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Online Program

Adventures Online: The People & Culture of Copenhagen

Program No. 24216RJ
Whether you’re a fan of Nordic Noir or want to learn more about Viking history, get an insider’s look at the people and culture of Denmark during this live, online learning adventure!

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At a Glance

Why are the Danes considered the “happiest people on Earth?” Find out as you get an insider’s look into the culture and people of Denmark during this live, online learning adventure! With local experts, trace Danish heritage from the time of the Vikings to modern day, and learn how Danish democracy and mutual trust contribute to the country’s overall “happiness.” Explore the home of the Danish Parliament and Supreme Court during a virtual field trip to Christiansborg Palace and enjoy an online exploration of the harbor and canals of Copenhagen. Meet a Danish family who will offer a look into daily life in Denmark, and learn about the Danish philosophy of hygge. Get to know your fellow Road Scholars as you trace Danish culture from its Golden Age to modern day, and take in lectures on Nordic Noir, Danish architecture, gastronomy and more.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Explore the incredible Christiansborg Palace — the seat of the Danish Parliament, Danish Prime Minister’s Office and Supreme Court of Denmark — during a virtual field trip with an expert.
  • Meet a Danish family and enjoy an opportunity to ask them about daily life and living in Denmark.
  • Get insight into Danish culture and design as you take in lectures on Hans Christian Anderson, Nordic Noir, Danish architecture and Denmark’s modern gastronomy scene.

General Notes

You’ll enjoy 2-3 hours of daily instruction, discussion and/or field trips, which includes sufficient breaks throughout the program. This online program is through Zoom, an easy-to-use web video service that includes closed captioning. All you need is an Internet connection and your computer. We’ll provide a how-to guide to make sure you’ll have a hassle-free experience. This session is offered live only and will not be available on demand. Please review the daily itinerary for start and end times to ensure you won’t miss a minute of this live experience. All times are listed in the EASTERN time zone. If you live in a different time zone, please adjust your schedule accordingly.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
A History of Denmark
by Palle Lauring
A classic book on Danish History with a focus on history. Only last 30 pages are on modern society.
The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living
by Meik Wiking
Why are the Danes so happy? Some contribute it to the emphasis on the sense of comfort and community known as Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga). Wiking teaches readers about this national philosophy with practical, attainable suggestions of how to incorporate hygge into everyday life.
Insight Guide Scandinavia
by Insight Guides
From Denmark to Sweden, Norway and Finland, this guide introduces the region with outstanding color maps and photographs.
A History of Scandinavia: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland
by T.K. Derry
The story of Scandinavia from prehistory to the present with chapters on the Viking and Lutheran kingdoms, medieval times, monarchies, the World Wars and modern period, emphasizing the common cultural, political and social backgrounds.
Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales
by Hans Christian Andersen
A collection of his poetic fairy tales for children and adults, including the icon tales of the Ugly Duckling and The Ugly Duckling.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
by Stieg Larss
Scandinavia Map
by Michelin Maps
With an index, area maps and a table of driving times and distances, this handy, frequently updated map covers all of Scandinavia, including Denmark, at a scale of 1:1.5 million on one side of the sheet.
The Killing (Forbrydelsen)
Prize winning Nordic Noir crime serial from 2007 (Danish). American version from 2011 Available on Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Borgen (The Castle)
“Borgen," the is a Danish political drama television series. Won the British Academy Television Awards in 2012. Available on Netflix.
The Bridge (Broen/Bron)
Prize winning Danish/Swedish Noir television series, where the crime setting is the bridge between Denmark and Sweden.
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3 days
Orientation, Introductions, 1,000 Years, Christiansborg
From the comfort of your own home.

Activity note: Today’s session will start at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time and end at 2:30 p.m.

Morning: 11:00 a.m. Welcome, Orientation, Introductions. The Group Leader will greet everyone and review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, Zoom meeting protocols, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions. We will then say hello to our fellow Road Scholars. 11:40 a.m. Lecture. We’ll trace history over 1,000 years and learn the origins of Danes and Copenhageners from Vikings in the 9th century to Danish builder King Christian IV who created some of Copenhagen’s icons still visible today, and on to centuries of love-hate relationships with neighbors Sweden, Norway, and Germany. We’ll examine the national transformation into a democracy, two world wars, modern times, and up to the Denmark of today based on trust, visions for sustainability, and a well-functioning society.

Afternoon: 12:50 p.m. Break. 1:00 p.m. Virtual field trip. The present Christiansborg Palace was completed only in 1928, but the site has been the center of royal power and influence for more than 800 years. We will “explore” the Royal Reception rooms with the marvelous tapestries on Danish history gifted to HM Queen Margrethe on her 60th birthday. We’ll also see Copenhagen’s harbor and canals and learn a bit about the Danish Royal Family. 2:00 p.m. We’ll have questions-and-answers, then wrap up with notes for tomorrow. 2:30 p.m. Today’s session will end.

Danes & Democracy, Hygge, Meet a Dane, Bikes & Biking
From the comfort of your own home.

Activity note: Today’s session will start at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time and end at 2:05 p.m.

Morning: 11:00 a.m. Review of the day. 11:05 a.m. Lecture. Denmark has been ranked a number of times as one of the world’s “happiest” nations. What is it that makes them so happy? Are they happy? We will strive to get under the surface and learn about Danish democracy, the welfare system, equal rights, mutual trust, the “Law of Jante,” and more.

Afternoon: 12:15 p.m. Break. 12:35 p.m. Virtual field trip. We will set out to experience daily life in Denmark. Along the way, we’ll encounter the phenomenon known as “hygge” (pronounced hooga). While there is no literal translation, it generally refers to taking time out for and appreciating the people and atmosphere that add relaxing enjoyment to our lives. We’ll also learn about another important aspect of Danish life: the bicycle and biking culture. A Danish family member will provide insights into family life and answer questions. Finally, we’ll take a turn into what’s known as the “hippie city” of Christiania. Previously an abandoned military base, it was taken over in 1971 by people who declared it an autonomous neighborhood. It became notable as the place to buy cannabis, but no longer. 1:35 p.m. Q&A and wrap-up for tomorrow. 2:05 p.m. Today’s session will end.

Golden Age, Nordic Noir, Architecture-Design, Gastro, Tivoli
From the comfort of your own home.

Activity note: Today’s session will start at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time and end at 2:05 p.m.

Morning: 11:00 a.m. Review of the day. 11:05 a.m. Lecture. Denmark’s “golden age” of art and culture flourished during the first half of the 19th century. Among the most notable examples of this period of exceptional creativity were the works of Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1975), remembered in particular for his fairy tales. In addition to painters, composers, and other writers, the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) had a profound effect with his prolific writings that merged devotional literature, fiction, philosophy, psychology, and theology. 11:45 a.m. Lecture. Are titles such as “The Bridge,” “The Killing,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” and the name Henning Mankell familiar to you? These are connected to the genre known as Nordic Noir featuring anti-heroes and “femi-krimi” — crime novels by female writers from a female point of view focusing on female protagonists. Since the 1990s, a number of authors have gained success with works in peculiar, dark, Scandinavian settings.

Afternoon: 12:15 p.m. Break. 12:25 p.m. Virtual field trip. Danish architecture and Danish design are well known. We will hear about architect Bjarke Ingels and his innovative approaches to architecture and urban planning. We’ll “visit’ CopenHill, a combined incineration plant, ski slope, and meeting place for the local community. We will also learn about Danish design and desire of Danes to combine functionality and simplicity. 1:10 p.m. Lecture. When the Danish gourmet restaurant Noma with its chef Rene Redzepi was named “Best Restaurant in the World” in 2010 by a leading restaurant magazine, it marked the beginning of a culinary movement known as New Nordic. On this journey, fresh local ingredients — whether picked from fields and woods, grown in gardens, or brought fresh from the sea — became the key elements in the new Nordic kitchen. Since then many, restaurants and gastro projects have emerged, from grassroots to traditional to [artsy?], transforming how food is produced and consumed We’ll then take a quick look at Tivoli Gardens, the world’s oldest amusement park. 1:35 p.m. Q&A, wrap-up and farewells. 2:05 p.m. This conclude our program.

Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.