10 Habits You Pick up When Living in Denmark

Walking and Biking on Strøget Street, Copenhagen
Walking and Biking on Strøget Street, Copenhagen | © Jae C. / Flickr
Photo of Aliki Seferou
17 May 2018

When you live in a foreign country for a certain period of time chances are that habits you pick up from locals will stick around even after returning to your hometown. Find out which 10 habits you are more prone to pick up when living in Denmark.

Commuting on a bike

Moving around the city by bike is the habit every single foreigner living in Denmark picks up. It’s no wonder though. Denmark is one of the top bike-friendly cities in Europe and locals use their two-wheel vehicle to such an extent that Copenhagen now has more bikes than cars. Commuting on a bicycle even after you return back to your home country is a sign that you’ve lived in Denmark, but when you start cycling even when it’s raining or snowing, that’s when you will know that you’ve become a real Dane.

Biking along Nørrebro Lakes in Copenhagen | © Aliki Seferou

Decorate your place with candles

Lighting candles of different colours and scents are one of the first things Danes do when they have guests coming over to visit at home as it’s an essential part of the hygge process. Foreigners may find this habit unnecessary or even weird at first, but trust, after some time in Denmark you’ll catch yourself spending an unusual amount of time rummaging candles on the IKEA shelves.

Getting hygge with it | © Alisa Anton / Unsplash


Recycling can easily become a habit when living in Denmark as every apartment building share a common waste room that differentiates the types of waste. As a result, locals separate their waste from plastic, paper, glass etc before and just take them to your block’s special designated space.

Recycling machines can not only be found in every supermarket but for every (beer) tin, plastic and glass bottles you throw away, you get a small amount of money in return. Sounds like a good deal, right?

Glass and Paper containers for recycling | © Christian Giersing (talk) / Wikimedia Commons

To always wait for the pedestrian crossing signal to turn green

Waiting for the green walk signal to appear in order to cross the road is a habit many people have even before moving to Denmark. Let’s admit it though; when there are no cars as far as the eye can see, many pedestrians decide to ‘break the law’ and just across the street. Well, not Danes. Danes never jaywalk, either, because it’s a habit they have from an early age or because they’re afraid of getting the 700DKK ($112 USD) fine. So, after living for some time in a country where people stare at you when taking a single step before the green walking signal is on, you’ll realize that after a while, even if no one is around, you’ll still wait patiently for the pedestrian crossing signal to turn green.

Waiting for the green light to turn | @ Wikimedia Commons / Wikimedia Commons

Drinking beer at any time of the day

Denmark is not only the birth country of Carlsberg but in the past few years, many small breweries have popped up allowing the city to offer endless types of beers. So, it comes as no surprise that locals’ favourite drink is beer and that foreigners who are also fans of the yellow sparkling drink feel like they’ve moved to the best country in the world. What might come as a surprise is that even people who are normally wine or cocktail drinkers, often find themselves drinking Carlsberg straight from the bottle after some time spent in Denmark. Well, that may have to do with the fact that no one can resist Denmark’s high-quality beers or that beer costs much less than other drinks.

Savor a cold beer at Eiffel Bar, Copenhagen | © tomcensani / Flickr

Add jogging in your daily habits

Danes love to work out. In fact, according to a new Eurostat survey, compared to all EU countries, Denmark has the second highest proportion of people who spend at least 2.5 hours per week exercising. Cycling, swimming, yoga and jogging are among the most popular fitness trends in the country. Especially when the sun shines. parks, lakes and canals get packed with locals running laps. Seeing how much Danes enjoy exercising as well as their super-toned bodies will definitely make you add jogging in your daily habits.

People jogging at Nørrebro Lakes | @ Wikimedia Commons / Wikimedia Commons

Checking the weather forecast

It is widely known that Denmark faces long and cold winters that sometimes last for up to six months. So, from September to February locals are always prepared for low temperatures and snowy days. During these months, checking the weather forecast isn’t really necessary as very little things change day by day. However, in springtime weather in Denmark is quite unpredictable. So, when you realize that some days the temperature in the morning can be above 20° C (68° F) but by evening drop below 15° C (59° F), checking the weather forecast will become one of the first things you’ll do before leaving home.

Biking on Frederiksberg Allé in the Rain | © Kristoffer Trolle / Flickr

Wearing black clothes

In the past few years, the Scandinavian style has gained much popularity in the fashion world. Scandi fashionistas are known for combining comfort with style and always wearing monochrome clothes with black, white, light and dark beige being their favourite colours. However, Danish women love their black garments, so much that you’ll rarely see them wearing any other colour. So it is never long before expats living in Denmark start replacing their old clothing collection with black coats, trousers and sweaters.

Biking in style | © Mikael Colville-Andersen / Flickr

Always being on time

You may believe you’re punctual and that not being late is a habit you already have. But trust us, after living in Denmark, you’ll change your mind about what ‘being on time’ truly means. Danes will give you a glare even when being just five minutes late to your appointment. As they are big on structure, make sure to plan accordingly a few days in advance when planning to meet.

Waiting at a cozy cafe | © Jesse Bowser / Unsplash

Grabbing a hot dog even if you’re not that hungry

Aside from enjoying their beloved smørrebrød at any time of the day, Danes really like grabbing a juicy hot dog from the street stands even when they’re not hungry. And why not? They’re cheap, super delicious and you can find one in almost every corner. So, unless you’re a vegetarian, once you have a taste of the rød pølse, the typical Danish red sausage, you’ll most likely start acting like a local and stop for a quick bite at the country’s hot dog stalls.

A typical Danish hot dog stand | © caspermoller / Wikimedia Commons

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