Opinion 7/6-10 10:10

Comment: Why not lay off the booze?

Copenhagen Distortion
Photo: Peter Erichsen, Copenhagen Distortion website
From the Copenhagen Distortion street party last year
Most of us enjoy partying and having a few drinks, but should this turn into a daily habit? asks exchange student Anda Comanescu

Coming to Denmark from abroad, you cannot help but feel surprised – not only because of the beautiful architecture and women we can admire here, but also because we see people sitting at cafes and drinking beer from as early as 10 o’clock in the morning.

Exchange students quickly adopt this habit, but not even they can keep it up as bravely as Danes do.

Weekend or weekday, school day or early in the morning, drinks like beer and pear cider are always on the tables at cafes, gaining ground over the traditional water or coke.

Random goodbye parties

Late at night, the party starts with cocktails, mixed drinks, shots and ends early in the morning in a strange place you didn’t remember walking into.

During the semester, the exchange student party week starts as early as Tuesday with Bar 7, continues Wednesday and Thursday with Student house (Studenterhuset) and Kulør bar and finishes Saturday after more Kulør bar or other parties.

Now, during the summer, there are festivals around town, random good-bye parties for exchange students, days at the beach or barbeques, all with the purpose of getting drunk or at least having a few drinks.

More drinks on weekdays

Copenhagen is far from boring. However, specialists have expressed concern about Danish habits, and exchange students should pay heed to.

Anthropology professor Vibeke Steffen from the University of Copenhagen did her fieldwork in Alcoholics Anonymous. She points out that alcohol consumption among young Danes has increased in the last few years, and is turning into a daily habit as it expands beyond the weekends.

At the street festival Copenhagen Distortion on Friday I didn’t really know what I was in for. I was hoping it would be more than a day out. It was.

Copenhagen distorted

As soon as we got there and took a look around, I heard one of my friends asking ‘how can they be so drunk in the middle of the day?’ It was a chilly day so I only had my warm tea that I had brought in a thermos.

I wonder if I don’t understand Danish culture at all. Is there more to being Danish than just drinking beer?

Is there more to it than urinating close to a bush – and pretty much where everybody can see you instead of taking the time to queue at one of the many ecological toilets?

Why not lay off the booze?


Laying off the booze

By Luci on 11. June 2010, 13:05.

I agree completely!
I do not have Viking genes and even Vikings die early and get their brains wiped by this idiot boozing-up.
I have lived here for over 30 years and the rate of consumption has steadily risen.
I do not understand why there is so much money spent by the University for drinks and champagne, etc. either.
I would prefer to come to faculty get togethers stone sober instead of seeing teachers and professors 7 sheets to the wind and making fools of themselves before wobbling home. The winner is the person who can remember what happened.
At a jazz club I used to be a member at, I had complained about the drugs that were being taken in the toilets and the manager told me I was a fool. He later had a accident on his bicycle while driving home from a party drunk and no longer works there or anywhere.
As long as I am outside of my home and engaged in traffic or movement in public spaces, I prefer to be sober or keep my alcohol consumption below what is officially the limit for driving, even though I ride a bicycle.
I would like it if the University decided to save money on the alcohol budget and kept the teachers on instead.
All the best from

Drinking is not just in Denmark...

By Amber on 10. June 2010, 14:28.

Hej Anda!
While your comments are valid and true, the same can be said of Australia, Canada, the US, England and Europe. (Binge) drinking is not exclusive to Copenhagen. It is a problem that concerns students and young people everywhere and needs to be addressed on a global scale. In fact, when I remember my time in Copenhagen, drinking is the last thing that comes to mind!

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