How to Behave in Denmark

When you're traveling or moving abroad, you must take time to acquaint yourself with the country's customs, traditions and etiquette. While Denmark is an open, relaxed society promoting equality for all, you must take measures to display appropriate etiquette and behave according to social norms.


    • 1

      Behave in a polite, reserved manner, especially among people you do not know. Avoid being loud and boisterous or going out of your way to stand out, as Danes are humble about their accomplishments and expect others to be the same. The Danish expect people to behave courteously, taking care to follow spoken and unspoken rules. In addition, Danes are generally not afraid to call someone out when they are acting inappropriately. Keep a low profile to avoid a socially uncomfortable incident.

    • 2

      Greet others in a casual, polite way, shaking hands and making eye contact with each person you address. Go out of your way to shake hands with women first, and use your first name when you introduce yourself (unless it's a formal business situation). Before you depart, shake hands with each person one more time.

    • 3

      Familiarize yourself with Danish dining etiquette. When you're dining with a group, wait to begin eating your food until someone toasts with "Skol," which means "Salute" or "Cheers." Do not take more food than you can eat, as Danes do not like to see food wasted. Instead, take only what you know you'll finish and remember you can always ask for seconds. Finally, remember that the Danish try not to mix business with pleasure, so avoid discussing the workplace when you're at a social gathering.

    • 4

      Learn some Danish to help you get around Denmark. Kwintessential Cross-Cultural Solutions provide users a list of helpful Danish phrases, along with a pronunciation guide (see Resources below).

    • 5

      Do not be surprised if the Danish speak English in their work environment and Danish when they socialize. Nearly 99 percent of Denmark residents speak Danish as their primary language, so listen carefully to pick up key phrases and vocabulary, even if you don't understand everything.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you're invited to dinner or a party at a Danish home, bring a floral arrangement or a nice bottle of wine to show appreciation for the host's generosity. It is also considered appropriate to have flowers delivered before your arrival.
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