Danish Business Structures

Denmark, a small country with a population of just over 5 million inhabitants, has achieved a remarkable degree of economic success over the last 50 years or so.

With a very high GDP per head, the country ranks in the top 10 countries in the world (often ahead of both Japan and Germany) in terms of purchasing power. This remarkable economic success has been achieved by the Danes thanks in no small measure to their pragmatic business style.

The Danish approach has many attributes which could be deemed Scandinavian such as a strong egalitarian streak, the need to seek consensus and the attribution of status according to competence rather than class or education. There are also ties of language and history which bind together the three key Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Denmark and Norway. (Finland being Nordic but not Scandinavian.)

However, there are certain characteristics and approaches to business which are specifically Danish and these differences could be linked to the country’s much closer geographic ties with continental Europe. (The Swedish expression to go to the continent actually refers to going to Denmark.) This country profile will try to highlight some of the characteristics which mark out Denmark as distinct from the other Scandinavian countries – but remember that these are, on the whole, differences in degree rather than very substantive distinctions.

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in Denmark

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

Free Download


Denmark is often cited as the ‘happiest’ country in the world. Whether or not this is true (Danes are also high consumers of anti-depressants), Denmark certainly seems to have a lot going for it. As a small country with a tiny population, the country has been able to develop an enviable level of affluence and great standard of living for most of its people. Danes enjoy good levels of social security, universal healthcare plan and a very generous universal pension for which the quid pro quo are high taxes. It would appear that, for the time being at least, Danes are very satisfied with this balanced approach.

What fuels this level of affluence and contentment? How can a small country deliver such great economic results? The answer must be something to do with the Danish approach to business. Denmark has managed to carve out very specific niches for itself across a range of different sectors and at the same time develop a reputation for very high levels of quality. Danes strive for excellence in delivery and on many occasions, they are able to achieve it.

If you have a product or service which really does deliver in terms of quality, then you should consider doing business in Denmark. However, as with all countries, Denmark has its own way of doing things and if you are looking at doing business in Denmark you are best advised to develop an understanding of the key drivers that underpin the Danish approach to business. Danes are happy to adapt their approach to new markets so maybe you should consider adapting your approach when you go to Denmark.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Danish business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining
  • Top tips