Denmark flag Denmark: Business Environment

Business Practices in Denmark

Opening hours and bank holidays

General Information
Danish business culture as seen by the Kwintessential website
Commisceo Global, Danish business culture as per Commisceo Global
Opening Hours and Days
Business hours vary throughout Denmark. Opening times range from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. and closing times from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Offices operate on a five-day schedule, which means that they are usually closed Saturday and Sunday.

Public Holidays

New Year's Day January 1
Maundy Thursday March - April
Good Friday March - April
Easter Monday March - April
Common Prayer Day May
Ascension Day May - June
Whit-Monday May - June
Constitution Day June 5
Christmas Eve & Day December 24 & 25
Boxing Day December 26

Periods When Companies Usually Close

New Years Day 1 January
Maundy Thursday The Thursday before Easter Sunday
Good Friday The Friday before Easter Sunday
Easter The last Sunday of March or the first Sunday of April, according to the year
Constitution Day 5 June
Christmas Eve 24 December
Christmas 25 December
The second day of Christmas 26 December

Business culture

The Fundamental Principles of Business Culture
Danish business culture highlights trust, respect, equality, and openness towards other cultures. Denmark is a highly educated culture that loathes public flaunting of wealth, be it verbal or visual. Scandinavian culture values who you are more than what you have.

Hierarchy tends to be flat in Denmark. Danish decision-making involves consulting with everyone involved. Employees often address bosses by first name, indicating how hierarchies are not strictly enforced. Discussions are welcome and decisions will be made slowly and methodically.

It is important to remember that Denmark is an informal culture, even if people are reserved at first. Formality can be perceived as unfriendliness. Business relations are usually kept separate from personal relations and maintained with greetings cards, gifts and shared meals.

First Contact
Initial contact should be made to the company and not an individual. Third party introductions are not necessary to contact counterparts. When scheduling a meeting, it is advised to arrange them before 4 p.m. on weekdays. You should confirm appointments in writing.
Time Management
Punctuality is essential and any delay exceeding five minutes must be notified. It is better to avoid scheduling meetings from mid-June through mid-August as many Danes are on vacation in that period.
Greetings and Titles
It is advised to shake hands with everyone present at the beginning and end of the meeting, starting with women. Danes use their professional title and their surname; you should do the same. If someone does not have a professional title, it is common to use the terms “Herr” (Mister), “Fru” (Misses) or “Frøken” (Miss). Danes move to first names quickly, but it is better to wait to be invited before doing so.
Gift Policy
Danish etiquette does not encourage offering a gift at a first meeting. But when good relations are already established a small gift is in order. If invited to a Danish home for dinner, bring flowers, good chocolates or quality wine.
Dress Code
The dress code is rather conservative, although ostentation is frowned upon. Men usually wear suits and ties whereas women usually wear dresses, conservative skirts or pants combined with simple accessories.
Business Cards
Business card should have the physical address of your company and not a post office box.
Meetings Management
Business is conducted with a minimal amount of small talk. Business matters are promptly and directly addressed.

Presentations should be well organised, factual, and backed up by figures and charts. It is advised to send an agenda before the meeting and to work from it without deviation. Avoid hyperbole, maintain eye contact and expect direct questions. You should never talk about avoiding taxes as this is viewed as stealing from the Danish people.

Communication tends to be direct. You should avoid being loud. Maintain eye contact when you are introduced. Speaking a little Danish may work as an icebreaker. Danish humour can be confusing or morbid to newcomers, especially when self mockery or "law of Jante" (no one can think themselves better than others) is used. Blunt comments from Danish people can even be viewed as them opening up as individuals. Speak up during business meetings regardless of your place in the hierarchy, just do so politely.

Business meetings are usually scheduled at lunch in a restaurant (rarely at dinner).  Tipping 10% for good service is acceptable.

Sources for Further Information
Business etiquette in Denmark Guide to Denmark - etiquette, customs, culture & business

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Latest Update: July 2024