I often go to Denmark to visits some of my relatives. And every time I was there last year, I realized that Danish everyday occurrences differ from the German way of life. A comparison of both countries likewise reveals their peculiarities.
Germans turn on the headlights only in the dark
The Scheinwerfer (headlights) of a car are practical gadgets to light you the way in the dark. Germans make indeed only use of them when there isn’t enough Tageslicht (daylight). In Denmark, however, you have to turn on the lights every time you drive, no matter how bright the day is. If you miss to turn the lights on and get into a Verkehrskontrolle (traffic check) you have to pay a Strafe (fine) of about 70 Euros.
There is more licorice in Denmark than in Germany
Yep, there is Lakritze (licorice) in Germany. But in Denmark there is even much more licorice. While Germans love their Eiscreme (ice-ream) with Karamellstückchen (chunks of caramel) and Schokoladenstückchen (chunks of chocolate), Danes refine theirs with licorice. You can even get chocolate bars with licorice.
The visit to the doctor is mandatory in Germany
Danish Arbeitgeber (employers) leave much room for the Privatsphäre (privacy) of their Arbeitnehmer (employees). When a Danish Angestellter (jobholder) is taken ill, he need not necessarily go to see the doctor in order to get an official attestation that he is temporarily arbeitsunfähig (incapable of working). A phone call is sufficient to let the boss know that he will be absent for some days. This practice is unthinkable in Germany.
In Germany, you immediately have to consult a doctor when you feel bad. But, however, there is a so called 3-days-rule, which says that German employees can be absent from work up to three days without having to hand in a Krankschreibung (doctor’s certificate). Nevertheless, you have to hand in a certificate not later that on the fourth day of your absence.
Germans prefer their butter unsalted
I remember my time abroad in England very well. Back then it was hard to find 250g packages of unsalted butter. Recently, I have found out that it’s not only the British that prefer their butter salted but also the Danes.
Germans streichen (spread) butter under everything, may it be Leberwurst (liverwurst) or Schokoladenbrotaufstrich (chocolate spread). I guess, Germans don’t want to tie themselves down whether they will consume butter with savory or sweet Brotbelag (spread). That’s why we prefer our butter unsalted.
Of course, you can get salted butter in Germany but this is rather a specialty, just like herbed butter and garlic butter.
der Scheinwerfer (sgl.) / die Scheinwerfer (pl.) –headlight(s)
das Tageslicht –daylight
die Verkehrskontrolle (sgl.) / die Verkehrskontrollen (pl.) –traffic check
die Lakritze – licorice
die Eiscreme – ice-cream
das Karamellstückchen (sgl.) / die Karamellstückchen (pl.) – chunk(s) of caramel
das Schokoladenstückchen (sgl.) die Schokoladenstückchen (pl.) – chunk(s) of chocolate
der Arbeitgeber (masculine; sgl.) – employer
die Arbeitgeberin (feminine, sgl.) – employer
die Arbeitgeber (pl.) – employers
die Privatspähre – privacy
der Arbeitnehmer (masculine, sgl.) – employee
die Arbeitnehmerin (feminine, sgl) – employee
die Abeitnehmer (pl.) – employees
der Angestellte (masculine, sgl.) – jobholder
die Angestellte (feminine; sgl.) – jobholder
die Angestellten (pl.) – jobholders
arbeitsunfähig – incapable of working
die Krankschreibung – doctor’s certificate
streichen – here: to spread
der Schokoladenbrotaufstrich – chocolate spread
der Brotaufstrich (soft meat and cheese) / der Brotbelag (sliced meat and cheese) – spread