Culture in Denmark

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Denmark has remarkable cultures compared to other countries. It is rich in arts and promotes egalitarianism, meaning the society emphasizes in equality among them. This can be seen in their language, where Danish employs gender-neutral words. They are more concerned about the group rather than their own individual needs.

Women are highly respected and they receive equal pay and have the opportunity to hold senior and top positions in the work force. For working mothers, they have the privilege to arrange flexible working hours to enable them to maintain both career and family. Men are more actively involved in taking care of children compared to other countries. Besides that, maternity and paternity leave are more generous here.

Business wise, appointments are necessary where you need to confirm them in writing. As most Danes are on vacation from mid June through mid August, you may want to avoid setting up appointments during this period. Do call immediately if you will be late for more than five minutes. During a negotiation, use facts, figures and charts to back up statements and conclusions. Always maintain eye contact while speaking. Go straight to the point as the Danes prefers it that way and expect minimal amount of small talk during negotiations.

The Danes greet each other with a firm handshake, direct eye contact and a smile. This shows tremendous respect towards each other and the men will always shake hands with women first. They tend to introduce themselves with their first names to inject friendliness to the relationship.

As they are such a respectful society, Danes would give gifts such as flowers, good quality chocolates or wine if they were invited home for dinner. If they were invited to a party, it’s recommended that they send flowers in advance of the event to impart politeness. They would also extend the gifts the family and close friends for birthdays and Christmas. Here in Denmark, the gifts are opened when received, rather than wait until the giver has left like in most countries.

Danes are punctual in both business and social situations. Do remember to arrive on time and check with the host if you need to remove your shoes before entering. It’s always good to check with the host if you would need to bring a dish and offer help with the preparation and clearing up after a meal. Also, it brings the host great pleasure when you ask for a tour of their house as they are proud of their homes where they decorated it themselves.

As Danes do not like wasting food, do finish everything on your plate. They may offer you second helpings. Do not begin the meal until the host toasts with ‘skol’, meaning cheers. When toasting, make sure the glass is raised about eye level and always make eye contact with those seated closest to you. The table manners in Denmark are Continental, where the fork is hold in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating.

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