Ten Danish towns with hilarious literal translations

Most native English speakers in Denmark have probably laughed at words like ‘fartkontrol’, ‘slut’ and ‘skat’, but what about names of towns and villages?

Ten Danish towns with hilarious literal translations
Photo: Iris/Scanpix

A closer look at the map reveals several gems that had us giggling away. Here are our favourites.

1. Sæd

A tiny village down by the border with Germany, ‘Sæd’ translates literally to ‘sperm’.


Den bliver aaaaaldrig for gammel #sæd #sønderjylland #detersjovtfordi

A post shared by Esben Korsgaard Poulsen (@esbenkorsgaard) on Jun 26, 2016 at 7:41am PDT

2. Voldby

On the surface an innocuous town near Aarhus with a population of under 500, Voldby sounds a little more sinister if it is translated literally, since vold is the Danish word for violence and and by means town. Would you dare take a trip there?

3. Helved

Quite literally, Hell (ok, almost – the spelling of the Danish word is one letter different from the town name). A small village on the southern island of Als, ‘Hell’ boasts a private school and a now-inactive water mill. And yes, there is a road that goes there.

4. Tarm

Intestine, bowel, gut. We couldn’t stomach leaving this West Jutland town off our list.

Photo: Iris/Scanpix

5. Bækager

The word ‘bae’ recently entered the English lexicon and should have positive connotations, given its use to mean boyfriend, girlfriend or loved one. Turn the ‘ae’ into the Danish letter æ, though, and you end up with something quite different. Bækager translates literally to ‘crap cakes’.


Gad vide om byen Bæ-kager har et bageri? #bækager #bæ #kager #bæk #sommanlæserder

A post shared by Sophie og Lisette ( on May 24, 2017 at 3:50pm PDT

6. Boller

Boller is the present tense of a colloquial and somewhat 1980s Danish slang word for having sex. ‘Shagging’, if you will. The village of Boller near Horsens has both a forest and a country manor named after it.

7. Odder

We fear we’re getting a bit carried away with the toilet humour in this list, so here’s something a bit cuter. Odder does not in fact translate to ‘more odd’, but is the Danish word for otter.

The town of Odder, a few kilometres south of Aarhus, did not have an unusually high population of semiaquatic carnivorous mammals last time we passed through.

Photo: Iris/Scanpix

8. Hundested

Ever heard the expression ‘this place has gone to the dogs’? Head to the coast of northern Zealand and you can actually visit the Place of Dogs, if Hundested’s name is to be taken literally.

With its pleasant harbour, sometime sand sculpture festival and charming ferry across the Isefjord bay, we can’t imagine what this friendly coastal town could have done to deserve such a bad reputation.

Photo: Peter Karlsson/Flickr 

9. Snave

Snogging, making out, necking, smooching. The name of this small town on Funen appears to have a similar effect to standing under the mistletoe.

10. Lolland

It’s an island, not a town. But LOL-land sounds like a pretty funny place. Amirite?

READ ALSO: The absolute worst words in the Danish language


Copenhagen, Stockholm given dismal rankings in expat city survey

Distant locals and a difficult housing market are among the factors resulting in a poor ranking for Scandinavian capitals in a survey on life for internationals in major cities.

Copenhagen, Stockholm given dismal rankings in expat city survey
Copenhagen and Stockholm. Composite: TunedIn61, mdurinik/Depositphotos

Copenhagen was ranked 54th and Stockholm 69th overall in the Expat City Ranking, based on a survey conducted by InterNations, a worldwide community for expats.

The Danish and Swedish capitals both ranked in the bottom 10 for finance and housing in the list of 72 cities, placing 63rd and 71st respectively.

Although Copenhagen in particular fared far better in the work-life balance category, rating in 1st place while Stockholm was 24th, that was not enough to save the overall disappointing ranking for the two cities.

Difficulty in settling as a newcomer was a further element of the survey in which the two cities did poorly: Copenhagen was found to be 61st and Stockholm 69th most difficult city in which to settle.

The ranking, based on survey responses from 18,000 people living and working abroad, is “one of the most extensive expat studies in the world”, InterNations wrote in a press release issued with the publication of the results.

Graphic: InterNations

The survey ranks the 72 cities by a variety of factors including quality of urban living, getting settled, urban work life, and finance and housing.

The top ten cities on the 2018 ranking are Taipei, Singapore, Manama, Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Aachen, Prague, Madrid and Muscat.

With its 54th place overall, Copenhagen landed in the top ten in for urban work life and the bottom ten for finance and housing.

Quality of life and work-life balance were both rated highly by respondents: more than four in five respondents (84 percent) were satisfied with this aspect of life abroad (compared to 61 percent globally). Almost half (47 percent) said it could ‘not be any better’ (compared to 20 percent globally).

The same is true for working hours, with Copenhagen placing second worldwide, beaten only by German city Aachen. More than four in five expats in the Danish capital (83 percent) rate their working hours positively, compared to 62 percent worldwide.

READ ALSO: Denmark tops EU survey on work-life balance

Copenhagen boasts the highest job security out of the Nordic cities included in the ranking: 67 percent of expats are happy with this factor, followed by Stockholm (62 percent) and Helsinki (61 percent).

Copenhagen is the best Nordic city for income in relation to living expenses, although it ranks only 43rd out of 72 cities worldwide for this factor. In fact, more than three in five expats (62 percent) are unhappy with the local cost of living, compared to a global average of 37 percent.

Not a single respondent said that it was ‘very easy’ for expats to find housing in Copenhagen (18 percent globally), while more than two in five (41 percent) consider it extremely hard (11 percent globally).

Copenhagen ranks 68th worldwide for housing, only ahead of Geneva, Munich, Dublin and Stockholm.

The Swedish capital is the worst-rated of the three Nordic cities included in the survey and was placed 69th overall, ahead of only three other cities worldwide: Rome, Jeddah and Riyadh.

Stockholm shows a particularly poor performance for getting settled (69th) and finance and housing (71st). More than four in five respondents (81 percent) said that housing is not affordable in Stockholm, compared to 44 percent globally.

Continuing a trend for housing to impact the overall ranking, 79 percent said it was not easy to find housing in Stockholm (compared to 30 percent globally).

The majority of expats in Stockholm (65 percent) also rated the local cost of living negatively (compared to 37 percent globally).

READ ALSO: How much does it cost to rent in Sweden?

When it comes to urban work life, respondents in Stockholm are happy with their working hours: seven in ten (70 percent) rate this positively, compared to 62 percent globally. However, Stockholm is still the worst-rated Nordic city for this factor (15th), ranking behind Copenhagen (2nd) and Helsinki (5th).

While expats are happy with their working hours, they report a lack of socializing and leisure activities to pursue in their free time: more than two in five (41 percent) rate them negatively, compared to less than one in five globally (19 percent). In fact, just 32 percent of expats in Stockholm are happy with their social life, compared to 57 percent globally.

This might be due to the lack of friendliness perceived amongst Stockholmers: the Swedish capital ranks 71st for this aspect of life abroad, outperforming only Riyadh.

When it comes to the quality of urban living, expats are not only dissatisfied with the leisure options but also with the weather in Stockholm: less than one-quarter (24 percent) rate the local climate and weather positively, compared to more than half of internationals globally (55 percent). On the bright side, Stockholm comes in second place for the quality of its urban environment.

In total, the responses used for the city ranking represent 11,966 people living as foreign citizens living in 55 countries. For a city to be featured in the Expat City Ranking 2018, a sample size of at least 45 survey participants per city was required; 72 cities in 47 different countries made this threshold in 2018.

READ ALSO: Sweden's housing shortage an obstacle to integration: report