Denmark - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel

Includes information on acceptable business etiquette, dress, business cards, gifts, etc.

Last published date: 2021-11-13

Business Customs

Danish businesspeople may appear somewhat formal at first, but they are likely to quickly show a more informal side of themselves. Danes tend to introduce themselves with their first names only. The typical dress code, especially for younger employees, can seem more relaxed to an American businessperson. Danes like to get down to business right away and are generally conservative and efficient in their approach to business meetings. Handshakes are the accepted form of greeting. Danes shake hands for greetings upon arrival and departure from a meeting. 

Virtually all Danish businesspeople have a good working knowledge of English, therefore, interpreters are almost never required. Business gifts are not a normal custom in Denmark. Business entertaining is usually done at lunch and rarely at dinner in a restaurant. Even more rarely is a businessperson invited for dinner at the home of a business acquaintance in the early stages of their relationship. 

Advance appointments are always required, and punctuality is a must; it is considered rude to be late or too early. 

The standard workweek is 37.5 hours. Mandatory vacation is five weeks plus up to five more days per year, plus local holidays (see below). At least three weeks are usually taken during summer, typically in July and/or August. 

The school summer vacation period is from about June 28 to about August 15. Generally, business is very slow in the summer period as many executives are out of the office on vacation. It is not advisable to schedule business meetings or other business activities in Denmark from late June to early August, from December 20 to January 5, or during the week of Easter.

Danes treasure their leisure time, most of which is spent with their families. Similarly, businesspeople should not routinely expect to meet with their Danish counterparts after 4:00 p.m. on weekdays. On Fridays, many Danes leave early, generally between 2:00-3:00 p.m. Do not plan meetings for Saturdays, Sundays, nor on national holidays (see below). 

Travel Advisory

The national carrier, Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS), provides non-stop service from Copenhagen to New York (Newark), Chicago O’Hare, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Miami, and Boston.

Major U.S. credit cards (i.e. Visa and Mastercard) are accepted in Denmark (in hotels, restaurants, and major department stores, but usually not in smaller stores), but a pin may be required for transactions. Most credit card providers can establish a PIN before your departure. Danes often use MobilePay, but this service is not available to visitors.

All major U.S. car rental companies have offices at airports and major cities. Several Danish hotels are affiliated with U.S. hotel management companies. Consequently, a U.S. business visitor may plan their entire trip to Denmark through their local travel agent, including overseas and local transportation and lodging. 

Denmark is safe; violent crime is rare. The country has been spared of natural disasters. Even so, Denmark still has its share of pickpockets, especially in summer months. Common sense and a general degree of caution are always good traveling companions. Up-to-date travel information on Denmark and all other countries is available on the Department of State’s website: http://travel.state.gov. All U.S. citizen visiting Denmark are encouraged to register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at https://step.state.gov/step/.

If a U.S. citizen visitor plans to stay in Denmark for a period of more than three months, or if s/he has already been resident in Denmark or one of the other Scandinavian countries for the last nine months, s/he must apply for both residence and work permits before arriving in Denmark. This rule applies to all non-EU citizens. In the United States, applications may be submitted to the Royal Danish Embassy in Washington D.C. or one of its diplomatic/consular posts located in select large U.S. cities. 

Business travelers to Denmark seeking appointments with U.S. Embassy Copenhagen officials should contact the Commercial Section in advance. The Commercial Section can be reached by telephone at +45 3341 7315, or by email at office.copenhagen@trade.gov or visit www.buyusa.gov/denmark.

Visa Requirements

Business travelers to Denmark seeking appointments with U.S. Embassy Copenhagen officials should contact the Commercial Section in advance. The Commercial Section can be reached by telephone at +45 3341 7315, or by email at office.copenhagen@trade.gov or visit www.buyusa.gov/denmark.

U.S. citizen business visitors and tourists do not need visas to enter Denmark if they are staying in the country for less than three months (90 days). 

U.S. citizens should consult the Danish government COVID-19 website (in English) https://en.coronasmitte.dk/travel-rules/new-mandatory-testing-and-isolation-requirements#heading4 for current information about travel to Denmark.    

For Danes traveling to the United States, Denmark is part of the U.S. visa waiver program. This means that Danes are not required to obtain a visa to travel to the United States, but they must fill out an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) application and be approved before departure. U.S. companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States should be advised that security screening is handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should consult the Embassy’s Visa Webpage for additional information. 

On October 25 President Biden issued A Proclamation on Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-⁠19 Pandemic which takes effect on November 8.  The proclamation requires foreign nationals traveling to the United States to demonstrate proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.  The new policy will end the travel restrictions under Presidential Proclamation 10143 and the need for National Interest Exceptions (NIE).  All travelers, regardless of vaccination status, are still required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test before travel. 

More information about the vaccination and testing requirements is available on the CDC page Non-U.S. citizen, Non-U.S. immigrants: Air Travel to the United States.  Answers to frequently asked questions about the new requirements for international travel to the United States are available at travel.state.gov

Telecommunications

Telecommunication services are highly developed. Telephone systems provide first-class digital service, and several cellular system providers offer excellent European and worldwide mobile communications. 

In Denmark, telephone numbers consist of eight digits. There are no area or city codes.  If you are calling from outside Denmark, the eight-digit number must be preceded by the country code 45, often written as +45, followed by the eight-digit telephone number. 

In Greenland, telephone numbers consist of six digits, preceded by country code 299 if calling from abroad.

The Faroe Islands country code is 298 followed by a five-digit telephone number.

Transportation

Transportation infrastructure is excellent throughout mainland Denmark, and all major islands and the peninsula of Jutland are interconnected by networks of tunnels and bridges. Copenhagen (1.3 million residents), Denmark’s capital, is the center of government and business. It is located on the island of Zealand across a narrow strait from Southern Sweden. Copenhagen is connected to Sweden by a ten-mile bridge/tunnel. 

Denmark’s second largest city, Aarhus, is located on the Jutland peninsula, about a three-hour drive from Copenhagen. Business visitors can also move easily from one part of the country to another by train, ferry, bus, or domestic airlines. There are over 74,000 km of paved roads in Denmark (including 1,250 km of freeway) and a 2,500 km railway network. There are 12 civilian airports besides the major international Copenhagen International Airport (Kastrup). It serves as the Scandinavian hub for SAS (Scandinavian Airline System), consolidating flights to the United States and Europe from other Scandinavian countries. 

More than 30 million passengers passed through Copenhagen Airport in 2019, making it the busiest airport in the Nordic countries. It has a maximum capacity of 83 operations per hour and capacity for 108 airplanes. During 2019, the airport’s operations were severely impacted by COVID-19 reducing the daily flights to less than 10 percent of capacity when activity was at the lowest.

The city of Copenhagen also has a modern seaport catering to freight vessels, as well as cruise liners. Copenhagen has become one of the most popular points of departure for cruise liners in Europe. 

Copenhagen Airport is connected via metro to the city center so travelers can reach downtown Copenhagen in only 14 minutes. The metro was expanded in September 2019, adding a third metro line consisting of 17 stations. This new line connects major parts of central Copenhagen to surrounding neighborhoods (Østerbro, Nørrebro, Vesterbro, and Frederiksberg). A new extension of the metro connecting the rest of the city to the up-and-coming neighborhood of Sydhavnen is expected to be finished in 2024. The Port of Copenhagen includes a free port. Other major ports are at Esbjerg, Aalborg, Aarhus, and Fredericia. The port of Esbjerg (southwestern Jutland) is the center for offshore oil and gas activities in Denmark. 

Language

Virtually all Danes have a good working knowledge of English and most Danish businesspeople speak English as their second language.

Health

A visitor to Denmark faces no special health risks, as the overall health conditions are excellent. 

Being that Denmark is almost entirely surrounded by sea, it has a moderate, maritime climate. The average temperatures range from about 25˚F in February to 70˚F in July. Temperatures vary slightly from day to night. Average annual rainfall is approximately 28 inches, and on average, it rains every third day in Denmark. Days are short in winter, with about 5 hours of daylight in December and January. Daylight in summer lasts 16-18 hours on clear days.

Danish medical care is of high quality and is comparable to the medical care one finds throughout Western Europe. Diagnostic laboratories and specialists in all fields of medicine are available. Hospitals are well-equipped and maternity hospitals and many clinics are available.  Almost all doctors and dentists speak English, especially in large cities.

The system for providing care in Denmark is different from that in the United States.  Danish citizens and permanent residents of Denmark qualify for free hospitalization and medical treatment under the Danish National Health Service. While medical treatment and hospital care is covered by the Danish National Health Service, it may require referral from a general practitioner, which often results in longer waiting periods. To avoid waiting time in these situations, patients may choose to seek medical and hospital care privately as paying patients.

Tourists do not qualify for treatment under the Danish National Health Service, except in cases of emergency. Tourists will not be denied medical care unless the medical facility determines that the emergency occurred as a result of a pre-existing condition, in which case the individual must be prepared to pay for all services received. It is important for those traveling to Denmark to keep up-to-date health insurance that covers overseas travel.

Most over-the-counter medicines are available locally. They may not, however, be available at the same quantities without a prescription as in the United States, and they may not be available under the same brand names as those used in the United States. Prices are generally the same or lower than in the United States. Tourists should bring a supply of the medicine that they know they will need. In case of emergency, dial 112 for an ambulance, the fire department, or the police.

Local Time, Business Hours and Holidays

Denmark is in the Central European Time Zone. Central European Standard Time (CET) is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+1). Like in most countries in Europe, summer (daylight saving) time is observed in Denmark, where the time shifts forward by one hour, i.e. two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2). After the summer months, the time in Denmark shifts back by one hour to Central European Time (CET, (GMT+1)). The time changes do not necessarily occur on the same days as in the United States, but generally a week or two earlier in the spring and the fall. The EU has voted to abolish daylight saving time, but this has not yet come into force as of fall 2021.

Normal business hours are from 9.00 a.m to 4.30 p.m..

Local holidays 2021 & 2022:

Holidays (in Danish)

2021

2022

New Year’s Day (Nytårsdag)

January 1 (Fri)

January 1 (Sat)

Maundy Thursday (Skærtorsdag)

April 1 (Thu)

April 14 (Thu)

Good Friday (Langfredag)

April 2 (Fri)

April 15 (Fri)

Easter Monday (2.  Påskedag)
Catholic/Protestant

April 5 (Mon)

April 18 (Mon)

Common Prayer Day (Store Bededag)

April 30 (Fri)

May 13 (Fri)

Ascension (Kristi Himmelfartsdag)
40 days after Easter

May 13 (Thu)

May 26 (Thu)

Whit Monday (2.  Pinsedag)
(7 weeks after Easter Monday)

May 24 (Mon)

June 6 (Mon)

Constitution Day (Grundlovsdag) / not all businesses are closed

June 5 (Sat)

June 5 (Sun)

Christmas Eve (Juleaftensdag)

December 24 (Fri)

December 24 (Sat)

Christmas Day (Juledag / 1.  juledag)
Catholic/Protestant

December 25 (Sat)

December 25 (Sun)

2nd Christmas Day (also called Anden Juledag)

December 26 (Sun)

December 26 (Mon)

Banks are closed on New Year’s Eve / not all businesses are closed

December 31 (Fri)

December 31 (Sat)

Temporary Entry of Materials or Personal Belongings

Temporary exemption from duty can be granted, for instance, to the following:

  • Goods intended for public displays at exhibitions and fairs
  • Commercial samples
  • Professional tools and equipment
  • If the goods are put to unauthorized use or are not exported within the prescribed time they must go through normal customs clearance and become liable for relevant duties and taxes.
  • Please also see Chapter 5: Trade Regulations and Standards – Temporary entry

Resources

  • U.S. Embassy in Denmark: https://dk.usembassy.gov/
  • Danish Train Services https://www.dsb.dk/
  • Copenhagen Airport https://www.cph.dk/
  • Weather – https://www.dmi.dk/
  • Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs – https://um.dk/
  • Denmark’s official website – https://denmark.dk/
  • Tourist in Denmark – https://www.visitdenmark.com/
  • American Chamber of Commerce in Denmark - https://amcham.dk/
  • Police - https://politi.dk/