Bring travel home: Denmark

Introducing Bring travel home

One of the things that makes travel special is the chance to switch off and explore new cultures. And with more time on our hands than usual, we have the opportunity to do just that. So for this series, we’ll be curating things to watch, read, listen and eat to explore different cultures from the comfort of your own home.

🇩🇰 Denmark

Forward-thinking architecture, world-class restaurants and natural beauty are just some of the treasures on offer in Denmark, the home of the discerning traveller. Like its most famous export, Lego, it's colourful and nostalgic. We Brits have always had a close relationship over the millennia with our Scandinavian cousins, albeit a more peaceful one in recent centuries. As a result, there's plenty of Danish culture to experience from the comfort of your home. So sit back, light a candle (it doesn't matter if it's the middle of the day) and enjoy the guide.


Watch

Films

The Hunt (2012)

Mads Mikkelsen delivers an award-winning performance as a man wrongly accused of a horrific crime. The ensuing mass hysteria and social outcasting is a frightening and all-too-familiar story from which we can draw many parallels.

Watch the trailer here and stream now on Amazon or BFI. Thanks to reader Vishal for the recommendation!

Pusher (1996)

A debut for renowned Danish director Nikolas Winding Refn and early roles for a number of big actors, including, you guessed it, our friend Mads. Part of a trilogy, it tells the story of the Danish underworld where Frank (Kim Bodnia) who, after losing a large amount of money in a drug deal gone wrong, falls into desperation as he only has a few days to raise the money he owes.

Watch the trailer here and stream now on YouTube.

Series

The Bridge (2011-18)

Probably the best of Nordic Noir. That it has spawned many imitators says enough. When a body is found on the bridge between Denmark and Sweden, right on the border, Danish inspector Martin Rohde and Swedish Saga Norén have to share jurisdiction and work together to find the killer.

Watch on Amazon.

Documentaries

Bjarke Ingels: Architecture | Abstract: The Art of Design | Season 1, Episode 1 (2017)

"When architecture is at its best... ....you're coming up with something that is pure fiction." Says Ingels, the subject of the first episode of Netflix's excellent documentary series. Ingels is a Danish architect, known worldwide but who made his mark after designing two housing complexes in Ørestad: VM Houses and Mountain Dwellings.

Watch on Netflix.


Read

Books

Hans J. Wegner: Just One Good Chair by Christian Holmstedt Olesen (2014)

Design holds such importance within Danish culture that it would take a whole article in itself to do it justice. So the best we can do here is acknowledge the pure beauty and significance of Danish design and point you in the direction of one of many very good books. This one pays homage to one of the gods of Danish design, Hans Wegner, and one infamous item, the humble chair. Design lover or not, this book might just change your perspective on how you view the things you sit on.

Get the book on Amazon.

The Shadow by Hans Christian Andersen (1847)

A fairy tale from the greatest teller of the genre, but not in the guise that you might expect. This book shows a gloomier side to Andersen, which some have argued is auto-biographical or an act of revenge against a would-be patron.

Get the book or audiobook on Amazon.

Hamlet by William Shakespeare (1603)

"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark", so says Marcellus in the opening act. And that really sets the tone as disease and pestilence is woven into every scene to illustrate the corruption of the state and Hamlet's all-consuming pessimism. Ok, so it's not strictly a Danish book, but surely one the most famous publications about Denmark.

Get the book or audiobook on Amazon.

Articles

The Law of Jante | The Paris Review | Michael Booth (2015)

The lesser-known, but more authentic Danish principle of living. This is a code of conduct that is characterized by not conforming, doing things out of the ordinary, or being overtly personally ambitious as unworthy and inappropriate. The attitudes were first formulated in the form of the ten rules of Jante Law by the Dano-Norwegian author Aksel Sandemose in his satirical novel A Fugitive Crosses His Tracks (1936), but the actual attitudes themselves are older.

Read the article in The Paris Review.


Listen

Music

trentemøller

Copenhagen’s Anders Trentemøller has long been respected as a creator of extraordinarily memorable melodies and lush sonic soundscapes. His music can best be described as synthwave and pop with clear influences from Depeche Mode, Joy Division and My Bloody Valentine.

Listen on Spotify.

Laid Back

Celebrating over 40 years of musical success, Tim Stahl and John Gulberg of Laid Back have a glut of international number 1's, including "Bakerman", "White Horse" and "Maybe I'm Crazy". In the 1970's, Guldberg set up a small studio in downtown Copenhagen where the two musicians began exploring the possibilities that were being opened up by new technologies, such as multitrack tape recorders, synthesizers and drum machines. They continue to make music there to this day.

Listen on Spotify.

Rhye

Put simply, Rhye is the sound of seduction. Originally, the band was the result of Canadian singer Mike Milosh and Danish instrumentalist Robin Hannibal, but Hannibal has since left. Rhye makes the list because their best work to date, "Open" and "The Fall", was made when they were one part Danish, one part Canadian.

Listen on Spotify.


Eat and drink

Recipes

Wienerbrød

"Viennese bread", or more commonly known as Danish pastry, was brought to Denmark from Austria in the 1850's and it's been a mainstay ever since. Such is its gastronomic standing that you can even drop the "pastry" part to leave its pseudonym "Danish" and your friends will still know exactly what you're talking about.

If you want to eat like a Dane, you should aim for about 10kg of these a year. Those of you with more modest aspirations might be content with this recipe from the Scandi Kitchen.

Smørrebrød

At their simplest, smørrebrød are open-faced sandwiches built on a thin layer of dense sourdough rye bread called rugbrød. The name of the sandwich itself comes from the words for butter (smør) and bread (brød). However, you'll rarely find one that limits itself to those two ingredients. Oh no, there's so much more to them as this dedicated smørrebrød website, Danish Sandwich, explains.

Like anything, if you're going to do it, do it right. Get quality rugbrød and use the best ingredients for your toppings.

The Noma Guide to Fermentation by David Zilber and René Redzepi (2018)

Despite not necessarily being fully Danish, Noma definitely represents one of the culinary highlights available in Copenhagen. At Noma - four times named the world's best restaurant - every dish includes some form of fermentation. With a beautifully conceived book, the restaurant has now decided to share never-before-revealed techniques to creating Noma's extensive pantry of ferments, creating what quickly became, as Wired put it, "an indispensable manual for home cooks and pro chefs."

Get the book on Amazon.

The restaurant is currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it is offering vouchers redeemable for a future reservation. Useful, if you ever struggled to get one of their highly sort after tables!

Delivery

If you don't fancy rustling up the food yourself, why not order in? Here are some recommendations of  great restaurants and eateries from our home, London, that are still delivering:

East London

The Bread Station, London Fields
Former Michelin starred chef Christoffer Hruskova, together with Per Brun, are the expertise behind The Bread Station, which uses traditional Danish baking principles to produce some of the best bread you've ever had, as well as Danish pastries and croissants.

Central London

ScandiKitchen, Fitzrovia
This excellent Scandinavian market delivers authentic food and groceries all over the UK. Owners, Bronte (the Dane) and Jonas (the Swede) imported all the foods and treats they missed from home, found a great team of people, and opened their doors just off Oxford Street to teach the citizens of London that open sandwiches are a super-tasty and healthy way to lunch.


Other nice things

Lighting

A big part of Danish culture is getting the light right, so why not indulge yourself during these cosy times at home with a little designer lighting. Classic Modern is a great resource of vintage Scandi and Danish midcentury modern lighting.

Furniture

With home office and garden furniture doing incredibly well at the moment as people adapt to a new way of living and working, we wanted to share some of our favourite furniture stores. Check out Skagerak, Kristina Dam Studio and Nest for a little inspiration.

Thanks to reader Robert for the recommendations!


We hope you enjoyed being temporarily transported to Denmark. Next up, we’re taking you to Japan. Send Ben an email along with your suggestions and we’ll give you a £10 Amazon voucher if it makes the cut.

We'll be bringing you more Bring travel home guides over the coming weeks. Want to get them freshly delivered into your inbox? Sign up below.


Team Pluto

Team Pluto

The awesome team at Pluto HQ