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Body Language In Denmark

Danes are generally very cheerful and relaxed. They like to laugh and like people who have a sense of humour – the blacker and drier the better. So be sociable and amusing, but please do restrain yourself from laughing out loud and slapping your thighs.

The Danes are not a loud, noisy people and prefer soft sounds. Their laughter is more on the quiet, slightly mischievous side and looks more like a smile than a laugh.

Restrained behaviour

An exaggerated body language is generally considered unpleasant in Denmark, as the expression “with large arm movements” suggests. This can be roughly translated as “exaggerated posturing”.

The same goes for making it clear that you are annoyed in an angry way. Such thoughtless behaviour can get you ostracized very quickly.

Body language that suggests superiority such as throwing yourself into a chair and sitting with your legs wide apart is rated even more negatively. Nordics have no interest in such demonstrations of power. The reason for this way of being is the Law of Jante, a kind of “Ten Commandments on How to Treat Each Other”, which boils down to: “Do not believe that you are something special.” Danes do their best to ensure equality. It goes against the Danish way to put yourself above others.

Showing courtesy

This also has an indirect effect on expressions of politeness. Whether woman or man, boss or employee—everyone is treated equally. Except for on very official occasions, you will hardly ever see a man holding the door open for a woman or giving way to the elderly or the most senior.

Use your intuition

If Danes are displeased with something, they won’t tell you straight to your face. Instead, you will notice that they are acting more reservedly towards you. This is why you should watch closely to interpret any signals that their body language might give you about their mood. The eyes are usually a giveaway, you should be able to clearly tell from their expression if your counterpart is well disposed towards you or not.

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