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What's the tipping culture in Denmark you should know about?

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What's the tipping culture in Denmark you should know about?
Should you tip at Danish restaurants? Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Beyond the complexities of tipping etiquette across cultures, tipping in Denmark can just be physically difficult. Here's how to handle it.


The short answer 

Tipping in Denmark is certainly not expected, but it's certainly not frowned upon either. If you've received excellent service, you can either round your bill up to the nearest 10 or 100 kroner or aim for 10 percent of your total, which is considered generous.  


One exception, according to several travel websites including Fodor, appears to be hotel porters. These sources recommend tipping them between 1 and 5 kroner per bag. 

Restaurants that cater to tourists, particularly in Copenhagen, seem to be more likely to present opportunities to tip — but you shouldn't feel pressure to do so. 

READ MORE: What wages can you expect when working in Denmark?

The reasons why, and how tipping can be tricky in practice 

It's not just that people in the service industry are paid a living wage (they are) and receive universal social benefits from the Danish government (they do) — it's that cash simply isn't king in Denmark. 

Over the past twenty or so years, it's become uncommon to carry cash in Denmark (both the higher-denomination bills or lower-denomination coins) and most transactions are by card or the now-ubiquitous MobilePay app. So while in Spain it's very easy to leave a few Eurocents on the table if you've received exceptional service, it can actually be a challenge to tip in Denmark if you don't have any pocket change (which you won't). 

If you do pay by card, it's very rare to receive a receipt to sign (unless you're paying with a foreign credit card), meaning there's no opportunity to fill in the 'tip' line item. Some card readers at cafés and restaurants have begun offering an opportunity to tip by percentage, but often the person checking you out will select 'no tip' before they even hand it to you to approve the charge. 

READ ALSO: Why is Denmark opposed to an EU minimum wage law? 


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Klaus Bogstad 2023/05/21 14:57
Worth remembering that a service charge is already added by law in catering establishments.

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