THE BLOG
02/02/2016 08:00 GMT | Updated 02/02/2017 05:12 GMT

The Kindness of Everyday Danes

Over the last week or so Denmark's reputation has taking a bashing in international circles as the minority government passed anti-refugee laws.

It would be a pity for the politically motivated actions of a minority government to be what the international community thinks of Denmark.

I have lived here for eight years and I really believe that despite the Danes reputation as closed and unfriendly people, the reverse is true. Yes, Danes both respect and protect privacy but they are the first to step forward and help others when that help is needed.

The community is more important than the individual and I can list many examples of where a complete stranger or a neighbour has stepped in to help others.

From a man who stopped on a busy cycle way at commuter time on a cold winter evening to offer his small bike toolkit to my husband who was trying to fix his bike chain. To the people who stopped and stayed with me until the ambulance arrived when I was knocked from my bike and smashed my elbow.

The mothers who helped my visiting friend when her son fell and hurt himself badly in a children's playground in Tivoli. The man in my building who checks on our elderly neighbour daily after he came home from the hospital after a heart attack. The people in my neighbourhood who help the residents of the home for blind people across the street when they need it.

The thousands of people who have set up, volunteered and donated to the grassroots organisations here to help the influx of refugees and are still doing this. The women who give up their time, after long days at work or with families, to go to the refugee centres to help people learn Danish. People who drive across the country to help reunite families and bring them everyday things we all take for granted. The restaurants that donate food to the shelters.

The neighbours I had spoken to once or twice who offered to take my son to hospital when he was fitting from a fever and then called around later to see how he was. The nurse on my ward when I was admitted after my accident who came back to see me in her street clothes after her shift with some little hospital bits and bobs for my son, as I told her he enjoys playing hospitals at home. The people who fight to save urban trees and to protect our environment. The woman who wraps up statues to protect them from partying hoards on New Year's Eve. The many people who run after me when I have dropped my hat or gloves on the train platform to return them to me. The people on the trains who give homeless people money with a smile.

No one asks these people to help, they just do it because they believe it is the right thing to do. These are the everyday Danes, many of whom probably did not vote for the government in power and many who are angered by its actions, doing everyday things to help the community around them, often without even waiting for thanks. Please think of these people when you think of Danes, not the politicians.

Melanie Haynes is originally from the UK and has lived in Copenhagen for eight years. She writes about life in Copenhagen on her blog Dejlige Days and after experiencing relocation to Copenhagen and Berlin, she runs a settling-in service aimed at helping expats called Dejlige Days Welcome.