15 Danish Words Visitors Should Know

Copenhagen, Denmark
Guojunjun via Wikimedia Commons

It's hard to believe that a country once the homeland of the ferocious Vikings now largely follows the concept of "Hygge", translating to cozy, snug, and underrated, private, quiet lives in ones' homes. Yes, the Danes are a modest, minimalistic and amiable people, and if you ever find yourself lost anywhere in this beautiful country, any local would be only too happy to pull you out of trouble.

Still, let's hope it does not come to that. Here are a few important Danish words that every traveler should be aware of when in Denmark.

1. Ambassade: Translates to "Embassy". This is a word you should be aware of in any foreign country. No one has the guarantee of having an uneventful trip, and should you need to find it, you should know what the word "embassy" translates to in the local dialect. The whole sentence will be: "Jeg leder efter den ambassade" - "I am looking for the embassy."

2. Herrer: Translates to "Men". This would come in handy when you are looking for restrooms in restaurants and public places.

3. Damer: The Danish word for "Women". Once again, it is useful when you are looking for a restroom.

4. Politiet: Translates to "Police".The easiest way to find help in a foreign country is from the local law enforcement, which are known as "Politiet" in the place.

5. Et offentligt toilet: This translates to "A public toilet". You can also use the word "Toiletter" if the phrase is too hard to remember. An example: "Jeg leder efter et offentligt toilet/ Jeg leder efter et toiletter" - I am looking for a public toilet/ a toilet.

6. Lufthavn: Translates to "Airport". It is another essential word one should remember when traveling in Denmark.

7. Taxa: Translates to "Taxi". This is one of the most basic words you should know when traveling abroad, so you can hail transportation when necessary. Also, tipping taxi drivers and waiters is not the norm in Denmark. It is, of course, appreciated, but not deemed necessary, so you can forgo the tip if you want.

8. Indgang: Translates to "Entrance". Of course, you don't want to barge through the wrong door to be embarrassed in front of foreign people. So you should get you entrances and exits right.

9. Udgang: Translates to "Exit". Knowing which way to go comes in handy in any place. But hey, if you don't know the term, you can follow the crowd.

10. Tid: Translates to "Time". This is the "generic" term for time in Denmark. However, if you want to know the time from someone, you usually say:"Hvad er Klokken"- What is the time?

11. Marked: Translates to "Market". The Danish word is almost the same as the English word, so it should be easy to remember. While asking the price, you can say: "Hvor meget koster?" - How much is it?

12. Mit hotel: This is technically a phrase, but important nonetheless. It translates to "My hotel". This too is easy to recall, since the word is the same as in the English language.

13. Turist Informationen: Translates to "Tourist Office". You should know the official term in cases of emergencies, or if you need any help or information.

14. Tjeneren: Translates to "Waiter". The pronunciation for this one can be a bit tricky. It is pronounced as "Je-na-an". When you want to get the attention of the wait, you usually say:"Undskyld mig?" - "Excuse me, waiter!"

15. Telefon: Translates to "phone". This too is quite close to its English equivalent, making it quite self evident. An example can be: "Kan jeg bruge din telefon?" - "Can I use your phone?"

You won't usually need to learn a vast number of words to travel in Denmark, but a working knowledge of the pronouns, greetings, and basic words and phrases is also helpful.


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