Some Good Behaviours You’ll Likely Learn as an Expat in Denmark

It would be disingenuous for anyone to claim having travelled widely without making it to Denmark. The country is a major destination for many expats thanks to the favourable working conditions and access to a well functioning public healthcare. Denmark is also a good vacation destination thanks to the many attractions and its proximity to the North Sea. It has more than 400 islands and a peninsula. 

It is also famously known worldwide that Denmark is the bridge between Scandinavia and continental Europe. Expats love to move to this northern country because it’s friendly and has welcoming locals. Denmark’s cities are not only modern but also cosmopolitan with many opportunities for locals and foreigners.  

Many have lauded Denmark for simplicity and rich history reflected in its architecture. However, the architecture and history is majorly based on Nordic tradition. You will also find fairy-tale villages with town markets, country churches, and castles in Denmark. If you are from a country where traffic is a menace then you will enjoy the traffic-free pedestrian streets. 

Positive Influences of the Danish Culture

As an expat in Denmark you get to enjoy the flat country, characterized by moors, lakes, farmlands, and woodlands. However, it is also normal to pick up a habit or two while living here. For instance, you might find yourself adapting and adopting the bicycle riding culture in the country. 

However, most habits you will pick up are highly influenced by Danish culture. According to Danish culture, Danes value their personal space and love to be cosy and comfortable based on the concept of hygge. Here are a few positive habits you are likely to pick up as an expat in Denmark. 

1. Bona Fide Public Behaviour

Danes are known for following rules in different situations thanks to their belief in a distinct manner of acting in every situation. So, you might be more comfortable speaking up and admonishing someone for breaking protocol. Similarly, you might find yourself expecting courteous behaviour from every person you meet. 

While it’s normal to talk in high tones in other countries, this is not the case in Denmark. As an expat here, you might adapt to the culture of talking in moderate tones and not doing anything to call attention to yourself.

2. Denmark Meeting Etiquette

Expats in Denmark also acquire the Dane’s meeting etiquette when living in Denmark. Here, greetings are mostly casual, with a firm handshake, direct eye contact, and a smile. Likewise, it is expected of you to shake hands and say good-bye individually when arriving or departing. However, the difference in shaking hands here is that you have to say shake hands with women first. Finally, in Denmark, people introduce themselves with their first names.

 3. Gift Giving Etiquette

Gifting people is not a norm everywhere like in Denmark where people tend to gift their family and close friends. Whether it’s for birthdays and Christmas, Danes believe it’s polite to do so. Likewise, when honouring a dinner invitation to a Danish home, you are expected to bring flowers, good quality chocolates or good quality wine. 

You might also pick up on the Danish tradition of wrapping flowers and sending flowers in advance when invited to a party or event. Danes also believe in opening gifts when they receive them.  

4. Dining Etiquette

One thing to love about Danes is their punctuality in both business and social situations. Well, this also applies to when you are invited for dinner. As you make new friends in Denmark, you are likely to pick up on this behaviour. Another behaviour you are likely to pick up on is checking if you should remove your shoes before entering the house.

Discussing business during a social event like dinner is considered rude in Denmark. In other countries this could be normal but the longer you stay in Denmark, you might pick up on it too. Finally, once the meal is done, Danes will always offer to help with clearing up. It won’t be long before you are doing the same.  

5. Table manners

One thing you will notice about Danes is that they don’t look too kindly on wasting food. For instance, they always try to finish up everything on their plates. So, most expats might also pick up on this behaviour over time. Similarly, when visiting other people, you might find yourself  waiting to be told where to sit. 

Danes are known worldwide for their love for planning. Therefore, you can always expect that there is a seating plan during meals. It is also okay in Denmark to try everything that is served during a meal. Thus, interacting with more Danes might influence your behaviour when it comes to trying different dishes on the table.  

6. Business Negotiation

As many of you can testify, nothing is more annoying than attending a meeting without an agenda. In Denmark, it is expected that you set a meeting agenda and don’t deviate from it. Hopefully, your stay in Denmark will ensure that you pick up on this behaviour too. Similarly, you should pick up on making decisions after consulting with everyone involved.

Small talk is common during business negotiations in most countries. However, in Denmark this is highly frowned upon. So, as an expat in Denmark, don’t be surprised to find yourself irritated by small talk. You might want to get down to business as quickly as possible. The same applies to direct communication. 

These are just but a few  of  the common behaviours that expats might pick up on. There are many more depending on which part of Denmark you end up in.