Hang around Montreal, Ottawa or Toronto for very long and chances are you will run into a host of people who speak with a funny accent and come from some place called “The Maritimes” (or, heaven forbid, Newfoundland.) Hang around Copenhagen for a little while and chances are you will run into a host of people who speak with a funny accent and come from a place called Jutland (Jylland).
There is the danger that this post offends all of my Danish friends and colleagues from Jutland but it is important to realize that in making fun of Jutland, I am also making fun of myself (yes, I am from the Maritimes). Indeed, the parallels between Jutland and the Maritimes are eerily similar.
For a region with a relatively low population base, I am convinced that every second person in Copenhagen is from Jutland. Anyone with an advanced education feels compelled to migrate to the “big city” for greater career opportunities. However, they always keep a part of Jutland with them until the day they die.
Much like the Maritimes, people are extremely friendly compared to the more cold, distant personalities you find in Copenhagen. On the flip side, it seems that everyone is second or third cousin to everyone else in smaller towns and villages, a thought I don’t even want to contemplate.
Geographically, the region is very picturesque and varied with rolling hills and farmland to the south while larger hills, fjords and sand-dunes dominate the sparsley populated north. Everything is a bit more peaceful and tranquil in the countryside although Copenhagen isn’t exactly a high-stress environment either.
I had the opportunity to experience the culture and scenery of southern Jutland last week and took the following pictures. We were very close to the German border, a region that has its own distinct culture. Indeed, we were so close that my cell-phone coverage was by a German provider (much to the chagrin of my Danish colleagues). This region of northern Germany (Schleswig-Holstein) was once part of Denmark but was lost in the Second War of Schleswig in 1864, the final nail in the demise of the once-powerful Danish empire.
The thatched roof is something that is very unique to North Americans. Although I have seen them in several other European countries, this was by far the largest that I have ever seen. According to a colleague, they can last between 75 and 100 years but are incredibly expensive to install.