A Slow Pour

Name: Andy Rutter

Age: 38

Hometown: Trail

Location: Sæby, Denmark

Job: New-media designer

I moved here because I was in a relationship with a Dane.

THE BIGGEST SHOCK was the amount of bicycles on the streets and the realization that bottled water costs more than beer.

THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING HERE is the strong family values fuelled by mutual respect, resulting in a low crime rate and decent social conduct. 

THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION I had was thinking Danes would be easily won over by Canadian charm alone. The cultural differences are many. The biggest challenge has been, and still is, learning to communicate, especially how to use humour in conversation.

THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE working here is a greater emphasis on maintaining a balance between work and family life. There are shorter work weeks, more holidays and better benefits.

THE PEOPLE are like a bottle of ketchup: hard to access at first, but after some persuasion they open up and smother your plate.

THEIR BIGGEST CONCERN is losing their cultural identity. There have been many social changes in Denmark over the past 10 years – including the constant threat of terrorism, globalization, the arrival of refugees and immigration – which have caused considerable social and financial strain. 

THE STANDARD OF LIVING is middle to upper-middle class. The wealthy pay a high percentage of their income in taxes so the old, unemployable and sick can receive the social benefits to keep them above the poverty line. 

THE FOOD has become a big issue. Food and tradition are of high importance, but the traditional dishes are not very healthy. They’re trying to make changes without losing their traditions.