Conrad the Contrarian: The joys of moving home in Denmark

There are many joys involved in moving home here in Denmark.

Arriving at a crime scene
The biggest one greets you the moment you casually walk into your new home. Because press the light switch and you’ll remain in total darkness. 

You look up, puzzled, only to see that the light fitting has gone. Not the light bulb. The fitting itself. The whole thing. The cable has been pulled out of the ceiling and now there is a hole with some mysterious dangerous-looking electric component hanging out. 

It is as though you have arrived at a crime scene, where every possible piece of evidence in the murder case has been taken away for examination.

Reading by phonelight
What kind of sadist takes the light fitting? Everyone apparently! It is a fantastic tradition enabling electricians to make a handsome packet, while everyone else is thoroughly pissed off in the dark. And when you ask Danes why they take the cables from the ceiling, they simply respond: “Because there won’t be any at the new apartment.”

It’s time to establish a new rule of etiquette: leave the lights in the ceiling where they belong! Let us end this madness and restore some sanity to a chaotic world. There is already enough stress when moving, without throwing expensive electricians and depressed families into the mix. “Please can we read a bedtime story in my new room?” “Yeah maybe, but we’ll need to use the dim torch from my iPhone because someone stole the lights.”

Who needs an alarm clock?
Electrical lighting is one joy, natural light another. Because the curtain rails will probably also be missing, unscrewed from the walls and sitting in Storskrald somewhere. 

And even if they are still there, most Danes have tissue paper curtains. So many times I’ve stayed with friends and awoken at the crack of dawn as the light penetrates the skinny bits of cloth decorating the window. I have never understood how people can sleep in a room filled with sunlight: does this not violate some fundamental human need? 

But don’t worry, you’ll be in bed when it’s dark and up again with the sunrise – much like life in the 1800s.

A true test of friendship
The etiquette around moving also moves into the friendship circle. There is no test more strenuous than being asked to help someone move. 

The first question we all beg to know is “Which floor?” and the second: “Is there an elevator…?” Because the higher the floor the more painfully the friendship will be tested. 

“Fifth floor and no elevator? When was it …, oh next Saturday? I’m actually… not even in Denmark that day…” 

Then, at the risk of being seen on Saturday you rush to the Ryanair website to find a last minute deal to De Kanariske Øer. Failing that, you can subsist on Wolt deliveries while spending the whole weekend photoshopping yourself onto generic holiday snaps.

Dealing with angry parents
Finally, nothing is more joyous than the demand from the Borgerservice that you tell them, within five days, that you have moved. Like an angry parent, they absolutely insist you tell them where you are with no delay. 

Of course, you forget. You are still unpacking boxes because the bag of essential items is missing: the light fittings! And it doesn’t help that you feel exhausted from sleeping on an unbuilt IKEA bed in broad daylight after climbing countless flights of stairs, moving in on your own.

It’s understandable that you’ve completely forgotten the government is furious with you.

An end to the madness!
So, let us start afresh with a new dawn! 

Black out all the curtains, put permanent lights in all the rooms, install an elevator in every building and make a gentleman’s understanding that we will update our address on when we have the f*cking time. 

It might even ensure a peaceful future that brings some joy to the madness of moving.