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STUDY IN DENMARK - living in denmark


Social Scene     |    Customs and Culture    |    Transportation

Accommodation    |    Health Care    |    Emergency Contacts

Social Scene

Social Conventions: Normal courtesies should be observed. Guests should refrain from drinking until the host toasts his or her health. Casual dress is suitable for most places but formal wear is required at more exclusive dining rooms and social functions. Smoking is restricted on public transport and in some public buildings.

Special Events: Festivals take place throughout the summer in nearly every town in Denmark, featuring street festivities and performing artists. For a complete list of festivals and cultural events in the different regions (published in several languages) contact the Danish Tourist Board or view their comprehensive listings online (website:

The following is a selection of major events held in Demnark:

  • Apr - National Film Festival, Copenhagen
  • May - Copenhagen Marathon, København
  • May - Whitsun Carnival, Fælledparken
  • Jun - Riverboat Jazz Festival, Silkeborg
  • Jun - Midtfyns Festival
  • Jul - Roskilde Festival
  • Jul - Copenhagen Jazz Festival
  • Aug - Copenhagen Fashion and Design Festival
  • Aug - Skanderborg Festival
  • Sep - Copenhagen International Film Festival
  • Sep - Aarhus Festival
  • Oct - Hans Christian Andersen Marathon, Odense, Funen
  • Nov - Dec - Christmas Market, Tivoli, Copenhagen
Local Customs & Culture

Food & Drink: Smørrebrød is a highly popular traditional Danish dish which is often eaten for lunch. It consists of a slice of dark bread with butter, topped with slices of meat, fish or cheese and generously garnished. It bears no resemblance to traditional sandwiches and needs to be eaten sitting down with a knife and fork. Buffet-style lunch (the koldt bord) is also popular with a variety of fish, meats, hot dishes, cheese and sweets, usually on a self-service basis. Danes do not mix the various dishes on their plates but have them in strict order. A normal Danish breakfast or morgen-complet consists of coffee or tea and an assortment of breads, rolls, jam and cheese, often also sliced meats, boiled eggs and warm Danish pastries. Given its geographical position it is not surprising that shellfish also forms an important part of Danish cuisine. Apart from traditional dishes, French or international cuisine is the order of the day. In Copenhagen, superb gourmet restaurants can be found, whilst Ålborg is noted for its impressive number of restaurants. Most towns have ‘fast food’ outlets for hamburgers and pizzas, and the sausage stalls on most street corners, selling hot sausages, hamburgers, soft drinks and beer, are popular.

Note: The Danish Hotel and Restaurant Association displays signs indicating restaurants where the needs of diabetics are given special attention. It consists of the words ‘Diabetes mad – sund mad for alle’ (‘Food for Diabetics – healthy food for everyone’) encircling a chef’s head.

Nightlife: There is a wide selection of nightlife, particularly in Copenhagen, where the first morning restaurants open to coincide with closing time at 0500. Jazz and dance clubs in the capital city are top quality and world-famous performers appear regularly. There are numerous beer gardens.

Shopping: Copenhagen has excellent shopping facilities. Special purchases include Bing & Grøndal and Royal Copenhagen porcelain, Holmegård glass, Bornholm ceramics, handmade woollens from the Faroe Islands and Lego toys. Visitors from outside the EU can often claim back on some of the MOMS (VAT) on goods purchased that are sent straight to their home country from the shop in Denmark. Shopping hours: Mon-Fri 0900/1000-1730/1800; Sat 0900-1700. Supermarkets are often open Mon-Fri 0900-2000. Opening hours vary from town to town since shops can regulate their own hours. At some holiday resorts, shops are open Sunday and public holidays.


RAIL: The main cities on all islands are connected to the rail network: Copenhagen, Odense, Esbjerg, Horsens, Randers, Herning and Ålborg. Danish State Railways (DSB) (tel: 7013 1418; e-mail:; website: operates a number of express trains called Lyntogs which provide long-distance, non-stop travel; it is often possible to purchase newspapers, magazines and snacks on board these trains. Payphones are also available. There is also a new type of intercity train called the IC3 which is even faster and more direct. Seat reservations are compulsory. Children under ten years old travel free. There are also price reductions for persons over 65 and groups of eight people or more. The Englænderen boat-train runs between Esbjerg and Copenhagen and connects with ferries from the UK. DSB passenger fares are based on a zonal system. The cost depends on the distance travelled; the cost per kilometre is reduced the longer the journey. The Scanrail Pass allows unlimited travel within Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. First-class prices for adults are approximately £297 for 21 days and £167 for five days out of 15. As elsewhere in Europe, Inter-Rail passes are valid in Denmark. Bus and ferry and, of course, rail tickets may be purchased at all railway stations.

ROAD: The road system in the Danish archipelago makes frequent use of ferries. Country buses operate where there are no railways, but there are few private long-distance coaches. Motorways are not subject to toll duty. Emergency telephones are available on motorways and there is a national breakdown network similar to the AA in Britain called Falck, which can be called out 24 hours a day. There are petrol stations on motorways, generally with other services such as restaurants. Many petrol stations are automatic. A maximum of ten litres of petrol is allowed to be kept as a reserve in suitably safe containers. The Danish Motoring Organisation is Forenede Danske Motorejere (FDM), Firskovvej 32, PO Box 500, 2800 Kgs. Lyngby (tel: 7013 3040; fax: 4527 0993; e-mail:; website: Speed limits are 110kph (66mph) on motorways, 80kph (48mph) on other roads and 50kph (30mph) in built-up areas (signified by white plates with town silhouettes). Speed laws are strictly enforced, and heavy fines are levied on the spot; the car is impounded if payment is not made. Cycling: There are cycle lanes along many roads and, in the countryside, many miles of scenic cycle track. Bikes can easily be taken on ferries, trains, buses and domestic air services. Car hire: Available to drivers over the age of 20, and can be reserved through travel agents or airlines. Regulations: Traffic drives on the right. The wearing of seat belts is compulsory. Motorcyclists must wear helmets and drive with dipped headlights at all times. Headlamps on all vehicles should be adjusted for right-hand driving. All driving signs are international. Documentation: A national driving licence is acceptable. EU nationals taking their own cars to Denmark are strongly advised to obtain a Green Card. Without it, insurance cover is limited to the minimum legal cover in Denmark; the Green Card tops this up to the level of cover provided by the car owner’s domestic policy.


HOTELS: Travellers without reservations can book at one of the provincial tourist offices. Denmark’s fine beaches attract many visitors, and there are hotels and pensions in all major seaside resorts. For more information or a list of hotels, contact HORESTA (Association of the Danish Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Industry) Vodroffsvej 46, DK-1900 Frederiksberg C (tel: 3524 8080; fax: 3524 8086; e-mail:; website: or or the Danish Tourist Board. Grading: Hotels are graded with 1-5 stars. Approximately 470 hotels and holiday centres (some 85 per cent of Denmark’s total hotel capacity) that are members of HORESTA are taking part in the grading scheme. The Danish Tourist Board publishes an annual list of about 1000 establishments, describing facilities and tariffs; quoted prices are inclusive of MOMS (VAT). Green Key certificates: A number of hotels and hostels in Denmark are also participating in a grading scheme based on environmental concerns. To receive an eco-friendly certificate (a so-called ‘Green Key’), participating establishments have to fulfil 55 strict ecological criteria. For further details and a list of Green Key hotels and hostels, contact The Green Key (see HORESTA address above; website:

INNS: Excellent inns are to be found all over the country. Some are small and only cater for local custom, but others are tailored for the tourist and have established high culinary reputations for both international dishes and local specialities. For further details, contact the Danish Tourist Board.

CAMPING/CARAVANNING: Campers must purchase a camping carnet, available at campsites. Over 500 campsites are officially recognised and graded for facilities and shelter. Prices vary greatly; half price for children under 4 years. Grading: 1-5 stars controlled by the Danish Camping Board, approved sites carry the sign of a pyramid-shaped tent. 5-star sites: Fulfil the highest requirements. 3-star sites: Showers, razor points, shops, laundry facilities, kitchen facilities. 1-star sites: Fulfil minimum requirements for sanitary installations, drinking water etc. For more information and a list of campsites contact the Danish Tourist Board.

YOUTH AND FAMILY HOSTELS: There are 100 Youth and Family Hostels scattered around the country, all of which take members of affiliated organisations. A membership card from the National Youth Hostel Association is required. Hostels are classified from 1-5 stars. For a list of youth and family hostels contact Danhostel, Vesterbrogade 39, DK-1620 Copenhagen V, Denmark (tel: 3331 3612; fax: 3331 3626; e-mail:; website:; or the Danish Tourist Board.

FARMHOUSE HOLIDAYS: Rooms are often available for rent in farmhouses. Visitors stay as paying guests of the family and, although it is not expected, are welcome to help with the daily chores of the farm. Alternatively, in some cases separate apartments are available close to the main farmhouse. Many farms have their own fishing streams. All holiday homes and farmhouses are inspected and approved by the local tourist office.

HOME EXCHANGE: Introductions between families interested in home exchange for short periods can be arranged. The major expense for participants is travel plus a fee of DKr500. The best period (because of school holidays) is from late June to early August. The following organisation can provide further information: HomeLink Denmark, Dansk Bolig Bytte, PO Box 53, Bernstorffsvej 71A, DK-2900 Hellerup (tel: 3961 0405; fax: 3961 0525; e-mail:; website:

Health Care

Medical facilities in Denmark are excellent.

Local tourist offices will tell visitors where to contact a doctor or dentist. Copenhagen has an emergency dental service outside office hours; fees are paid in cash.

Only medicine prescribed by Danish or other Scandinavian doctors can be dispensed at a chemist (Apotek). Many medicines that can be bought over the counter in the UK can only be obtained with prescriptions in Denmark.

There is a reciprocal health agreement with the UK. In addition to the free emergency treatment at hospitals and casualty departments allowed to all foreign visitors, this allows UK citizens on presentation of a UK passport (form E111 is not necessary if on a temporary visit to Denmark) free hospital treatment if referred by a doctor, and free medical treatment given by a doctor registered with the Danish Public Health Service. It may occasionally be necessary to pay at the time of treatment; if this is so, receipts should be kept to facilitate refunds. The Agreement does not apply in the Faroe Islands. To obtain refunds, UK citizens should apply (with receipts) to the Kommunens Social og Sundhedsforvaltning before leaving Denmark. No refund is possible on amounts under DKr 500 (although there is a 50 % refund for under 18s).

Emergency Contacts
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