When living in a home away from home, it is always a good idea, to ‘go native’. If you go native, you will find it easier to navigate the new culture, to start conversation, and get a general understanding of the people. A great way to go native, is to look a popular culture, and quite often that would be TV shows. Watching Danish TV shows will not only improve your Danish skills, it will also give you an insight into Danish culture, but more than this: you will be able to participate in the conversations that for instance take place while getting coffee at work. Danes love to talk about TV shows, series, movies, and news. And luckily, we have a great variety of shows, and the quality is quite good (if you ask me, a Dane..). So, switch on that TV, start streaming on DRTV, Netflix or just turn on your flow tv. No matter how, start watching. It will be difficult (‘cause Danish), but put on some subtitles (preferably Danish ones), and be patient. Here are my recommendations for 7 Danish shows you should watch:
- Nak og æd
My personal favorite is not for everyone, and it wasn’t until recently it was for me. The show is about a Danish hunter, Jørgen Skouboe and a well-renowned Danish chef Nikolaj Kirk. The two bark upon adventures around Denmark, and around the world, where they aim is to hunt a specific animal, and cook it afterwards. The hunting and cooking itself is, in my opinion, the least of it. The dialogues and the general atmosphere between the two is what makes the show absolutely amazing. Jørgen is from Jutland, and ‘older’, and Nikolaj is from Copenhagen, and ‘younger’. Sometimes they talk as if they were an old married couple, since the show has gone on for 11 seasons, and has taken them around the world, for instance Mexico, Texas, Greenland, Zambia, Rumania etc. So, if you like a show where nature is nature, and where two professionals do what they are best at while goofing around, you’ll love Nak og Æd.
Watch it here
This one comes highly recommended if you ask any Dane. It is a show that we treasure a lot, and a show that has had many re-runs. Matador will teach you about Denmark and the Danish society from 1929-1947, therefore including the impact World War II had on Denmark. It teaches you about the difference between the social elite, and the general working man, and it does so in a dramatic way. The show first aired in 1978 and has 4 seasons. Personally it is not my favorite, but I am just one among thousands and thousands of Danes enjoying it and watching it over and over again. So, if you’re even the least curious about Danish history in the 20th century, you should start watching Matador.
Watch it here
- Den store bagedyst
Another highly praised show among Danes is Den store bagedyst (The great Danish bake-off). Den store bagedyst has run for 9 season, the 9th airing as we speak. If you don’t know the show from Britain, it is about 10 average Danes competing to become the new master baker of Denmark. The 10 contestants are all amazing bakers, and each week they wauw the Danish population with their amazingly creative cakes and baked goods. Two judges decide who’s the best of the week, and who should no longer be in the competition. Along the way the contestants as well as the host and the judges talk about the cakes, their influences, and their general life. The show is so popular that if something outside of the ordinary happens, it will cause a public outcry (try googling Gunnar-gate). So, if you really want to take part in talk of the town, you should start watching Den store bagedyst.
Watch it here
If you’re interested in how Danish politics work and appreciate a political show, you should watch Borgen. Borgen takes place at Christiansborg (our parliament), and the main character Birgitte Nyborg, is portrayed as our prime minister. It is important to note though that the show is fictional, but it still tells a story about Danish politics, and gives you an insight into our political system. The show has not only aired in Denmark but in many other countries, such as France, Canada, Russia, and South Korea. Recently the writers announced that the show will be getting a new fourth season expected to air in 2022, so you better start watching the show now, to keep up with your coworkers and Danish friends when it gets a comeback. So, if you like to learn about Danish politics and like to first hand witness why Danish shows are so highly praised outside of our little country, watch Borgen.
Watch it here or on Netflix
- Gintberg på kanten
Gintberg på kanten is a show that takes you around Denmark to the cities and areas that you probably haven’t visited (yet). Jan Gintberg is the man behind the show, and he is a highly acclaimed Danish comedian. The show takes you on an anthropological journey to the outskirts of Denmark, where we meet the people living in the cities and hear their stories. The people we meet have a lot of self-irony, which is something we generally use a lot in Denmark. Personally I love the show and I hope that it will continue for years to come. The first five seasons take place around Denmark, the sixth in various Danish companies and institutions, and in the seventh season Jan goes around Europe and talks to various people about their relationships with the EU. So, if you want to really see what Danish humour is all about while ‘visiting’ some of the lesser famous areas of Denmark, you should definitely start watching Gintberg på kanten.
Watch it here
- Aftenshowet, Go’ aften LIVE, Go’ morgen Danmark
As in many other countries we in Denmark also have our very own morning show and late night show. The national station DR has Aftenshowet, airing at 7pm from Monday to Thursday, and in it you meet various people who are talk of town presently. Sometimes the show is funny, sometimes it’s serious, it always depends on the guests at the show. Our other major TV network TV2 has Go’ morgen Danmark airing at 6.30am and Go’ aften LIVE airing at 18.25pm, both with the same premise to invite people in for interviews. However, Go’morgen Danmark also invites chef’s in to cook, stylists to talk about trends, and many more people who are experts in their field. All three shows are great examples of flow TV. Shows where you don’t really have to pay attention at all times, but shows that are great for having in the background while you’re doing other stuff (in my opinion). So, if you’re interested in current events and want to be able to participate in small talk with Danes these shows are great to watch.
Watch it on flow TV or here for Aftenshowet, or here for Go’aften LIVE and Go’morgen Danmark
- Historien om Danmark
The last show I want to mention is a historical show about Denmark called Historien om Danmark. Historien om Danmark is a documentary show, and it tells the story of Denmark from the Stone Ages to present day in ten episodes. Each episode is about a specific time-period and the events are dramatized by actors to make it into more of a story. The show is narrated by Lars Mikkelsen, a famous Danish actor, and with a steady voice he makes history more interesting than ever. The show has won national- as well as international prizes, which will come as no surprise if you watch it. So, if you would like to know more about Danish history from way back when up until now, you should watch Historien om Danmark.
Watch it here