#Like to thank all my wonderful kitchen mates at Kampsax Kollegiet, Kitchen 24
Ever get chance to live with Danes? With one, two or many of them? Well, at least I did. For a very long duration of time while studying my masters. Living in a dormitory with full of Danish people provided me unique opportunity to know lot of things about Danish culture, people and had my first test of democracy in very real way. Curious, what it is? Let me explain it for you.
Monthly kitchen meetups
We were 17 people in the dormitory (called Kitchen in Denmark) with our own rooms and a shared kitchen. Except 4 of us, all the other residents of dormitory were Danish. The shared required each one of us to take duties in turn to keep kitchen neat and tidy. No one was spared of the duties and rotation of duties means, each one of us get chance to do every kind of different tasks.
Once in each month, all the residents of our kitchen met and discussed ways of making kitchen clean, imposing fines on those who are violating the rules and not fulfilling their duties. It was those meetings, where we have also discussed ways to celebrate Danish festivals and even planned group outings.
Since, the kitchen and other useful accessories were provided on the sharing basis, taking care of them was mutual responsibility. It was unique sense of freedom of defining our own rules and also obeying them with a sense of responsibility. Except some difficulties, this entire sharing system of values, responsibilities and ownership has worked very well. Despite being a foreigner, I never felt like an outsider, instead I formed a good bonding with each of the fellow Danes over a period of time. These meetings provided me a good sense of adhering of democratic values and process of collective decision making.
How is it different?
The hostels were I lived before coming to Denmark also had set of rules, but they were already formed by the higher authorities. We had to obey them. This older system has it’s own pros & cons but I am not here to say which is better than others. Both are good in their respective places.
So, if you are coming to Denmark and going to live with Danes than you will get plenty of opportunities to interact and take part in decision making. Only thing is , you need to take part in it like I did and had my first taste of democratic way of decision making.