Vi har endelig lamper!

This is not going to be a particularly touristic or scenic post, or even of much interest to anyone but ourselves probably, but it documents a major development in our Danish life: finally getting lights installed in our flat.

It sounds pretty minor, but it’s really one of the most exciting things to have happened of late. I think I mentioned way back when we first moved in that the Danes are so particular about their personal lighting arrangements that even rental houses come without light fittings. And I don’t just mean with a bare bulb and no fancy shade – I mean without ANY fittings except a hole in the wall where the wires stick out.

Thankfully our flat isn’t really Dansk-typical in that the kitchen and bathroom had integrated lights, so we weren’t completely in the dark from day one. However, this stroke of fortune, combined with the onset of summer, endless daylight and our own laziness, meant we could kind of ignore our lightless predicament for the last six months.

Our denial came abruptly to an end as winter arrived and darkness now descends at 5pm. Also there is only so long that you can justify having to use a head torch to find anything in your own house. As such, we finally decided to get our act together and go find some lights.

Our beloved dining table ‘statement piece’ and a slightly more subtle variation for the bedroom
Mmmmm, lurid

The upside of the whole BYO light situation is that the second hand light fitting scene is thriving. We picked up most things at a place in Nørrebro, including some very eye-catching glass pendants that we’re told give off a Barbarella vibe (that may have been what drew Ant to them?). We’re told it’s a mishmash of three ‘harmonious’ single pendants by Michael Bang, who is part of some kind of renowned glassware design dynasty along with his father Jacob. Not that it really matters – we were going to buy it just on the basis of how lairy and eye-catching it was, and having a ridiculous giant light fitting dominating the space above your dining table is very much the done thing here, so when in Rome/Copenhagen…

Our real score, however, was finding a suspiciously cheap Louis Poulsen PH5 pendant on DBA (Danish Gumtree/Craigslist). It seemed almost too good to be true, but fortune favours the brave and Ant was rewarded for taking a bus out to Dragør with a mad lamp in pretty much perfect condition, original box and all. Designed in 1958, it’s like having a cool futuristic spaceship in your house – we’re very smitten with it. The tour guide at the Design Museum told us that it is basically compulsory for all Danes to own one of these, so it’s clearly another important part of our cultural integration…

Not sure it really gels with the ye-olde ceiling rose, but that’s a minor detail…
100% a spaceship

I’m including this last picture so you can see the downside of the BYO lights scheme – the shitty looking cords that run along the ceiling from the outlet to the lamp. For a country that is so obsessed with design that you need to install your own lights, this ugly cord situation seems like a bad trade-off. The wire in the dining room looks marginally better than this one, but still – I find it really distracting. I’m sure if you (a) knew a bit more about what you were doing and/or (b) found someone slightly less cheap but significantly more professional to do it (i.e. someone who actually had a ladder and didn’t create a health and safety nightmare by doing the installation while standing on a rickety table) then maybe it’d look a bit cleaner, but probably not by much.

Subtle wiring

As I said, the guy we got to do the installation could have inspired more confidence, so hopefully I haven’t cursed us with this optimistic post and we wake up tomorrow morning to all the lights having fallen out of the ceiling. If so, it’s really our own fault for not being properly Danish and just doing it ourselves (though that too might have ended in disaster). For now we are just so happy to have finally ticked this chore off the list. I seriously had every light in the house turned on all day on the day we got them installed, and just wandered around periodically turning them all on and off at the switch (this is pretty sad in hindsight – we REALLY should have sorted this out sooner).

In other news our Danish language battles continue. One silver lining to the whole process is that you meet some really great people from all over the world in class. At the end of every 6 week module we get to have Friday off, so we wisely used the time we’d usually be in class failing to pronounce ‘ø’ and ‘δ’ to have a Thai feast, cooked by the very skilful Napat. Denmark has a famously thriving food scene which includes a lot of pine needle and cow uterus (true fact) but not so much good Asian food, so Napat is our saviour. Upon my return home Ant remarked that it’s the first time I’d actually looked pregnant, but distressingly I think it was entirely a galanga soup-baby…

Loreto fra Chile, Napat fra Thailand, Tautvyde fra Litauer og Tatiana fra Rusland

My god, it was so good. Also good, but sadly not really available to me right now, are the Juleøl (Christmas beers!) that start to appear on the first Friday in November. Every brewery brews up a special batch of Juleøl each year so there are a lot to try. Ant’s slowly starting to work his way through the range, starting with these – the ‘Christmas Fir’ dark Belgian ale flavoured with pine needles (see!) and orange peel; and the ‘Christmas Birch’ light Belgian ale flavoured with birch leaves and hibiscus.


Of course, the well-known Nordic Christmas flavour hibiscus – that makes total sense…

9 thoughts on “Vi har endelig lamper!

  1. I’m so endorsing your lighting and only wish there was a second-hand market in Australia with access to second-hand Danish lights. And better electricians. Very impressive. Please send 6 of the chairs as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tak! Yeah the better electricians thing applies here too – it’s either insanely expensive or cheap and dodgy, hence everyone doing their own. I think they are taught DIY lighting from birth.


  2. I do love the Danes sense of lighting but never realised that it extended to BYO ‘lamper’ when renting. Agree with Andrea Ehlers about the situation in Australia re lighting choice. I even visited lighting stores as a tourist in Scandinavia as it was great to see so many different beautiful lights! And that iconic Danish lampshade… drooling over that one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Yeah that was a really lucky find – although the fact so many people own them means there are a lot around second hand (usually more beat-up though).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yay baby mention!! Congratulations guys 🙂 also on your upgrade to electric lighting and far better light shades than the rest of us could even hope for! They’re so good I can’t even think of a worthy interior decor hashtag?! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

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