Public Trust in Denmark

I have already alluded to the topic of public trust in Denmark on several occasions but several incidents over the last few weeks made me decide to revisit it. All three give you an idea of the level of trust people have in one other. Keep in mind that greater Copenhagen is a city of almost 2 million.

Incident 1: A couple of weeks ago, I went to pick up the keys to my new apartment. Upon arrival, I was informed that the employees of the company which owns the apartment were not in yet. After explaining why I was there, the superintendant of the building (which also houses several embassies) proceeded to let me in to the company’s offices. Rather than wait for the employees to arrive, he decided to take matters into his own hands and began rooting around for my keys before finally emerging from a cabinet, triumphant. When asked if he wanted any identification, he seemed puzzled why I would ask such a question? Finally, he agreed that it might be good to at least write down my name. Somehow, I wonder if he does the same thing at the embassies housed in the building? Just another day in Copenhagen…   

Incident 2: I went out with a friend to a tapas bar*. Upon ordering, we were informed that the bar’s interact machine was off-line. However, they told us to leave whenever we wanted and informed us where the closest bank machine was where we could withdraw cash. The whole concept of requiring collateral (ie, credit card, ID) was beyond thinking. In Denmark, you return to pay the bill because it is the right thing to do!  

On the flip side, some French friends visited the same tapas bar and ordered a bottle of wine. As they only made it through half the bottle, they asked if they could leave and return to finish it later in the weekend. When they returned, the bottle was still there, labeled simply “The French guy”.  Only in Denmark…

Incident 3: Given that I had to leave my electronics in Canada, I have had to repurchase these items here in Denmark. At the top of my list were kitchen appliances and a TV. I recently purchased a 40 inch flatscreen from one of the electronic stores here in Østerbro. Upon inquiring about delivery, they asked where I lived. When they realized how close it was, they secured the TV onto a high-quality trolley and told me to bring it (the trolley) back whenever convenient. Just another day in Denmark…

*Tapas. While urban readers probably know what tapas is, other North Americans may not. Tapas is the name for a wide variety of traditional Spanish appetizers. Given that the Spanish eat dinner so late, tapas emerged as a late afternoon snack consisting of things such as olives, cheese and chapitos to “tide you over” until dinner. However, it has evolved into a much more elaborate affair which frequently negates the need for dinner entirely!

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About Canadianindenmark

A Canadian expat working in the biotechnology industry in Copenhagen, Denmark
This entry was posted in Danish Culture. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Public Trust in Denmark

  1. Bec says:

    Here’s one north American who knew what tapas are!

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