Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wind turbines

In November, you could discover on the City Town Hall square in Copenhagen a few vertical axis wind turbines. The goal of this exhibition: raise awareness of renewable energy benefits.

An explanatory panel described the city environmental policy and displayed its strong goals: Copenhagen should be CO2 neutral in 2025. Ambitious!
The plan (at least a part of it) is to install 14 new wind turbines around Copenhagen to raise the share of wind energy in global electricity production from 13 to 18%. Construction will begin in 2012. Still a long way to the goal...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Green marketing campaigns

To welcome the COP15 participants, giant green posters were installed in Copenhagen Airport as early as November. Those posters were explaining the energy savings already achieved by the airport (and the planned ones).

Here, the poster details the qualities of the new exterior lighting to indicate the lines of "plane taxi" ...

There the poster celebrates the water savings realized those last 10 years- using rather insignificant numbers however, you can see this is more a marketing tool than anything else.

On their side,Tivoli started the same type of communication in the summer, thanks to the partnership with Vestas, the famous wind turbine manufacturer.

Tivoli has a long tradition for recycling. In particular, you can spot red stalls where you can bring back your used plastic cups in exchange for 5 dkk. This keeps the park quite clean and there is way less plastic in the garbage!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Copenhague, clean city?

As a follow-up of COP15, which closed its doors a few weeks ago, let's start a series on the theme of environment in Denmark. A good opportunity to talk about the Ren By exhibition, even if it is now a bit old.

Giant waste sculptures were placed on the main squares of Copenhagen. The idea was to invite the public to reflect on the impact of dropping all kind of trash in the streets.

I like the pizza box, very realistic...
This exhibition was associated with a short ad of 40 seconds which I find quite funny. You don't need to speak Danish to understand it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bike on ice

A thought for those who face biking every day in that winter weather... Are they "crazy" or simply victims of lack of other means of transportation? Nobody knows. Still, you can see plenty of them on the bike paths, sidewalks or roads.

For the benefit of those daredevils, the Danish cycling federation has published 11 tips for winter biking.
Here is a rough translation (and a few comments in brackets):

* Avoid carring baskets or
overloaded bags which can make the bike difficult to control. And of course you shouldn't carry anybody in the child seat!
* Good lighting is essential! Even in daylight, it can be difficult to comprehend the path which is essential for safe driving. Think also of installing reflectors to be better seen by others.
* It is better to under-inflate your tires, and the wider your tire is, the better. For ice biking, studded tires are recommended (I really wonder how many cyclists have invested in studded tires ...!)
* Avoid tight and sudden turns. Take large and slow turns, as long as the traffic permits it!
* Grease your chain generously. (Personal observation: if you have a cheap bike (or the kind I imported from France), this is not enough! On mine, the chain is totally rusty and is now quite stiff, especially after a weekend in the snow and salt ...)
* Brake far in advance and carefully! Release the brakes if the wheels start to skid!
* Brake before a turn and release the brake before starting to turn!
* Brake with your rear brake! And pay attention to how the rear wheel skids (is there really a "wrong" way to skid the rear wheel?)
* Check the brake regularly!
* Stay alert to the road that you are following
* Stay calm (this is a universal advice in Denmark, but is it really necessary to remind the Danes, calm in any situation?). It is more important to get to there safely than to arrive there first.

Bonne route! And good luck ...
When in doubt, leave your bike in the garage, but you can expect to find it like that (or worse):

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fastelavn blooper

If there is indeed something fun during a Fastelavn party, it's to see all the failures!
There are those who hit in the air (a classic), those who lose their disguise when they hit, those dropping the stick, those who get angry, those who hit the fingers of adults who are there to stabilize the barrel .. .
In short, way enough to make a blooper reel!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Let's get candies

(Following the Fastelavn series)
The kids then headed to a hall where they found a barrel. Or more precisely three barrels, each dedicated to a particular age group.
Here I must digress. What's with the barrel? Remember the bible: 40 days before Easter, Jesus destroyed a barrel with a baseball bat. What, nobody believes me? Okay. The barrel tradition started - supposedly - in the eleventh century, the era of witch hunts. People wanted to kill witches, and well black cats too. Back then, a "fun" custom was to study the damage tolerance of a cat trapped in a barrel beaten by a stick. Who said "barbarians"?
Hence the expression "slå katten af Tonden" (literally beat the cat out of the barrel).
Today, of course, there is no more cat inside (maybe in some parts of Denmark that I don't know!), but often a picture of cat on the barrel and - of course - lots of candy.

So here is the troup ready to hit the barrel. Everything is very organized, the children are quiet and in line, each one gives a blow and pass the bat to the next kid and goes back to the end of the line.
The barrel of 0-9 years has lived a very long agony. It has taken countless shots but obviously the scouts who had assembled that barrel had done too good of a job and the poor little ones almost got exhausted before the end.

A ninja turtle fights against the barrel. A forgotten episode of the cartoon ...

All the strength of Pippi Longstocking was not enough to break the barrel ...
Luckily an adult has "helped" a little to break the barrel (I think she was eager to move on).
Finally, the barrel is broken and the children were in the starting blocks to fall on the candy (don't be afraid, there was an quiet and equal distribution, nobody got hurt!).

A barrel after the battle ... this one didn't last long.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


You can't properly celebrate Fastelavn without eating them! It's tradition to eat boller (sorts of donuts). Chocolate, jam, pastry cream, whipped cream ... knowing that there are often several "options" in the same bolle. A real calorie bomb!

The version with eyes and a marzipan tongue in a bakery window...

Version "I loooove cream!"...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Costum danish style...

Here kids love to dress up for Fastelavn. Of course, you can choose princess, Ben10 or Jedi, but it is so much more local to choose the viking style!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fastelavn costums

Fastelavn is primarily a celebration for children. They must be well dressed for the occasion.
If today everyone celebrates fastelavn (schools, kindergartens, shopping malls and even car dealers), the Church remains in the race and still holds its own events. Children are allowed to go to mass in costume! If you find yourself nearby a church on that occasion, the sight can be quite funny! (here Slotskirke Frederiksborg in Hillerød
, photos from last year's Fastelavn) ...
A fairy teenager ...
an Easter bunny (a little early!)


And many others (spiderman, superman, teddy bears, little devils, Charlie Chaplin and so on).
The toy stores shelves are indeed very busy with costumes since beginning of January (from baby size to adults), but you can also find them in clothes stores and supermarkets...

Monday, February 1, 2010


In a few weeks, the Danes will celebrate Fastelavn. But what is this? Here is an opportunity to write a little series on the major characteristics of this event, as we have discovered it in the previous years of our exile here.

* Costumes
* The boller
* The barrel

But first a little summary...
Fastelavn is a semi-Christian festival. It marks the beginning of the fast, 40 days before Easter. Well, most people don't really care about that, but a many cultures have used this opportunity to start a great tradition: Carnival.
Yes but here, the Danes prefer to do this their way, so they celebrates fastelavn.
In principle, it is similar, yet completely different of course.
Well, we'll now say that's enough for the introduction (I ca see two persons sleeping in the back of the class).

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