish law to take a picture of another person without their consent. And boy would I laugh my arse off if jails every year were filled with tourists of East Asian descent (and their cameras). It may sound harsh but you have to understand how many freaking times I’ve been photographed against my will by tourists like some sort of caged animal.
The worst experience I’ve ever had with this particular problem was when my former boyfriend and I were at a local café having hot chocolate and cake, just having a nice time, when suddenly a group – we’re talking 10-15 people – of East Asian looking individuals (sorry, but I cannot for the life of me differentiate between Chinese and Japanese people) stopped right outside the window (we had window seats), pointed at us like we were some sort of exotic-looking creatures, pointed their freaking cameras at us – I say camera’s, it was mostly phones and tablets (by the way, how stupid does it look when people take pictures with a tablet?) – and started clicking away. If that’s not rude then I don’t know what is. I tried the same thing in Oslo when I was visiting a friend. We were sat outside at a restaurant and a Asian looking middle-aged man stopped 2 metres from us – to those who are not familiar with the metric system: it’s all up in your face – and took about a dozen photos of us eating. If only I had been clever enough to snap that camera out of his hands and smash it on the tiles. For a mellow person this is probably anger level 20 out of 10. For my fellow wizards out there: I should have gone full Umbridge on him. Or maybe a Dementor? What an amazing threat though. “If you’re a stranger and you take pictures of me eating I will suck out your soul.” Sorry, I got sidetracked.
Another thing people should know when they visit Denmark is that we’re a biking nation (and I don’t mean to educate you. I mean that if you intent to come here the fact that we’re a biking nation will probably be one of the first thing mentioned in the material you’ve read to prepare for your journey). That means that if you’re standing in biker’s lane you cannot get angry when you’re run over by a thousand busy Copenhageners… Copenhagenees? No, that’s not right. I’ve actually no idea what they’re called in this context. Anyhoo; I have tried getting yelled at, numerous times I might add!, by Chinese/Japanese tourists because they’ve been dumb enough to casually stand in the middle of the street chatting and because of that have found themselves inches away from death by bike. Now, first of all: by law every bike must be equipped with a bicycle bell. In the rest of Denmark – or as I like to call it: the real Denmark – we use it to alert people that there’s a bike coming, be aware and act accordingly. In Copenhagen, however, it means get the fuck out of my way or I will run you over with a smile on my face. And they go really fast! If you aren’t familar with the sound of a bicycle bell then I would advise you to stay on the sidewalk instead of chatting away in the biker’s lanes. And don’t even pretend not to know it’s a biker’s lane – and if you do you are literally the dumbest person ever -, I mean, it has the symbol of a bike on the concrete for every 10-20 metres or so for that purpose alone to let you know not to stand there.
For people who thinks I’m exaggerating: it looks like this so you tell me how I cannot question someone’s intelligence if they don’t know what this is supposed to be.
The second group of rude tourists that I’m going to talk about are Germans. Not the younger generation, they’re super chill and cool. It’s the older generation that is the problem. I understand that the likelihood of a Dane speaking German when they were young was pretty high but times change. Even though a third language is mandatory in school, and that many choose German, the fact of the matter is that I do not know anyone under the age of 60 who speaks German. The German language is simply not fashionable anymore. Sorry to my German friends, I’m just stating the facts here. I, myself, speak English when in Germany, though, in Flensburg, which is right across the border, some actually still speak Danish which is very admirable.
My problem with the older generation is that when they come here they will speak German to me. I’m sorry, but if you set foot in my country and you cannot speak English – which is the least you could do, like the bare minimum – the next language that should be pouring out of your mouth is Danish. Why visit another country and assume that you can still speak your mother tongue and that people will understand you – AND then get annoyed when they don’t? It is arrogance at highest level if you ask me. When it happens I always answer them in Danish. No exceptions. (I wonder how fucked native English speakers would be if English suddenly went out of fashion. Or should I say when, because it actually hasn’t always been in fashion).
I guess that what I’m trying to convey here is that it’s fine expecting Danes to accomidate your rules and traditions when we’re visiting your country, but don’t come to our country still expecting us to bow to your rules. Remember: you’ve come to the country of equality.
Phew, this post became more lenghty and ranty than I’d expected but let it be known that I mean every single word. I rest my case. I hope you have a nice day. Cheers!
Be sure to leave your thoughts and comments down below.