All over Copenhagen I saw signs for Is. For example, here at Boys Shawarma og Isbar on Nørrebrogade:

Boys Shawarma og Isbar

Is, it seems, is the Danish short-hand for “ice cream,” although it technically translates simply to “ice.” Which is fine, until you come to Iceland. Where, in Icelandic, a language with the same roots as Danish, the name of the country is Ísland. Which, to English eyes, looks a lot like Island.

Suffice to say that when arriving jetlagged in Keflavik and trying to navigate the currency jungle enough to buy a coffee, having currency that doesn’t say “Iceland” on it anywhere, but rather Ísland, is very confusing.

Something even more confusing: the Danish word for “Island” is simply Ø. Weird.


Hans's picture
Hans on July 2, 2008 - 20:50 Permalink

I believe the Danish word for “Hardware Store” is “isenkram” which is a very disappointing translation back into English.