6 things that made me move from Denmark to Buenos Aires

A love letter to the trees of Buenos Aires

I decided to moved from Denmark to Buenos Aires for good! … Or at least with no current plan of leaving. So, what is it that fascinates me so much about Buenos Aires that I want to keep on living here?

Keep on reading, and I will try to explain you why I fell in love with the Argentine capital… And maybe this will make you want to visit Buenos Aires as well?

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#1 On the surface, it looks like something you know – underneath it isn’t!

To the bare eye, Buenos Aires looks like bits and pieces taken out of different European cities. A mix of Germany, France, Italy, the UK, and Spain all in one; the architecture, the food, the way people dress and their customs.

However, the longer I stay, the more I realize that, even though, the customs and artifacts in Buenos Aires look like something I know. Underneath the surface of these visible things in the values and assumptions that the people carry around there are huge differences.

What have caused me the most surprises are how people are generally more distrusting towards one another. And especially, toward state institutions such as the police. One part is without doubt because of the great level of corruption in Argentina… but it also made me question my own culture; are Danes maybe just overly naïve compared to the rest of the world?

Nevertheless, I find this duality of being in a city where I think I understand, and then realizing that I don’t quite charming, puzzling and challenging – and challenges I like!

#2 The architecture reflects mix of nationalities in the city

Buenos Aires is a city composed of many different – especially European – nationalities. Most arrived during the huge migration flows in the 1880s and 1950s. The heritage of these migrations still plays a significant role in the Argentine self-understanding, and it is very common to hear people ask each other where their families originates from.

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And when walking around residential neighborhoods like Belgrano, you can clearly see how houses are built in a Germanic, English or Spanish style. How I love to wander around looking at these different houses, and being puzzled about how a house looking like something taken out of a German village has ended up right next to a huge building block. Puzzling and fascinating!

#3 A relaxed approach to the concept of time

I never thought that I would end up saying this but… Actually, I quite like a relaxed approach to the concept of time, and whether being on time or not.

It is not quite how life works in Denmark. But, I have finally (to some extent) learned to take some things a little bit more easy. Some things, not all.

Porteños (the slang for the citizens of Buenos Aires) can be late – like REALLY late – while others are quite punctual. Maybe it is the mixed European heritage but this mix sort of weights up for each other. Where the Cuban way of time management drove me crazy. It is kind of a middle way. 

However, I hardly ever experience anybody stressing about being late, the way that people do in Denmark. Which is good for a person like me who are so easy to stress.

#4 Chatty café culture

I adore how the porteños use the cafés for all kind of things; elderly people meet up at the local café for a chat or for reading the newspaper, fancy-dressed business men to do their important meetings, and then there are all of us in between just stopping by for a cup of coffee.

People meet to chat, and it doesn’t matter if the chat takes a little bit longer than planned. You are there, and that is the important in that moment. Maybe you meet an acquaintance, and stop for an extra chat. People meet, and take their time to chat.

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#5 Big green avenidas

Walking down wide avenues where the tree tops meet on the topSeriously, what is not to like?

If you are visiting Buenos Aires, hit streets such as La Pampa or Juramiento after Avenida Cabildo, and you will see what I mean! (Actually, there are many more places, so just try to explore further the city centre).

A love letter to the trees of Buenos Aires

#6 It is a highly-politicalized society

Since I was teenager I have always loved to discuss politics – and later economics – but few people in Denmark seem that interested in discussing such sort of things. It is almost seen as a code of conduct that you should not raise any political sensitive issues at a dinner party – and less with people you don’t know that well!

Porteños are the complete opposite. Almost everybody has an opinion about everything, and are happy to discuss whatever issue. Most also seem quite well-informed about the current state of affairs. For example, once I used the drive to the airport (40 minutes drive!) discussing Argentine politics and history with a taxi driver.

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Even though, there are still so many things that I don’t understand about Argentina, I’m feeling in my element in a city where political discussions are more the norm than the exception.

My Argentine friends and acquaintances tend to say: “mix all of Europe in one country, and you have Argentina”, maybe that’s why I ended up liking it so much here?

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Have you ever visit Buenos Aires? What did you like about the city? Or maybe dislike? Is it a place would like to visit one day? Share your thoughts and experiences below! I would love to hear what you think!

8 comments

  1. Bente Hoffmann * Bentes rejser

    Det ER en dejlig og fascinerende by! Glæder mig til at komme tilbage 😉

    Reply

    1. Rebecca

      Vi glæder os også til, at du kommer tilbage 🙂

      Reply

  2. Mayra

    Hola Rebecca! Espero que estés dominando bien el idioma, soy de Venezuela, he leído tu blog y me encanta! Pronto me voy a mudar a Argentina y me gustaría que me dieras algunos tips.

    If you need it, I can talk in English too!

    Reply

    1. Rebecca

      Hola Mayra! Me puedes escribir en español (castellano como dicen los argentinos 😉 ) sin problema! Me alegro tanto ver tu comentario y que hayas gustado el blog! Que bueno que vengas a la Argentina pronto! Acá en Buenos Aires? Cuál quiera pregunta o consulta que tienes puedes preguntarme, no hay drama!
      Que sigas bien! 🙂
      //Rebecca

      Reply

  3. Nahuel

    Nice… I’m a local and lived in cph one year (2015-2016). Always wondered and speculated about how a Dane would perceive Argentina. I intuitively though that quite the opposite impressions I made in Dk were to be the case for a Dane. I can now confirm my hunch wasn’t wrong.
    People here are indeed very opinionated, open, political incorrect, spontaneous… Decades of political, social and economic unstability and/or disfunctionality made clear to us that nothing is set into stone. Nothing is sacred. Everyting can be questioned, built, rebuilt. We are skeptical. Quite often all we have is our families and friends to face hardship, so we remain very loyal to facing life together, socially, as a survival strategy. There’s no big welfare state to take care of all of us. So we turn to people at the end of the day. It’s kind of an unconscious thing too. All this forged a character you won’t see in Scandinavia. And I don’t mean to scare you haha but trust me, there’ll be another crisis sooner or later. We are running the country with budget, trade, tourism deficit (huge, check the figures yourself), while taking debt at the highest rates of the world (because we’re like international outcasts given our serial debt defaulter reputation). The exchange rate should be higher (this is why Argentina is so expensive, despite we’re not an economic powerhouse), and it’s artificially being kept down with inflow of debt dollars to keep inflation at bay. As soon as the exchange range moves up, inflation will soar. It’s a very fragile scheme, at it went off many times before in our history.
    IMO problem is lack of institutionality, mismanagement, govts always spending more than we can afford to, resulting in debt (until default), or printing money (until hyperinflation) or raising taxes (until suffocation). As a result of instability, there was no steady investment over the years, causing stagnation. It’s a fun country for the most part, but every now and then sh*t hits the fan lol.

    Nice entry! good luck.

    Reply

    1. Rebecca

      Hi Nahuel,
      Thank you so much for your excellent comment! I’m so content to hear that I could help you out with some of your considerations about how a Dane might see Buenos Aires 🙂 I’m often wondering the same for Argentines coming to Denmark!

      I completely understand that the political and socioeconomic developments here are different from the Danish, and that put marks on people and their behavior. Anything else would be quite strange, right? However, Argentines are also very good at criticising each other, and many a part of what I’m trying to say is that even though everything isn’t perfect (it isn’t in Denmark either), then this questioning and rebuilting mentality is also good for something; for the open debates. That coming from a person who have lived the opposite as you write “All this forged a character you won’t see in Scandinavia”. I’m aware of the possibilities of a new crisis… But again, I can only take things as they come.
      Yes, I studied in depth the whole economic part about how things work here, and I have plenty of notes on it to soon write a post about it. Because I believe it is important to understand just a minimum about the country you are either choosing to live in or just travel to as a foreigner… Nevertheless, these types of post takes a looong time to write in a good and coherent way, so still just notes. I agree a lot with you that the investment part is an obtacle both from internal businesses with the capacities and from external. Cofidence is a hard thing to built up.
      Once again, thank you so much for your comment! It completely made my day, and I keep wondering what you might have thought about Denmark!
      Take care as well!
      //Rebecca

      Reply

      1. Nahuel

        I stumbled upon this after almost 2 years. My economic crisis forecast was 100% spot on haha.

        Reply

        1. Rebecca

          Hi Nahuel,
          Oh my! This is so funny! Thank you for leaving a note. I just went back to read your original comment, and it is so great and properly one of the best ones on the blog – and yes, your economic forecast was spot on!
          I’m still in Buenos Aires, though the blog is suffering lack of entries since I’m studying at full. Hope you are doing good!

          //Rebecca

          Reply

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