I enjoy getting recommendations from locals before I go on a trip, but they are not always easy to find, and thus I decided to write recommendations for my own country, Denmark, in this series, Guide to Denmark.
This is the first article in the series. It gives an introduction to Denmark and Danes.
Denmark is not a big country but infrastructure is not a thing the Danish politicians have done well. Even though there are trains, busses and even a metro in Copenhagen, I would recommend a car, if you plan to visit the different parts of Denmark. If you are planning a trip by car, do take a look at the Marguerite Route (Margueritruten in Danish – it is named after Queen Margrethe). It the most picturesque route, and you get away from the heavy traffic. In the app you can also see attractions, museums etc. near by.
Another way to get around is by bike. Danes ride bikes a lot and cycle paths are common. In the bigger cities it is possible to rent “bycykler”, city bikes, for a small fee.
If you are staying in one of the bigger cities, you will probably be all right getting around on your feet and by public transportation.
A few tips and tricks
The currency is Danish Kroner, DKK. Most places accept credit cards.
Tipping is not expected in Denmark.
The weather can be quite nice in the summer, but it is changeable and breezy. Always bring a jacket/sweater when you go out. It often rains.
Use Rejseplanen to plan your route by public transportation.
You cannot bring our dog inside restaurants, cafés, bars or shops. Always have a leash on your dog. A new law forbid dogs on certain beaches. Look at the signs before you bring our dog.
Bars in Denmark only serve drinks, and mostly beer. You can perhaps get a bowl of nuts, but forget getting any kind of real food. You go here to enjoy your beer and talk.
Cafés serves sandwiches, fancy burgers and salads. At night most cafés serve beers and cocktails. It’s popular to start your night out on a café before going to a club or discotheque.
Grocery stores are as a general rule open from 8 or 9 – 8 pm. Sundays they may close earlier.
Other shops are 10 am – 5 or 5.30 pm, and close earlier on Saturdays. Most are closed on Sundays except the first Sunday of the month.
Danes mind their own business in general. Often we do not offer help, but if you ask us, we are more than willing to help you.
Most Danes speak English well. A lot speak German as well, at least to some degree. Especially younger Danes do not, however, speak any other Nordic languages and do not understand any of it; we hardly understand other Danish dialect besides our own. Sad but true!
Danes wear black and grey. It does not mean we are mourning; we just seem to fear colours.
Denmark is a monarchy, and the royal family is widely popular. Everybody loves Queen Margrethe!
The Danish flag (Dannebrog) is widely used whenever we celebrate something. If you see flags on the busses, it’s either some sort of holiday, a birthday in the royal family or a state visit.
Danes dress very casual for work.
Danes drink a lot of beer, and we drink it in public. Even young Danes drink a lot. Do not be surprised if you see young Danes with beer bottles out and about on a Friday night.
One of our favourite words is “hygge” as it does not exist in other languages. It can be “hyggeligt” to spend a night watching movies with your friends, or play games with your family. Christmas time is all about “hygge”. So it means having a nice time, feeling comfortable and probably eating something nice too.
Nordic Noir is of course popular in Denmark. The hugely popular TV series The Killing (Forbrydelsen in Danish) is Danish, and if you want to read a Danish crime novel Jussi Adler Olsen is very popular.
The Danish language is quite difficult as we do not pronounce things clearly, we cut of word endings and we have 22 vowels and weird sounds like the letters æ, ø and å. So here are a few easy Danish words:
Hello: Hej (pronounced like ” hi”)
Goodbye: Farvel (formal) or hej hej (informal)
Thank you: Tak