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Narcis George Matache: international resident of Aalborg running for regional council

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Narcis George Matache is a young Romanian Social Democratic candidate vying for a spot on Nordjylland’s regional council. Narcis has been living in Aalborg since 2009 and has been active in European Youth North Denmark as well as other student groups while a student at both UCN and AAU. His passion for politics and helping international residents compelled him to ‘throw his hat into the ring’ this time around, and he has been interviewed or featured in several media articles in the past couple of weeks leading up to the election. While I would have preferred to interview him in person, I couldn’t find the time – so here are his written answers to some questions I posed about him and his campaign.

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Attention international residents: Your vote DOES count on 21 November!

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UPDATE – 19 November: I voted at Aalborg Main Library last Friday (17 November), during the final hour one could do so before the actual election. Here is what I learned about the actual voting process:

You should bring with you your voting card (‘valgkort’), which you should have gotten in the mail, and some form of ID (yellow health card suffices). I think that just the ID will be enough, but don’t quote me on this.

You will be given two ballots – one yellow and one blue. I am kicking myself for not taking a photo of these (although, maybe that’s not legal), but I can tell you that one is for regional council and the other for municipal council.

You wait your turn in line until you get to the voting booth, and then you go in and see a sheaf of papers stapled together. On these papers are the names of the parties and the candidates running for election in each party. There are A LOT of them; A LOT more than it seems are on the posters hanging around town. But I’m sure that’s not true. This is where it pays to have done your homework ahead of time. On the ballot you must either:

  • put the letter assigned to the party you prefer, e.g. Social Democrat = A, Liberal Alliance = I, Enhedslisten = Ø, etc., in the box in the top right-hand corner OR
  • put the name of the party you prefer, e.g. ‘Danske Folkeparti’, ‘Radikale Venstre,’ Conservative OR
  • put the name of the candidate you prefer, e.g. Thomas Kastrup-Larsen, Per Clausen, Mads Duedahl

I think you can put both the letter of the party and the party name OR the letter of the party and the candidate’s name, but not all three. If you are not sure (the directions are in Danish), please ask in English if you are not confident about your ability to understand. Again, I can’t believe I didn’t take a photo of these ballots. Anyway, once you are done, you put the ballots in the envelopes (please don’t mix up the colors), seal them, and you are done.  

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Student life in Aalborg – budget friendly places to eat out

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[This is a guest blog post by Alena Revendová, who offered to write some posts for the blog targeted at the international student population in Aalborg. Naturally I took her up on her offer. More information for internationals = great idea!]

Are you new in Aalborg and want to get some tips on how to start up your new life here? Then hopefully by reading these articles you will find some useful information about what to do in your free time, where to go to meet new people, eat out and also find out a bit about your volunteering opportunities.

Moving to a new city, and especially to Denmark, might be a bit financially demanding at the beginning, so first I would like to give you some tips on how to do both – have fun and save up some money at the same time.

When I look back two years ago – back to the time when I actually moved to Aalborg, I realize that it took me a while until I found out about all the places, organisations and events made for international students. And by writing this article, I hope to give you some tips on how to make your life in the capital of North Jutland even better. Today I would like to give you some ideas about where to go to eat out with your friends and what international events related to food you can find in the city. Read the rest of this entry »

Preliminary tax assessment available 14 November; tax seminar in English 30 November at International House North Denmark

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SKATYour preliminary income assessment (forskudsopgørelse) is available each year in November (this year on 14 November), and it shows SKAT’s estimate of your tax for the coming year. It is based on your expected income, deductions and allowances, and the tax rate used by your employer to withhold tax. If your financial situation differs from the expectations calculated by SKAT, you should change your assessment in order to ensure that you pay the right amount of tax throughout the following year.

When you make changes to your preliminary income assessment you also make changes to your tax card, which is automatically sent to whoever pays your salary, your student grant, or your pension. You can see and change your preliminary income assessment in E-tax (TastSelv). This will be available on 14 November this year.

If you want to see your actual earnings, your deductions and allowances and how much you paid in tax last year, you need to check your tax assessment notice (årsopgørelse), which will be available for 2017 in March 2018.

To help international residents in Aalborg better understand the SKAT system and what they should know about paying taxes in Denmark, International House North Denmark has organised a tax seminar on Thursday, 30 November from 16:00 to 18:00 at their premises. If you would like to join, you must register through this webpage. The seminar is free of charge.

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Aal around Aalborg: autumn taking hold and activities multiplying

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the-night-of-the-adeaters_skraaen_aalborg_17_1280.jpgWell Aalborg is surely not disappointing this autumn when it comes to activities and events. Plenty to do tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday – at least one of those events is designed to get you up and at ’em! (Browse the calendar to find which one…)

There are games, music performances, art, sports, an event for Danes and non-Danes, science, cycling, German Oktoberfest, flea market for the little ones, disc exchange market, meditation and advertising fun. Surely you can find something among all of those to occupy the range of some to a lot of time. Enjoy!

Aal around Aalborg: too many choices!

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I can’t make up for the fact that I missed the last two weeks of activities in Aalborg – and I’m especially sorry that I wasn’t able to introduce the Aalborg Sustainability Festival to those unfamiliar with it (it’s a fantastic initiative to increase people’s awareness of ways they can reduce their carbon footprint) – but the number of events with which I have peppered this weekend’s agenda is, quite humbly (!), impressive. I’ve also put in there some events happening next week.

My picks? Aalborg Symphony Orchestra’s concert Friday evening (including a piece exploiting the tremendous sound of the music hall’s organ – and for students and those under 30 years of age, it costs only 50kr on the day!)…free sustainable brunch at Aalborg Harbor Saturday morning…free first-aid course Sunday morning, and ‘Open Farm’ from 10:00 to 16:00 Sunday.

those who dig.jpgNext Wednesday (20 September) a short film will be shown at Huset with soundtrack played live. Free entrance, language-neutral (it’s largely a silent film), and looks beautiful.

Please note there are several events listed that will be held in Danish. This is stated in their descriptions in the calendar.

Enjoy your weekend!

Aal around Aalborg: things are hopping!

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And welcome back! To me – and to you. I’ve taken a much longer holiday from the blog than I did in real life – allowing me to ease back into the routine, I guess. I hope you had a good summer and found lots to do when the weather wasn’t rain/sun/rain/sun, which I discovered is a relatively common pattern in Denmark in August. We went to Den Gamle By in Aarhus while my mother and sister were visiting and had to alternate between putting on the sunglasses and ducking into the hundreds-year-old buildings to escape the rain. I suppose this explains the mass exodus to southern European destinations by Danes each year…

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Anyway, there are a lot of interesting activities and events coming up this weekend (starting today, actually – woops!):

  • Afro Unity Festival (today and tomorrow)
  • Table Games night
  • Massive wine sale by D’Wine
  • New exhibition at VÆG Art Gallery
  • Mooncar racing at Aalborg Main Library
  • Aalborg Street Festival
  • Lunafix and Bork at 1000Fryd
  • ZOOtropia in Lego and Minecraft
  • Arts and Crafts Market at Huset
  • And free bellydance and Tango lessons

You can find all of these – days, times, places, descriptions, and links to more info – in my Events Calendar. Be sure to read the tips at the top of that page in case you haven’t used it before. Enjoy!