Six tips for surviving the Danish dating scene

Going by the saying 'if it's easy, it's not worth doing', The Local's Chris Manion says that dating a Danish woman must be totally worth it. Here are his Valentine's Day tips for surviving the battlefield that is Danish dating.

Six tips for surviving the Danish dating scene
The Dane is a beautiful yet mysterious creature. Photo: Sigfrid Lundberg/Flickr

The dating battleground can be a fierce, unrelenting and savage arena, and Denmark is by no means an exception, especially when it comes to non-Danes trying to woo Danish women. As an expat, you may have naively left the airport with a sense of safety that the years of honing your irresistible charm will be enough to navigate the minefield of finding love in Denmark. You were most likely wrong.

If dating and love are literally a battlefield, you would be strictly following the Geneva convention while that lovely Danish woman has no problem with a little bit of chemical warfare.

Whilst this may be a slightly exaggerated metaphor for dating in Denmark, there are some unwritten rules in the land of the Vikings that seem to have become ingrained into their psyche. So here are some tips for making it out alive and a few bits of advice that will help you stand out from the crowd.

1. Don’t approach women at bus stops

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Don't even think about it. Photo: Gareth Williams/Flickr

This particular piece of advice actually applies to most public places, unless alcohol is being consumed (by both parties). While it may have been quirky and charming to go up to a beautiful girl doing her weekly shop and try and spark up a conversation in your home country, if you do so in Denmark you may be seen as completely insane. So not only will you not get the girl, you may also be sectioned, and that is what is universally known as a bad day.

2. Be a little bit outrageously flirtatious

<img alt="" src="" style="width: 468px; height: 280px;" title="Work that magic. Photo: Glenn Loos-Austin/Flickr” />

Work that magic. Photo: Glenn Loos-Austin/Flickr

One thing that I've heard time and time again from Danish women is that their male counterparts are hopeless at flirting, or at least at flirting well. I'm not suggesting you go crazy but if you can talk the talk it may go a long way, especially with that accent many Danish girls will find adorable – more on that later.

3. Don’t pay for everything, but pay for a few things

<img alt="" src="" style="width: 468px; height: 280px;" title="Dating a Dane can be a little lighter on the wallet. Photo: Dan Nicholas/Flickr” />

Dating a Dane can be a little lighter on the wallet. Photo: Dan Nicholas/Flickr

Denmark has a fantastic record when it comes to gender equality, and there is no exception to this when it comes to the dating scene. Whereas many cultures in Europe deem it the norm for the male to whip his wallet out at the end of an expensive meal, in Denmark it is more likely the woman will insist on splitting the bill. But she just may find it incredibly charming if you were to pay for her glass of wine or cocktail.

4. Don’t rush anything

<img alt="" src="" style="width: 468px; height: 280px;" title="Take a break from the messaging. Photo: Timothy Krause/Flickr” />

Take a break from the messaging. Photo: Timothy Krause/Flickr

Dating is not something that comes all too naturally to Danes, so messaging them incessantly asking when they want to meet next or having the classic ‘are we boyfriend and girlfriend’ conversation after a month is not at all advisable. It may take months and months for anything of what many would call a 'relationship' to take proper form. The saying patience is a virtue was created for dating Danes (this may or may not be true).

5. Be yourself

No car? No problem. Photo: Ed Shipul/Flickr

One of the most noticeable traits about Danish women, and Danes in general, is that they aren’t too fussed about your financial position. Just because your bike is a hand-me-down and your shoes aren’t designer doesn’t mean you are out of the running. Most Danish women prefer honesty, compassion and a little bit of excitement over a sports car and a mansion. So don’t try and big yourself up too much and as the cliché goes, be yourself. Unless you’re a horrible person.

6. Flex your Danish language skills

Danish women can’t resist a badly pronounced rødgrød med fløde, it simply sends them wild. You will go from being a slightly grumpy, a little podgy and kind of balding expat to being as irresistible as a cross between a baby Shih Tzu puppy and Brad Pitt circa 1996. OK, maybe not quite, but they will appreciate you attempting their ridiculously difficult Danish language and a little bit of effort goes along way. 

If you can pronounce this sign properly, she may just need to use one. Photo: Derek Yu/Flickr

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For the last six months, I’ve been trying to date Danes. Here’s what I found out

When I arrived in Denmark, my dating experience was nil.

For the last six months, I’ve been trying to date Danes. Here’s what I found out
Photo: Linda Kastrup/Ritzau Scanpix

I found myself in a different country, a country with so many great opportunities. So I did what every 20-year-old with free time and a messy love life does: I downloaded Tinder. 

To my friends, I said “I probably won’t meet anyone”; I told my mom “don’t worry, it’s just a social experiment to meet the locals!”. I told myself I was going to have as much fun as possible without getting too many feelings. I was completely wrong.

The Danes are beautiful, and they are everywhere. In the future, when people ask me what the best thing about Denmark was, I will have a lot of trouble deciding if it’s the great bread or the men in black turtlenecks.

I’ve fallen in love on the train, picturing some kind of love story at a distance. I’ve purposely sat in front of very good-looking guys at the university library only to then complain that I couldn’t concentrate. I’ve fallen in love on my bike, then almost literally fallen – I guess you’re not a true Copenhagener if you haven’t gotten dangerously distracted by some impossibly handsome person.

Over the last few months, I’ve met a few guys. There have been both ups and downs. I decided the best way to make use of all the experience I’ve had in my time here is to share it with the world. So here it goes… This is what is like to date the Danes.

Every date will be a language lesson. I’ve learned how to say “kartofler” (potatoes), spent hours trying to pronounce “skildpadde” (turtle), been laughed at whenever I say which neighbourhood I live in (it shouldn’t be that hard).

Danish is such a difficult language, and you’ll find yourself asking your significant other “what were you talking about?” a lot in social gatherings.

But in my opinion, Danish is also a very sexy language to hear: there’s something about those øs and unpronounceable sounds that just gets me.

Danes are sweet and caring. They remember stuff you’ve said a long time ago, and they ask “How has your day been?” a lot. They will bake bread for you in the morning and say goodnight with a cute emoji every night. They will ramble for hours about subjects they believe are relevant. I’ve had long chats about politics and hour conversations about dogs.

READ ALSO: Six tips for surviving the Danish dating scene

There will also be lots of wine because that’s how socializing is easy. The first date is usually “let’s go for wine”, rather than the usual beer. And even though they hate the idea of dating, they are very good at choosing locations and turning each occasion into an adventure.

I also find it great that this is a society where men don’t necessarily offer to pay on dates. I’m very happy to pay for my own things – that’s until someone took me to a very fancy rooftop bar and I paid 220 kroner for our drinks.

Even if all they want is a one-night stand, they will make the effort. This is a tricky one: it might lead you to believe they actually want something else, but keep in mind that they probably don’t. When commitment hits the door, Danes have a tendency to run away.

If you do decide to go for the one-night stand, expect great things. Danes tend to be very experienced and dedicated when it comes to sex. Most of them have been doing it for a long time and know all the tips and tricks.

But at some point, you will get hurt, so get your heart ready. You might be dumped for an ex-girlfriend that was just around, you might be ghosted, you might be broken up with because “this is too much for me”.

Heartbroken, I once found myself crying in my favourite porridge place when I saw a couple sharing a bowl of oats. They just looked so effortlessly happy, while I sat rereading a “hope to see you again soon” text from a relationship that didn’t make it.

But when all of this happens, remember hygge! Give yourself some time on your own to reset. My process was the following: lighting up some candles, getting a cinnamon swirl, (another amazing thing about this country is the pastries), going back on Tinder, and dying my hair blonder. Needless to say, I’m as blond as sunshine now.

READ ALSO: My best and worst days in Denmark

Valeria Laura Rigo is a 21 year-old student of International Business from Argentina currently on exchange in Copenhagen. She has previously contributed to the Huffington Post and currently blogs for an American organisation about female empowerment. Her professional career is in human resources and in her free time, she likes to weightlift.