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The following sections gives you a little insight to the Danish work culture and life in Odense. 

Working in Denmark

Danish companies are known to have a very flat hierarchical structure. People relate to one another as equals regardless of job titles and formal positions.
Managers and employees address each other by their first names and most decisions are discussed in forums where all employees have an equal say. At lunch, you will find managers and employees sitting at the same table talking openly about their private lives and pursuits. The conversation often revolves around family life, holidays and what they do in their spare time.
In the typical Danish workplace, everyone is encouraged to contribute with ideas and professional opinions regardless of title or status. Moreover, everyone relevant is always involved in making decisions.
This means that the general atmosphere in a Danish workplace is professional, but also casual and informal. Many workplaces have what resembles a flat management hierarchy, which means it is more than normal to take up issues directly with the CEO. It is allowed to contradict or criticize managers.
Danes address each other by their first name, regardless of positions. Students also address their lecturers by their first name.

Team collaboration

In Denmark there is a long standing tradition where focus at a workplace is geared towards teamwork and team collaboration. This means that as an employee, you are part of a team which includes group evaluations and team discussions. At the same time, you can achieve your responsibilities independently, in the most efficient way.

This way of working together is based on trust. Your team members or your manager will not micromanage you or see how you are coming along with work. They trust that the work will be done within the agreed timelines unless informed otherwise. Some internationals also describe the work culture in Denmark as being very informal compared to what they are used to.
Danes hold many meetings to facilitate the free flow of communication and secure unity, common understanding and consensus in the workforce. In addition to this, Danes believe in informal knowledge sharing. This means Danes eat lunch together and hold coffee breaks during the day to socialize and discuss both private and work related topics.

Asking questions

For some internationals, asking questions can be challenging especially if you come from a culture that is top-down driven.
In Denmark, we believe in the saying: “There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers.” So do not hesitate to ask your employer, if you might have questions regarding work or how to proceed with a task.
Asking questions or giving critical comments is considered showing your commitment and taking responsibility.
When dealing with a problem/an issue Danes approach this in a direct manner. The message is the most important, leaving Danes to be less sensitive to the tone and wording. Focus is on "what" and not "how". Criticism is regarded as help to improve a product. The feedback is frequently used at meetings and in relations between workers and worker/manager.

There is a high level of trust in Denmark, where one says “a deal is a deal”, and we trust that the other party will accept the mutual agreement. In fact, the flat structure in the work culture is primarily built on trust.
Managers do not micromanage their employees and do not have to ensure that they are doing their job well as they trust that this is the case. Another keyword that can describe the Danish work culture is “independence.”
Danes actually do not like to be led, and prefer to work independently, and employers like the fact that employees are responsible and able to work independently. The relationship between the employer and the employee is built on trust and mutual respect. The employer trusts that the employee will speak up if there is an issue.
Usually one of the first things internationals mention about the Danish work culture is the work-life balance. The fact that most employees work from 8 am to 4 pm and are able to return home to their families or take part in activities organized by some of the clubs and associations, is something that many expat families value when moving to Denmark.
Leisure time is important to the Danes and many families make an effort to spend as much time as possible outdoors.
Be on time and take appointments and deadlines seriously. Danes create tight schedules. If you don't show up on time for an appointment you will be accused for wasting other people’s time - and time is very valuable due to the tight schedules. It is regarded as very impolite and disrespectful not to be on time.

Danish humor can be tricky thing to newcomers. The Danish humour involves sarcasm and irony, and can therefore be hard to interpret for others.

Find examples and explanations here.

Although the workplace culture varies from company to company, the general office dress code is relatively relaxed for both men and women, smart casual being the norm.
At business meetings, Danes will generally introduce themselves by their full name and with a handshake and expect you to do the same.
You should not expect to be introduced to people by others. You should take the initiative (this is also the case at social gatherings).

Living in Odense

The municipality of Odense has invested heavily in its cycling infrastructure and it shows. The easiest way to get around town is on a bike and for the majority of families, biking is their main mode of transportation.

International Community Odense has created this very useful guide for biking in Odense.

Fynbus  can help you get around in Odense and the surrounding areas. 

If you travel on a regular basis, Rejsekortet may be useful. It can be used for busses and trains. 

If you need help with planning your journey, Rejseplanen is a great tool.

In Denmark there are a number of options for those seeking Danish news in English:

  • The Local Denmark - Denmark's news in English
  • CPH Online Post
  • www.denmark.dk is Denmark’s official international website
    On this website you will find news articles in English, as well as articles, images, and facts about Danish business, politics, culture, history, the media, etc. Denmark.dk also has services in German, Spanish and French
  • www.yourdanishlife.dk  is a magazine for expats living in Denmark.
    Published 4 times a year, the magazine has articles about history, leisure, travelling, tips from expats, and much more

Online weather forecasts in English

Danes have a reputation for talking a lot about the weather. Numerous online forecast sites are available in English.

ISO has made a Grocery Dictionary, which should be a help to find the translations from Danish to English for some of the most common products in the supermarkets. Please have a look at our brochure here.

The standard costs of living in Denmark is high and the economy performs above the European average. Accommodation, food and transport are therefore relatively expensive in Denmark compared to other countries. However salaries and PhD stipends are correspondingly high, and services such as medical treatment are free of charge. 

Odense is as a main rule cheaper to live in than Copenhagen, but Odense is more expensive than Kolding, Esbjerg and Sønderborg. 
Below we have gathered some sample prices, but for a more detailed impression of living costs in Odense and Denmark, we suggest that you check out this page from NUMBEO where people all over the world share costs of living in different countries. You can also compare two cities with each other to see, where the living costs are the highest.

 You can also take a look at our partner's International Community Odense's website to find more information about the living costs specifically for Odense.

 

Click here to read what others think about living in Denmark

Testimonials from expats in Denmark

Last Updated 29.03.2022