Denmark - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel
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Please note: the following information applies only to Denmark, not Greenland or the Faroe Islands.

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, or on national holidays (see below). 

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. When calling from outside Denmark, the eight-digit number must be preceded by the country code 45, often written as +45. 
  • 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

  • AnchorAnchorAnchorAnchorAnchorAnchorTransportation infrastructure is excellent throughout mainland Denmark, and all major islands and the peninsula of Jutland are interconnected by networks of trains, tunnels, and bridges.  Copenhagen (1.38 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 or train ride 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 44,400 miles of paved roads in Denmark (including 750 miles of freeway) and a 1,500 mile railway network.  Denmark is also well-known for its bicycle infrastructure, including 2,963 miles of bike lanes.  There are 12 civilian airports besides the major Copenhagen International Airport (Kastrup).  It serves as the hub for SAS (Scandinavian Airline System), consolidating flights to the United States and Europe from other Scandinavian countries. 
  • Every year, more than 30 million passengers pass through Copenhagen Airport on average, making it the busiest airport in the Nordic countries.  It has a maximum capacity of 83 operations per hour and capacity for 108 airplanes.  The airport’s operations were severely impacted by COVID-19, but passenger rates are bouncing back, and in 2022 Copenhagen Airport had more than 20 million passengers passing through.  In the fall of 2023, the airport reported the busiest summer season in four years, with 7,956,386 passengers over the three summer months.
  • 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 Copenhagen Metro has four lines, M1, M2, M3, and M4, with the latter currently being extended to reach southern Copenhagen, Sydhavn by 2024.  The metro connects the majority of central Copenhagen to surrounding neighborhoods (Østerbro, Nørrebro, Vesterbro, and Frederiksberg), and runs both day and night with only short intervals.  Visitors are able to buy single-trip or 24-hour tickets, while most residents use the popular ticketing system with discount schemes, Rejsekort, which can be purchased for USD 12 at every 7-Eleven or Corner Store.  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 wind and 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. 
  • Denmark is almost entirely surrounded by sea and has a moderate maritime climate.  The average temperatures range from about 25˚F in February to 75˚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 seven 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 delivering healthcare in Denmark is significantly 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 waiting periods.  To avoid waiting time in these situations, patients may choose to seek medical and hospital care privately as paying patients.
  • Tourists and business travelers 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 2023.

  • Regular business hours are from 9.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.
Local holidays 2023 & 2024:
Holidays (in Danish)20232024
New Year’s Day (Nytårsdag)January 1 (Sun)January 1 (Mon)
Maundy Thursday (Skærtorsdag)April 6 (Thu)March 28 (Thu)
Good Friday (Langfredag)April 7 (Fri)March 29 (Fri)
Easter Monday (2.  Påskedag)
Catholic/Protestant
April 10 (Mon)April 1 (Mon)
Ascension (Kristi Himmelfartsdag)
40 days after Easter
May 18 (Thu)May 9 (Thu)
Whit Monday (2.  Pinsedag)
(7 weeks after Easter Monday)
May 29 (Mon)May 20 (Mon)
Constitution Day (Grundlovsdag) / not all businesses are closedJune 5 (Mon)June 5 (Wed)
Christmas Eve (Juleaftensdag)December 24 (Sun)December 24 (Tue)
Christmas Day (Juledag / 1.  juledag)
Catholic/Protestant
December 25 (Mon)December 25 (Wed)
2nd Christmas Day (also called Anden Juledag)December 26 (Tue)December 26 (Thu)
Banks are closed on New Year’s Eve / not all businesses are closedDecember 31 (Sun)December 31 (Tue)

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 3 on Trade Regulations and Standards – Temporary entry.

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