The Danes

Denmark's biggest Friday bar and sports day is held every year in September in the Aarhus University Park. Photo: AU Photo

Danes are easy-going and often very informal when they talk to each other. They say what they think, and open discussions are an important part of Danish culture. Danes have a dry sense of humour, which can be quite sarcastic, and they often make fun of authorities. But Danes are also characterised by their sense of self-irony and are often the first to laugh at their own mistakes.

Making friends for life

Even though Danish social conventions are quite informal, the Danes are not particularly spontaneous. If you invite a Dane for coffee, they will often have to check their calendar first. Danes are punctual and arrive on time – also for social events. People from other countries often say that the Danes are friendly and ready to help, but that it can be difficult to get to know them and get close to them. It might take an effort to really get to know a Dane, but, when you succeed, you will have a loyal friend for life. Don’t be afraid to make the first move and say hello – Danes speak English very well.

Clubs and associations

Whether you like football, board games, outdoor activities or music, there is a club or an association for you in Denmark. Danes love clubs and associations, and most of them are members of one or more. Association activities and volunteer work are key elements of Danish society and provide knowledge about communities, involvement, cooperation and independence. Associations play an active role in developing civil society and creating a place for people from different parts of society to meet.

Hygge

If you have been in Denmark for a while, you have probably come across the concept of “hygge”, which roughly translates as “cosiness”. Danes love to “hygge”, and “hygge” can take many different forms: Crawling under the covers with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate. Playing board games with your friends at the local café. Or going on a picnic with your family. There is no fixed definition of “hygge”: The most important thing is that you feel relaxed and comfortable. At its core, hygge is about building intimacy and trust with others.

Some of the happiest people in the world

On many occasions, Denmark has been ranked the world’s happiest country in various studies. The high level of happiness among Danish people is in part related to the Danish welfare society, which ensures a high level of safety and security in people’s lives. At the same time, Danish society is characterised by a very high degree of trust.