Geography lessons, gentrification and unexploded ordinances: a weekend in Aarhus

After more than a year away from Denmark, I took a weekend trip away from Hamburg to visit my friends in Aarhus.

Aarhus has changed, and it hasn’t. After a 4-and-a-half hour train ride due north, I found myself downtown in a city which I had once called my home. It was a surreal feeling, with everything at once so strange and so familiar.

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Downtown Aarhus. The gray clock tower in the middle is City Hall.

The EU has designated Aarhus the European Capital of Culture for the calendar year 2017, which means the city will be organizing a series of cultural events in order to draw visitors and make a name for itself.

According to Wikipedia, Preparing a European Capital of Culture can be an opportunity for the city to generate considerable cultural, social and economic benefits and it can help foster urban regeneration, change the city’s image and raise its visibility and profile on an international scale.

You know what another word for “urban regeneration” is? Gentrification. And the gentrification was hard to miss.

Continue reading “Geography lessons, gentrification and unexploded ordinances: a weekend in Aarhus”

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Punk rock shows, guerilla gardening, and musings on various types of extremism

We ain’t got no place to go
So let’s go to the punk rock show!
Darlin’ take me by the hand
We’re gonna see a punk rock band
There’s no use in TV shows
Radios or rodeos
I wanna get into the crowd
I wanna hear it play real loud!

-MXPX, “Punk Rawk Show”

Of all the artists and all the concert venues in the world, the American punk rock band Against Me! performed at Fonden Voxhall in Aarhus last week. As part of their European tour, this band, which is huge among rockers and punkers in the U.S., stopped by li’l ole Aarhus to play for a crowd of less than 100 people on a weekday night.

Laura Grace of Against Me! Photo by Daphne Henning
Laura Grace of Against Me! at Fonden Voxhall. Yeah, we were close enough to feel her spit. Photo by Daphne Henning

Continue reading “Punk rock shows, guerilla gardening, and musings on various types of extremism”

Copenhagen, as it’s meant to be seen

Last weekend I saw Copenhagen as it’s meant to be seen: from a bicycle.

Sadly, this is not the bicycle I was on. But I wish it were.
Sadly, this is not the bicycle I was on. But I wish it were.

An excursion to the German embassy to apply for a residence permit turned into a weekend-long trip to Denmark’s capital city. Instead of my usual diary-style narrative, I’m going to write you a “listicle” (list + article) around a topic: Copenhagen on a budget. Continue reading “Copenhagen, as it’s meant to be seen”

Rude awakening: An encounter with Danish tax law

Thus far in my journey I’ve been enjoying many of the benefits of the social welfare state of Denmark without having to pay much in return: (mostly) free health care, affordable  public transport, steep student subsidies, etc. But after a paid gig tutoring undergraduates, the Danish powers that be decided it was time for me to pay up.

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Continue reading “Rude awakening: An encounter with Danish tax law”