If you are living and working in Denmark, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with Danish culture both inside and outside the workplace.
In this post, we have collected what we think are the most useful and up-to-date resources for navigating life as an expat in Denmark.
These links may also interest you if don't live in Denmark but are working with Danes or for a company headquartered in Denmark. Or maybe you are a Dane who is curious to learn more about how you are perceived by your non-Danish friends and colleagues.
We've organized the links into four categories: Working in Denmark, Living in Denmark, Learning Danish, and Having Fun. We hope there's something for everyone.
This short overview, written by the City of Copenhagen, covers the basics of Danish workplace culture. It's a great starting point if you don't yet have any experience working in Denmark.
Obviously, the first step to working in Denmark is finding employment! This free e-learning course from Work in Denmark (The Danish Ministry of Employment) contains four modules: Job Search, Job Interviews, LinkedIn, and Workplace Culture. The course is very thoughtfully made – you're sure to find something useful, even if you already have a job.
The official web portal for the Danish Immigration Service and the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) is where you should go to make sure you know the rules and regulations for working and living in Denmark.
The Danish tax authority, SKAT, has recently begun offering resources in languages other than Danish. There is a comprehensive, web-based guide to working in Denmark here:
and there are shorter PDF guides here:
The Danish Society of Engineers, IDA, is a trade union for people who work in technology, natural sciences, and IT, but they have many resources on their website that are useful for workers in any field. They have even made a 60-minute video about adjusting to life in Denmark.
Just because something is funny doesn't mean it's not true. On the How to Live in Denmark website, Kay Xander Mellish shares sharp observations that will help you understand and navigate Danish culture both inside and outside the office. Kay is an American-Danish dual citizen, author, podcaster, public speaker, and C3 trainer.
The recently redesigned homepage for the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a great source of official information about Denmark, with sections on People and Culture, Society and Business, and Innovation and Design.
Lifeindenmark.dk is another government-backed resource for non-Danish citizens, where you can find information about doctors, taxes, housing, and more. The website is organized based on whether you are coming to, living in, or leaving Denmark.
Permits and paperwork can be a big headache for expats. Fortunately, the four largest cities in Denmark have International Citizen Service offices where staff will help you understand and submit the required documents. Their homepage is also filled with helpful links and downloadable guides.
Aarhus's International Community has collected a number of resources on their website, including sources of English-language news, information about the postal service, shopping guides, tips for using the library, etc. Most of the information is relevant throughout the whole country, not just in Aarhus.
Melanie Haynes's blog Dejlige Days is full of helpful tips for navigating Denmark as an expat. This post is the first of a two-part series about mobile applications that can make your life easier. Everything from transportation to banking to grocery shopping can be simplified with the right app.
If you really want to get the most out of Danish life, you should consider hopping on a bicycle. This article explains how to cycle safely in Denmark, using hand signals and following the written and unwritten rules of the road. It's from Your Danish Life, an expat magazine that is published twice a year, and there are a number of other great articles on their website.
If you have a Facebook account, we recommend following the Expat in Denmark Facebook page. The page is updated regularly with relevant news and events and can be a great starting point for discovering local organizations and services.
This grocery store saga, as it's described by author Bethany Bailey of Expat Family in Denmark, details her successes and missteps as she tries to figure out how to feed her family in a new country. It's worth a read, if only just to learn how to dilute your saft.
Are you experiencing culture shock? This blog post by Jara Lipman Andersen of Girl Meets Dane is a snapshot in time, capturing how it feels to be an expat after one year in Denmark. Whether you have been abroad for more or less time than that, you will likely relate to the eight lessons she shares about her journey to settling in.
German expat Laura has really cracked the code to living the good life in Denmark. Check out her blog, Copenhagen Tales, for inspiration about travel, holidays, dining, and shopping. She makes it look quite glamorous!
If 25 links aren't enough, you can find even more here: 30 useful websites for surviving and thriving in Denmark. The list is directed towards a young, urban audience (and like all things on Scandinavia Standard's website, it equates Denmark with Copenhagen), but it is nonetheless a great collection with everything from seasonal allergy information to Danish verb pronunciation to grocery delivery services.
French expat Béranger took a year off to learn Danish and passed his Module 5 test (Prøve i Dansk 3) in July 2018. Congratulations to him! If you have similar ambitions and want to know how he did it, you can read his blog, LearnDanish.com, where he talks about his experience at Studieskolen in Copenhagen. He also interviews other expats studying at different language schools to get their perspectives.
This light-hearted article by a Danish teacher from the University of Edinburgh explains the link between Danish and English and provides some examples of useful words and phrases along with their pronunciations. Did you know that selvfølgelig (which means 'of course' or 'obviously') is pronounced se-foo-lee? Read this post, and you just might have a better understanding of why.
One of the biggest challenges to learning Danish is the fact that the written version can seem completely unrelated to the spoken pronunciation. This amusing post by the University of Copenhagen Post illustrates the phonetic pronunciation of common phrases that you might hear or use in everyday life.
The Copenhagen Language Center (Københavns Sprogcenter) is more than just a language school; they also have a blog where they post both useful and humorous information about the Danish language. There are guides to help you understand practical things, like the supermarket dairy aisle and holiday traditions, and there are infographics with funny idioms and expressions. Everything includes pronunciation guides and sound recordings.
Erin, a.k.a. Oregon Girl Around the World, put together fun list of '65 Things You Need to Know About Life In Denmark'. The list will probably elicit a chuckle of recognition from people who have been in Denmark for a while.
They say bread is the staff of life, and if you've been in Denmark for any time at all you know that the Danes take their rugbrød seriously. But how do you choose the right loaf at the supermarket or bakery? This post by Your Danish Life breaks down Danish bread (and pastries too).
It's easy to find amusing online anecdotes about the company julefrokost. This guide by Vietnamese expat Ha Troung prepares you for the festivities but doesn't scare you with horror stories of drunk and disorderly colleagues.
Keri Bloomfield's blog, Bilingual Backpack Baby, is full of thoughtful observations about raising a child in Denmark. This post, though, is relevant whether or not you have children: how to celebrate New Year's Eve like a Dane. She covers all the important points, from guessing what colour dress the Queen will wear for her speech to eating kransekage and jumping in the air at midnight.
This post is a collaboration between C3 Consulting's CEO and Chief Trainer Annette Dahl, who has worked and lived across the globe and has trained people of various nationalities in Danish culture, and Phoebe Berke, an American expat in Denmark.
Do you have international employees who live and work in Denmark? Learn about our Danish cultural training for international employees and tailored programmes for international assignees and families.
Contact us for a chat about how we can address your Danish cultural training needs.
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Editor's Note: This post was originally published in October 2018. It has been updated in December 2019 with new links and content.
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