In every single country, dating is a bit different. What works in the United States may not go over well, even in another English-speaking country, like Great Britain.
It’s no surprise that dating a Danish man may not be what you’re used to, and that’s okay! If you have your eye on a Danish man, here is everything you need to know (and expect!) about starting a relationship.
Be Prepared to Make the First Move
In Denmark, it’s just as common for women to ask out men as the reverse. Some say it’s actually now more common. In fact, many Danish men rely on women (or other men in same-sex relationships) to make the first move and initiate the start of a relationship.
However, they’re also hesitant around strangers, so you need to find a workaround if you haven’t been introduced to the Danish man who has caught your eye.
Danish Men Won’t Take the Lead
In all likelihood, whether you’re living in Denmark or happen to be interested in a Danish man who lives in your country, he is not going to make the first move. He may not even make the second, third, or fourth move. This is not because he isn’t interested in having a relationship, but it’s simply how Danish culture has evolved.
If you expect the man to do all the work to get things started or to be the one to call, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Often, Danish men allow a potential partner to be the one to initiate any romantic contact.
Unfortunately, that may mean they won’t be the ones to set up the first date or even the following dates. You may have to always be the one to call him, even once you have established a relationship together.
Expect Rejection from a Stranger
While you’ll likely need to make the first move, that doesn’t mean you should approach a Danish man if you don’t know him. The Danes are private people and frequently feel uncomfortable around strangers.
This may seem strange considering that one of the things Danes are most known for is how trusting they are. Once they get to know someone, and that typically only takes an introduction, they will begin to trust and rely upon you.
That being said, it doesn’t mean a Danish man you haven’t been introduced to is completely off the table. However, rather than trying to buy him a drink and chat him up at a bar, try to meet his friends first, especially if those friends are of the same gender as you.
Once that’s done, you can ask about the man who has caught your eye and see if he is available, or if you can meet him.
There Are Two “Dating” Modes
Dating, as much of the western world knows it, isn’t really a thing in Denmark. There isn’t even a true translation of the word “dating.”
Instead, Danish men usually are interested in one of two things: having a casual physical relationship that won’t last beyond a night or so, or they are fully invested in having a relationship, typically skipping the dating phase altogether.
They Often Want a Casual Fling
Relationships and physical intimacy aren’t taboo in Denmark, which means that one night stands are pretty common.
Danish people, in general, don’t really practice what other western nations consider casual dating. Instead, they’ll happily engage in a physical relationship of the moment and move on.
If you’re not interested in only having a brief fling, it’s important to say so explicitly to your potential partner. No one wants to end up hurt because they expected more from a developing relationship than their partner ever intended to give.
Otherwise, They Want a Fully Fledged Partner
However, that doesn’t mean that a Danish man isn’t looking for a steady partner. Just as often, if they want a longer-lasting relationship, they will skip straight to being fully committed to you.
That’s because Danish people don’t really do casual dating. They don’t tend to date multiple people at once or repeatedly see someone romantically without intending to be a committed partner.
In such circumstances, even if you have only been seeing each other for a short time, be prepared to be fully supportive of them, and vice versa. If he has a family emergency, he will anticipate being able to rely on you for help.
Similarly, if you need assistance or support, he will be there for you to provide it.
Don’t expect them to broadcast their relationship with you, however. Often, Danish men and women won’t share news of their romantic life unless a major life event happens, like getting engaged or having a baby.
Not sharing about their relationship doesn’t mean they don’t love you. They’re very private people who only open up fully to their innermost circle of friends or loved ones.
They Won’t Lead You On
In some countries, it’s common to play a bit coy when dating. Flirting may involve being indirect when asking for a date or playing hard to get.
This isn’t true for Danish men. Danes tend to be direct in what they want and what they like. If they are interested in you, they will tell you. You just may have to ask them first.
Because they appreciate directness, it’s best to be clear with your intentions from the start. If you’re only looking for a one night stand, say so. If you want a fully committed relationship, then you’ll need to tell them that too.
In a similar vein, they likely won’t appreciate or understand if you try to play hard to get. If you turn them down for a date or two, they will interpret it as you don’t want to date them.
Due to their straightforward nature, they also are less likely to pick up on subtle clues or hints that you may drop.
For example, if they mention that they are going to a concert, and you reply that you’d love to see that band too, they may not understand that you want to be invited. Instead, it would be best if you said something along the lines of, “Oh, I like that band as well. We should go together sometime.”
Romantic Means Something Else in Denmark
In many countries in the west, romance is seen as large gestures, touching moments, and spontaneity. You may expect your partner to sweep you off your feet with a surprise picnic lunch or a heartfelt poem about how much you mean to him.
In Denmark, these gestures are not the norm, and expecting them may lead to misunderstandings and disappointment. Don’t worry, though! Danish men have their ways of being romantic with their partners.
They Are More Practical than Romantic
The Danish people may emphasize hygge, that cozy, warm feeling of contentedness, but they are not likely to participate in huge romantic gestures, especially spur-of-the-minute ones.
Don’t go into a relationship with a Danish man expecting him to be performative for you. Most likely, he’s not going to show up at your work with a bouquet of your favorite flower because mixing romance and work is somewhat taboo, but also because their mindset is different.
Rather than sweeping you off your feet underneath a canopy of stars, Danes tend to express their love in more practical ways. They may not tell you that they love you every single day, but they’ll find other ways to demonstrate their devotion.
Relationships with Danish men are more like partnerships than anything else. They’ll happily cook with and for you. They’ll do chores without needing to be asked or prodded, or they’ll run errands when they need to be done. If you mention that your shoulders are aching, they’ll probably offer to give you a massage.
When you’re sick, they will care for you. When you have a crisis, they will be there. That’s the romance of dating a Danish man.
Of course, it goes without saying that he will expect the same from you. If you aren’t ready for that level of commitment, then dating a Danish man may not be the best idea.
Be Ready to Split the Bills
Danish men tend to be feminists. In Denmark, women pride themselves on being strong and independent. Usually, they don’t like it when a man tries to hold a door for them or offers to carry something for her because they think it’s heavy.
Because of this, you can expect a Danish man to believe in the complete equality of a relationship.
And yes, this includes paying for half of a date. If you go out to a restaurant, it will be expected to go Dutch, as the saying goes. Want to go for a few drinks at the bar? It’s a good idea to offer to buy the first round.
That doesn’t mean you can’t ask for specific things. Want your Danish boyfriend to help carry a heavy grocery load? Simply ask! He’ll likely volunteer right away.
Again, this comes down to being direct. If you have specific needs, be open and honest about them. You might be surprised how accommodating your new Danish beau can be!
Give Them Plenty of Time to Plan
Spontaneous adventures, romantic as they are, are not something most Danish people are comfortable with.
Instead, people usually have their schedule planned three weeks to a month in advance.
So, you found out on Thursday that a band you both love is playing locally Friday night? You can try to invite them, but don’t be disheartened if they reject you. It may not be personal; Danish people like to have time to prepare for things.
That being said, once you’re in a relationship with a Danish man, don’t expect him to plan last-minute trips or to be comfortable with spur-of-the-moment decisions.
If you love throwing caution to the wind and leaping before you look, don’t expect your Danish boyfriend to be quick to join you. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but try to give him plenty of notice to be able to schedule things out without having to cancel plans he’d already made.
Danish Men Prefer Comfort to Formality
Even if Danish people, in general, are known for being very polite, they don’t necessarily want to go on an overly elaborate, fancy dinner date or wear uncomfortable clothing. Rather than being formal, try a more laid-back approach.
Don’t Take Him to a Fancy Restaurant
You may think taking him out to an expensive restaurant, even if you intend to pay, will impress him or sweep him off his feet, but this likely won’t be the case.
First of all, Danish people, generally speaking, don’t usually feel comfortable with other people spending money on them. That’s why they split bills to begin with! Dropping a large amount of cash on him will really alienate the Danish man you’re hoping to win over.
Second of all, that sort of atmosphere is most likely not going to put him at ease. Danish men don’t want to feel stuffy or endure long awkward silences that can happen over a lengthy dinner date.
This doesn’t mean that you’ll never again enjoy the finer things in life. Danish people love good food, after all! However, it does mean that there is a time and a place for dinner dates, but going on a first date is certainly not it.
Dress Smart but Casual
If there is one thing that most Danish people have really mastered, it’s how to be stylish yet comfortable at all times. They’re a nation of beautiful people, and they know how to dress.
On the other hand, they also know the value of comfort. They aren’t pretentious people and don’t feel the need to show off with their clothes.
With that in mind, if you’re in Denmark, look at how others are dressing and try to mimic that. If you show up to a beer garden dressed to the nines, you’ll stick out like a sore thumb and probably won’t impress your date.
Instead, wear something fashionable but not too glamorous. This way, you and your date will both be comfortable.
Ditch the Phone at Dinner
It may seem obvious to give a date our full attention, but so many of us rely on our phones for stimulation that we may not even realize we’re browsing social media when we should be focusing on the person across from us.
Danish men are very polite, and they expect their dates to be polite in return. It’s rude not to give one’s entire attention to a person when they’re speaking, especially in a romantic setting!
Cater to Their Interests
If this leaves you wondering what to do for a first date, don’t worry! There are plenty of good, fun options available to you.
Drinks for a First Date Is Fine
Most of Europe loves a good drink, and Denmark is no exception. A great icebreaker for a first date or even just a casual get together with friends to see if the Danish man you’re interested in wants to date is to go to a bar.
Notoriously reserved as a people, a Danish man may be more likely to open up and talk freely after a drink or two.
This is one time where you can buy him something. Offer to buy the first round of drinks, and he will probably buy the next.
Try to Find Out What They Like
If drinking isn’t really your thing, never fear! You can still have a successful first date.
Since an expensive dinner is out of the question, try to find out what he enjoys doing in his personal time. Does he like hiking? Is he an avid coffee drinker?
Suggest a date doing something that you know he is going to enjoy. This is another way to put him at ease and can be a great starting point for conversation.
If most of his leisure activities are solitary, such as gaming or reading, it’s always nice to suggest a picnic or lunch in a park. You can have a nice meal together and then take a walk to enjoy the sights.
Danes Enjoy Experiences Over Material Goods
In many western countries, it’s typical to bring a small gift to someone you’re interested in or to show your affection by treating them to something nice.
However, we’ve already established that Danish people prefer to pay for things for themselves.
So, rather than going out and buying a present, focus on the memories you two can make together.
One excellent way to do just that is to embrace their culture and look up different Danish holidays and festivities, such as creating Easter Letters or Fastelavn, a holiday similar to Halloween.
Ask about his favorite traditions! You may learn about how Danish people literally jump into the New Year (off of a chair no less!), and you two might find ways to spend quality time together.
If you want to meet Danish men, check out these dating sites in Denmark.
Final Thoughts on Dating a Danish Man
Dating can be tough, especially when you’re out of your element and don’t know what to expect. However, if you’re ready to take a more forward approach and get to know his friends, dating a Danish man isn’t nearly as tricky as it might otherwise seem.