Danish university scraps German courses after just five students enrol

Danes who want to study the language of neighbouring Germany will have to look to other universities in the country, after Aalborg announced the closure of its German courses.

Danish university scraps German courses after just five students enrol
Aalborg University. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

After a long period of decline, study of German at Aalborg University is over.

Just five students enrolled this year on the bachelor’s degree programme in German at Aalborg University.

That has resulted in the closure of the programme, Aalborg University announced on Friday.

The decision was unavoidable given the lack of interest, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities Henrik Halkier told DR, which first reported the closure.

“We can't conjure (students). Young people want (to study) other things at the moment, and I think that is a real shame, but now we have to face the consequence,” Halkier said.

Recent years have seen admissions to the German degree dwindle, and Aalborg University has also decided to shut down its bachelor's degree in International Business Communication and German.

As such, there is not a single German class left at the university.

“(The lack of students) results in small and vulnerable classes, as well as an impossible financial situation because we receive money when each student passes the exams, and there are not many students to pass,” Halkier told DR.

North and western Denmark's tourism industry is an area which could feel a knock-on effect of the closure.

Up to 26 per cent of the many tourists who come to North Jutland on holiday every year are from Germany.

German skills are needed to provide adequate services to those tourists, according to Per Dam, CEO of holiday accommodation firm Sol og Strand.

“For the slightly older generation in particular it is important that we can accommodate them in their language. It makes them feel more welcome,” Dam said to DR.

Although being able to speak German with visitors does not necessarily require a university education, Dam said he was concerned about the decline of the language in Denmark generally.

“Whether it is at the bakery, restaurant or the supermarket, it is important to have some basic German skills. We don't all need to be college educated, but our knowledge and ability to learn comes from the universities, and that's what I'm worried about,” he said.

Halkier said that initiatives to attract more students to the Aalborg University German programmes had failed to have the requisite impact.

“Learning language is hard work, and may as such be somewhat reminiscent of the natural sciences, where there is also plenty of memorization and learning, and where there have also been recruitment problems,” he said.

Future Danish students wishing to learn German will have to head to Aarhus or Copenhagen.

The programme in International Business Economics and Spanish at Aalborg University will also be closed for admissions, Aalborg University has confirmed.

Students who have already started their degrees will be able to complete their studies, however.

READ ALSO: Has the Danish language stopped borrowing English words?

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The new German words that perfectly describe the coronavirus pandemic

From Impfneid (vaccine envy) to Abstandbier (socially distanced beer), these words are so hot right now.

The new German words that perfectly describe the coronavirus pandemic

It’s often said that the Germans have a word for everything – and that’s true in corona times as well. Around 200 new words including Impfneid (vaccine envy) and Abstandbier (socially distanced beer) have been added to a list of new words by the Leibniz Institute for the German language.

1. When it’s all become too much.

For those feeling overwhelmed by the year-long pandemic, there is Coronaangst (Corona anxiety), coronamüde (corona tired) or überzoom (too much zoom).

2. Love in the time of corona

If you have a specific cuddle partner, they are your Kuschelkontact (cuddle contact). More bleakly, Todesküsschen (little kiss of death) has became synonymous with a friendly kiss on the cheek.

3. Keeping your distance from everybody

The term Babyelefant is now a common concept for anyone living in Austria, where we are urged to keep a “baby elephant’s” distance from one another.

A CoronaFußgruß (corona foot greeting) has replaced the traditional handshake upon meeting people. 

4. Panic at the start of the first lockdown

The process of the pandemic can be tracked through new words emerging. At the beginning of lockdown last March, the word Hamsteritis (hamster buying) was widely used, referring to panic buying as similar to a hamster filling its cheeks with food to eat later.

Added to that was Klopapierhysterie, or hysteria over toilet paper running about.

5. Balcony entertainment

As people began singing from their balconies during the spring lockdown, the word Balkonsänger (balcony singer) came into use, along with Balkonklatscher (balcony clapper) Balkonkonzert (balcony concert) and of course Balkonmusik (balcony music).

6. Watching sport during the pandemic

You might want to try out an Abstandsjubeltanz, loosely translated as a socially distanced choreographed dance when celebrating your football team’s win.

7. Mask wearing

The Germans have adopted the British term Covidiot, but have a more specific word of Maskentrottel (mask idiot), for someone who wears their face covering under their nose. A mask worn this way can also be described as a Kinnwärmer or chin warmer.

A mask worn correctly is sometimes referred to as a Gesichtskondom (face condom).

8. Waiting forever for a vaccine

Germany and the EU’s slow vaccine rollout has led to many experiencing Impfneid or vaccine envy as other countries race ahead in vaccinating their citizens. 

The words were found by the team of researchers by combing through press reports, social media and the wider internet.

You can find the whole list of new words here