Travel & Expat Lifestyle Magazine

Learning the Business Customs of Denmark


When doing business meetings, appointments are necessary in Denmark, and should be scheduled via writing rather than phone or e-mail. This should also be done between companies rather than between individuals. Avoid scheduling meetings from the middle of June through the middle of August, because most Danish people are on vacation. Other than that, the Danes are on a regular business schedule from Monday through Friday.

Danish people are punctual, so make sure you arrive to your meeting on time to create a good first impression. If you will be held up for over five minutes, you are expected to call them as soon as possible. You should dress in typical business clothes, such as a business suit and tie for men, and a business dress or slacks for women. You are not expected to be overly stylish or flashy.

During introductions, you should shake hands with each person individually, and retain eye contact. Be sure to shake hands with the women first. You should initially address people by their professional titles and last names. If you are unsure of someone’s name, you should address them as “Fru” if it is a woman, or “Herr” if it is a man. They will probably invite you to start using first names rather quickly, as it is an egalitarian society, but you should of course wait to be told to do this. There will probably be little small talk, so refrain from bringing up your personal life.

WBCSD Copenhagen

Business cards are often exchanged after introduction. Your business card should list the physical address of your company, not just a post office box or electronic information. English business cards and written materials are usually fine, as most Danes know English as a second language quite well.

You should have an agenda set up before the meeting. Make sure you execute the material of your agenda during the meeting and do not stray away from it. You should be very direct and well-organized when speaking and presenting. You should back up your facts and statements with graphs and other information. Make sure to retain eye contact with all of the people in the room.

Decisions are not solely made by high-up officials, and Danish companies will often consult everyone involved at the meeting before reaching one. If you are invited to a business associate’s home, you may dress casually. Do not bring up business within the home, as it is a place to relax.


One thought on “Learning the Business Customs of Denmark

  1. Overall a good article, but I have to point out that almost no one in Denmark uses the titles Mr. (Hr.), Mrs. (Fru) or Miss (Fr√łken). Danes always just call each other by our first names, and using someone’s last name, would be considered overly polite and a bit odd.

    I’ve never heard of shaking hands with women first. Usually you’d just shake hands with people in the order you meet them, since, as you point out, Danish society is egalitarian.

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