Copenhagen Culture Night

Posted: October 18, 2010 in Categorized
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October 15th was Culture Night! Culture Night is a night where over 200 museums, churches, exhibition halls, galleries, political institutions, and other venues all over the city stay open relatively late, exposing the world to the broad cultural landscape of Copenhagen. When I went to Culture Night, two years ago, I felt like I went to see more of the tourist attractions but I didn’t feel like I really got a deeper appreciation for Danish culture.

So this time around I went with one of my Danish roommates. We spent most of Friday morning, planning out all the places we wanted to go. After we compiled our list, we decided that it might be best to just stay in the Copenhagen City Center since we’d be walking all night. This time was different because I was able to experience aspects of Danish culture with an actual Dane.

First, we decided to attend the Danish Templar Knights tour. This is something I would have NEVER thought of attending. The whole tour was in Danish, so my Danish roommate just translated what the speaker was saying. Basically it is a “secret society” (in Denmark, mostly men but in Sweden and Norway, women are able to become Templar Knights) of older men 40+ that decide to reflect on their life and develop philosophical and spiritual answers to some of life’s biggest problems. I was fascinated by the idea of this, because it had this very old and early Christian period feel to it but within a modern context. It was like a step back into a past way of living. I also liked it because of my background in philosophy. As stated by Socrates, “an unexamined life is not worth living.

After that we ventured around the City Center to see some other sites that you would never get the chance to see. I really wanted to go and see the Danish prison but the line was so long I would have missed everything else that night! So we decided to check out the Round Tower but weren’t able to get to the top because of the long waiting line. However, we did get a chance to check out the beautiful church in the Round Tower. I swear the churches here are so beautiful you almost don’t want to go inside of them. Next, we went to the Haunted House, located at the Old Firehouse on Skindergade, in which we were given the task to find 6 plates which were hidden throughout the house. It was mildly scary, but I enjoyed it.

After lots of walking around and discovering that all the free food places that we had on our list only had appetizer quality dishes, we decided to eat what my Danish roommate described to me as a very traditional Danish sandwich, grilled pork with beet root and white bread. All I can say was that it was AMAZING.

Then we made our way to the Botanical Garden, where there was this big concert going on. I would have preferred to go to more parts of the Botanical Garden, as I didn’t care too much for the concert music. Of course, b/c of my fascination with taking pictures of flowers I managed to get some pictures of the carnivorous plants!

After that we wanted to check out the ruins under the Christiansborg Palace, but somehow ended up playing Wildlife Jenga. So basically this guy had set up a Jenga with huge blocks and each block represented different species/ecosystems of the Earth. For example, he had a rainforest block, beaver block, and many other species of animals. After each block was removed he would say that species isn’t important for the survival of the Earth. It was a rather entertaining idea to think about. We stayed there until someone removed a block and eventually the block tower fell down.

We finally made our way to the ruins and I received a lesson on the history of Copenhagen, which involved A LOT of fires and reconstruction. After looking around the underground ruins, we visited the Folketinget, where all the political parties are housed at. It is one huge building with state of the art architecture. I really wish I could understand Danish so I can sit in on one of the public debates.

Lastly, we went to check out a Gregorian chant concert where we actually took Communion. It was a very unique experience taking Communion at midnight in a very Lutheran style. Since the church was dark everyone in the congregation had candle lights, which was amusing to watch as people walked outside with candelights. Actually, as my roommate and I walked down the street, singing “This Little Light of Mine”, someone asked us if we were marching for Jesus!

To end off a night of walking WAY more than 5 miles around the Copenhagen City Center, my roommate and I finished the night off with some white wine at a low-key bar by the apartment. As usual, you can expect a deep discussion with Danes at ANY time of the day. We had a very good discussion about religion and spirituality, and then what coming back to Copenhagen the second time meant to me.

Overall, Culture Night was different from my experience two years ago because I was able to experience some aspects of Copenhagen that are so revealing of what it means to embody Danish culture. I know I might sound like a broken record with my desire to understand Danish culture, but you really have to make yourself open to things that you wouldn’t normally think of doing. I would have never really wanted to learn about Templar Knights and might have shied away from the whole idea. My point is to say that partying in Copenhagen can be fun, but having a nice chill night getting to connect with the country’s culture is also very important. Now I have a list of purely cultural opportunities that I will visit throughout my year here. If you’re in a country for a significant amount of time, find a balance of what you do for your nights out and you’ll get so much more out of your abroad experience.

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Comments
  1. stone says:

    this brings back so many memories! on my cultural night, the best part was riding the canal taxis for free. it was absolutely amazing – someone was playing a soft, melancholic jazz saxophone next to the canal. unforgettable.
    the round tower was really nice too, and provided a good lookout for the whole of copenhagen.i thought it was worth the wait

  2. brunsonw says:

    Yeah it was definitely really fun this time around man. Experiencing it with my Danish roommate was the best. We danced around town, lol, SANG around town. Ate different ethnic cuisines of free food, just exploring the Copenhagen center. I do miss you all though. Thanks for subscribing to my blog man, it really means a lot. I hope you enjoy these blog posts.

  3. 移動電源 says:

    Hi my family member! I want to state that this short article is amazing, fantastic written and come with almost all essential infos. I would like to see additional posts like this.

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