The Boat Race They Call Kapsejladsen and How To Survive It!

Hey You AU!

My name is Mark Freese and I’m taking over as master of blogs this month and the next 🙂 A big thanks to Danielle for her posts. Hopefully we can get this blog ball rolling again!

Here goes…

Danish spring is upon us and with it comes… more rain! Well, at least today it seems that way. Since the start of spring, the Danish weather has been flirting some lovely sunny days with us (the last few sunlit days I’ve been cramped inside studying for mid-semester exams!). It’s just teasing us with hints of the great, but short, Danish summer – but I’ll take it nonetheless!

Spring means a few things to me; soon it will be my birthday, and it’s my 25th birthday (more on why this is important in Denmark to come) and on that same very day in May is the ever famous Kapsejlads!


For those of you that don’t know, Kapsejlads is kind of like a fun and ridiculous relay drinking game someone came up with one day in spring and decided it was that fun and cool that they should invite 30,000 of their friends to watch them do it every year… Simply put, it’s a relay race across the lake (more like a pond) in the middle of Universitetsparken which involves blow up boats and beer – Wikipedia explains it like this:

12 subject lines are represented annually. The contest in all simplicity is to cross the lake in an inflatable device the team brings themselves, drink 1 beer, rotate 10 times around the bottle and then cross back over the lake in the same boat. Each team must designate 5 participants, of which there must be at least one of each sex.

It goes something like this…

Kapsejlads has been around since 1991 and has grown ever since. It’s a day full of music, madness, nude races, games and beer, as is Danish tradition. Every year Kapsejlads sees top Danish radio and tv presenters host the show as masters of ceremonies, and as the event grows so too do the sponsors with the likes of Tuborg and Redbull contributing to this amazing day. It’s the biggest university event in Denmark! Maybe even Europe…

The University Park fills up from the early (EARLY!) morning with students trying to secure a good spot to see the race and whatever else might be going on down by the lake. Last year approximately 30,000 people attended. Now that’s a lot of people trying to squeeze into the park! Check out the madness below… P.S. at 0.11 – 0.16 you can see my kollegium roomie soaking up the good times…

I’ll be posting a lot more on this special day as it comes closer, but now it’s time for a bit of fun.

Introducing the…


The Kapsejlads Survival Kit


I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on a Kapsejlads Survival Kit from the International Centre at AU for a bit of a test run. The kit contains 4 goodies you can put to good use on the day:

  • AU Canvas Bag
  • AU Fleece Blanket
  • AU Thermos
  • AU Rain Coat

In case you’re wondering what the blanket says in danish let me put what Lærdansk has taught me to use, it reads:

“46,89 – average time in seconds per lap at Kapsejlads”

(and that’s including the time it takes to finish a whole beer! – SkĂĄl!)

I’ve had the kit for a few days now and have been brainstorming how to get the most from the kit and the day – no matter what weather I may be up against!

Apart from the pretty obvious; blanket to sit on, bag to hold stuff, rain coat for rain and thermos for coffee, I’ve come up with…


Ten Ways to Use the Boat Race Kit:

1. To begin, and to begin your day, don’t just make coffee for your Kapsejlads morning… make IRISH coffee! (Put some whiskey in it!)

One thing you may notice at 8 am on a Kapsejlads morning is that the Danes may have already started to wet their lips with beer and other alcoholic treats along with their morning meals – it’s a long day and they’re very excited to get the festivities going!

2. When you’re done with the coffee (or Irish coffee) use the thermos as a cocktail shaker! I will admit I have already tried this and damn did it make a mean pina colada! (Be sure to rinse out the coffee… that might not be such a good pina colada…)

Hint: Remember to stay hydrated! The thermos can also be used to keep your water ice cold!

Thristy Kev
This is Kevin – He’s Norwegian and my model for the day…

3. Whilst on the ice cold page, why not use the thermos to keep those ice blocks you made the night before stay ice blocks! This way you’ll be able to make cold drinks the whole day long… Essential if, and hopefully when, it’s a hot Kapsejlads day!

4. If you’re not a coffee lover or aren’t so fond of the Danish drop (alcohol), surely you’re a dog lover. Use the thermos to store hotdogs! They’ll be kept hot until lunch and  what’s more Danish than a Danish hotdog? Don’t forget the condiments! (I’ll be showing you how to make a Danish hotdog in an upcoming post)


Just look at that beautiful dog....
Just look at that beautiful dog….

P.S. If you’re not a dog lover I would not recommend putting cats in the thermos…

Cute, but not so delicious...
Cute, but not so delicious…

5. The blanket will make an awesome poncho if you’re not too scared to cut a head hole in it…

Hint: Combine it with the raincoat and you’re a fashion winner; Mexican and waterproof! Here’s my Norwegian kitchen buddy Kevin strutting his stuff…

Kevin The Norwegian Poncho Rain Coater
Kevin The Norwegian Poncho Rain Coater

6. Better yet, be Superman for the day and wear it as a cape!

Super Kev
Super Kev

7. But what good is a raincoat if it doesn’t rain you ask?… well, tie up the sleeves and hood and you have a garbage bag – keep that university park beautiful people!

8. So you’ve woken up at 6 am to get a good spot – the long wait begins! What are you going to do? Use your blanket as a swing of course! Perhaps you can convince your friends to stand as pillars for a while so you can pretend it’s a hammock! Probably not…

9. I mentioned something before about a nude race… it happens every year, and there are a lot of dingly dangly things you may want to keep those innocent eyes from seeing… The bag can help!

Kevin’s in the bag!

10. Ran out of battery on your phone? Need to contact that friend on the other side of the lake? No problem, just scribble down a message, pop it in the thermos, load up the blanket, aim and launch your message holding thermos at your friend… Sounds like a good idea in a crowded place right? No.

11. If you’re feeling adventurous, or just don’t like any of my suggestions; use the raincoat to sit on and the blanket to cover you, whilst drinking coffee from the bag and keeping your belongings in the thermos! I’m sure it will work just as well! Probably not though.

12. Last but not least, if all else fails, a blanket tent is always a go to option… Everyone will be so jealous of your cubby house

Kev and his blanket tent... Hes so proud
Kev and his blanket tent… He’s so proud


Did I say 10? I gave you 12… What ya gonna do?!?!?!

The survival kit is available from the Stakbogladen (The same building as the Student House) for 175 Kr – get em’ while they last!

Click here for more information

Take my advice, do not miss out on this event. It’s huge! It truly is a memorable occasion, well, if I could only remember the later half of my 2013 Kapsejlads… Damn you Tuborg!!!

Find out more on Kapsejlads at:


Following on from Danielle as blog master this month, you may think we’re the same person – as I’m also a 24-year-old (soon to be 25 – that’s scary in Denmark) from Melbourne Perth, Australia (and was born in South Africa) studying a Master’s in International Studies Marketing here at Aarhus University. I too first fell in love with Denmark as an exchange student in 2013 (although before that a Danish girl in 2012), and – like so many others – I couldn’t resist coming back! Like Danielle I moved to Aarhus in 2015, and am falling in love with the city all over again. I hope to stay in Denmark after my studies and perhaps join this Danish surge in innovation and entrepreneurship – now to get my tongue to do that “Rødgrød med fløde” thing…

I play music occasionally and am currently recording an album with my Australian band over the interwebs. Stay tuned for more news on that and follow my solo musical adventures on my facebook page. I’ll be playing twice this month; at the Studenterhus Circus Party on the 19th and a solo gig on the 24th as part of the Akademisk Kvarter at Studenterhus.

Also: check out #yourniversity and @AarhusUni for snapshots of student life at AU.

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