Culture Smart! Denmark introduces you to the Danish people and the values they hold dear. Mention Denmark and some people will think of marauding Vikings 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 may know very little.
The Danes tend to be more relaxed and less formal than their fellow Scandinavians, and more independently minded. In fact, Denmark used to be referred to by its puritanical northern neighbours as “the loose woman to the south.” This book gives an insider’s perspective on Danish home, work, and social life, and on the Jantelov – the principles underpinning the traditional Scandinavian virtues of modesty, equality, and social cohesion, but which also warn against the dangers of individualism. There are many practical tips on how to conduct yourself in Denmark and what to expect in social situations.
The effort you put into getting to know the Danes will be amply rewarded. Armed with this guide, you will be able to avoid some of the social and cultural pitfalls that foreign visitors are bound to encounter. And you will discover that, beneath their quiet northern reserve, the Danish people are friendly, fair-minded, civilized, and warm.
Punctuality is important to Danes and for the foreign visitor, as the Danes are unlikely to make allowances for cultural diversity in this area. As a rule of thumb, if you are going to be delayed for more than five minutes then call the person you are meeting and let them know. This will make things a lot easier!