A (somewhat typical) Danish Easter

For Easter Sunday, we went up to the family’s summer house in Rørvig for a day full of food and Easter shenanigans! Last year, we were extremely unlucky with the weather, which was partially because Easter was about three weeks earlier, and partially because … Denmark. Anyway, this year, the weather continued to be spring-like, warm and sunny - perfect Easter weather!

So we took up to Rørvig and actually managed a quick trip to the harbor and the beach, before heading over to start the food frenzy.

Rørvig harbor

Rørvig harbor

Panorama shot of Rørvig beach

Panorama shot of Rørvig beach


The next couple of hours were spent around the large Easter table, trying to taste as many of the delicious dishes as possible. If you’ve ever been invited to a classic Danish holiday (Christmas, Easter,…) you’ll know that you won’t go hungry!

Easter impressions


First, fish dishes are served. This includes cold dishes such as “rejer” (shrimp) with mayonnaise, “sild” (marinated herring), either in a pure version or with a creamy curry sauce (“karrysild”), of course no Danish table could ever be complete without “fiskefiletter” (fish filets in a panade) with the classic remoulade sauce.


Fish dishes


After the fish dishes, you might already feel pretty full, but don’t think for a second that you’re done! Because now is when the Danes pull out all the classic meat dishes, such as “flæskesteg” (roast pork with crispy crackling), “frikadeller” (meat balls) and “leverpostej” (liver paste) with bacon. These are accompanied by the classic “rødkål” (red cabbage), among others. Of course there’s always bread so you can make your own “smørrebrød” variations of the dishes. One of my favorite Danish Easter dishes is “tarteletter”, a thick gravy with cubed chicken and asparagus served in small shells of buttery puff pastry.


Meat dishes


To wash down all of this food, the Danes like to drink specialty beers called “Påskebryg” (Easter brew) or “Forårsbryg” (Spring brew). The Danes love their specialty beers, another good example is “Julebryg” (Christmas brew), which, along with Easter brew, has been cultivated by Tuborg and their “kylle kylle” commercials with the little yellow birds/ chicks.

Tuborg Easter brew

Obviously, the “snaps” is also flowing freely, and before you know, you will have “skål”-ed more times than you can count. This is actually quite dangerous, especially if you, like me, didn’t eat any breakfast in anticipation of the feast - you’ll feel the snaps very quickly!!

After lunch, it was time for some “egg hunting” out in the garden, where someone (the Easter bunny, maybe?) had hidden some chocolate eggs for everyone to find. My boyfriend’s family also has a tradition of painting hard-boiled eggs and then having them “fight” against each other in a game called “æggetrilling”, where the goal is to roll your egg against your opponents’ in an attempt to crack them and ultimately destroy them. Last egg standing wins! It is good fun, and it’s a great excuse to go outside and “walk off” the tiredness from all the food and snaps.

Afterwards, there is of course more food, namely cheese and cakes with coffee (plus more beer and snaps). Afterwards, we went back to the beach and managed to catch an incredibly beautiful sunset. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. The calm and quiet at the beach, only a soft breeze and the soft sounds of the waves, and the sun setting in brilliant red, orange, yellow colors… I tried to take pictures, but they don’t nearly capture the actual beauty of it.

foto 5 (4)

Shadows playing in the sunset

Sunset panorama


How did you spend Easter? What traditions do you have? And is your stomach still aching, too?!

Happy Easter!

The crazy Danes and their flags

I always find it funny to observe the country I’m living in from an expat perspective. My experience with living in 4 different countries in the last 6 years or so is that not only do you learn a lot about the country and culture you’re living in, but you learn even more about yourself and your own culture. I’ve caught myself doing distinctly German things, like mixing fruit juice with sparkling water to make a delicious refreshing “Schorle” (pure juice is way too sweet, people!), that I never actually thought were something special. And of course, you notice odd or weird things in your host country that are quite different from what you’re used to.

One such thing I have noticed in Denmark is flags. It might just seem so strange to me because in Germany, we’ve had a difficult relationship with our flags and national pride in general after the Second World War - understandably so. The first time I remember waving a German flag was during the soccer world cup 2006 in Germany. We had those Aloha flower necklaces in black-red-and-gold, painted the flags on our cheeks, and waved flags when we won a game. But otherwise, you won’t find many people who actually display a flag, say in their garden, and if they do, you immediately think they might be weird and maybe a bit to the right end of the political spectrum. In Denmark, this is totally different. The flag is everywhere.

The Danish flag has a name: “dannebrog”, which means “Danish cloth”. Legend has it that the flag fell from the sky during a battle of the Danish army against Estonia, when they were praying to God to save them from defeat - which worked. I think it’s a quite pretty flag, and the red and white colors look great on the background of a clear blue sky.

Note that the queen’s royal yacht also carries the name “Dannebrog” (to be precise, the vessel is called “KDM Dannebrog”), but it was named after the flag. It usually anchors in Copenhagen harbour, but in the summer, the queen usually spends a couple of weeks in Greenland on the ship.


The Danish flag is a common sight in Copenhagen (and Denmark). It is found on public buildings, Amalienborg palace, of course (where flags on the four main buildings indicate which members of the royal family are home), and a lot of people even have a flagpole in their garden. This is a typical sight especially for summer houses.

But the Danes also use flags on special occasions. For example, when there’s a special holiday, all busses in Copenhagen will fly little flags. This is also the case when it’s the birthday of a member of the royal family, or another special event, like the royal wedding. If you see the flags on the busses but can’t remember what they are for, there’s a website called http://hvorforflagerbussen.dk/ (why do the busses fly flags) that will tell you exactly why - pretty neat! But I’ve also asked bus drivers before, who were happy to explain.

Another popular occasion to use flags for decoration is birthdays. Not only royal birthdays, but every single family birthday is celebrated by pulling out the flag decorations! Our neighbors even put two flags outside their door when there’s a birthday in their family! You can buy napkins, paper plates and cups, even small paper “strøflag” (sprinkle flags) to just throw on the table… the possibilities are endless! And of course, the miniature flagpole can’t be missing from any birthday table! Even high-end interior brands like Georg Jensen have those little flagpoles so you can celebrate in style.

And last but not least, flags of course also decorate the famous Danish “kransekage” (layered marzipan cake) traditionally served on New Year’s Eve and at weddings, but sometimes also as a birthday cake.



What do you think? What are your experiences with flags - the Danish and your own? And to the Danes: did I forget an important detail about the Dannebrog? An occasion where it is also used? Are there other traditions or trivia around the flag?

2014 - Happy New Year!

To everybody out there who might stumble upon this, I wish you a very happy new year, and I hope it will be your best one yet!

For myself, after 2013 has not been too kind to me overall (despite many great experiences), I have decided to do what I can to make 2014 better in every possible way.

There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still. 

(Franklin D. Roosevelt)


New Year’s parties in Denmark aren’t so different from what I know from Germany, although it is common to meet as early as 5:30pm in order to watch the queen’s New Year’s speech at 6pm. It’s a common party game to guess which words she will use, and Danish betting sites even let you gamble on it! This year, to everybody’s great disappointment, she didn’t say “selfie” or “twerking“, and didn’t mention Allan Simonsen or Nelson Mandela.

After the speech, there’s a usually a quite elaborate dinner with three or more courses. Our party decided to order it from Cofoco, a group owning several very nice restaurants around Copenhagen. Our menu consisted of a lobster bisque with scallops, cottage cheese and salmon roe, beef tournedos with pommes Anna, onion puree and root parsley, and for dessert, variations of Belgian chocolate, including a dark chocolate cake, milk chocolate mousse and cocoa shortbread with blueberries. Yum!!

Around 23:40, the TV is turned on again to watch “Dinner for One“, which usually serves as the basis for a drinking game (take a drink whenever the butler drinks or trips over the tiger’s head). Right before midnight, champagne is poured and some people like to climb on their chairs or the couch to jump into the new year at midnight. After wishing “godt nytår” to each other, people go out into the streets to watch the fireworks and shoot off some of their own. And while in Germany the fireworks seem to last about 30 minutes, with some going off a bit later, there is just no stopping the Danes! As we were on our way home around 4pm, you could still hear some!

Afterwards, there is usually kransekage, a marcipan cake in layered rings that is very typical for New Year’s Eve, but is also traditionally served at weddings. The classic recipe can be found here, for example (in Danish).

I haven’t made one yet, but this is definitely on my bucket list. Maybe this year for NYE?