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Home » Country Etiquette » Denmark

Danish Etiquette Tips

In America, we are used to saying and hearing "How are you?" all the time. It's just a typical part of greeting, and you might not necessarily want to know the answer. However, in Denmark, "How are you?" is reserved for people you have a close relationship with, and it's only asked if you truly want to know the answer.

Denmark is a country that is very proud of their culture. Respect the Danish while on your trip and keep some basic etiquette in mind.

1. Dress Attire

  1. DO dress neatly.
  2. DO wear jeans for casual events, but definitely make sure they are neat and clean.

2. Table Manners

  1. DO rest your wrists at the edge of the table.
  2. DO try everything served to you and accept offers for second helpings.
  3. DO finish everything on your plate.
  4. DO make eye contact during a toast and raise your glass eye level.
  5. DO place your knife and fork across your plate with the handles to the right when you are done eating.
  6. DON'T start eating until the host says "Skol."
  7. DON'T expect a meal to be quick. Sometimes dinner can last over four hours!

3. Tipping

  1. DO leave a 10% tip at a restaurant if the service was good.

4. Gift giving and Accepting Gifts

  1. DO open a gift immediately.
  2. DON'T give extravagant gifts. Liquor or flowers is often appreciated it. Also, a book about your hometown makes a nice gift.
  3. DON'T give sharp objects as a gift.
  4. DO wrap flowers if giving them as a gift.
  5. DO give roses or wildflowers if you wish to give flowers. Avoid giving white roses, however. They are associated with mourning.

5. Body Gestures

  1. DON'T be too touchy feely. It's not appreciated in Denmark.

6. Greetings

  1. DO greet with a nice, firm handshake accompanied by eye contact and a smile.
  2. DO shake hands with everybody present when arriving and again when departing. Don't forget the children! Shake hands with them, too.
  3. DO shake hands with women first.
  4. DON'T call someone by their first name until invited to, but you'll probably be invited to move to a first name basis very quickly.

7. Visitors Etiquette

  1. DON'T arrive more than 15 minutes late.
  2. DO take your shoes off upon entering.
  3. DO dress well.
  4. DO help your host with preparation and clean-up.
  5. DO bring a dessert or alcoholic beverage.

8. Business Meeting

  1. DO make an appointment in advance and have it confirmed in writing. Avoid scheduling appointments in the summertime if possible, because many Danes go on vacation then.
  2. DON'T be late! Punctuality is important in Denmark. If you're running more than five minutes late, call to explain.
  3. DON'T expect much small talk.
  4. DO send an agenda in advance and follow it at the meeting.
  5. DON'T bring a gift to an initial meeting. It's not customary, but you may send a gift after negotiations are complete. Small gifts with a company logo are appropriate.

9. Socializing and Conversation

  1. DON'T expect to be asked "How are you?" as often as in America. This question is only asked if you have a personal relationship with the person and you really want to know how they are.
  2. DON'T mistake a Dane for being Swedish or Norwegian.
  3. DO say "thank you" a lot. Danes do it, so be polite back to them.

You will find that people in Denmark are very polite, so return the thoughtfulness and be polite back to them! You'll blend in much better and impress those around you. Have a wonderful trip to Denmark!

 
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