What do Norwegians think of the Turks?

National prejudices of the Danes

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Here is an attempt to establish national prejudices and opinions of the Danes. This page serves as a warning to strangers who wish to interact with us Danes. They rarely express my own prejudices.
My favorite prejudices are the ones we Danes have against Germans and North American Indians. They explain how prejudices change. And how little influence contacts can have (I estimate that 90% of all adult Danes have been to Germany at least once).

The national prejudices of the Danes can be understood in two ways, depending on whether they belong to specific regions or on nationality.

Danes as members of larger regions

Danes versus other Scandinavians

Scandinavia can be seen as a mini-Europe: The Swedes are the Germans, the Finns are like the Russians, the Norwegians are like the English, and the Danes take their place as Scandinavia's Italians.

Scandinavians versus other Western Europeans

The Scandinavians are the inventors of the welfare society. The Scandinavians love peace, do not argue, take no part in wars and do not raise terrorists. We Scandinavians are well organized and give a lot of space to experimentation within sexual intercourse and marriages. Our democracy is much more developed than there in the south and west. We have "freedom under responsibility". The freedom is so great that all Scandinavians are members of several (extra-state) associations and organizations.

Western Europeans versus Eastern Europeans

We Western Europeans have understood how to build civil societies. We are more modern than there in the east. We understand all new technologies - except for missile technology. You have a lot to learn from us.

Europeans versus North Americans (US and Canada)

We have the story, you don't have it. We understand how complicated the world actually looks and we don't classify it according to Hollywood criteria ("good people / countries - bad people / countries"). You are good at new technology and the possibilities are great with you. All of us Europeans share the dream of one day living with you.

West versus east

You are really hard at work, but you do not know how to live and enjoy the material advances and fruits of your labor. You stole everything you make from us in the West: computers, photography, motorcycles, rifles, submarines, etc.

North versus South (Africa, partly South America)

You can't do anything and need our help. We can't learn anything from you except music and a couple of dances.

What the Danes think of other nations (if possible at different times)


Now: Everything in Sweden is regulated. The Swedes have massive bans; almost everything is forbidden, especially alcoholic beverages. But the Swedes are very capable of work, and everything that comes from Swedes is always of high quality.
Swear words: forbudssvensker ('Verbots-Swede'), Forbudssverige ('Ban Sweden')

1945: The Swedes are our brothers and we love them.

middle Ages: The Swedes are actually Danes, our sons, and have to go back to the Reich, or at least be subject to the Danes.


Now: The Norwegians are tall, broad-shouldered and muscular build (in contrast to, for example, Icelanders). Everything in Norway is expensive. In terms of prohibitions, the Norwegians are similar to the Swedes.
The Norwegians divide the world into two parts: 1. the Norwegians, 2. people who want to be Norwegians. The Norwegian national consciousness (borderless Stoltz) cannot be tolerated by any Dane, especially because the Norwegians speak almost the same language (but write like uneducated Danes) and everything in Norway is a copy based on the Danish model.
In addition, the Norwegians are idlers because they have so much oil and therefore buy goods and services from abroad.
Swear words: fjeldabe ('Mountain monkey')

1945: The Norwegians are our brothers and we love them.

middle Ages: The Norwegians are actually Danes, our sons, and have to go back to the Reich, or at least be subject to the Danes.


Now: Finns talk slowly and everyone can understand their Swedish. They drink a lot of vodka and stick each other with knives.
Swear words: knivstikker ('Knife plug')

1945: The Finns are our brothers and we love them.


Now: The German stereotype is a man who has grown fat from consuming beer and sausages all the time. Germany consists almost entirely of motorways. The Germans are greedy and always build walls around themselves. If they had the chance, they would buy up all of Denmark.
Their language is difficult, especially the grammar, which is regulated like mathematics.
The Germans are a hard-working people, disciplined and love to teach other peoples discipline. Your soccer team is well organized and disciplined. A proverb about German women: children, church and kitchen. The Germans are characterized by punctuality, hard work and regularity. We can learn a lot from the Germans. That is why Germans always talk about "stupid Danes".
Swear words: pølsetyskere ('Sausage Germans'), prøjsere ('Preusser')

1945: All Germans are Nazists.

1800: Everything that comes from Germany is good. We can learn a lot from the Germans.

Late Middle Ages: How can we learn the secret from the Germans / Lübeckers to always brew good beer? In general, they are magical people and bring culture and modernity to the country. We can learn a lot from the Germans.

900: The Germans are ridiculous with all their pointed manners, word pouring and constantly playing music with pipes and drums.

What the Germans think of the Danes:

Central Germany: the Olsen gang! And the language is totally weird to hear.

More about the history of the behavior of the Danes towards the Germans.
More about the current relationship between the Danes and the Germans.

English people

Now: England is great. All young Danes want to spend six months in London. Everything is much better and freer there.
Swear words: [no idea]

1945: The English freed us from the bad Germans. All English are great guys. Their language is beautiful, much nicer than German, and every young Danish woman wants to go to bed with an Englishman if the opportunity arises. *)

1815: The English are guilty of all the misfortunes in Denmark. They took everything from us: Norway, the fleet, the blossoming of the Danish cities.

500: The British are actually primitive; most of them are slaves.

*) The birth rate in Denmark reached an all-time high in 1946, one year after the beginning of the English "occupation".

French people

Now: The French are a great cultural people in Europe, but are arrogant and don't speak foreign languages.
Swear words: [no idea]

North American Indians

Now: The Indians are a proud and brave people. Indian women are extremely pretty. The Indians live an honest life in tenancy with nature.

1000: The skrælingiR in wine country are dishonorable and they are all filthy.
Swear words: skræling 


Now: The Inuit people on grassland are victims of our culture; We brought him alcoholism, narcomania, syphilis, gonorrhea and colds. In the last 50 years the Inuit people have gone through the same development as we have in the last 1000 years. We Danes are solely responsible for their miserable lives and therefore have to pay for them, especially because they are too stupid to make it themselves.
Swear words: [maybe] grønlænder ('Grünländer')

1000: The skrælingiR, those we meet in grassland have white flesh; if you kill them, it takes a while for the blood to geyser out of the wound.


Now: The Russians drink a lot of vodka.
Swear words: babusjka ('Matrioschka', 'Babuschka' - from fat Russian women)


Now: The Italians are spirited, open-hearted, loud and gesticulate a lot. Your country is less organized and less regulated than Denmark. It's easy to bribe your cops and politicians.
Swear words: [no idea]


1920: All Spaniols are black-haired and black-eyed. The Spaniards are pretty, they dance almost all the time, but you can't trust them. Their husbands are not particularly hardworking, but drink wine and often argue for honor, sometimes drawing their knives as well.
Swear words: [no idea]


1920: The Catalans are not quite like other Spaniards. They are educated people and very hard-working. They understand the art of making bread with stones.
Swear words: [no idea]


Now: [comes later]
Swear words: perker (a contamination of Persian ('Perse') and tyrk, tyrker ('Turk') formed)

1900: Oriental women are dark, mysterious and full of passions. They live in harems.


Now: All Chinese are yellow-skinned and eat dogs. So be careful when inviting a Chinese home!
Swear words: [no idea]

1920: All Chinese are yellow-skinned and of great wisdom.

Croatians and Hungarians

1700-1890: The Croatians and Hungarians are wild fellows *), full of passions like the Spaniards.
Swear words: [no idea]

*) The Danish word krabat "Bursche; Mordskerl" is etymologically a transformation of Croatian, like - by the way - also German Tie.

It can be difficult to draw the line between judgment and prejudice. If my mother comments on my constant smoking with the words "you will die from smoking" then it is a judgment (my grandmother is a loose counterexample. She smoked so many cigars all her life that her skin was on her fingers and lips to the point of Death was the same brown color as her walls. When she died in 2001, 89 years old, she hadn't wanted to live for a long time before. She died of pneumonia + heart attack, which, including her age, is a normal cause of death). When I say that negroes have large sex organs, my mother says it is a prejudice (she knows it better than I do).
I believe that a prejudice is "a false opinion based on non-true data". On the other hand, a judgment is based on evidence, and the person judged - if a person - also had his word. Generally speaking, the trans-Saharan African men are better equipped (so say the scientists); this means that a European woman can most likely have a "great experience" sleeping with an African. But the probability theory also allows some exceptions, like the case with my mother's African ex-boyfriend.
So I can change the expression: "average do African men have large sex organs "or rather"most African men have large reproductive organs. And then it is no longer a prejudice, but a judgment.
Therefore it can be difficult from time to time to separate generalized experiences from real prejudices, especially if I read the statements on older sources (sources before my birth in 1960), such as old [folk] songs, sagas, chronicles, old textbooks, build.

The Danish-German relations are very old. The Danes have always been directly adjacent to the Germans [except for a period of Slavic immigration to northern Germany in the early Middle Ages]. The attitudes of the Danes towards the Germans have changed throughout history, depending on the political situation in Denmark.

1. Before nationalism

Until the middle of the 19th century, Danish-German relations were pretty good, especially official relations. Since around 1700 German was the mother tongue of the kings of Denmark, and Danish foreign policy was conducted by the so-called German Chancellery. The duchies of Slesvig and Holsten were subject to the German Empire, which is why the King of Denmark, as the duke of these provinces, was also a vassal of the German emperors. German travelers in Denmark in the 1820s reported that all Danes, whether in town or village, had such good knowledge of the German language that you immediately felt at home.
At the end of this period the general European nationalist currents became stronger and stronger, and Danish nationalists wanted to incorporate Slesvig into Denmark and leave Holsten as an independent duchy.

2. Danish distrust 1848-1864

From 1848 a period of Danish distrust of the intentions of the Germans followed, especially the Germans in the duchies of Slesvig-Holsten, because they had rebelled in 1848 (First Schleswig War 1848-1850). The Holsteners were very dissatisfied. Danish established itself as the official and court language. Purists began to displace German and German-sounding words and phrases by locals: "Fødselsdag" instead of "Birthday", "forelsket" instead of "forliebt", ("love"), "Fattigdom" instead of "Armod" ("poverty"), "ond" instead of "bøs" ("bad"), "træt" instead of "mødig" ("tired"), etc.

3. The national catastrophe of 1864

In order to unite all German countries, the Prussian Chancellor Bismarck needed a small war with national goals. He saw the acute situation in Slesvig-Holsten as an ideal opportunity: Denmark had been decimated since the Napoleonic Wars (loss of Norway), had experienced an economic collapse (1815), which had long felt in social life. However, he had good experiences with the recruitment of Germans in the north and south of Altona (the former border town); the war of 1848-1852 had been popular in the German lands, and many volunteers had flocked from the south to assist their brothers in Holstein. Prussia, the centuries-old friend of Denmark, declared war with Austria against Denmark in 1864. The fighting did not last for many months. The Germans had won - two duchies were incorporated [after a minor war with Austria] and Germany was united. The continuation is known to all Germans (Empire, war against France, etc.).

For Denmark the result of the Second Silesian War in 1864 became a national catastrophe. With the loss of the duchies to the German and Austrian empires, political relations were critical, especially among the population. Nevertheless, German was still the first foreign language, and until the First World War people went to Germany as a naver (journeyman) or intellectual to learn new things. That means the Danes understood that not all Germans are angry, only their politicians.

4. 1920: The reunification

In 1920, after a referendum in three zones in Slesvig, North Schleswig was reunited with Denmark (Holsten had never wanted to regard the Danes as genuinely Danish), and official relations eased. But the remaining populations of Danish and German-minded people (remember this: in the border areas, ie in Slesvig, nobody speaks of "Danes" or "Germans", but of "Danish" or "German-minded") on both sides of the border did not live well enough. German-minded people in Nordslesvig were discriminated against, and Danish-minded people were discriminated against in 1864-1920. Official attitudes were therefore still skeptical.

5. 1940-1945: Occupation of Denmark by the Third Reich

When the Third Reich was a German-national construction, German was equated with Nazi, evil and evil. The occupation from April 9, 1940 to May 5, 1945 explored the negative attitudes towards the Germans, which are represented by almost all Danes born before 1946. English was introduced into schools in 1945 as the first compulsory foreign language (German, however, retained the second position from the seventh school year). The German-Danish treaty of 1955 with a solution to the Slesvig-Holsten question did not remedy this attitude (West Germany, however, secured entry into NATO and the UN).

6. 1945-: Slow weakening of negative attitudes.

Only with new generations could the fear and negative attitudes towards the former conquerors disappear.However, things got tough: In the EU debates before the referenda in 1972 (EC entry), 1986 (internal market), 1992 (Maastricht Treaty: European Union), 1993 (Edinburgh Treaty: European Union minus 4), 1996, 2000 (Monetary Union), Germany was occasionally used by opponents as a symbol of the "evil from Europe" - not officially in the written materials and speeches, but on early posters and in conversations by many older opponents. The fight against the EU was equated with the fight against the Nazi occupiers in 1940-1945. "What Adolf Hitler was unable to achieve in World War II, Germany is now realizing through the EU."
Every Danish school is obliged to offer German lessons; However, every student has not been obliged to take advantage of this offer since the mid-1970s.


If you listen to conversations in the lacy cafes in Copenhagen, the most common name given to the city (apart from Copenhagen) is LONDON.

In the second largest city, Aarhus, people always talk about COPENHAGEN.

Now that I no longer live in these cities, names like FLENSBURG and HAMBURG appear more often in our pubs in Mitt-Jutland. Certainly more often the further south you go.

In Silkeborg (Middle Jutland), where I now live, the Blue Avis for Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg is in large piles for sale at the train station (unthinkable in Copenhagen), even in winter when there are no tourists.

Back to the Germans.

Germans in Denmark

1.8% of the population in Denmark are so-called "Germans". This is the very largest national / ethnic minority among us; the Turks are only about 0.95%. Although the number of the German component probably also include the German-minded people (who are 100% bilingual anyway - German, or Low German, + Danish, or South Jutian - exactly as well as the Danish-minded in Germany [which also include the North Frisians]), I think rather, most Germans in Denmark are first generation immigrants from Germany. In my life (which, unfortunately, I have mostly spent in cities [the German-minded people live in Als and in southern Jutland / North Schleswig in general, and many of them are farmers]), I have met Germans all over Denmark. Even my godfather Karl-Heinz came from Germany. Such constant immigration speaks of the fact that the Germans feel at home in Denmark.

Direct contact abroad

About every Dane spends at least one holiday of his life in Germany. It is also my impression that every Danish man or woman who has more than 10 love stories behind them as adults has at least one relationship with a German / Austrian / Swiss [population: my friends and relatives in Copenhagen].


The German language is Germanic like the Scandinavian languages. This means that we Danes have many hereditary words in common with the Germans, although not as many as with the other North Germanic peoples. On the other hand, the Hanseatic influence in the language is enormous. You can't overdo it. Words of (low) German origin penetrate the Danish vocabulary everywhere, especially in the terminology of older professions such as bakery, tailoring, carpentry, walls, architecture, sometimes church, accounting, anything to do with books (printing, spending, selling) etc We have borrowed many colloquial fractions and other expressions for this purpose. A reverse influence - Danish borrowings in German - is hardly noticeable. I cannot name a single Danish word in (standard) German (maybe only the transferred meaning in German slang of "fat" = "great, attractive").
When we Danes speak German, we therefore find many expressions and idioms that were common with us 80 years ago, but now seem strange, old, sometimes archaic: "Dear Sir, ...", "With respect", "Good guys." Day! "," Goodbye! "," Attention! ", The greeting" Hello! " without a telephone, the constant sifting, the deverbativa on -en, capital letters in nouns and so on.
Every Dane can have clear conversations in German with minimal grammatical requirements. Never perfect, but understandable. According to my observations, even the worst Danish students speak better than many immigrants I have met in Germany and Austria and who have lived in German-speaking countries for years. Danes only need a basic vocabulary of around 100 German words, after which they only translate Danish words into German. However, most Danes turn to English when the opportunity arises.

Time stages and modernity

The prejudices are mentioned above. It should be noted that we Danes do not see the Germans as strangers, but as our relatives. This view is of course unconscious, but is the prerequisite for all other judgments. We are the same family. If the Swedes and Norwegians are our siblings, the Germans are a bit like our cousins, whom we actually meet more often than our brothers. The linguistic relationships have already been mentioned. The Germans speak like us Danes many years ago. They also live in our past: the proportion of housewives in Germany is the same as in Denmark thirty years ago; Cell phones and computers are as rare in German families as they were in Denmark 8-10 years ago; German popular music (Schlager) rings like the Danish 20 years ago. German gays, lesbians, hippies and autonomous people have the same discussions, discourses, ways of thinking as their Danish counterparts 10-20 years ago. All of this adds up to the general impression of Germans as our retarded cousins, but never as strangers. Everything in Germany is known to us, and a Dane can fit in well - he just has to think about his childhood.

Back to the Germans, to Erik's homepage.

This site was created on November 24, 2001.
It is constantly being improved. So be welcome back in a month!
Last correction: April 2, 2004.
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