132 episodes

Life as an international in Denmark, one of the world's most homogenous countries, isn't always easy. In Denmark’s longest-running English-language podcast, Kay Xander Mellish, an American who has lived in Denmark for more than a decade, offers tips for enjoying your time in “the world’s happiest country” plus insights on Danish culture and how to build friendships with Danes.

Whether you're living in Denmark, thinking about moving to Denmark, or interested in a job in Denmark and want to understand Danish business culture, this podcast will offer insights and guidance.

Each episode of "How to Live in Denmark" tackles topics that will help you understand the Danish way of life, emphasizing work-life balance, the unique Danish workplace culture, and the social norms that define Danish society. With Denmark's renowned flat hierarchy, workplace flexibility, and emphasis on equality, understanding the subtleties of Danish work etiquette is essential for anyone working in Denmark or engaging with Danish businesses.

Our discussions also delve into Denmark's flexicurity system, a distinctive approach to labor market regulation that blends flexibility with security, providing insights on how this model supports a dynamic and adaptive work environment. Listeners considering entrepreneurship in Denmark or business ventures in Denmark will find strategic advice on navigating the Danish labor market and leveraging business opportunities in a society known for its innovation and egalitarian corporate culture. (Is Denmark socialist? No, it's more free-market than the US or UK.)

Expats in Denmark will particularly benefit from episodes focusing on cultural integration, socializing in Danish workplaces, and the crucial role of professional networking in Denmark. Learn how to navigate Denmark's informal communication styles, engage with the Danish sense of humor in the workplace, and appreciate the significant autonomy given to employees in Danish companies.

Kay's short episodes about her experiences in Denmark illuminate the practicalities of living in Denmark and pleasures of Danish life. From understanding Danish employment law to embracing the social trust that is so basic to Danish society, "How to Live in Denmark" equips you with the knowledge to survive and thrive in Denmark.

Whether it's deciphering Danish management style, exploring how to maintain work-life balance, or understanding the egalitarian mindset that pervades Danish workplaces, this podcast is your companion in mastering the art of living Danishly.

Subscribe to "How to Live in Denmark" start your journey to a deeper understanding of Denmark, ensuring your Danish experience is both successful and enjoyable. Whether you're in Denmark for a new job, a safer home protected by the Danish welfare state, or new business opportunities, let's explore together what it means to live and work in Denmark, raise your family in Denmark, and advance your career in Denmark.

How to Live in Denmark Kay Xander Mellish

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.5 • 45 Ratings

Life as an international in Denmark, one of the world's most homogenous countries, isn't always easy. In Denmark’s longest-running English-language podcast, Kay Xander Mellish, an American who has lived in Denmark for more than a decade, offers tips for enjoying your time in “the world’s happiest country” plus insights on Danish culture and how to build friendships with Danes.

Whether you're living in Denmark, thinking about moving to Denmark, or interested in a job in Denmark and want to understand Danish business culture, this podcast will offer insights and guidance.

Each episode of "How to Live in Denmark" tackles topics that will help you understand the Danish way of life, emphasizing work-life balance, the unique Danish workplace culture, and the social norms that define Danish society. With Denmark's renowned flat hierarchy, workplace flexibility, and emphasis on equality, understanding the subtleties of Danish work etiquette is essential for anyone working in Denmark or engaging with Danish businesses.

Our discussions also delve into Denmark's flexicurity system, a distinctive approach to labor market regulation that blends flexibility with security, providing insights on how this model supports a dynamic and adaptive work environment. Listeners considering entrepreneurship in Denmark or business ventures in Denmark will find strategic advice on navigating the Danish labor market and leveraging business opportunities in a society known for its innovation and egalitarian corporate culture. (Is Denmark socialist? No, it's more free-market than the US or UK.)

Expats in Denmark will particularly benefit from episodes focusing on cultural integration, socializing in Danish workplaces, and the crucial role of professional networking in Denmark. Learn how to navigate Denmark's informal communication styles, engage with the Danish sense of humor in the workplace, and appreciate the significant autonomy given to employees in Danish companies.

Kay's short episodes about her experiences in Denmark illuminate the practicalities of living in Denmark and pleasures of Danish life. From understanding Danish employment law to embracing the social trust that is so basic to Danish society, "How to Live in Denmark" equips you with the knowledge to survive and thrive in Denmark.

Whether it's deciphering Danish management style, exploring how to maintain work-life balance, or understanding the egalitarian mindset that pervades Danish workplaces, this podcast is your companion in mastering the art of living Danishly.

Subscribe to "How to Live in Denmark" start your journey to a deeper understanding of Denmark, ensuring your Danish experience is both successful and enjoyable. Whether you're in Denmark for a new job, a safer home protected by the Danish welfare state, or new business opportunities, let's explore together what it means to live and work in Denmark, raise your family in Denmark, and advance your career in Denmark.

    Who is Holger Danske?

    Who is Holger Danske?

    Many countries have a fictional character who represents them. Uncle Sam for the USA, Marianne in France, Mother India. Others have a legendary figure, who was real at one point but is now shrouded in myth, like King Arthur in England.
    For Denmark, Holger Danske is both. He was probably real, although he didn’t live in Denmark.
    He was a Danish knight living in France in 8th century, serving Charlemagne and he appears in several of the epic poems of the time as Ogier the Dane. When those poems were translated into Old Norsk, he became Oddgeir danski, which gradually morphed into Holger Danske.
    He has been a hero for centuries. And he is a sleeping hero.
    The legend is that when Denmark is in trouble, Holger Danske will rise from his slumber and come to its defense. This is why during World War II, when Denmark was occupied by the Nazis, one of the largest resistance groups called itself Holger Danske.
    If you’re not Danish, you may have experienced Holger Danske in the form of consumer products.
    There is a Holger Danske moving company with trucks all over Denmark, a Holger Danske beer, Holger Danske Aquavit liquor, Holger Danske tobacco. There’s a Holger Danske bar. Holger Danske has appeared on the Danish national football shirt. 
    And, very famously, there’s a statue of Holger Danske in the basement of Kronborg Castle, often known as Hamlet’s Castle, in Helsingør, Denmark – which Shakespeare referred to as Elsinore.
    I go by the castle in my new audio tour of Helsingør for VoiceMap. Check it out at voicemap.me/hamlet. 
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    • 6 min
    The white magic of the Danish graduation hat

    The white magic of the Danish graduation hat

    In June of each year, the streets of Denmark are suddenly full of young people wearing stiff white caps with bands of various colors - burgundy, midnight blue, light blue. These teenagers have just graduated from gymnasium, the Danish equivalent of high school, and the white hat is a sign of that accomplishment. 
    They wear the white hat everywhere they go for the two or three weeks after final exams, and it awakens a deep sentimentality in the usually practical and private Danes. It has a sort of magic. 
    When my daughter received her white cap last year, total strangers stopped her in the street to say “Congratulations on the hat” – tillykke med huen. Bus drivers congratulated her as she boarded, and so did supermarket clerks at the checkout counter. 
    Getting the hat is seen as a very happy occasion on the road from childhood to the big wide world. The white cap holds a special place in the Danish national consciousness.
    The open-backed truck tour
    If you visit in Denmark in June, you’ll see teenagers celebrating their graduation, riding through town on the back of open-backed trucks, wearing their fresh white caps and cheering or blowing whistles. Using there’s some pop music pumping at a very high volume. 
    The sides of the truck are covered with white banners, traditionally bedsheets, on which are painted slogans that are more or less obscene.
    Everybody on the truck except the driver is several beers in and shouting at passerby on the sidewalk, who shout back. 
     

    • 9 min
    Do you have to speak Danish to work in Denmark?

    Do you have to speak Danish to work in Denmark?

    If you’re only in Denmark for a few months, it might not be worth the investment in time to learn much more than the basic pleasantries in Danish. But you plan to stay in Denmark for more than a year or so, it’s a good idea to learn some Danish – and your visa may require that you do so.
    Even if you’re not forced to, it’s a good idea to learn Danish if you plan to make a commitment to Denmark. It’ll make daily life easier: you’ll stop wanting to tear your hair out every time you run across a website or voice prompt that’s only available in Danish.
    You’ll have more job opportunities, since around half of the positions in Denmark are with national, regional, or local governments. Almost all governmental jobs require a working knowledge of Danish.
    Plus, a lot of social life in Denmark takes place in Danish: Danes, understandably, want to speak Danish to each other, particularly when they’re off duty with a beer in hand.
    Read more in Kay Xander Mellish's book "How to Work in Denmark" or at www.howtoliveindenmark.com. 
     
    -----------------
    The Professional Benefits of Speaking Danish in Denmark While many Danes speak English fluently, knowing the local language can open up a broader spectrum of job opportunities. Being proficient in Danish is often a requirement in sectors such as education, healthcare, and public services. Moreover, speaking Danish fluently allows you to integrate more deeply into the workplace culture, which is highly valued in Danish society.
    Understanding and speaking Danish not only helps in daily communications but also demonstrates your commitment to your life and career in Denmark. It shows respect for the local culture and an eagerness to fully engage with the community, both of which are appreciated by Danish employers and colleagues.
    Best Danish Language Resources for Expats For expats moving to Denmark, there are numerous resources available to learn Danish. Many cities offer free Danish classes provided by the government, which are a great starting point. Additionally, there are private language schools offering intensive Danish language training for professionals, which can be tailored to your specific needs, whether you're looking for basic communication skills or fluency.
    Online courses and apps also offer flexibility for learning Danish at your own pace. These resources often include practical exercises and real-life scenarios that can prepare you for actual conversations in the workplace.
    How to Learn Danish Quickly for Working in Denmark To accelerate your Danish learning journey, immerse yourself in the language as much as possible. Engage with local media, listen to Danish radio, watch Danish TV shows and movies, and practice speaking with native Danes. This immersion will not only improve your language skills but also help you understand cultural nuances, which are crucial for effective communication in a professional setting.
    Additionally, learning essential Danish phrases for the workplace can make your daily interactions smoother and more productive. Simple phrases pertaining to greetings, meetings, scheduling, and professional courtesies can go a long way in building rapport with your coworkers.
    Danish Language Skills for Jobs in Denmark In competitive job markets, having Danish language skills can give you a significant edge. For positions that involve direct communication with customers or clients, such as sales or customer service, Danish is often mandatory. Even in international companies where the corporate language is English, local language skills might be necessary for liaising with local clients, regulatory bodies, or in negotiating contracts.
    Why Learn Danish for Working in Denmark Learning Danish for work goes beyond just expanding your job prospects. It enables you to participate fully in meetings, understand all documentation and legal requirements, and integrate into the social fabric of your workplace. It also greatly enhances

    • 7 min
    Why Danes Find Compliments So Awkward

    Why Danes Find Compliments So Awkward

    A story I’ve heard over and over again when I talk to internationals working in Denmark is this: They thought they were going to get fired.
    They’d been working for a year or so at professional-level job in Denmark, often one they’d been recruited for, but they’d never heard any positive comments from their manager.
    They started to worry. They were doing their best, but maybe it just wasn’t good enough.
    Were they going to lose the job? Were they going to have to go back home, humiliated, and explain the whole thing to their friends and family?
    Expecting bad news This was what was on their mind when they went into their annual employee review. They were expecting some pretty bad news.
    Instead, they got a promotion. And a raise. Their manager thought they were doing great. But the Danish approach to employee feedback is generally – “No news is good news”.
    You have a job, you’re doing that job, we’ll let you know if there are any problems.
    Positive feedback is uncommon in Denmark, because Danes themselves are often uncomfortable receiving compliments.
    The façade of equality Compliments run smack-dab into the Jante Law, which says specifically that “Don’t think that you’re better than us.”

    When you give someone a compliment, you lift them above you, if only for a moment, and that disturbs the equality, or at least the façade of equality, which is so important in Denmark.
    So compliments are not a natural thing in Denmark, either on the job or in your personal life.
     
    Read more at www.howtoliveindenmark.com

    • 7 min
    Romance in Denmark

    Romance in Denmark

    Whether you're navigating the cobbled streets of Copenhagen on a first date, exploring the charming countryside with a new companion, or swiping right in the pursuit of love, this episode offers the inside scoop on Danish dating culture.
    We explore different facets of the Danish dating scene, from casual meet-ups in cozy bodegas to the commitment in long-term relationships in Denmark. We bring you stories, expert advice, and real-life experiences about finding love and maintaining relationships in the happiest country on Earth.
    Let’s start by unpacking the Danish dating culture. Known for its direct communication style, dating in Denmark can be refreshingly straightforward. Danes value honesty and usually say what they mean without much beating around the bush. We'll explore how this directness affects both initial meetings and the development of deeper connections.
    We'll take you through the trendiest spots for meeting Danish singles, highlighting popular online dating platforms in Denmark such as Tinder, which is widely used by Danish singles seeking both fun and serious relationships. We’ll discuss the nuances of online dating in Denmark, and how different it is from other countries, with insights on what to expect when engaging with Danish profiles.
    Navigating through Danish romantic practices, we'll delve into how relationships often start with a simple coffee date rather than extravagant gestures. Understanding Danish etiquette is crucial; for instance, don't be surprised that when dating a Dane, you might be expected to split the bill. This speaks to the deeply ingrained values of equality and independence that define Danish society.
    Furthermore, the episode will cover the importance of public displays of affection in Denmark. You'll learn why a Dane might prefer a discreet smile or a light touch over grand public gestures.
    Join us as we explore the heartfelt and sometimes humorous world of romance in Denmark. Whether you are a Dane looking to understand the subtleties of your own dating culture or an expat trying to navigate your way through the Danish heart, this podcast is your companion. Let us take you on a journey through the streets and hearts of Denmark.

    • 8 min
    Finding light in the Danish Winter Darkness

    Finding light in the Danish Winter Darkness

    Many internationals newly arrived in Denmark struggle with the long Danish winter. 
    The darkness that starts to fall in the early afternoon means that 5pm looks just like 8pm, which looks just like midnight, which looks just like 5am.
    Dense, inky black sky.
    During the daytime there’s a dim grey light, sometimes accompanied by a soupy fog of tiny raindrops.
    It’s tough to handle - even for Danes.
    Many people living through this time in Denmark describe feeling low-energy – sløj is the very descriptive Danish term. It translates directly to “sluggish”.
    Others feel deeply depressed. Some eat too much, or drink too much. Some sleep all the time.
    It doesn’t have to be this way. Here are my tips for handling these dark months, which generally stretch from November until the end of February.
     
    Enjoy the brown charm of Danish winter nature
    It’s important to get outside during the brief period of light every day. Even if it’s just for 15 minutes on your lunch hour, it really helps. 
    Walking in nature is wonderful this time of year if you have right clothing, in particular the right footwear. A good pair of solid boots and you can even go out when it’s icy. Don’t neglect second-hand stores in Denmark. You can usually find a lot of good winter clothes there for not very much money.
    Parks, botanical gardens, forests – they all have a certain charm this time of year. A brown, winter charm, but a charm all the same.
     
    The secret sauce: a project or a list with things you can check off
    Go see how the winter animals are doing. Deer parks are good, see what the deer are up to. And most Danish zoos are open year-round. Go see how happy the polar bears are when the weather is freezing!
    But my top tip for making it through the winter is a specific project, like learning how to knit, or learning how to make something out of wood, or even better, a list.
    If you have a list, you can check things off as you go along, and you get a feeling of progress as the dark months drag on.
    Read more at howtoliveindenmark.com.
     

    • 7 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
45 Ratings

45 Ratings

Nougat..! ,

Plantenørd skal flette næbet

Wow en latterlig kommentar, tror vist du projekterer.

Elsker det her podcast, man lærer en masse om den danske kultur som jeg aldrig have tænkt på.

darbrtf ,

Roadie

Really like the On the Road concept. Been here 15 years but never to Esbjerg; now on my list. Would like to hear about more interesting spots.

Giba-dk ,

100 right

You are right in all comments. Very funny observations. I hear several times each episode 😄.

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