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DANISH TRADITIONS

What are the rules for purchasing and setting off fireworks in Demark?

Every year, a number of Danes buy illegal fireworks online, despite the fact that the explosives put both the postal service and consumers at risk. These are the rules on the safe use of fireworks in Denmark.

Fireworks
Despite strict rules and risks to postal workers and consumers, a number of Danes continue to buy illegal fireworks online every year. Photo by Alexander Kagan / Unsplash

Each year during the winter holiday season, PostNord discovers that some Danes order fireworks through the postal service, even though that is not permitted.

Sometimes, the fireworks transported through the country are also illegal and fall outside industry supervision.

According to the HR manager at PostNord, Hans Erik Lindkvist, PostNord has registered an increase in the number of finds of illegal fireworks, TV 2 reports.

“Getting hurt or being afraid of getting hurt are not nice feelings…

“In the worst case, the consequence is that you as an employee can be injured if there are fireworks in a package that ignite or explode,” he told TV2 ØSTJYLLAND.

Furthermore, according to the Danish Customs Authority, a record number of illegal fireworks have been stopped on their way into the country this year – a whopping 1.7 tonnes, mainly from Eastern Europe.

However, according to Karsten Nielsen, director of the Fireworks Industry Association, only around 10-15 percent of all illegal fireworks bought are actually seized.

So, with fireworks being one of the most debated topics in Denmark in recent days, what are the rules for purchasing and using them?

Rules for purchasing and using fireworks

In Denmark, you can legally purchase fireworks as early as mid-December (as you will note by the numerous advertisements showing up at that time). Stores sell fireworks from December 15th until December 31st.

However, as a private person, unless you acquire special professional permission, you can legally use fireworks only within a short 6-day-long time window – from December 27th to January 1st.

You’ll be able to buy fireworks from major retailers (such as, for example, Bauhaus) or from speciality fireworks shops that open to do business in the said period.

All companies that sell fireworks in the country must have a so-called CE number, which must also be printed on the fireworks they sell.

The CE number shows that the fireworks sold meet the safety requirements set forward by the Danish Safety Technology Authority (Sikkerhedsstyrelsen), which guarantees that the product in question is legal.

The authority is also in charge of testing out fireworks each year in an effort to minimize the risk associated with setting them off.

Be wary of buying fireworks from actors who don’t have a CE number, as many illegal fireworks find their way into the country each year. As stated beforehand, customs officers have already seized 1.7 tonnes of such products.

Also, remember that it is illegal to bring fireworks into Denmark even if the product is considered legal in the country where you acquired it.

Each year, the Safety Technology Authority also runs a campaign aimed at raising awareness of the risks and potential injuries associated with fireworks.

This year’s campaign notes that 178 Danes were admitted to the emergency room due to accidents related to fireworks on New Year’s Eve of 2021-2022.

You can find the authority’s detailed advice on how to use fireworks safely here (in Danish).

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For members

WORKING IN DENMARK

How many public holidays does Denmark have compared to other countries?

Denmark’s government wants to reduce the number of public holidays on the national calendar by one from 2024 onwards. But does the Nordic country have more or fewer days off than other countries in Europe?

How many public holidays does Denmark have compared to other countries?

The Danish government wants to abolish springtime public holiday Great Prayer Day in a move it says will enable increased spending on defence. A bill was tabled by the government earlier in January.

The policy has met with criticism, but how do Denmark’s public holidays stack up against other countries?

Denmark has 10 national public holidays, including some which always fall on a weekend. Up to 4 extra may be given depending on the sector you work in, your employer and collective bargaining agreement (if a trade union member).

If the holiday falls on a weekend, no substitute day is given.

The holidays are: January 1st (New Year’s Day); Maundy Thursday; Good Friday; Easter Monday; Great Prayer Day; Ascension Day; Whitsunday; Pentecost; December 25th (Christmas); December 26th (Boxing Day).

If the plan to abolish Great Prayer Day is adopted, it will take effect from 2024, so you’ll still be able to enjoy the holiday in 2023 at least.

Some industries also have May 1st (Labour Day) as a day off, while June 5th (Constitution Day) is a holiday for banks and government workers, with most shops closed too by law, but this is optional for the private sector.

Christmas Eve (December 24th) and December 31st (New Year’s Eve) are not public holidays, but many employers treat them as such.

READ ALSO: When are Denmark’s public holidays in 2023?

Even before Great Prayer Day is scrapped, Denmark rarely comes out on top when comparing the number of public holidays to other countries in Scandinavia and Western Europe.

Norway, like Denmark, has 10 national public holidays including some which may fall on a weekend.

Norway does not mark Great Prayer Day, which is unique to Denmark, but does celebrate both Labour Day and the national day, May 17th, as public holidays. If the holiday falls on a weekend, no substitute day is given in Norway.

Sweden has nine national and three extra ‘de facto’ public holidays. If the holiday falls on a weekend, you do not get an extra weekday in lieu.

People in Sweden get January 6th (Epiphany) off work and also celebrate Labour Day as a holiday on May 1st.

Midsummer’s Eve, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are not national public holidays in Sweden, but the majority of employers treat them as such. 

In many Swedish workplaces or collective bargaining agreements, there are additional public holiday policies. The most common include a half-day before certain public holidays (Epiphany, Walpurgis and All Saints’ Eve), or ‘bridge days’, so that if a public holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, the Monday before or Friday after is given as an extra day off.

Germany has 9 national public holidays, including some falling on a weekend, and up to 13 regionally. If the holiday falls on a weekend, no substitute day is given.

German public holidays include German Unity Day on October 3rd and Labour Day on May 1st.

Many states have extra holidays including, but not limited to January 6th (Epiphany) in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Saxony-Anhalt; March 8th (International Women’s Day) in Berlin and October 31st (Reformation Day) in a number of states across the country.

The United Kingdom has between 8 and 10 public holidays (also known as bank holidays) during the course of the year, depending on which country you’re in.

Northern Ireland has more public holidays (10) than England, Scotland and Wales (all 8). Scotland’s bank holidays are not exactly the same as those in England and Wales.

In 2023, the UK will have an additional bank holiday for the coronation of King Charles III. Last year saw two extraordinary bank holidays related to the monarchy: one in June for Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum jubilee, and one for the Queen’s state funeral in September.

Unlike many other countries, the UK is accommodating if a bank holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday. In such cases, a ‘substitute’ weekday becomes a bank holiday, normally the following Monday.

France has 11 public holidays – or 13 in the historic Alsace-Lorraine region. However, if the holiday falls on a weekend, in general no substitute day is given, so the actual number of extra days off that French workers get varies from year to year.

There is also the curious case of Pentecost, which for some people is a public holiday and others an opportunity to work without getting paid. Yep, you read that right

So are there any nearby countries which actually have fewer public holidays then Denmark?

In Switzerland, there are only 4 public holidays nationally and the Swiss communes with the fewest paid public holidays have only 5 in total. However, there are up to 16 regionally.

If the holiday falls on a weekend, the Swiss do not get an extra weekday in lieu.

Several public holidays are marked by a majority of regions, but not quite all. These include Good Friday, Easter Monday, Pentecost and All Saints’ Day.

Some other public holidays are marked by multiple regions, and some cantons have their own holidays, including March 1st (Republic Day) in Neuchâtel; June 23rd (Jura Independence Day) in Jura; and June 29th (Feast of St Peter and St Paul) in Graubünden and Ticino. A few local communes also have additional public holidays.

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