Mention Denmark to most people, and they may think of Viking raiders with horned helmets, looting and pillaging their way across Europe. Others may think of one of Denmark’s more famous exports—Carlsberg beer, or the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen. But of the Danes themselves they will probably know very little.
This talented, industrious people have made important contributions to European and world culture. They have created a social model that has been the envy of some and is an example to many, and are justifiably proud of their achievements. While the Danes may be difficult to get to know, they are a friendly, fair-minded, and civilized people who are most certainly worth knowing.
Here are 5 important tips and facts on Danish culture to help soften your landing.
By Katherine Foreman
The months leading up to my university graduation ceremony jump-started a period in my life that I’ve since thought of as the Hyperpanic Era, during which I spent a lot of time staring into space and struggling to envision my life in an office setting. I’d nearly completed a degree in journalism and was preparing to move to New York when I had an epiphany, which was simply that I was going to put Corporate America on indefinite hold and instead move to Spain. I made my decision and, without much consideration of the possible downsides, booked my spot on a Barcelona-based teaching course the same week.
“But you could move to New York! L.A.! Chicago!” my parents pressed. “You’ve just spent four years in journalism school, not studying education.” At the time, I wasn’t as concerned about the actual profession as I was about living within two miles of a beach. “It’ll all be fine,” I attempted to placate their concern, not knowing a single thing about what I was throwing myself into, or what I had to gain.
To mark the publication of our brand new Culture Smart! Laos guide we have put together a short list of tips on how to be a good guest when visiting this beautiful and fascinating country. Visiting foreign countries can be a cultural minefield, and though many may be forgiving of visitors who don’t know better, we believe that a little practical cultural knowledge will not only impress your hosts, but will also help you to have a more meaningful and enriching experience. Enjoy!
This week’s Wednesday Wanderlust takes us to Central Asia for a look at the values and attitudes celebrated among these nations:
- Superstitions – Ill-wishing neighbours can cause you harm by placing sand or broken needles in fornt of your house. A mullah, or any old person, can help to avert the evil eye or bad luck, cure the sick, mend a relationship, and so on, by reading a prayer in Arabic.
There’s much more to Scandinavia than Ikea and top crime-drama television programmes.
- Punctuality is very important in Norway due to the culture of fairness and equality. Everyone’s time is equally important. Trains, ferries and buses nearly always leave on time. It’s important to be punctual on time, and not too early or too late.
East Asia is an exciting and culturally unique corner of the world popular with tourists. Check out these 10 values and attitudes straight from our guides.
- In 2009, a brand new festival “Singles Day” was invented as a marketing ploy. The date is 11 November, or 11/11, as the four number ones symbolise four “bare sticks” (single people). Singles Day is equivalent to America’s Black Friday in terms of popularity and sales.
- The annual Moon Festival (which is around mid-September) celebrates the legend of the moon goddess Chang-O. This is a family affair to admire the full moon and eat “moon-cakes” which are round cakes with fillings such as lotus-seed paste, fruit or ham.