Looking back at Copenhagen: culture & philosophy || Travelling

Looking back at Copenhagen: culture & philosophy || Travelling

Hej everyone!

This will be my last post about Copenhagen and I’d love to discuss their culture and philosophy with you, because it’s quite different than in Belgium for example.

Scandinavia is known for it’s ‘model’; the way they organize the state and politics and how that influences the lives of the people. It’s, yet again, all clean lines. In Belgium it’s no problem for a politician to be in director’s boarders of companies or organisations while in Denmark, our guide told that such thing was impossible.

In Denmark (and I think Scandinavia in general), tax rates are really high, even over 50% on income alone. There is a 180% tax on cars, 25% VAT and probably taxes I do not know of. Especially drinks – in Copenhagen –  are expensive.
To compare: in Belgium, I think the tax on income is around 40 to 50%, VAT is 21% but not on all items. And a car… that’s surely a lot less, but I do not know the exact numbers. For a drink in Belgium, I’d say you pay €2.30 to €3 (maybe €4 or €5 in Brussels), depends on where you go.

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But what do they get in return? Because, that’s the main

factor, right?

In Denmark, health care is completely free (my mouth dropped when I heard that), unlike in Belgium. Work weeks are shorter (think of Sweden!) Students studying at universities get a monthly pay (but apparently it’s less than it used to be). The state is much more involved in the lives of the citizens. It’s a thing you like or do not like.

I think in Belgium we’re sort of inbetween, but even with our waterfall of taxes in Belgium, we have to pay schools, health care and a lot of other things mainly ourselves. It’s just different.

The culture is therefore a bit different too. People live in smaller homes and spend – surely in cities – most of their income on rent and just living. They’re more modest in a way, I think. I too heard that Danes do not invest in houses, but in design furniture. And that Scandinavian design I absolutely adore.

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I think Scandinavia has society structures which are less focused on consuming but more on being together. It’s reflected in how they build houses, in the openness of the land. The Danes for example are thought to be the happiest nation in the world. That puts things in perspective.

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That being said, I’d surely recommend to visit Denmark or any other Scandinavian country! It’s a nice encounter with a slightly different philosophy but it gives ideas and inspiration.

Enjoy your day!

xx

Charlotte

*featured image: Malmö, Sweden

**earlier posts about Copenhagen & London: menu-> wanderlust -> travelling

***Stay tuned for posts about travelling & books coming up!
(I have my final exams next month, so perhaps I won’t be posting a lot in June.)

 

Looking back at Copenhagen: art & architecture || Travelling

Looking back at Copenhagen: art & architecture || Travelling

Hej!

Here is my first part of ‘Looking back at Copenhagen’! I must say that I had a wonderful time in Denmark and it was such a shame that I only got to spend 3 days in Copenhagen.

One of the things that drew my attention was the Danes’ sense for art and architecture. In a way, they seem to fit it in so well. Like: a modern opera house facing the Amalienborg Palace.

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The building is surrounded by old warehouses, but there is no contradiction: the two building styles just coincide and respect each other. There is a lot of openness in their architecture: a lot of glass and ‘clean lines’. Clean lines is the term I’d use to describe Copenhagen in 2 words.

It’s the same story for the Theatre House:

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This is an old warehouse, completely preserved:

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In Helsingør, there was a modern art construction by a Japanese artist. It is a giant colourful fish, all made of plastic garbage. It puts a perspective on how our seas are polluted.

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A bit further on, there was a male version of the Little Mermaid! A had first mistaken it for a copy of the original, but then I saw it was a form of a rather handsome man!

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To me, he appeared so poetic, as he was staring over the old harbour of Helsingør, wandering, waiting. This statue, for me, just flips the story of the Little Mermaid.

Maybe I hope too much.

Maybe I dream too much.

Or maybe I love too much, to just give up on you.

R. M. Drake

One of the most famous art musea in the world is also situated not that far from Denmark’s capital: the Louisiana Museum. It is a museum where one must just be, to enjoy and to absorb. The museum grew out of the little estate of a forester. Now several buildings have been added but the garden has stayed just sublime. People sit, lie down, read books, talk with each other or eat something in the café – where you can have delicious smørrebrød by the way – and walk in and out of the rooms with different collections. I mainly got to see pop art, which I liked very much.

And of course, the well-known Henry Moore sculpture:

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I must say I really like the way they think about art & architecture up north. It’s in a way different than in middle & southern Europe.

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I wanted to end with this: in Louisiana, you could get balloons as in the image shown below. Children were exploring the gardens with it. I immediately thought: those words carry such a heavy load… and yet it was such a hopeful message and it was so cute seeing those kids running around with their white balloons tied around their polses. They are the future, and although they might not fully understand what the words ment, but if they all will live by those words, I can only say that hope is on the winning side! #youthisfuture

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Well, that’s that for today! I hope you enjoyed my talk. Please comment when you would like to share something; I love to read your comments! Have nice day!! 😀

xx

Charlotte

link to my previous post: Christ stopped at Eboli / Carlo Levi || Reviews

link to category ‘Wanderlust’ for some more travel adventures: Wanderlust || musiclovewords

Christ stopped at Eboli / Carlo Levi || Reviews

Christ stopped at Eboli / Carlo Levi || Reviews

Hi everyone

A little while ago, I got an assignment for Dutch. It included reading an international novel and then design your own cover for the book you had read.

I wandered about on which book I should read. I was thinking about reading ‘The Black and the Silver‘ by Paolo Giordano, but then I remembered an episode I had seen on Flemish television of the series ‘In Italy’, presented by Giorgio Locatelli and Andrew Graham-Dixon.

In this episode, they visited Matera in Basilicata and talked about a book ‘Christ stopped at Eboli’, in which the author apparently described the poor situation there so well that it became internationally known.

Triggered by the book’s history and subject, I changed my mind and went to the city library to fetch it. And what I read, I had never read before.

Carlo Levi, the author, lived as an exile in Basilicata (then still Lucania) in the fascist regime of Mussolini. Levi, a G.P. turned into painter, finds a creative way to pass his time: he paints the people, the views of the rough landscape, cures the ill (although he is at one point in the story not allowed to) and critises, in his book, the regime and the way the state governs.

He calls the locals ‘earthly people‘, they have not taken part in any “grand philosophy” that has ever passed their teritories; the Greek, the Romans, christianity… they just didn’t engage; they were always forgotten. The town priest complains they do not go to church or let their children be baptised, the tax collector complains the farmers cannot pay their taxes and that there is nothing of any value to confiscate. Some families only possess one bed, one table, a plate, a fork and one glass. Confiscating a goat does not fill the gap of the not payed taxes. (People even have to slaughter their goats because taxes have risen so high).

Malaria triumphs in these regions, because of poor medical care and lack of infrastructure to canalise watercourses, the musquitos infect the villagers time after time, so that eventually the people’s faces turn slightly yellow. This is shown in Levi’s paintings and is for me the characteristic of these people. They endure everything. They seem to be bound by a fatalist philosophy which tells them that nothing will change after all. They even have given up on ‘the American dream’, which was popular idea at the time. And you see it in their faces; the malaria, the worries, the poverty…

Even after Levi’s book was published, it took a while before investments in the region have been made. Cities like Matera and Aliano still have their small homes, in Matera even cave-like, but living standards have seriously improved. I hope to travel there to see it for my own.

The region and the story it holds have grabbed me and I just can’t let it go. That’s why I decided to make a drawing of one of his paintings. I called her Giulia. (‘Julia’ in English).

Cristo si è fermato a Eboli

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When I picked up the pencils, I was not sure if Giulia would come out well. I had never really drawn before. But I am very pleased with the result, if I may say so O:) .
If you have ever read the book or will after reading this post, please let me know! I would find it lovely to discuss it with you!

XX

Charlotte

PS1: For those who want to know more about Carlo Levi:

Carlo Levi Wikipedia

PS2: “Looking back at Copenhagen” is coming up soon!

 

 

Copenhagen: day 3 || Travelling

Copenhagen: day 3 || Travelling

Hej everyone!

Here my resume of my last day in Copenhagen. I am already back home, and oh how I miss Copenhagen! I even miss Danish, though I don’t speak the language.

We got up and decided to cross the Bridge and travel to Malmø (Malmö in Swedish), on the other side of the Sont. Malmø is a charming city with two ‘centres’: the old and the brand new, with the well-known Turning Torso! Once again, we could enjoy the wonderful weather above Scandinavia. It was a dream to do a citytrip in 20 degrees Celsius. 🙂

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In the afternoon, we visited the Carlsberg Brewery in Copenhagen. It is the old site where mass production has stopped, but a micro-brewery is still going! They brew Jacobsen beer, which is a side line production next to the Carlsberg.

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After our visit to the brewery, we headed back to the hotel to collect our bags, we went to the airport, hopped on the plane (where I read Think Like an Artist by Will Gompertz, to stay in the Louisiana mood 😉 ) and before I knew, I was back home again and the whole adventure was over. I look back at it with a very warm heart 🙂 .

Xx

Charlotte

Copenhagen: day 2 || Travelling

Copenhagen: day 2 || Travelling

Hej!

As promised, here my fly-over of my second day in Denmark!

I can already say that I have spent a most terrific and wonderful journey in Copenhagen and I hardly can’t wait to get back.

The second day, we started off in Kronborg, a castle built by Erik VII of Denmark as a fortress. The castle is quite impressive and absolutely stunning in sunny weather!

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While we were there, we went for a walk in the charming town of Helsingør as well. The town is astonishingly well preserved through the ages and it gives you the feeling of being a time traveller.

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Around noon, we drove south to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, a museum I would recommend to young and old! It’s just a place where you have to be, and not to look at the art perse. A lot more museums should be like the Louisiana; with a garden, relaxed, so people get the chance to talk and discuss what they see and to take a break from all the art absorbing.

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In the slideshow: various pieces of art I have seen, including the famous Henry Moore sculpture and the view from the garden.

After a – too short, I could have stayed for days – we headed to the Karen Blixen Museum, which is next to the sea and the panoramic road. This extraordinary lady, writer of Out of Africa, her autobiography, returned after her time in Africa to the family home and lived there untill her death. The house is very beautifully preserved and the reserve surrounding it is as stunning. Definitely worth a visit!

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And after our day of visiting, looking, wandering and walking, we – of course – went to Tivoli! Tivoli is the most beautiful, elegant and amusing park I have ever visited! It is so so nice to walk around and to be amazed about the fairytale setting!

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So, that was it for day two! I’ll post my resume of day 3 tomorrow. Then I’ll post my reflection of my journey to Copenhagen, as I did when I went to London.

Xx,

Charlotte

Copenhagen: day 1 || Travelling

Hej! (Danish for ‘hi’)

Here my resume for Copenhagen day 1!

I had to get up super super early: 1:30 AM, but the sacrifice was definately worth it. 

Started with a tour in the historical centre and enjoyed the being outdoors and the lovely weather. We saw a statue of the man who founded Copenhagen, statue of Hans Christian Andersen, Amalienborg and the new Opera House. 

We also saw a lot more, but my phone died during the day and so the other photos are on my camera, which I cannot upload for the moment.

Hope the weather is as good with you as it is here!

Xx

Charlotte

Looking back at London || Travelling

Looking back at London || Travelling

Hi everyone

London left a great impression on me. I am so happy I finally got to see it!

I have always wanted to visit London, since I am so fond of England, English and of course the British! London too has a lot of art in its musea, like in the National Gallery. It was so inspiring to see al those exquisite paintings (my favourites are the Monets) and to wander around in such a fantastic place.

But I have to admit that my personal favourite is the Globe Theatre. I know it may not look like much from the outside, but the inside and the story it contains just blew me away. I have always liked Shakespeare and theatre in general and it was so beautiful to see that a whole crew has decided to rebuild the Globe Theatre to honour him and to keep producing his plays, whether in modern versions or not. I, as a theatre lover, immediately wanted to jump on the stage. But I succeeded in restraining my enthusiasm 😉 .  In the shop after the visit (I was as happy as I could ever be), I found out that they make childrens’ books of Shakespeare’s plays! I was like: my children will get those! As the matter a fact, when we visited the Globe, they were preparing decor for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the play I love the most, so I’d say I left the Globe walking on clouds. (I literally translated a Dutch expression here, I do not know if it’s the same in English).

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I love(d) being around in London. I had visited Paris the year before and when I got back, I realised that I had found myself in museum after museum all the time; I had seen the museums in the city, but not the city itself. In London, I wanted to avoid that feeling. So I got out as much as I could and just… wandered, looked, thought and left again, to store it in my mind forever. Like the experiences in St Paul’s Cathedral, with the Whispers’ Gallery, the magnificent view, the South Bank walk, the Fortune Theatre where we watched The Woman in Black

You the solid streets I wonder

Searching like I’ve always done, all my life

Am I really getting closer to you now?

And my heart it trembles, how it trembles.

– Novastar

 

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In the slideshow: pictures of South Bank, Southwark; the London Eye, graffiti art, a remain of a medieval christian building, St Paul’s Church and the Galleria.

The last day, we went to Covent Garden. The atmosphere there is so relaxted and I am so happy we got the spend our (short) afternoon here. We wandered around the Market, walked through the streets (and tried to wrap our head around the fact that in a couple of hours, we’d be gone) and… perhaps unorthodox, but I discovered a new brand: kikki.K. I’m really sorry, dear Londoners, that it hasn’t British roots but I couldn’t help myself; I am too fond of stationery. (btw: the store’s staff is really friendly, so a big thumbs up)!

So, the morning after I got back, I awoke with a terrible Londonache. I missed London insanely. I have discussed it with some friends and they feel the same way.

Seeking wonderful love

Chasing wonderful love

Feeling wonderful love

– Novastar

 

I will certainly return to London in the future, and I would love to come and study there as an Erasmus student (or when London doesn’t work out, at another place in the UK and then go to London for a weekend 😛 ).

I would like to thank Londoners worldinsidemypocket and dreamflydiscover for their awesome input and comments on my London journey. Thank you so much! 😀

And to all of you: don’t hesitate to share a thought, give me a tip or to tell about what London – or any other city / experience – is like for you (or to give me addresses of London based stationery stores 😉 ). I’d love to read them!

Oh, and I still got to tell you this; my personal theme song for London was a song by a Belgian group, Novastar. I left some quotations of it in this post. The song is named ‘Closer to you’ and I can’t explain it thoroughly, but it so reminds me of London and how the city left an imprint on me. Link: Closer To You – Novastar

Enjoy your day as I pack for my next adventure: Copenhagen. I’ll keep you posted!

XX

Charlotte

P.S.: I have not yet found time to get to ‘Christ stopped at Eboli’. I’ll get to it when I get back from Denmark.