Recent and upcoming in Aalborg: Musikkens Hus’ grand opening, WWF campaign for youth, Tanzanian children’s art exhibit, jazz concert, DST begins

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Photo courtesy of Lauren Robinson
  • A lot of the energy in Aalborg this coming weekend appears to be dedicated to the grand opening of Musikkens Hus. Many years of planning – and then building – will culminate in a 13-day opening program that begins Saturday, 29 March with a concert to be attended by Queen Margrethe. On the following day the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra will hold its own opening concert, featuring violinist Nikolaj Znaider and conductor Rumon Gamba. Over the following 11 days a diverse program should appeal to different kinds of audiences, including those who love jazz and blues, classical, choral, and contemporary music, and fans of Pirates of the Caribbean – the Curse of the Black Pearl, which audience members can watch while the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra plays the soundtrack live. For more information on the program and to purchase tickets for individual concerts, visit http://www.musikkenshus.dk/. Please note that several concerts are already sold out. Tickets for students and people under the age of 30 can purchase tickets for Aalborg Symphony Orchestra concerts at a reduced price of 75 kr. Click here for more information.
  • The Copenhagen Zoo has been attracting a lot of attention over the past month and a half for its decisions to euthanize a giraffe named Marius and then a family of four lions. The positive outcome of this story (whether you agree with the decisions or not) is that it brings wild animals to the forefront of our consciousness. In cooperation with said Copenhagen Zoo, the Odense Zoo and the Ree Park Ebeltoft, the World Wildlife Fund, which works to prevent extinction of animal species around the world, is inviting youths in Nordjylland aged 12 to 16 to act as wildlife reporters and compete for a chance to accompany the WWF on an expedition to Kenya and see with their own eyes the challenges and issues related to trade in endangered animals. Their watchdog task will be to conduct research, write articles and report on what they as young people in North Jutland can do to stop the killing of elephants and reduce pressure on African nature. The competition is part of a global WWF campaign called “Kill the trade”, which calls on governments worldwide to combat the illegal trade in ivory, among other things. Young people who would like to compete to join WWF on a trip to Kenya should join the expedition in pairs through the website http://www.wildschool.dk by Tuesday, 1 April. From there the WWF will select five pairs of students from Nordjylland to compete during one of three base camp weekends at the three sponsoring animal parks for the final seats. The trip to Kenya will take place 22-29 June, 2014. (Parts of this entry were translated by the blogger from the original Danish article in Midt-Vest Avis, 26 March, 2014, p. 40.)
  • Last Sunday, 23 March, an exhibition of historical children’s art from Dar es Salam in Tanzania opened at Hasseris Kirke (Church). The young artists belonged to the Kinondoni Young Artists, who for 10 years were part of a socially and creatively voluntary aid project financially and technically supported by Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke. The aim of the project was to support and develop imagination, creativity and social interaction among children and youth in Dar es Salam’s poorest neighborhoods. The exhibition was opened by Allan Vokstrup, who was the group’s teacher and mentor in the late 1980s and worked as an art teacher at Aalborg Cathedral School. The exhibition can be seen until early May. (This entry was translated by the blogger from the original Danish article in Midt-Vest Avis, 26 March, 2014, p. 38.)
  • Jazz lovers are invited to the Artbreak Hotel on Saturday, 29 March for a concert by Berlin-based trio Walsdorff-Melbye-Tom. According to the gallery’s website, guests will enjoy “open, interactive music drawing on jazz tradition mixed with contemporary improvisation at the highest level.” Doors open at 19:30 and the concert starts at 20:00. Tickets are 40 kr. See the gallery’s website for more information.
  • Don’t forget to ‘spring forward’ and turn your clocks ahead one hour when you go to bed Saturday night! Daylight Savings Time starts on Sunday, 30 March at 2:00.

 

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Driving in Denmark: exchanging one’s license

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driving licenseMy husband and I come from Germany and the U.S., respectively, but when we arrived in Denmark we each had a Swiss driver’s license because we had most recently lived in Switzerland. Getting our licenses in Switzerland was a breeze – it involved very little paperwork and took little time, thanks to the efficiency of the motor vehicle office personnel in Lausanne. So we were a little apprehensive when we learned that we had to exchange those licenses (which are good for life!) for Danish ones. However, it turned out to be nearly as easy…

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Recent and upcoming in Aalborg: children’s theater, craft fair, vocal concert, half-marathon, art auction

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There seems to be a lot going on this weekend in Aalborg. Two events in Aalborg Øst, a play at the main library, a concert at Utzon Center (as the Aalborg Opera Festival winds down), and an art auction (next weekend, actually, but pieces of art will be on display prior). I missed last week because I was out of town AND I got sick (I do not recommend doing both of these at the same time!) but hope I’ve made up for it with the following listings. As always, a big thanks to Midt-Vest Avis, from which most of these are pulled!

  • For parents of children who understand and speak Danish, there is a great opportunity for your kids to see a play in the main Aalborg Library Saturday, 22 March from 12:00 to 12:45. Called “Al tid i verden” (‘All the time in the world’), the play will be an image-strong multi-media puppet performance about getting the very best out of every moment. Entry is free but tickets are required. You can order your tickets here. As of press time, there were only 10 left. Suitable for children four years and older.
  • On Saturday, 22 March the spring Creative Inspiration Fair will be held at Trekanten Library and Culture Center in Aalborg Øst. Members of the public are invited to browse the stalls of local artists and artisans, who will be selling their creations, as well as try their hand at a variety of crafts. If you’re a fishing enthusiast, come and try to tie your own fly…or if cloth ornaments are more your style, come and make your own. Hobby photographers will also be on hand to take your portrait and send it to you. Doors are open from 10:00 to 15:00 and entrance is free.
  • In arrangement with Aalborg Opera Festival, Utzon Center will host a concert by soprano Marianne Heuer and tenor Morten Krogh Mortensen on Sunday, 23 March at 14:00. The singers will perform pieces by Danish and Norwegian romance composers Grieg, Heise, Gade, Hartmann and Nielsen. Tickets are 100 kr. (60 for students and seniors). More information available here.
  • Are you a runner looking for a challenge this weekend? If so, the annual New Balance Half-marathon on Sunday, 23 March might be the perfect chance to get your first race of the season under your belt. As this is the race’s 10-year anniversary, there will be an added incentive to get your running shoes on and join in: all race participants who wear New Balance sneakers/trainers will be eligible to win one of two 5,000 kr gift certificates for New Balance products. Along the route there will also be festive activities, such as a pit stop in front of the Trekanten Library and Cultural Center for a hot drink and brass band “Gråbrødrene”, who will provide some musical motivation to keep going. Organizers from the Aalborg East Road Runners Club are looking forward to many participants in this year’s race, and have set the limit at 1000 runners. The entry fee is 200 kr. and you can sign up either online ahead of time (http://aalborg-roadrunners.dk/loeb/halvmarathon) or on the day from 11:00 to 12:45, as long as there are spaces available. The race will begin at Tornhøj Hall in Aalborg East, and as of press time more than 500 ​​participants had registered.
  • Danish art enthusiasts looking for new pieces are invited to an auction at Nordkraft Saturday, 29 March at 12:30 in Kedelhallen. Artwork by artists from across the country will be on display prior to the auction, Thursday and Friday, 27 and 28 March. Proceeds from the auction will go to Den Sociale Skadestue.

Recent and upcoming in Aalborg: Expat + Dane family event, book sale, nature tour, diving, Aalborg house prices rise

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  • Expat and Danish families are invited to participate in the Aalborg Main Library’s next ‘Expat + Dane Family: music and play for families’ event on Saturday, 8 March from 10:30 to 12:30. Music teacher Malene Horsfeldt will lead children in music-oriented play after which there will be free playtime and a light lunch. The aim of the event is to give expat families and Danish families a chance to meet and mingle. While Malene’s activity is targeted at children from 4 to 7 years and their parents, all ages are welcome. Entry to the event is free and no registration is necessary.
  • The Main Library will hold a book sale today and tomorrow (6 and 7 March) from 12:00 to 18:00 and Saturday, 8 March from 10:00 to 13:00. On offer are books, magazines and other materials the staff have sorted out from the library’s collection because they have seen too much wear and tear or are out-of-date. Come check out their great deals!
  • Aalborg Kommune’s nature guides will lead their next tour this Saturday, 8 March from 13:00 to 15:00. Destination: Urbans Kælder in Skovdalen, Aalborg. The guides will take you through Møllepark where you will be able to see and hear the park’s plant and animal life. They will also explain the many opportunities for challenging exercise activities in the park. Finally, you will reach Urbans Kælder, which stands in a place with an interesting cultural history. And in the depths of the cellar is a wintering area where the resident bats can sit undisturbed and wait for warmer times. On the trip you will enter the dark and watch the on-site residents. To join the tour, please meet in the parking lot at Aalborg Tower, Søndre Skovvej 30 at 13:00 and bring a flashlight. (Tour in Danish) (blogger’s rough translation of article in Midt-Vest Avis, 5 March, p. 36)
  • Have you ever wanted to learn to dive? Or are you just curious about what diving entails?  Do you need to update your diving equipment? Easy Dive, which is Aalborg’s only provider of five star PADI training, is offering an open house and spring sale this weekend (Friday to Sunday, 7-9 March) at their new facilities at Gugvej 140, Aalborg. Due to a large increase in business over the last year, the company recently moved from their old location to the new, where they now have over 690 square meters of space. Easy Dive offers several dives a week and gives customers many opportunities to remain active divers after they complete training. They also organize lectures on trips, the marine environment, and courses. To hear more about Easy Dive’s offerings and browse their new location, visit them this weekend! More details available here. (blogger’s rough translation of article in Midt-Vest Avis, 5 March, p. 26)
  • House prices in Aalborg have exploded over the last 10 years. According to numbers collected and analyzed by the Association of Danish Mortgage Banks, single-family homes and townhouses bought in 2003 had appreciated approximately 68% in price by 2013. The increase in Aalborg is much greater than other parts of the country where prices have risen only about 34% over the last decade. Thus, the price per square meter of single-family homes and villas in Aalborg Kommune have crossed the magic threshold and now lie above the average price level in Denmark. This was not the case in 2003 when development in Aalborg lagged behind the rest of the country. (blogger’s translation of article in Midt-Vest Avis, 5 March, p. 18)

Recent and upcoming in Aalborg: free ice cream, Fastelavn, Bach, popular beer shop closed

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Desktop1I’ve been busy working on a post regarding the special tax scheme for foreign researchers and highly paid professionals, which I hope to publish early next week. In the mean time, I thought I’d pass on a couple tips about recent and upcoming happenings in Aalborg (a salute to Mid-Vest Avis’ 26 February issue for most of these):

  • Paradis will open its doors for the season on Saturday, 1 March. Per tradition, the Reberbansgade shop will offer free ice cream to all who come through their doors between 12:00 and 16:00 that day. On offer are a plethora of flavors, including new brownie, caramel, and Oreo concoctions. All ice cream is made freshly on the day it is sold.
  • Fastelavn will be celebrated in various parts of the city this weekend. Two of those celebrations will take place on Sunday, 2 March at the Aalborg Historical Museum and the Aalborg Zoo. From 13:00 to 16:00 at the Historical Museum children are invited to wear costumes (prizes will be given for best homemade costume, prettiest costume, and craziest costume) and ‘hit the barrel’. There will be rolls, hot coca and soda for everyone. Entry costs DKK 20. The Aalborg Zoo Fastelavn festivities will commence at 10:00 with free face painting. Election of the Fastelavn king and queen and hitting the cat out of the barrel will take place from 13:00 to 15:00. Children are encouraged to wear costumes. Normal zoo entry fees will be in place.
  • The Fugitives, a group of eight musicians from the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra, will perform Bach’s “Art of the Fugue” at Budolfi Church on the evening of Wednesday, 5 March at 19:30. Tickets are DKK 100 each (children and youth free) and can be purchased at the door.
  • Last week the specialist beer shop Ølkonsortiet on Rantzausgade (across from Aalborg Kommune borger service) closed its doors for the last time after nine years. While passionate about beer – and popular because of their selection and knowledge of beers from around the world, as well as a top rating among beer shops in Denmark – the owners had to make the difficult decision to close the business due to the competing demands of full-time jobs outside the shop and young families, according to Mid-Vest Avis (pg. 14).

Online resources for students of Danish

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

My post about learning Danish has generated a lot of traffic. After I published it, Lauren, a friend and fellow Danish language classmate, gave me a head’s up about ‘Nyheder på Dansk’, a website that helps newcomers to Denmark better understand the news in Danish. That got me thinking: I bet people could benefit from that site and others that provide ways to improve their language skills. Here is a short list of some of those sites (all of which are free of charge):

  • Nyheder på Dansk – here you can read about some of the current events in Denmark, listen to Podcasts of articles while reading them, and view videos of interviews (created and updated by a Danish teacher/journalist who has lived abroad and understands the difficulties of staying abreast of the news in a new country)
  • Ligetil: Nyheder, der er lette at læse – news that is easier to read, found on the dr.dk website
  • Den danske ordbog – a Danish dictionary in Danish, rather than, for example, Danish-English, German-English or Arabic-Danish; a good way to reinforce one’s Danish
  • Verbix.com – Danish verb conjugator; very handy
  • Duda’s exercises and games – aimed at Danish students but good for non-Danes learning the language
  • Modultest.dk – for students of state authorized language schools that operate according to the module system, this site provides them with practice exams for the module tests (you must get the login and password from your Danish teacher at Aalborg Sprogcenter)
  • Memrise.com – recommended by Lauren (see comment below), Memrise is a free online flashcard course with an android app, e.g. 500 most common Danish verbs, basic Danish phrases, and conversational Danish

I’m sure there are more out there. If you know of any, please post them in a comment below. Oh – and don’t forget about the tremendous resource that is the Danish volunteers who help with homework and speaking and listening practice in the Aalborg Sprogcenter study center (several hours every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday), Aalborg Main Library and two branches of the library (see hours at the bottom of my post on the Aalborg library).

As this is week 8 – Aalborg’s winter holiday week – and I am away with my daughters visiting their grandparents in Germany, I will not be posting again until next week. Stay tuned for future posts on the special tax scheme for foreign workers and getting a driver’s license in Aalborg.

Self-service books: Aalborg Main Library to open an additional 35 hours per week

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DSC_4845Have you ever found yourself in bed at 8pm, yearning to read a good book yet staring at an empty bedside table? Neither have I. But IF you ever find yourself in such a position, the Aalborg Main Library can now help! Starting Monday, 17 February the Aalborg Main Library will be open from 8:00 to 22:00 Monday to Friday and 10:00 to 22:00 Saturday and Sunday. Thanks to the resounding success of extended hours since 2012 (opening at 8:00 instead of 10:00), the library’s administration have given the green light to further ‘self-service’ hours at the main branch. This means that you can visit to borrow materials, play, do research, or study with friends long past dinner time – and all day Sunday! While personnel will be available from 10:00 to 19:00 Monday to Thursday (18:00 on Fridays/15:00 Saturdays), you’re on your own outside those times. So now you can relieve that itch to read before bed – even at 9:55pm! 🙂 (See my previous post on the Aalborg Public Library here.)