Knowing these features will help save time, money and nerves while traveling in Denmark.
The standard Russian tourist knows little about the Danes and Denmark: a little about Andersen and the Little Mermaid, a little about Carlsberg beer, a little about Hamlet’s castle and something remotely about Lego toys and Danish design. In this collection, My Planet has collected examples of the most unexpected features of the controversial Danish mentality. Knowing these national features will help save time, money and nerves while traveling in Denmark.
Living by the Law of Jante
Jante’s law is an idiomatic expression used to explain the Danish mentality. The concept itself was introduced by the writer Axel Sandemuse, who described in the book The Fugitive Crosses His Trail the town of Jante, where social equality reigns based on the maintenance of basic rules: residents should not consider themselves special, stick out their money, abilities or achievements for show and laugh at others. When you learn about the Jante Law, you immediately understand why Danish ministers come to work on bicycles.
undress in the sun
Denmark is a northern, gloomy country, so the inhabitants here are especially anxious about sunlight and vitamin D. In winter, many people drink vitamin pills or medicines, and in summer, when the sun appears, they rush to nature. If the sun caught a Dane somewhere in the center of the city, he sometimes, not particularly embarrassed, takes off his shirt and sits on a bench with a naked torso.
Have picnics in cemeteries
Danes sunbathe not only in parks, beaches or random shops, but also in cemeteries. One of the most popular places in Copenhagen is the Assistens Cemetery. Here you can often meet whole families at a picnic between the graves and girls in bathing suits with a book. The main idea of the cemetery should not be a place of death, on the contrary, it is a place of life! Moreover, there is not enough land in the country; we must treat it carefully and practically.
Don’t let go of your flag
The Danes are very sensitive to the national flag. The flag is met at the airport, the flag is put on the table of the birthday boy in the restaurant, the flag hangs on the Christmas tree and is painted on table napkins. It’s not about increased patriotism: the flag among the Danes is considered just an ornament. It was this attitude that allowed representatives of this nation to use their flag in the Hundelort campaign, during which a miniature Danish flag was inserted into dog feces on the road to attract attention.
Leave strollers with children on the street
In Denmark, you can often see prams standing at the entrance to cafes, shops or on the terrace near the house. While parents drink tea inside, babies sleep peacefully outside. The tradition dates back to the time of the plague, when they tried to save children from infection and took them out to sleep in the fresh air.
Do not hang curtains on the windows
If you walk around Copenhagen in the evening, you will soon pay attention not so much to the light from the windows, but to the fact that there are no curtains on the windows. The Danes themselves explain this by the fact that they have nothing to hide, and therefore they do not need curtains. Curtains, like fences, suggest that a person wants to separate from society, and this is not welcome among Danes.
Protect personal space
Despite the fact that there are few curtains and fences in the country, the Danes are in no hurry to let strangers into their lives. They don’t really like hugging, patting each other on the back, or kissing each other on the cheeks when they meet. Unlike the same Italians, the Danes take a long time to let a person into their personal space.
Tell the truth
The Danes openly express their opinions without much thought about the consequences. The grandmother on the street will definitely say that your bike is parked incorrectly, and the florist in the shop will tell you everything he knows about the country from which you came. Moreover, in his story he will describe both positive and negative stories known to him, especially not sparing anyone’s feelings.
Strictly follow the rules
In cities, it’s rare to see a person running a red light at traffic lights, and queues are strictly enforced even at noisy and drunken music festivals. If someone decides to do otherwise, the Danish straightforwardness described above works: the violator is immediately put in his place.
Don’t leave a tip
In Denmark, it is not customary to leave a tip. Modern card payment terminals in restaurants sometimes ask how much a guest is willing to leave for a tip, but if the guest ignores it, no one will be offended. If you still want to leave a tip, the moral threshold is 10%. Anything above will be regarded as a desire to show off.