Denmark Local Customs - How to Act Like a Dane on Your Danish Vacation

Published: 10th March 2009
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Before going on a trip to Denmark, it's a good idea not just to prepare your suitcase and itinerary but also to learn a bit about Danish culture. Here are some of the most popular Denmark local customs so you'll know how to act properly while enjoying your stay there.

One of the Denmark local customs you should know is how to greet other people in Denmark. Danes use first names so make sure you introduce yourself by your first name when asked and refer to others in the same way. Also, rather than giving someone a peck on the cheek, simply shake his or her hand, since kisses on the cheek are often reserved for couples and relatives.

You should also note that Danes do not approve of loud or passionate behavior while in public. Unless you want to draw attention or get scolded (and you will be), practice having conversations in moderate tones and refrain from passionate gestures unless you are somewhere private.

When in a public transport, such as a bus or train, avoid sitting beside a stranger if there are still other seats available, as this is one of the Denmark local customs. Also, refrain from starting a conversation with a stranger. Although your intentions may be friendly, you might be viewed as someone intrusive. When talking to Danes, try to avoid bragging or sharing too much personal information, too.

Punctuality is also a big part of Denmark local customs. Indeed, while in Denmark, you will notice that establishments open and close on the dot, so try to be aware of store hours. Avoid being late at all costs, whether it's for a business meeting or a date with a Dane.

You may also notice some establishments and offices giving queue number cards at the entrance. If you do, be sure to grab one. If there aren't any, simply go to the end of the line and stick to your place since it is considered very disrespectful to jump queues. If you are running late, try to talk to the person in front of you. If you are polite enough, he or she might give in to your request.

Last but not least, be mindful of your manners when at table. It is good dining etiquette, as well as a part of Denmark local customs, to keep your wrists at the edge of the table, try everything you are offered and put your knife and fork properly across your plate when you are finished eating. Most importantly, finish everything on your plate or you might offend someone.

Indeed, the Danes are known to value courtesy as evidenced in Denmark local customs. Don't be afraid to approach them, though. As long as you are polite, they will happily help you make the most of your stay. After all, in spite of their seemingly strict code of courtesy, the Danes are warm and friendly, and are considered the happiest people in the world.

Isabella Olsen is a writer for various travel magazines who has toured global tourist destinations by car. To book your car rental Denmark or learn more about cheap hire cars worldwide, visit

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