The Danes are highly law-abiding people. However, it does not refer to the Danish football fans and car drivers. Denmark is a country, where people appreciate comfort, private life and various associations and clubs. Their interpersonal communications, and to some extent, their self-perception are deeply ironic.
What does it mean to be a Dane?
The Danes adore their queen Margrethe II. You will never hear any gossip about Royal family life.
The Danes do believe that being a Dane is a privilege, that makes them special. Deep inside they feel sorry for all those who were not born Danes. They like to say that if all Scandinavia is a bowl with rice pudding, then Denmark is the golden dimple in the middle of this pudding, full of melted butter.
At the same time Danish mentality has been strongly influenced by peasant psychology. A popular enlightener Nikolaj Frederik Severin Grundtvig well defined the Danes in one of his songs in 1820: “… the closer to land, the better for us”.
The Danes always pay their huge taxes and treat it as an unpleasant, but absolute necessity. Compared to the Swedes, the Danes are very temperamental. Their cult is freedom, and the feeling of self-esteem is naturally passed down from generation to generation.
Human rights are the priority here. According to the protection level provided to its citizens from various problems the country is the world leader and the Danish family is a role model.
Many things are differently here. For instance, a murderer is just an ill person for them. He or she is "treated" for about 2 – 3 years and later even temporarily freed. The island way of thinking is even more typical for Danish than for British people. The main problem in the country is loneliness, therefore, numerous clubs are highly popular here.
A number of festivals are held in Denmark throughout the year – in Copenhagen there is an International film festival in March, in summer there is Roskilde Festival, the largest rock music festival in the Northern Europe, the Festival of Vikings, Festival of Jazz, Music Festival and Copenhagen summer festival.
Sincerity and politeness are most inherent in the Danish character. Do not be surprised by the large number of questions! When meeting new people, greetings are formal, accompanied by handshakes. Titles are rarely used. They easily transit from formal to informal way of communication. The Danes are reluctant to speak about their private lives. Try to avoid talking about work, income, religion and divorce issues.
There is no word «please» in Danish language. Give me, and that is it. Greetings are firm handshakes, even with children. Saying goodbye, it is a must to shake a firm Danish hand too.
You should not take offence when hearing some sarcasm to your address – this is a sort of a check. The Danes may as well make a joke involving, for example, some national features. Even if it is not very funny, do not take it seriously. It is better to joke in return, telling a short story starting with: "Once three men met – a Dane, an American and a French…".
You shouldn’t be late in Denmark. Punctuality is the key. If you are late, the Danes will pretend that it is OK, but he or she will get secretly offended. If you are waiting for a local person to come round, then you should expect him/her on time at the door – everything must be ready by that time. The other side of the Danish punctuality is in neglecting such things as keeping the door open for the people following you.
If some Danes invite you for dinner, bring flowers for the hostess or send them first, right after receiving the invitation. During the meeting in a Danish house one should not say "No" being shy or timid – they will not offer the second time. It just means that they think as follows: if a person refuses from food, he/she is not hungry. If you are invited for dinner, it will be extremely impolite to come without a bottle of wine. Nobody will object if you bring a bottle of your national drink instead of the wine.
Bills in restaurants and taxis include the payment of all services. Therefore, tips are not required. However, the bill amount may be rounded, if you liked the service.