Danish Tipping Protocol, Danish Gratuities, & Danish Culture
- DO dress neatly.
- DO wear jeans for casual events, but definitely make sure they are neat and clean.
- DO rest your wrists at the edge of the table.
- DO try everything served to you and accept offers for second helpings.
- DO finish everything on your plate.
- DO make eye contact during a toast and raise your glass eye level.
- DO place your knife and fork across your plate with the handles to the right when you are done eating.
- DON'T start eating until the host says "Skol."
- DON'T expect a meal to be quick. Sometimes dinner can last over four hours!
- DO open a gift immediately.
- DON'T give extravagant gifts. Liquor or flowers is often appreciated it. Also, a book about your hometown makes a nice gift.
- DON'T give sharp objects as a gift.
- DO wrap flowers if giving them as a gift.
- DO give roses or wildflowers if you wish to give flowers. Avoid giving white roses, however. They are associated with mourning.
Visting Someone's Home
- DON'T arrive more than 15 minutes late.
- DO take your shoes off upon entering.
- DO dress well.
- DO help your host with preparation and clean-up.
- DO bring a dessert or alcoholic beverage.
- DO make an appointment in advance and have it confirmed in writing. Avoid scheduling appointments in the summertime if possible, because many Danes go on vacation then.
- DON'T be late! Punctuality is important in Denmark. If you're running more than five minutes late, call to explain.
- DON'T expect much small talk.
- DO send an agenda in advance and follow it at the meeting.
- DON'T bring a gift to an initial meeting. It's not customary, but you may send a gift after negotiations are complete. Small gifts with a company logo are appropriate.
- DON'T be too touchy feely. It's not appreciated in Denmark.
- DO greet with a nice, firm handshake accompanied by eye contact and a smile.
- DO shake hands with everybody present when arriving and again when departing. Don't forget the children! Shake hands with them, too.
- DO shake hands with women first.
- DON'T call someone by their first name until invited to, but you'll probably be invited to move to a first name basis very quickly.
- DON'T expect to be asked "How are you?". This question is only asked if you have a personal relationship with the person and you really want to know how they are.
- DON'T mistake a Dane for being Swedish or Norwegian.
- DO say "thank you" a lot. Danes do it, so be polite back to them.
The service charge is not separated from the bill, but adjusted for in the salary of the person. Traditionally, the tip has not been common, but is being introduced by outside influence. Tipping should only be given as a token of real appreciation for the service. Be aware that the tips will most often be split between the waiters and the kitchen. If you want to thank a specific person, make sure to tell them it is a personal gift. Taxi drivers do not expect tips, any extra service (such as carrying bags) will be listed on the receipt according to rate. In this region, tipping is sometimes referred to as driks (Norwegian) but usually just tips, drikkepenge (Danish) or dricks (Swedish), meaning for drinks.
Our Danish Tipping Recommendations
- Taxis and Limos: Tipping optional, Round up to next bill/large coin