Danish culture guide for newcomers in Sonderborg
It’s always good to make yourself familiar with the Danes and their culture before moving here.
On this site we’ve gathered some useful information about Denmark, the Danes and Sonderborg.
The Danish society
In Denmark, you often work 37 hours each week and have 5-6 weeks of paid vacation per year.
The work-life balance is highly prioritized, and men and women have equal opportunities and therefore also participate equally when raising kids, preparing dinner and maintaining a household.
In general, equality is a big part of the Danish mentality, where you are rarely formal. No matter your age, sex, education, salary, ethnicity, sexual orientation or sexuality – everyone is equal. Therefore, a manager will often ask the employees for their opinion before making decisions, while everyone is addressed by their first name.
In Denmark, almost 50% of your salary goes to taxes in order to have free education, free healthcare and free information (such as libraries) for everyone. Therefore, many foreigners say that it’s very clean and safe in Danmark.
And with relatively high salaries and working conditions, corruption is quite low, while life satisfaction is quite high.
Before Eater arrives, you may find a ‘gækkebrev’ in your mail: a secret, handcut letter from an anonymous sender. You have to guess the sender before Easter or you will pay with an Easter egg.
Many parents hide Easter eggs in the garden for their children to find.
The Danes love Christmas, which is celebrated on the evening of the 24th of December. Here, many attend church during the day, while the evening is spent eating duck or roasted pork with potatoes and sauce. For dessert, risalamande (rice pudding), where the guests try to find the hidden, whole almond.
Then it’s dancing and singing around the Christmas tree and then opening the presents.
If you’re invited in for a Dane’s birthday, it will typically involve cake and coffee, while you bring a present.
Children’s birthdays are usually for their whole class, maybe with a scavenger hunt during the day.
Fastelavn is a Danish tradition in February for children. The children dress up and compete in a game with a candy-filled barrel. The take turns banging on the barrel and the one who takes it down, is crowned king.
Famous Danes and companies
- Hans Christian Andersen (author)
- Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (actor)
- Mads Mikkelsen (actor)
- Viggo Mortensen (actor)
- Lars von Trier (movie director)
- Helena Christensen (model)
- Aqua (band)
- D-A-D (band)
- Tycho Brahe (scientist)
- Niels Bohr (scientist)
- LEGO (toy company)
- Danfoss (refrigeration systems company)
- ECCO (shoe company)
- Mærsk (shipping company)
- Lagkagehuset (pastries company)
- Brian & Michael Laudrup (soccer players)
- Peter Schmeichel (soccer player)
- Bjarne Riis (cyclist)
- Caroline Wozniacki (tennis player)
- Georg Jensen (designer)