Are Danes ditching traditions and heading abroad for Christmas?

An increasing number of Danes appear to be jettisoning their established Christmas traditions and heading to warmer climes for the festive season.

Are Danes ditching traditions and heading abroad for Christmas?
Photo: haveseen/Depositphotos

Data from Telenor, one of Denmark’s four main mobile phone operators, shows that use of roaming data by customers spikes significantly at Christmas, the company said in a press release.

In the week leading up to Christmas, around 300,000 Telenor customers used roaming data in 191 countries.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about the end of EU roaming charges

Although the data does not show the exact number who actually spent Christmas abroad, it suggests an increasing tendency to do just that, the company says.

Compared with data from previous years, more people are using their mobiles to roam at Christmas time, Telenor network expert Jesper Mølbak said.

“When we look at the number of Telenor customers who a currently abroad, we can clearly see that many travelled over the weekend gone by,” Mølbak said.

“This is testament to more and more Danes choosing to spend Christmas outside of Denmark. It’s a trend we’ve seen in recent years and we can also see an increase compared to last year,” he added.

A particularly popular roaming destination for Telenor customers is Spain, encompassing holiday destinations like Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. A 69 percent increase in roaming in Spain was registered on December 24th, compared to 2018.

Meanwhile, data traffic fell significantly more between 6pm and 10pm on Christmas Eve compared to an average day, Telenor said.

That suggests that Danes – or at least Telenor’s 1.7 million customers in Denmark – were happy to put their mobiles aside while enjoying the traditional Christmas Eve celebrations.

READ ALSO: My five favourite Danish childhood Christmas memories

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Could Oslo-Copenhagen overnight train be set for return?

A direct overnight rail service between the Norwegian and Danish capitals has not operated since 2001, but authorities in Oslo are considering its return.

Norway’s transport minister Knut Arild Hareide has asked the country’s railway authority Jernbanedirektoratet to investigate the options for opening a night rail connection between Oslo and Copenhagen.

An answer is expected by November 1st, after which the Norwegian government will decide whether to go forward with the proposal to directly link the two Nordic capitals by rail.

Jernbanedirektoratet is expected to assess a timeline for introducing the service along with costs, market and potential conflicts with other commercial services covering the route.

“I hope we’ll secure a deal. Cross-border trains are exciting, including taking a train to Malmö, Copenhagen and onwards to Europe,” Hareide told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

The minister said he envisaged either a state-funded project or a competition awarding a contract for the route’s operation to the best bidder.

A future Oslo-Copenhagen night train rests on the forthcoming Jernbanedirektoratet report and its chances of becoming a reality are therefore unclear. But the Norwegian rail authority earlier this year published a separate report on ways in which passenger train service options from Norway to Denmark via Sweden can be improved.

“We see an increasing interest in travelling out of Norway by train,” Jernbanedirektoratet project manager  Hanne Juul said in a statement when the report was published in January.

“A customer study confirmed this impression and we therefore wish to make it simpler to take the train to destinations abroad,” Juul added.

Participants in the study said that lower prices, fewer connections and better information were among the factors that would encourage them to choose the train for a journey abroad.

Norway’s rail authority also concluded that better international cooperation would optimise cross-border rail journeys, for example by making journey and departure times fit together more efficiently.

The Femahrn connection between Denmark and Germany, currently under construction, was cited as a factor which could also boost the potential for an overland rail connection from Norway to mainland Europe.

Night trains connected Oslo to Europe via Copenhagen with several departures daily as recently as the late 1990s, but the last such night train between the two cities ran in 2001 amid dwindling demand.

That trend has begun to reverse in recent years due in part to an increasing desire among travellers to select a greener option for their journey than flying.

Earlier this summer, a new overnight train from Stockholm to Berlin began operating. That service can be boarded by Danish passengers at Høje Taastrup near Copenhagen.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about the new night train from Copenhagen to Germany