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WORKING IN DENMARK

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.

Christmas
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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WORKING IN DENMARK

Copenhagen Municipality to trial four-day working week

Selected municipal staff in Copenhagen will soon be able to choose to distribute their weekly working hours over four days in a new trial scheme.

Copenhagen Municipality to trial four-day working week

The city government’s residents’ council (borgerrepræsentation) has voted to bring in a trail scheme that will provide for four-day working weeks from 2024, according to local media TV2 Kosmopol.

The decision means that shorter weeks – with additional hours fitted into the four working days – will be an option at several departments in the municipality, which is Denmark’s largest local government with 45,000 staff.

The trial will go ahead provided a majority accepts it as part of next year’s budget, which will be finalised in the autumn.

It will take the form of an initial one-year trial scheme with the option of extension to also include 2025.

Trade union Djøf told news wire Ritzau it took a positive view of the project.

“Many people appreciate having an extra day when they can pick up the kids early or get some errands done which you need time for during the day,” chairperson Sara Vergo said.

A survey by the trade union last year found that 64 percent of staff and 65 percent of managers would consider implementing a four-day working week in some form.

The Copenhagen Municipality proposal went through without a vote because all parties were in favour.

The decision does not mean city employees will be working fewer hours. Instead, they will distribute their existing hours over four days.

The municipality would not be allowed by law to pay staff for a full 37-hour week if they have only worked 30 hours, it said.

While parties agreed on the trial, there was some disagreement over its exact form, TV2 Kosmopol writes.

The Social Democratic and Socialist People’s Party (SF) representatives wanted the trial to be implemented in April, rather than waiting until next year.

Copenhagen is not the first Danish municipality to experiment with a four-day week. Other local governments have in recent years trialled shorter weeks and a higher degree of flexibility over staff hours.

“We know that there’s a relatively large stress crisis in Denmark and that one of the remedies against this is to spend less time at work and more flexible working hours,” Troels Christian Jakobsen of the Alternative party, who tabled the proposal for the Copenhagen scheme, said to Ritzau.

“We didn’t succeed on this occasion on getting fewer working hours. There are a load of rules that prevent that,” he said.

“But we have certainly met our goal on giving a more flexible framework for the work and we have a strong sense that this can help to improve job satisfaction,” he said.

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