Vil du lære dansk? New law changes Danish language program at Aalborg Sprogcenter

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Image taken from http://www.danish.com/learn_danish.html

UPDATE: On 1 July 2017, yet another law on Danish language learning entered into force in Denmark; some of this law will not come into force until 1 January 2018. You can find out about this new law – which includes a requirement that students (except au pairs, asylum seekers, and those living in Denmark through the family-reunification policy) pay a deposit of 1250kr for their lessons and a rule that students have 3.5 years within a 5-year period to learn the language – here. Please note that much of what you will read below is already out-of-date since 2015/2016, when Aalborg began receiving asylum seekers again.

Danish is Denmark’s national language. So it shouldn’t come as too much of a shock that newcomers to the country are expected to (and many want to!) learn it once they make a commitment to live here. However, Danish is not what many would call an easy language to learn* – at least if you are talking about the difference between the written and spoken language. For example, how many people with no knowledge of Danish would guess that the word spelled ‘V-E-J’ (which means ‘way’ in English) is pronounced ‘VY’? Certainly not the woman on my GPS, who pronounces it ‘VEG’ (as in the British word for ‘vegetables’.) Which is why it’s a good idea to study the language formally – at the very least to get a grip on the basics…

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Kunsten: Aalborg’s light and spacious modern art venue

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DSC_5596Please note: Kunsten has been closed to the public since 2 June, 2014 for renovations. It will open again on 23 January 2016.

Last Saturday (a very cold, grey day that did not inspire one to spend more time than necessary outside) my family decided to visit Kunsten, Aalborg’s modern art museum. I had visited before with my Danish class during a Michael Kvium exhibit but it was the first time for my husband and children. We were curious about Strid: Tegner og fortæller (Strid: Draw and tell), an exhibit of the work of Jakob Martin Strid, who is a Danish political cartoonist and children’s book author and illustrator…

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Immigrating to Denmark: Truths and tips (part II)

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Image of the Danish flag taken from FOTW Flags Of The World website at http://flagspot.net/flags/.

Are you a non-EU citizen who would like to immigrate to Denmark? If so, there are many options available to you – especially if you are highly educated and/or work in a profession that currently lacks qualified Danes. As I wrote in my 9 December 2013 post (International Citizen Service in Aalborg: A one-stop shop for foreign residents), Denmark faces a growing shortage of educated and trained workers in several sectors, including medicine, engineering, IT, and miscellaneous academic fields (lawyers, statisticians, actuaries, etc.) People with qualifications in these areas have a jump on others but there are also opportunities to immigrate to Denmark outside these fields. Let’s start with the main work permit schemes…

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Snowstorm hits North Jutland

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Outside the blogger’s backdoor this morning…

It was predicted. We were warned. And yet I am awestruck by the storm that has hit (and keeps hitting). North Jutland is experiencing this winter’s first significant snowstorm and by the end (Sunday morning) we should have between 20 and 25 cm (7-9 inches) of the white stuff piled up outside our doors. According to Nordjyske, there have been major traffic problems this morning, including two bus accidents that sent 3 people to the hospital with minor injuries. Bus travelers are encouraged to incorporate ample waiting time into their schedules; for some the bus will never come today because service on many lines has been canceled. Those traveling by train may also experience delays. While the snowfall is not heavy, it will fall consistently throughout the weekend, according to the Danish Meteorological Institute. Heavy winds will also continue. So if you can, stay indoors, have a cup of hot chocolate and put a DVD in the player!

Immigrating to Denmark: Truths and tips (part I)

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A bird's eye view of Aalborg (photo courtesy of VisitAalborg.com, taken by Michael Damsgaard)
A bird’s eye view of Aalborg (photo courtesy of VisitAalborg.com, taken by Michael Damsgaard)

Immigration to Aalborg is on the rise. According to official statistics by Aalborg Kommune, the number of immigrants, foreign nationals and their children in Aalborg has steadily risen since 2008.[1] People come for myriad reasons: to work; to study at Aalborg University and University College Nordjylland; to marry; to seek asylum; to join family members already living here. While I do not have a breakdown of those who settle in the kommune of Aalborg, over half of Danish residence permits granted in 2012 came from EU/EEA countries (top 5 countries, in order: Poland, Romania, Germany, Lithuania, and Bulgaria). The largest number of people seeking residence here from outside the EU in 2012 originated from the USA, India, China, Ukraine and the Philippines (in that order).[2]

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Cafés in central Aalborg: A hyggelig place to take a break

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Fotor0106154538Coffee. The word conjures the smell of mornings as a child when my father made his first pot of many on any given day…the graceful swirl of milk and coffee in its iced form served in a transparent glass in Japan, where I first learned to appreciate the caffeinated beverage…a liquid boost with which I now greet each morning. Since my days at university in Evanston, Illinois, when the Unicorn Cafe opened on Sherman Avenue and started a much-needed café culture for students, I have sought interesting and quirky cafes in each city I have lived. New York City did not disappoint, nor did Chicago. Quito, Ecuador had a handful of surprisingly nice spots where I could get my fix and London, of course, provided a plethora of options. But these are all large cities where establishments cater to residents as well as tourists. So it was with surprise that I found a thriving café culture in the center of Aalborg, despite the city’s relatively small population. Danes appreciate their coffee and if the café is hyggelig, so much the better! Read the rest of this entry »

Aalborg Public Library: A community hot spot

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The entry passage to the main library in the center of Aalborg

I have loved libraries since I was a child. My mother used to take my siblings and me to the library in downtown Moline, Illinois to pick out books every few weeks and we would lose ourselves among the shelves, exploring everything from detective stories (my brother) to ballet (my sister) to horses (me). On Saturdays I would accompany my father there to pick out art for our walls (prints, like books, could be borrowed for a month or so at a time). And as a teen I used the library as a quiet place to study and write.

I have visited and utilized the services of myriad libraries all over the world since childhood. Some have impressed with their enormous collection of materials while others have inspired me to read and write in their huge elegant study halls. And then there is the Aalborg Public Library, which belongs in a category all to itself… Read the rest of this entry »