Successful Entertaining in Denmark

Business entertaining is less important in Denmark than in those cultures which put personal relationship-building very firmly at the top of their list of priorities.

However, if you are invited out for a business meal (usually lunch), ensure that you do not discuss business unless your host brings up the subject first. On the whole, meals are reserved for non-work related topics.

When eating a meal, it is best to try to finish the food on your plate. It is not customary (as in many Eastern cultures) to leave some food to show that you have been given enough to eat.
Although it would be unusual to be offered alcohol at a lunchtime meeting, alcohol would definitely be introduced over dinner. The drinking of alcohol is often accompanied by a series of toasts. These simply involve lifting your glass, looking at the person you are toasting in the eye and then lifting the glass again in honour of him or her.

Service charges are automatically added to restaurant bills in Denmark, so no further tipping is really required. Tipping for outstanding service is a matter of personal choice, but is not expected.

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