Denmark 101 – Are Danes Rude? – Episode 5

Posted on / by Alex Berger
Denmark 101 are Danes Rude

A common complaint from tourists and recently arrived expats is Danish rudeness when it comes to navigating city streets. More specifically, that Danes will bump into you in passing but fail to apologize or comment.

While this obviously depends on the severity of the accidental bump, it is something I’ve heard commented on repeatedly. But, is it actually due to rudeness or a cultural difference? In this video I explore the Danish approach to efficiency and how that shapes the need to (or not to) apologize after a mild street collision.

Denmark and its’ residents are a fascinating group. In this video series I leverage my observations and research to share with you insights into how to get the most of your interactions with the Danes and your time in Denmark regardless of the duration of your visit. One day or ten years – my goal is to share observations I’ve made from my 5 years of living, studying, and working among the Danes.

If you’re Danish, hopefully you’ll find this series interesting, a bit informative, and not too outlandishly inaccurate. So far the feedback and input has been great and I look forward to continuing to further exploring Danish culture with you.

If you’re a foreigner coming to Denmark, I hope this helps you build upon observations and insights the rest of us had to find out the hard way.

Topics that will be covered include the Danish approach to nudity, how to make Danish friends, how to meet Danes, Danish manners, studying in Denmark, working here, traditions, key behaviors, taxes, dating and even a look at Janteloven.

Stay tuned for future updates – this is just the beginning!  Can’t wait?  Jump to YouTube and view all of the latest episodes and while there make sure to Subscribe!


Alex Berger

I am a travel blogger and photographer. I also am involved in academic research into the study abroad and backpacker communities.


  • Rick Stevens
    August 26, 2016

    Well, I lived in Denmark, and although some of the very best human beings I’ve ever met and some of the best friends I’ve ever had are Danish, I make no apologies for calling Danes as a whole some of the rudest people on Earth.

  • RIC
    September 21, 2016

    I guess this video explains why the person who bumped into you might not apologize, but it doesn’t explain why these ‘bumping incidents’ are so common in the first place. Unfortunately, my experience in this country is that people are so self-absorbed that they will not make any effort to move aside for another person. Of course, this doesn’t apply to all Danes, but it applies to enough of hem that it leaves the visitor/expat with a lasting impression. I must agree with the first commenter that these folk are, unfortunately, also some of the rudest people I have ever encountered.

  • DAniEL
    August 24, 2017

    I partially agree. They are people too and social norms do not defer too much throughout the western world. It often happened to me that I was verbally and physically aggressed, with no particular reason, by danes… in a supermarket, in a park or at the mall… The thing is that when a dane bumps into you, you need to walk away, try to smile and eventually apologize, even though it might end with a swearing and a threat from the dane’s side.
    Bottom line is that most of them are wonderful people, but obviously there are also less happy people amongst them.

  • Vivian
    November 30, 2017

    I’m scared to visit copenhagen now. I wanted to visit because of the beautiful architectures and the biking culture… but the thought of encountering a higher than average quota of rudeness while on vacation is very off-putting. If this is a what Denmark is infamous for then it is surely giving the message that foreigners are not welcome – then I’d rather spend my money somewhere else.


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