Drunk or Danish? Swedish police eventually work it out

Police in western Sweden initially thought a man whose car was stuck in the snow was Danish, but after a while they realized he was slurring his words because he was drunk.

Drunk or Danish? Swedish police eventually work it out
Danes and Swedes come together for the opening of the Öresund Bridge in 2000. Photo: Klas Andersson/TT

Police approached the 29-your-old Trollhättan resident’s car after it got stuck in the snow last winter, local newspaper TTELA reports. The driver had appeared to leave the scene of an accident after crashing into two parked cars and officers were keen to speak to him. 

But they couldn’t make out with he was saying and at first were convinced he was Danish. But the powerful whiff of alcohol suggested something was amiss, and a near-empty bottle of vodka on the floor sealed their suspicions. 

He wasn’t Danish after all, just very drunk. 

Trollhättan district court has now sentenced him to a month in jail for driving under the influence, leaving the scene of a crime and carrying a knife. 

He was also ordered to pay fines to the drivers of the two damaged cars, and to local authorities after he crashed into a lamppost.

On this popular YouTube clip, a commenter seems to hit the nail on the head:

“Danish and Swedish sound similar enough. For a Swede it's probably like pronouncing drunk Swedish.”


Why mastering English isn’t all good news for Danish workers and their companies

While learning English is clearly an advantage for Danish workers, mastering the language of Shakespeare isn't enough for companies that export to Germany.

Why mastering English isn't all good news for Danish workers and their companies
English language skills don’t cut it for Danish companies hoping to export to Germany. Photo: Maheshkumar Painam / Unsplash

The Danish business community is facing a major language problem – and it’s not with English.

According to Dansk Industri (DI), an organisation representing approximately 18,500 companies across Denmark, Danish companies are experiencing a shortage of employees with good German skills.

As more Danes opt to master English, fewer are mastering the German language than in the past. This is making it more difficult, DI said, to trade with companies in Germany. 

Although Danes are considered to be the best in the world at speaking English as a second language, DI Deputy Director Mette Fjord Sørensen said speaking English when doing business in Germany isn’t always an option.

“Germany is a big country and not everyone speaks English at a high level, so misunderstandings can occur that could have consequences for a business deal,” Sørensen told The Local. “Speaking in someone’s native tongue, in this case German, can have a positive effect.”

DI said that German skills are in “extremely high demand” in a wide range of professions, from trade graduates to engineers and craftsmen. 

“Our companies demand employees with dual competencies – for example the engineer or electrician who also knows German,” Sørensen said, adding that DI is worried as they see fewer and fewer students choose to study German. 

An analysis by SMV Denmark, an organisation representing small and medium-sized companies in Denmark, shows that the number of high school students graduating German at A-level fell from 11 percent in 2005 to less than 6 percent last year. Additionally, the number of students admitted to a higher German education last year was 30 percent lower than in 2010, according to Avisen Danmark

Sørensen thinks the long term solution is to expand German language studies within Denmark’s education system, but there are several solutions available in the meantime.

This includes language courses for working professionals, specific to the work they do. 

“German expats in Denmark could also play a vital role in the need for German language competence,” Sørensen said. “We have to dig into the possibilities expats can contribute.”