There is no sunrise in Denmark, it’s simply known as the greyrise: when the morning comes and the sky changes from black, to dark grey and eventually to a lighter grey, making one think “oh, it must be the middle of the day.”
I’m from England, which means I have no right to complain.
London receives just 1,400 hours of sunlight in a year, almost 400 less than in Denmark. Which is incredible, because when you live in Denmark, you find it hard to believe there can be less. Although, if you’ve ever been to England you’ll know that life is lived under a perpetual blanket of cloud which gently drizzles on the people below.
But there is a difference between the UK and Denmark when it comes to shitty weather: it’s the cruelty.
In Denmark it isn’t a steady transition from a cooling-down summer into a charming autumn. The moment September ends, you are suddenly met by an icy wall of hatred.
The winds of Denmark aren’t just cold, they’re fucking mean. They come at you like they’re seeking revenge for something. Every gap and crack in your clothing and soul will be exploited by the ferocious wind in Denmark.
It will find you wherever you hide and torment you until you’re behind closed doors. You plan to take out the bin and are physically assaulted by a wave of whipping freezing cold air, pellets of ice and a splatter of rain. The bin bag is ripped from your rigid fingers and you’re sent retreating inside, shaken and confused. A winter in Denmark is one marked by thinking “what have I done to deserve this?”
I once innocently took a box of gammel papir out to the genbrugsskraldespand. As the carboard box was torn from my hands by tornado-like winds, the paper was flung up and across the street. As I stumbled around trying to gather these small pieces I could almost hear the Danish winter cackle. As I would reach for a piece, it would be whipped and thrown wildly all around. I wanted to be a good recycling citizen yet came home looking like I had been beaten up.
Once, I had coffee sucked from its cup, as a frosty hurricane dived into the tiny hole in the lid, ripped it off, and pulled my drink out with it. I was in shock. It was as though a haunting spirit was determined to ruin my day.
So often, you feel as if the weather is possessed by a dark force which is willing to hurt you and all the scared civilians who dare go outside.
Once you have lived through Danish winter, one truly understands why hygge exists. If you didn’t light candles and find excuses to eat vast amounts of pastry, life would cease to have meaning. You would be left indoors, in the dark, gaining weight and crying. We need pretty lights and fatty foods to keep us sane.
It stands to reason that Denmark would have crap weather – otherwise it would be too good. Welfare, kindness, government transparency and a well-functioning state would be too good if there was also clear skies, permanent 21 degrees and a light breeze. It’s never possible to have it all.
I have a small solution though: some sort of dome built over Denmark, with fans on the outside to blow clouds away. Don’t worry, it would be powered by wind turbines, built of Lego and all materials would be økologiske.
Conrad Molden is a comedian, writer and father living with his wonderful wife and two children in Aarhus for the last 11 years. His unique style of blending English and Danish, with observations about international life in Denmark, has become a beacon for English-language comedy. He has three comedy specials streaming on YouTube including his most recent: “Hyggelicious”.