The Danish habits that are just impossible to shake off

Danish traits can quickly become part of everyday life after living in the country for a while. We asked which habits you just can't shake off, which ones you like – and which ones you try to avoid.

The Danish habits that are just impossible to shake off
Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

We received a high number of varied and interesting responses to our questionnaire – many thanks to all who took the time to get in touch. We were glad to have the chance to read all of your answers.

What are the most common habits you picked up?

One answer was very prominent here, and it comes on two wheels.

Byurakn Ishkhanyan, from Armenia, said she was cycling “from day one, even before having a place to live”.

“I love cycling. The bike lanes are safe, and I became more fit,” wrote Marijo Mayotr from the Philippines, who lived in Hellerup near Copenhagen from 2013-15. Mayotr added that he still enjoys using a Danish flag as a birthday celebration.

As well as eating rugbrød (dark rye bread), cycling was also quickly taken on board by Martin Cerny, who moved to Denmark from the Czech Republic as a student in 2012.

Cycling is “not necessarily a Danish habit… it's just convenient here,” Cerny wrote and also mentioned a number of other habits, including: “saying ‘nåå okay’, being quiet on public transport, saying ‘hvad hedder det’ [‘what’s it called’, ed.] as a filler word even when speaking English” and wearing “black and quite good fashion”.

Photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Ritzau Scanpix

Others also mentioned Danish filler words creeping into their speech.

“People tell me and now I notice that I say “ejjj” and “” quite often. Even when I go back to New York I still carry it on. I swear a lot as well in Danish,” Nadine Morgan wrote. Morgan moved from NY state to Denmark in 2015.


Ishkhanyan said she had become more reserved in public since moving to Denmark.

“Even though naturally I am more reserved than an average Armenian, Denmark gave me the right to be reserved. I stopped trying to be social and talkative because it was okay not being too social in Denmark. It was a gradual change though,” she wrote.

Borja noted similar, writing that “I feel like I have to be in my best behaviour whenever I’m in public. Danes are very reserved”.


Others cited the Danish sweet tooth as a custom to take to heart.

“Cakes! There seems to be every reason for Danes to celebrate with a cake. After dental appointment – there’s cake; someone has bought a new car – there's cake; before a long holiday – celebrate it with cake!”, Jamie Borja, who moved to Aalborg in January from the Philippines, wrote.

“My consumption of (candy and cakes) went up about 400 percent after moving to Dk,” Morgan added.

Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

Which Danish habits do you dislike or try to avoid?

“Wearing black. I wear colourful clothes and I'll continue doing it. I won't start eating pork (or any other meat) either. The same goes for getting drunk and losing my mind,” Ishkhanyan said.

Morgan said that she strove to avoid eating liquorice.

“Drinking more than one shot of schnapps” was something Romanian Ioana Chicireanu, who has lived in Kolding since 2015, can do without.

Overall, many said they don’t regret picking up Danish habits at all, and welcomed the positive effects Denmark has had.

“I’m so happy to have lived and learned the Danish culture. I try to use things I learned in my daily life. Especially living more simple, less chaotic,” wrote Renee Fister-Lee, an American from North Carolina who now lives in Bagsværd.

“I have heard it said that Danes won’t greet or speak to strangers. I never found this true. I had many conversations and found them to be wonderful and warm,” she added.

“I guess I picked up only what I like. I wouldn't do it if it bothered me,” Cerny wrote.

Sahra Abdinassir, who is originally from Somalia and moved to Rødovre six years ago, wrote that her Danish habits include “lighting candles, talking to kids in a mature way and respecting children's views, (and) dressing in black”.

She said she was “very happy to have picked the habits because it makes me a better mother and a patient person”.

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What changes about life in Denmark in June 2021?

Coronavirus rules, travel restrictions and car registration fees are among the areas set to see announcements, updates or rule changes in Denmark in June.

What changes about life in Denmark in June 2021?
An electric-powered harbour bus operating in Copenhagen in June 2020. Photo: Claus Bech/Ritzau Scanpix

Changes to coronavirus restrictions

Denmark initially outlined a phased plan to lift its coronavirus restrictions back in March. The plan has been updated (and accelerated) on a number of occasions, with politicians meeting regularly to discuss adjustments based on the status and progression of the epidemic.

Initially, the government said it would lift the majority of restrictions by the end of May, when it expected to have vaccinated everyone over the age of 50 (apart from those who choose not to be vaccinated). Although the vaccination calendar was pushed back, restrictions are still being lifted, with the government citing progress with vaccinations and general good control of the epidemic.

In an agreement reached earlier this month, the government said rules requiring the use of face masks and corona passports will be revoked when all people over 16 in Denmark have been offered vaccination. The end-stage of the vaccination programme is currently scheduled to be reached at the end of August. But more detail on the plans for phased lifting of these rules is expected to surface in June.

READ ALSO: When will Denmark stop requiring corona passports and face masks?

A return to offices and shared workspaces, already set out to occur in three steps, will continue. In the first phase, which began on May 21st, 20 percent capacity were allowed back at physical workplaces. Remaining staff must continue to work from home where possible. This proportion will increase to 50 percent on June 14th (and 100 percent on August 1st).

Public assembly limit to be raised indoors, lifted outdoors

The current phase of reopening, which has been in place since May 21st, limits gatherings indoors to 50 people. This is scheduled to increase to 100 on June 11th.

Outdoors gatherings, currently limited to 100 people, will be completely revoked on June 11th.

August 11th will see the end of any form of assembly limit, indoors or outdoors, according to the scheduled reopening.

Unfortunately, this does not mean festivals such as Roskilde Festival – which would normally start at the end of June – can go ahead. Large scale events are still significantly restricted, meaning Roskilde and the majority of Denmark’s other summer festivals have already been cancelled.

Eased travel restrictions could be extended to non-EU countries

Earlier this month, Denmark moved into the third phase of lifting travel restrictions , meaning tourists from the EU and Schengen countries can enter the country.

The current rules mean that foreigners resident in EU and Schengen countries rated orange on the country’s traffic light classification (yellow, orange and red) for Covid-19 levels in the relevant countries, will no longer need a worthy purpose to enter Denmark, opening the way for tourists to come to Denmark from across the region.

Denmark raised the threshold for qualifying as a yellow country from 20-30 to 50-60 cases per 100,000 people over the past week.  

However, the lower threshold only applies to EU and Schengen countries, which means that, for example, the UK does not qualify as a yellow country despite falling within the incidence threshold.


But the 27 member states of the European Union recently announced they had agreed to allow fully vaccinated travellers to enter the bloc.

A Ministry of Justice text which sets out the plan for Denmark’s phased easing of travel restrictions suggests that the fourth phase, scheduled to take effect on June 26th, will see Denmark adopt the EU’s common rules on entry for persons from outside the bloc, meaning non-EU countries could qualify for the more lenient rules for yellow regions.

New car registration fees come into effect

New rules for registration fees for new vehicles, adopted in February, take effect on June 1st.

The laws, which will be applied retroactively from December 18th 2020, mean that different criteria will be used to calculate the registrations fees applied to cars based on their carbon dioxide emissions, replacing the existing rules which used fuel consumption as the main emissions criteria.

New rules will also be introduced offering more advantages for registering electric and hybrid vehicles.

You can find detailed information via the Danish Motor Vehicle Agency.

READ ALSO: Why is it so expensive to buy a car in Denmark?