Moving to Denmark as an American has become a hot topic recently; I hear a lot from Americans interested in immigration to Denmark.
Since I’m selling books called How to Live in Denmark and How to Work in Denmark, you’d think I would encourage as many Americans as possible to look into Denmark immigration.
But moving to Denmark with a U.S. passport isn’t as easy as just buying a plane ticket and a lot of sweaters.
As an American who has lived in Denmark for more than 10 years, I’m often asked for tips by Danes working with Americans.
It’s usually the smartest people in the organization who ask the question: others seem to assume that because they speak great English and have watched every episode of “Friends” or “Breaking Bad” they have a good enough handle on the American culture way of doing business. As the great American composer George Gerwshin once wrote, “It ain’t necessarily so.”
Here are a few tips taken from my new book “Working with Americans: Tips for Danes“, which is available on Amazon, Saxo, Google Play, iTunes, and from our own webshop.
Fear of lawyers and lawsuits
U.S. companies and employees live in constant fear of litigation. When I first arrived in Denmark, I remembered being shocked at traditions that could make an American liabilities lawyer rich. Whether it was bonfires at a børnehave, hot coals to warm your hands on at Tivoli, or drunk studenter falling off the back of trucks, I couldn’t help thinking about how a stupid or careless person might injure himself and sue.
American businesses think about this all the time, since they have two things on their mind: how to stay in business at a profit, and how to avoid litigation, since the second can make the first impossible. Every business decision, every product development or marketing technique, every hiring and every firing, has to be looked at through the lens of : Can we be sued for this?
Denmark vs NYC – what’s the difference in working in Copenhagen vs. Manhattan?
#DenmarkinNY – the Danish Consulate in New York’s blog – recently took time out to chat with Kay Xander Mellish, a longtime New Yorker who now lives and works in Copenhagen.
Kay Xander Mellish’s TEDx Talk “The Privileged Immigrant” looks at highly-educated immigrants who choose to relocate for professional or personal reasons.
What responsibilities do these privileged immigrants have to the places where they’ve chosen to live?
In the talk, which was delivered April 14, 2018 at TEDx Odense, Kay suggests that immigrants with options need to research the basic values of the place where they intend to move in order to make sure that their own values are in line with the people who already live there.
I’ve just arrived back in Denmark after a couple of weeks in the U.S., and the night I got back, my cat bit me. This was not just a little affectionate peck – Fluffy used her sharp teeth, her fangs, to create four bleeding puncture wounds in my leg. I suppose it was partly my fault – I put a call on speakerphone. Fluffy doesn’t like speakerphone, because she can hear a person but she can’t see one, so she assumes I’m some evil magician who has put a person inside a little glowing box. And she bites me.
So I was bleeding, and I did what I did the last time she bit me – which was a couple of months ago, the last time I used speakerphone. I called 1813, the Danish government’s non-emergency line for off-hour medical situations.
I waited about five minutes for a nurse to take the call, and she asked me some questions about the size and location of the bite, and whether or not I’d had a tetanus shot recently. I hadn’t, so she made an appointment for me at the local emergency room for about an hour later.
It’s been a beautiful autumn here in Denmark. Golden sun and blue skies, red and yellow and orange leaves on the trees. Just gorgeous. And unusually warm for Denmark. It’s always exciting when, instead of wearing your winter coat every day from October to April, you can wear it every day from November to April.
But this unusually pleasant weather can’t help but spark conversation about global warming. So far, the biggest impact climate change has had on Denmark are some severe rainstorms, which end up flooding a lot of basements and overwhelming a lot of sewer systems. It’s intriguing to think that plumbers may become the great heroes of the twenty-first century.
Danes care about climate change, and they’ve made a business specialty of green technology, or what they like to call clean technology. Cleantech. Denmark sells windmills to create wind power, and burns most of its household garbage in an environmentally friendly way to create home heating.
There was no How to Live in Denmark podcast last week, and I apologize for that. I have been busy studying for my Danish citizenship exam. As some of you may know, Denmark is allowing double citizenship as of next year.
That means you’re are allowed to keep your passport from your home country – in my case, USA – while also becoming a Danish citizen. Personally, I’m a little concerned that this may be overturned if a right wing government takes power next year. Danske Folkeparti, which is now the biggest party in Denmark, is passionately opposed to double citizenship.
Last week, political posters went up all over Copenhagen, on streetlights, on bridges, and on train platforms.
The posters are for the local elections this month, and even though the candidates are supposed to take them down afterwards, they usually don’t.
So, the candidates will keep smiling and making promises through Christmas, and through the winter snow and ice. Come spring, you’ll see a faded, battered photo of somebody who failed to win anything at all hanging from a light pole near you.
The ‘left’ party is not leftist
I like Danish politics, and I follow it, even though I don’t follow Danish sports or entertainment. I like Danish politics because it involves a lot of intelligent women running things, with men standing in the background to help them out.