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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Find out what's going on in Denmark today with The Local's short roundup of the news in less than five minutes.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
Alcohol-free beer is becoming a more common preference in Denmark, according to new supermarket figures. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Sales of alcohol free beer on the up 

Denmark has something of a reputation for being a heavy-drinking nation, but there are signs that some are changing their habits.

Sales of alcohol-free beer at supermarket company Coop doubled between 2013 and 2020, news wire Ritzau reports. Coop owns several major Danish supermarket chains including Irma, SuperBrugsen, Fakta and Kvickly.

“There’s a clear trend in the sales of alcohol-free beer nationally. We’ve seen it with increasing strength from 2013 onwards, and in 2020, which was an unusual year, alcohol-free beer was among the seven product groups which increased the most,” Coop head of information Jens Juul Nielsen told Ritzau.

Better products and choice, as well as increasing focus on health amongst customers, are factors in the trend, Nielsen said.

Potential change to travel guidelines in weekly update

The foreign ministry updates its travel guidelines every Friday, meaning rules affecting whether incoming or returning travellers to Denmark can change, should the country from which they are travelling be given a new colour.

Denmark’s Covid-19 travel guidelines designates countries and regions under four different colour categories: green, yellow orange and red.

Last week’s update saw parts of the UK change to red and a number of popular holiday regions in Greece and Spain switched from green to yellow.

READ ALSO:

We’ll report any significant changes once they come in.

Copenhagen Airport baggage handlers resume work after brief action

Baggage handlers from the SGH company resumed work late last night after striking on Thursday, resulting in delays to a number of departures, Ritzau reported.

SGH is one of a number of companies that handle luggage at Copenhagen Airport, meaning some services were affected.

According to union media Fagbladet 3F, the action was taken in protest at a lack of options for workers to plan their schedules and a heavy weighting of weekend and night work.

Mixed weekend weather predicted

If you’re planning a barbecue this weekend, it’s probably a good idea to have it on Saturday.

Today will see a cloudy start clear up with temperatures reaching up to 25 degrees Celsius, while Saturday is expected to bring sunshine and up to 27 degrees, according to national meteorologist DMI.

Wet weather is forecast throughout Sunday, however, with clouds and rain likely from the outset.

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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

How Covid helped some Danes kick a cigarette habit, whether mistaken heat cheques need to be returned, and record-breaking energy prices are among the top news stories in Denmark on Thursday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

Mistaken heat cheques may need to be returned after all  

Perhaps don’t spend that 6,000 kroner windfall just yet — the minister of climate, energy, and supply wants to revisit whether people who received heating cheques by mistake should get to keep the money. 

The heating cheques are intended to support households heated by gas as prices soar, but the government used an online database that relies on self-reported information from homeowners to determine who was eligible. That meant some households that have since switched from gas to another heat source, or have even moved to a different residence altogether, received the cheques in error. 

Minister Dan Jørgensen told TV Avisen he’s asking the parties that supported the original legislation behind the heat cheques to discuss ways of recovering the misspent money. The legislation explicitly said that heat cheques sent in error not only should not be returned, but must not be paid back. 

The system’s goal was to get the money in the accounts of people who need it  as quickly as possible without the delay and added expense of an application process, which could also exclude the most vulnerable, broadcaster DR reports

Electricity price on Wednesday broke Danish record

At about 7 pm Wednesday evening, the price of a kilowatt-hour of energy reached 8.42 kroner, the highest figure recorded in the last 12 years according to TV2. 

Daily and weekly averages are also at record levels, Carsten Smidt, director of the Danish Supply Authority, told DR. According to Nord Pool, the electricity market that covers Nordic countries, prices are three times as high as the same period last year. 

“If prices remain at the current level, an ordinary average family with a variable contract will pay 15,000 kroner more this year than last year for their electricity bill,” economist Brian Friis Helmer of Arbejdernes Landsbank told DR. 

READ MORE: Denmark’s energy agency to look at possible saving measures 

Large fire on Amager extinguished

A Wednesday night fire in a pizzeria on Amagerbrogade, the main high street in Amager south of Copenhagen, spread to first floor apartments before it was extinguished, according to authorities. 

The cause of the fire remains undetermined, but no injuries have been reported. 

A kick in the (cigarette) butt: Danish cigarette smokers quit more often, smoked less during pandemic 

According to new research from the University of Copenhagen, more Danish cigarette smokers kicked the habit or reduced their dependence during the height of the pandemic in 2020. 

Smokers bought 20 percent fewer cigarettes on a weekly basis in 2020 than before lockdowns began, and the number of people who quit cigarettes altogether increased 10 percent relative to the year before. 

“We can learn from it that smokers actually react to it when they can see the consequences [of smoking] more clearly right now and here,” University of Copenhagen associate professor Toke Reinholt Fosgaard told newswire Ritzau. 

“You can use prices and make it more expensive to smoke, but you can also try to shift information and awareness around the consequences so that it feels closer,” he added. 

It’s unclear whether the people who quit or reduced their consumption of cigarettes during the pandemic were able to keep it up after 2020, though researchers say they’re hopeful data from 2021 will show a lasting change.

READ MORE: Denmark considers permanent ban on cigarette sales for people born after 2010 

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