Monthly Archives: January 2012

First snow this winter

On Friday morning Sønderborg and most of Denmark got the first snow of this winter (2011/2012).

The ringrider in the snow

The temperatures have been hovering at just below zero so some of it disappears while most of it stays around.

A bench covered in snow

So far the amount of snow has been moderate with 2-5 cm of snow so no major disruptions unlike what these levels produced when we lived in London.

Sonderborg Castle in the snow

The pictures above are from our Sunday walk to Alsion.

Most of the local tweeters didn’t seem particular happy about the flaky downpour.!/Xride/status/162749205239173120!/staringlouise/status/162798492564205568!/dsh3/status/162800856960475136!/frikitiva/status/163531794371723266

While most complain because they are here and in the snow I think GraceAC complains because she is not:!/graceac/status/163580159071502337!/kukithestrange/status/163581769659056129

Her vogter jeg!

Someone was very busy during the night leading up to Monday. They travelled across Sonderborg and put up posters like this one across town:

Jørgen Mads Clausen og rådhuset i Sønderborg

The guy in the poster is Danfoss’ chairman Jørgen Mads Clausen and the text is the same as used on signs warning people that a dog is on guard on the premises.

Her vogter jeg! Indgang på egen risiko

I’m guessing it’s a comment on the local politics where Danfoss and Jørgen Mads Clausen being the biggest employer in the area has (too much?) clout. Whoever did it and for whatever reason, I think it’s an interesting comment and the work paid off by getting mentioned in the online media JydskeVestkysten and Budstikken and now here.

Doctor Out-of-Hours

The Danish medical system is arranged such that at the times that normal general practitioners are closed (evenings, nights and weekends) you can call through to a number where you get to talk to a doctor.  The special number is 70 11 07 07 for South Denmark. The system asks for your CPR number and you are then passed on to a doctor. The doctor asks you about your symptoms and either gives you over the phone advice, or makes an appointment for you at the local consultation address, which around here is at Sonderborg Hospital.

My First Impression

This weekend was my first experience of using the Danish medical system. As luck would have it, I starting feeling in terrible pain late on Friday evening. At this time regular doctors are closed for the weekend. I had no choice but to call the out-of-hours number.

So what do I think of this experience?

I am quite happy with the treatment I received – nothing impressive, but solid and efficient. I called the out-of-office number twice: once at night when I was told to take some pain killer and call back in the morning if I need to, and again in the morning. Both doctors I talked to on the phone spoke English to me with no hesitation whatsoever.

The next morning I was given a consultation appointment for an hour later with no hassle at all. I got to see the doctor within 20 minutes of my timed appointment, and again the doctor had no problem speaking English.

I am, of course, not looking forward to having more encounters with the medical system (Danish or otherwise!) but following this one I am not as apprehensive should I need to.

Featured image by Adrain Clark.

Chinese New Year in Sonderborg

The Chinese year of the dragon 龙 is starting today and Sønderborg is joining in the celebrations. The reason for this is that Sonderborg recently started a partnership with the Chinese city of Baoding.

The programme for the celebrations in Sonderborg includes:

World-class Chinese jazz big band in Alsion
Monday January 30th at 8pm, free entrance. The Chinese JZ Jazz Big Band is based in Shanghai. To Alsion they will bring soloists Coco Zhao and Jasmine Chen and the Swedish conductor Mats Holmquist.

Chinese food at Peking Restaurant
From tonight (Monday January 23rd) and throughout the week Peking Restaurant in Jernbanegade serves a real Chinese buffet. The menu includes roasted Peking duck, hot tofu with chili and sweet and sour ribs. You can even try to make it yourself at a special table set up where the staff will teach you how to make some of the dishes. There is a 10%  off the regular buffet price.

Chinese art in Augustenborg
The art centre Augustiana is showing contemporary Chinese art from Wednesday the 25th to Sunday the 29th, open from noon to 4pm. Entrance is free.

Watch a Calligraphy Expert at work
Sunday January 29th from 1pm to 3pm. at Augustiana Chi Jingyi will be creating Chinese characters.

Film with English subtitles in Sonderborg: Bodyguards and Assassins
Monday 23th at 20.30, price 50DKK

Film with English subtitles in Nordborg: Forever Enthralled
Saturday 23rd at 18.00, price 50DKK. Before the film there will be a talk in Danish about China.

Smoking in Denmark

I always equated a wealthy, well-educated society, such as Denmark, with a health-conscious society. I think this is a general assumption, and in the case of Denmark was reinforced further in my mind when Denmark was the first country to introduce a fat tax (though we won’t go into the minefield of pros and cons of that law here!).

However, if Danes may be eating healthily, they have definitely not stopped smoking. A report by the World Health Organisation shows that around 25% of the Danish population are daily smokers. That’s a very significant proportion.

When looking at the statistics from other countries (e.g. UK, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Czech Republic) it is clear that smoking is more prevalent in Denmark than in these other countries (by over 10% when compared to Sweden) . From my experience, however, where Denmark differs from these countries in an even bigger way is in the way smoking is perceived.

The lack of consideration by smokers in Denmark is almost shocking! People seem to smoke everywhere. While in the UK (and most other countries I have been to, except the Czech Republic) smokers would politely move outside to smoke, in Denmark no one bats an eyelid if a smoker lights up right next to you. Even in small, quite enclosed spaces, such as bus shelters, people will be smoking; most days there is a smoker at my local one, and it is not the same one! I have even seen a mother waiting in the bus shelter with her young kid and smoking!

It seems to be perfectly acceptable to smoke in a room full of people, perfectly acceptable to smoke next to a pregnant woman, and perfectly acceptable to smoke next to children. What is even more shocking to me, however is that no one seems to comment.

Maybe the damage smoking does not just to you but to the people around you just hasn’t gotten through to Danes? Or maybe they really just don’t care? I am at a loss on this subject, so please do feel free to enlighten me!

Review: Asian Wok House, Nordborg

Just down the road from Nordborg Bio is Asian Wok House. Having heard very good things about it from several people we decided to give it a try.

Asian Wok House is, as the name implies, an Asian restaurant. We were greeted warmly by our waiter and led to our choice of table. Surprisingly even though the restaurant officially opens at 5pm, there was already another table there when we arrived at 5:15, happily tucking in to their food, and the restaurant soon filled up with people.

The restaurant offers both an A’ la carte menu and a buffet (as well as a take away menu if for some reason the decor of the place doesn’t entice you to stay once you are in, or you are in a hurry). Wanting to have the opportunity to sample as many of the delights as possible, we opted for the buffet.

On asking if this is our first time, our waiter graciously took us over to the buffet area where he explained to us all that was on offer. The buffet is actually split into a normal buffet area and a Mongolian barbeque area, both of which you can sample as part of the buffet menu.

bd's Mongolian Grill

What I found to be a nice touch is that the waiters help you choose the sauces for your Mongolian buffet choices based on your choice of meat as well as preferences in terms of amount of spices, garlic etc. For a Mongolian barbeque virgin as me this was excellent. The meat, vegetables and noodles are then cooked on a big grill by the chef on hand for this purpose.

On the recommendation of the waiter we started our meal with a bowl of hot chicken soup, followed by a sampling of the Mongolian buffet and then the buffet. My favourite was definitely the Mongolian buffet noodle option I had with crab meat and squid, the fried prawns and chicken and the spring rolls.

My main issue with the restaurant is the same one I have with all the Danish restaurants I have been to so far, that the food is too salty for me. But then I guess that is really my issue rather than the restaurants’ now that I am in Denmark, since the Danes around me always seem to love it! Nevertheless, the very good service you get at this place and the taste of the food makes it a place to visit if you are looking for food in the area.

Photo by Dome Poon aka MoHotta18.

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Watch a Film at Nordborg Bio #6/99

Nordborg Bio is an independent cinema in Nordborg, at the northern end of Als. It is run by a group of volunteer with the main objective of maintaing a cinema in Nordborg. This makes it a worth-while venture to support, especially since it is run as a self-supporting venture.

The films shown are mainly new releases, though around once a month on a Friday they show a ‘filmeskerfilm’ (film lovers’ film), which is typically a less well-known, independent film, often in a foreign language. On these nights you get to watch a film and a glass of wine for 50DKK (i.e. very cheap by Danish standards).

Unfortunately for me, as yet there have been no ‘filmeskerfilm’ in the English language, so the combination of a foreign language with Danish subtitles have meant that we have had to give these nights a miss so far. However, most of the other ‘commercial’ films shown are in English (with Danish subtitles).

We went to watch Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows on the Friday it was being shown. Entering the cinema we were greeted by the volunteer ‘on duty’ – a friendly older gentleman who happily muddled through a conversation of Danish/English with me.

The cinema itself is quite small as you can maybe tell from the photo at the top, seating only 90 people (it was around one-third full on the night). What a difference to the big cinema complexes which are the only cinema option left in my home country.

For keeping this cinema running I must applaud the work of the volunteers. I will be back!

In Sønderborg there is also a cinema on Perlegade with two screens.

Bike on Motorway: Sonderborg - Kliplev

Bike Ride on the Motorway

We have previously written about the running race on the motorway but now the bike race has also been announced.

Bike on Motorway: Sonderborg - Kliplev


Sunday March 25th 2012 you have the chance to either cycle or walk on the motorway. There is a couple of different options.

  • For ‘the exercisers’ there is a cycle race with one or two loops on the motorway so either 48km or 96km. Price 100DKK
  • For families there is the option to cycle as far as you want. You cycle to a motorway exit of your choice and turn around. Price 50DKK
  • For walkers you can also walk as far as you want to an motorway exit of your choice and turn around. You will be walking in the emergency lane and dogs are not allowed. Price 40DKK Adult, Price 30DKK kids

Sønderborg Y’s Men Club will sell food and drinks in the start up area. For those who cycle it to the other end of the motorway by Kliplev there will be a tent with refreshments.

Signup is done by sending an email to with names, addresses and age and you will get an email back with where to send the money.

Read more on Sonderborg Cycle Clubs website.