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When are Denmark’s public holidays in 2023?

If you're using your time off to plan some of your holiday activities for 2023, then it's always a good idea to check the dates of the public holidays, and the days they fall on.

In this article, we will go through all the public holidays in 2023 and note the days they fall on. Photo by Mariana B. / Unsplash

There are multiple benefits to planning your time off – and your holiday trips – ahead of time.

To start off, you’ll be able to book popular destinations that tend to get fully booked quite quickly (especially if you’re planning on travelling during peak season for tourists).

You’ll also be able to save a lot of money if your time off work involves paying for accommodation or transport – both hotel prices and aeroplane tickets are known to increase as one’s travel date draws near.

Last but not least, planning ahead will help reduce the stress that is usually related to last-minute preparations. So, overall, planning out your holiday time early and having a clear overview of public holidays in Denmark will pay off as early as April – when the Easter holiday season starts.

In this article, we will go through all the public holidays in 2023 and note the days they fall on so that you can plan out all your time off without any doubts.

New Year’s Day: January 1st (Sunday)

In Denmark, there is a host of customs and traditions associated with the celebration of the New Year. You can find out more about them here.

Now that the coronavirus restrictions have been lifted, expect the Danes to go all out when it comes to partying on New Year’s Eve – major cities in particular (like Copenhagen and Aarhus) will be crowded with partygoers once again.

With that in mind, January 1st will mostly be a day of rest, an opportunity for people to sleep in and recover from the celebrations.

Palm Sunday: April 2nd (Sunday)

On Palm Sunday, Christians in Denmark remember Jesus entering Jerusalem. According to scripture, Jesus was greeted by the people waving palm branches on this occasion.

Christians use this opportunity to prepare for Easter celebrations.

While some churches in Denmark will hold services to celebrate this holiday, others will organize processions with believers reenacting Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.

You’ll easily recognize this procession as many participants carry palm branches.

Maundy Thursday: April 6th (Thursday)

The Easter period in Denmark includes Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday. These are national holidays in Denmark when schools are closed, and most people do not work.

Maundy Thursday falls on the Thursday before Easter and marks the beginning of the three days of reflection in the run-up to Easter.

The holiday commemorates the Last Supper, and churches hold services to celebrate the occasion.

Generally speaking, Maundy Thursday is a time for Christians in Denmark to reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice and start seriously preparing for Easter.

Good Friday: April 7th (Friday)

On Good Friday, which falls on the Friday before Easter, Christians in Denmark commemorate the death of Jesus and his crucifixion for the sins of humankind.

Expect churches to hold special services on the occasion that are likely to focus on the parts of the scripture that cover the story of the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Easter: April 9th (Sunday)

As one of the most important Christian holidays, Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus.

It is a public holiday in Denmark, and churches mark the occasion with a number of services.

The Christian community in the country celebrates Easter through family gatherings and exchanging Easter gifts.

In Denmark, people often exchange chocolate eggs, Easter baskets, and other traditional gifts with friends and family to mark the special day.

Many Danish families also have big meals (often traditional ones) together.

Easter Monday: April 10th (Monday)

Also a public holiday, Easter Monday is celebrated after the Easter weekend – as a day of rest.

As is the case with Easter, people often tend to spend this day with families and friends.

On this day, the Danes that don’t take part in traditional Easter activities tend to opt for spending time outdoors – walks, hikes, and picnics are all popular options.

Some Danish towns also hold Easter events – usually parades or pop-up markets – to mark the occasion.

Great Prayer Day: May 5th (Friday)

The Great Prayer Day falls on the fourth Friday after Easter; it is a day of national prayer observed by the Christian community in Denmark.

The idea for Great Prayer Day came from Hans Bagger, a Roskilde bishop from 1675 to 1693. Within his first two years of service, he implemented three additional days for praying and fasting into a calendar already full of holy days.

When all of that time spent fasting and praying began to interfere with actually getting things done, some of the lesser days were rolled into one of Bagger’s three additions and Great Prayer Day was born. It was instituted into law by King Christian V in 1686.

The holiday gives everyone who works in Denmark an additional long spring weekend, which many young Danes use to attend their traditional confirmation ceremonies.

Ascension Day: May 18th (Thursday)

On Ascension Day, the Christian community in Denmark commemorates the ascension of Jesus into heaven. The day falls on the 40th day of Easter, and many churches in Denmark hold special services to mark the occasion.

These services often include reading the Ascension story from the Bible, and some congregations even organize processions, during which they reenact the ascension of Jesus.

Christians in Denmark take time to reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus and pray

Whitsunday and Whitmonday: May 28th (Sunday) and May 29th (Monday)

Christian holidays Whitsunday (or Pentecost) and Whitmonday commemorate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles.
The Pentecost holiday falls on the 50th day of Easter.

Many churches in Denmark will mark the occasion by holding special services, often including readings of the Pentecost story from the Bible. Some congregations may also hold processions and reenact the descent of the Holy Spirit.

Overall, Christians in Denmark use Whitsunday as a time to celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit and reflect on its role in their lives.

The Pentecost holidays allow for a long weekend, which Danes often use to spend some time outdoors.

Christmas Day: December 25th (Monday)

Christmas is celebrated with a number of traditions and customs in Denmark. The celebration of Christmas Eve is particularly important – in fact, it’s more important than Christmas Day itself (as is also the case in Norway).

Many Danish families will gather for a special dinner on Christmas Eve, after which children will get to open their gifts.

Carol singing is also a popular Christmas tradition in Denmark; people often sing them in churches and in the streets.

Expect to see a number of cultural and community events to mark the Christmas holidays, as well as Christmas markets and street decorations in most cities and towns.

Boxing Day: December 26th (Tuesday)

Boxing Day – also known as St. Stephen’s Day – is not a big deal in Denmark.

Some people will exchange gifts and spend time with families on this day. Others may attend church services to mark the occasion.

Note: This year could be the last time we see Great Prayer Day (Store Bededag) on the above list.

The new government wants to abolish one of Denmark’s annual public holidays – most likely to be Great Prayer Day – in a measure it says will enable more spending on defence.

The change would likely take effect in 2024.

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For members


EXPLAINED: Why Danish businesses want to scrap bank account work permit rule

The Confederation of Danish Employers is pushing for an end to a rule that means the salaries of foreign employees must be paid into a Danish bank account.

EXPLAINED: Why Danish businesses want to scrap bank account work permit rule

What is the background to the banking rule? 

The rule was first introduced in 2017 by the Liberal (Venstre) Party minority government, but was then extended by the Social Democrats to cover practically all employees working in Denmark from outside the European Union. 

When the rule was proposed, the government said requiring all payments to be made to an account in a Danish bank would “strengthen the possibilities for Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) to check if an employee is in fact receiving the salary promised in their employment contract”. 

Under the rule, a bank account needs to be set up within 90 days of the residence permit being granted or the employee entering Denmark. 

Why is it a problem? 

It can take months for a new arrival in Denmark to get a Danish bank account, as they first need to get a residency permit, then a CPR number, a Danish address, access to the MitID digital identification service, and a health insurance card. 

As a result, business organisations have argued that bureaucracy means they can sometimes go for months without a salary.

“For employers, it is extremely stressful to have highly educated and highly qualified employees they would like to retain in their new position, but they cannot pay their wages,” Rikke Wolfsen, head of the Danish immigration practice at EY, told the Politiken newspaper. “As for the employees, companies have told us that some just say, ‘well, I can’t do that, this. There are other countries in the EU where I avoid all that hassle’.” 

According to a survey by the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI), 84 percent of Danish companies said that international employees had problems getting a Danish bank account. 

Søren Kjærsgaard Høfler, a consultant at DI, argued in comments to Politiken that SIRI could check that the right salary was being paid through the Danish Tax Agency’s digital reporting system, eIndkomst, making the extra security of requiring Danish bank accounts unnecessary. 

In addition, he said he knew of no other country that had a similar requirement. 

Who wants to get rid of the bank rule? 

Denmark’s three major business organisations, DI, the Confederation of Danish Employers, and the Danish Chamber of Commerce are all calling on the new three-party coalition to remove the rule in reforms to work permits expected to be announced later this month. 

“We have set something up which is quite simply pointless,” Erik Simonsen, deputy director of the Confederation of Danish Employers told Politiken, calling on the government to “remove this sort of thing, which only serves to make life more difficult.” 

Høfler said that DI “supported the companies in saying that we do not see any sense in this rule”. 

The Liberal Party, one of the three parties in Denmark’s new ruling coalition, has given its support to scrapping, or at least reforming, the rule. 

“Of course, we must take the messages we receive from the business community seriously when it comes to the fact that they do not think this makes sense”, Christoffer Aagaard Melson, employment spokesman for the Liberals, told Politiken.