“Copenhagen is so big you can get lost in a crowd, but so small you’ll always see somebody you know.” 

US-born Jeremy M. Thomas-Bøgsted is the artistic director of the cultural hub LiteraturHaus and the international theatre company The Rabbit Hole.

41-year-old Jeremy Thomas-Bøgsted has been directing plays since he was 18. With a seven-year master’s degree in Fine Arts and Directing from the University of Wisconsin under his belt, he has been working in the theatre community in Denmark since 2012.

Today, he is proud to have achieved his dream job as an art director, and several of his English-language plays are due to premier next year. We caught up with him for My Lovely Copenhagen to get his views on living here.

I settled in Denmark because… I was married to a Dane that I met in the US, and then I got divorced, and now I am married to another Dane. But it’s also the place I’ve made my career and my home. I never really imagined settling in Copenhagen. And then once we were here, it was a whole journey of trying to find a way to fit in, find a home, make friends, and all that stuff. Now I feel very much at home here which is good.

If you ask me if it was love at first sight or not I would say…. Yes. It was so new and so different from the US. But I also quickly learned that I had rose-tinted glasses on. It took me a good eight years to really figure out my place in Danish society. I realized that a lot of the stuff that I originally thought was really beautiful had its challenges and problems when you looked closer. I dealt with a lot of culture shock facing things that were very different from where I grew up.

My favourite thing about living in Copenhagen is… the community that I’ve created, and the arts community in general. It is dynamic, open and interesting. There’s a lot of good government support for art, and there is a constant discussion happening about the value of art and the need for art.

I love the nature of the art world in Copenhagen: the many expressions of the different artists I work with and the different communities that are engaged in creating that art.

And my favourite observation about the Danes is… they’re very lovely people. If you get to know them, they usually have some really lovely insights into the world. The challenge is how to get to know them first.

I think the best way of making Danish friends is…Keep trying and give it time. Be interested and things they’re interested in. I met most of my Danish friends because I’ve worked on a project with them, or at meetings. We discovered we had similar interests and then, you know, we had a coffee meeting about it, but then don’t meet again for another year. Then, at that point, we meet maybe once or twice and so on. It just takes time. So be patient, be very patient.

Here in Denmark/Copenhagen I never get used to… riding my bike in the rain. It’s one of the worst things. I refuse to ride my bike in the rain. I think it is awful. And painful.

Jeg kan tale… Jeg kan tale flydende dansk, jeg kan undervise i skuespil og jeg instruerer på dansk. So yes, I can speak Danish fluently, teach acting and direct in Danish. I speak Danish all the time, but I often mix it with English because sometimes an English word just pops in and that’s sort of what I do.

I worked hard in my first year here to learn the language because I knew I was going to live here with my husband and in that way, I carved out a place for myself. Then I decided to stay because I had carved out that place.

On an integration scale of 1 to 10 I would say I’m a… 9.5. I mean, I speak Danish constantly. I think the language is sort of the window to the culture here. Being able to speak Danish opened an entirely new area of integration for me.

I have more Danish/international friends in my social circle because… I think it’s equal.

A lot of people I work with are in the theatre community. They became my social circle, and because I work in both English and Danish, I have many friends in both worlds.

If I should recommend a visitor to Copenhagen, I would… definitely tell them to partake in the art scene. Go to theatres, concerts, and festivals, listen to Danish music, and see whatever is out there – even English language theatre productions, because there’s still a very Danish perspective on the work, and that’s really exciting. It’s an interesting way to mix into the culture. Everybody will welcome you in. I mean, it’s a very loving and giving community. That is s a very eye-opening place to be.

If I should select three food and drink venues I would opt for… I really like Kaffesalonen on the bank of the lakes, with the duck pedal-boats. It’s a great place to sit, have a drink and watch the lake.

Then, just for the experience, one has to go up into the Danish Parliament tower. There is a restaurant up there called Snapstinget: it’s a beautiful experience and really great food. You have to take your passport with you to go through security.

Another place I really like is Broens Gadekøkken – a food market next to the Royal Theatre, right across Inderhavnsbroen Bridge. Ships can dock there and people can sit and take a dip in the water as well.

The best places to visit on a budget are… outdoor sites such as the top of CopenHill. It is free to go all the way up to the top and look out for a gorgeous view over the entire city. Also, Amalienborg is really beautiful and you can see where the queen lives. The Little Mermaid is also nice.

The best places to visit as a queer person are… Oscar Bar & Café is an amazing place to be a part of the community, it is right next to the main square downtown and there are a lot of great gay bars in that area such as Jailhouse, Kiss kiss and others. All the places around Regnbuepladsen are nice.

The three words that I think best describe Copenhagen are… beautiful, spacious and quaint. I always say that Copenhagen is so big you can get lost in a crowd, but so small you’ll always see somebody you know.