Kulternatten in Copenhagen

By: Curtis Howell,  Foster Undergraduate

Hello! My name is Curtis Howell, and I am a 4th year Foster student. I am pursuing the Entrepreneurship option and a double degree in Informatics. I participate in several activities on campus including the Lavin Entrepreneurship program, Foster ambassadors, case competitions, Student Technology Fee Committee and Alpha Delta Phi fraternity.

This fall I am studying at Copenhagen Business School in Denmark. The 2011/2012 school year is the first year Foster has an exchange agreement with CBS for undergraduates so I get to be the guinea pig. With more than 17,000 students (including more than 750 exchange students per semester!), it’s pretty impressive that the CBS administration finds a way to squeeze everyone into only four campus buildings. 

Once a year in Copenhagen the city hosts its Kulturnatten or culture night. This event, not widely advertised to tourists, draws a lot of locals out for an October Friday night. A little background information: students typically have week 42, called potato week, off from school. The name originates from back when the children were needed to help harvest the potato crops, so they got the week off from school. Now, most students through high school have the week off, while some college students have exams (I was lucky and got to spend my week writing a 10 page, 48 hour essay exam). Back to Kulternatten. Kulternatten is the Friday before the week 42 break.

On Kulternatten, most of the city’s attractions and government buildings are opened up to anyone who purchases a ~$10 ticket. There are over 500 attractions, so you really have to choose carefully what you want to see. Everything from museums, to parliament, to Tivoli, to the local amusement park is fair game. I decided to spend the night with some of the other recipients of the Scan|Design fellowship, and the Danish program coordinator kindly showed us around.

We started our night off by climbing the steps of the Round Tower. I had been up the Round Tower during my first week as part of the CBS introductory program, but it was interesting to see the city lit up at night, especially with all the people walking around. Then we headed to parliament, but the line was very long so we decided not to wait.




Outside of parliament, there was a competition to see who could stack and climb the greatest number of Coca-Cola crates. Most people only got a handful but this little girl was amazing!

After walking through the courtyard of the Finance Department, we walked by the Department of Defense, where they had an emergency response vehicle and a Danish army tank parked outside. My favorite part of the night was getting to sit inside the tank, although I couldn’t understand the Danish soldier explaining to everyone what it’s like to ride in a tank in Afghanistan. 

We finished the night by visiting City Hall. Near the entrance we saw a celestial clock that was commissioned by a Danish king and has a gear that turns with a frequency of one revolution per several thousand years. Finally, we tried some pancakes from the City Hall cafeteria, which are quite famous in Denmark. They tasted pretty good and were similar to crepes.