Denmark

Generally: Denmark is a very safe country, with almost no risk of natural disasters or animal attacks there is one rare poisonous snake, the European viper (Hugorm, as well as the fish called "Fjæsing", but its bite is not generally lethal. Its bite, however, is strong enough to be lethal to children and the elderly, so medical treatment is always encouraged). Compared to most other countries crime and traffic are only minor risks, and most crime visitors are likely to encounter is non violent pickpocketing.

On foot
in cities Danes drive by the rules, and they have every expectation that pedestrians do the same. Therefore, it is important to obey Walk/Don't Walk signals and avoid jaywalking in cities, simply because cars will not slow down since you're not supposed to be there. Also, take good notice of the dedicated bike lanes when crossing any street to avoid dangerous situations as bikers tend to ride fast and have right of way on these lanes.

On the beach: Don't bathe alone. Don't get too far away from land. Swim along the coast rather than away from it. In some areas undertow is a danger, and kills a number of tourists every year, but will mostly be signed at the beach. On many beaches, flags inform of water quality. A blue flag means excellent water quality, green flag means good water quality, red flag means that bathing is not advised. A sign with the text "Badning forbudt" means that bathing is forbidden. Obey these signs, as it often means that the water is polluted with poisonous algae, bacteria, or chemicals, or that there is a dangerous undertow.

In the city: A few districts in major cities are probably best avoided at night by the unwary, or by lone women - but reverse of the trends in North America, it is often the ghettos in the suburbs that are unsafe, rather than the downtown areas.

In an emergency dial 112 medical help/fire brigade/police. This is toll free, and will work even from cell phones even if they have no SIM card. For the police in not-emergencies call 114.

Health services in Denmark are of a high standard, although waiting times at emergency rooms can be quite long for non emergencies, since visitors are prioritized according to their situation. Except for surgical procedures there is no private healthcare system to speak of, all is taken care of by the public healthcare system and general practitioners. All visitors are provided with free emergency care, until you are deemed healthy enough to be transported back to your home country. Citizens from EU countries, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and certain British dependencies are all entitled to additional basic medical services during their stay, other nationalities should have a valid travel insurance for transportation home and any additional medical care needed after any emergency is dealt with, as this is not provided free of charge. As in the rest of the country, English speakers should not have any trouble communicating with staff in English.

One thing worth noting for several nationalities, is that Danish doctors don't strew out prescriptions or pills out at the rate common in North America, Japan and Southern Europe. There is a general trend of letting the body's own immune system take care of diseases, rather than using medicines. So if you show up at the local GP with minor illnesses like the common flu, expect to be send back to your bed to rest, rather than receiving any treatment, if you are otherwise of good health. Pharmacies Danish: Apotek are usually well stocked, but brand names may differ from those in your own country. Staff is highly trained, and major cities usually have one 24 hour pharmacy. Many drugs that are prescription-free in other countries, require prescription in Denmark, which is not trivial to get see above, and medicines available in supermarkets and drug stores are very limited; i.e. allergy drugs and light painkillers; Paracetamol based Panodil, Pamol & Pinex, acetylsalicylic based Treo, Kodimagnyl & Aspirin and Ibuprofen based Ipren

Dentists are only partly covered by the public healthcare system, and everyone, including Danes pay to visit their dentist. Danes and other Nordic citizens have some of the expenses covered by the public healthcare system, while non Scandinavian visitors, should generally be prepared to foot the entire bill themselves, or forward the expenses to their insurance company. Prices are notoriously high compared to the neighbouring countries, so unless it is urgent to see a dentist, it will probably be more economical to wait until you return home, or pass into Germany or Sweden.

Tap water is potable unless indicated. The regulations for tap water in Denmark even exceeds that of bottled water in general, so don't be offended if you notice a waiter filling a can of water at the sink. Restaurants and other places selling food are visited regularly by health inspectors and are awarded points on a 1-4 "smiley scale". (http://www.findsmiley.dk/...) The ratings must be prominently displayed, so look out for the happy face when in doubt. While pollution in the major cities can be annoying it doesn't pose any risk to non-residents. Nearly all beaches are fine for bathing - even parts of the Copenhagen harbour recently opened for bathing read the Stay safe section.

mail

Most towns of any size have a post-office or a supermarket licensed to handle mail and parcels. Service is efficient, and you can expect mail posted in the postoffice, or in a mailbox before it is emptied hours are posted on the mailbox to arrive before 3PM the following day in Denmark and Southern Sweden. Mail to the rest of Europe, the United States and Canada needs one extra day, while delivery time to the rest of the world varies greatly, and mostly depends on the postal service in the receiving country. Most post offices in Denmark also handles Western Union money transfers, ticket sales for events, currency exchange and sell phone cards for international calls. Standard prices for postcards and standard letters are 5,50 DKK within Denmark, 8 DKK to Europe and 9 DKK for all other countries as of 2011, the rates are higher and likely to heighten, but as any current info as of the time of writing is likely to be outdated soon, do ask at the post office.

If you need to have parcels or mail sent to you in Denmark, you can receive it as Poste Restante at most major post offices General Delivery in the US. The post office will only hold such mail in one month, after which it will be returned to the sender. The address format is:

Major international parcel services like UPS or Fedex, while present in Denmark, do not offer any holding service.

consular assistance

Nearly all developed nations have embassies in Copenhagen, and most other countries have embassies in either Stockholm or Copenhagen responsible for consular services to the whole Scandinavian region. EU member nations often maintain consulates in the provinces. At present, there are 71 foreign embassies in Copenhagen and more than 100 consulates in Copenhagen and larger cities, such as Aarhus, Aalborg, Odense, Vejle etc. (http://www.embassypages.c...). If you fall victim to serious criminal injuries while in Denmark, you might be eligible to financial compensation. If you wish to file a claim you must report the incident to police within 24 hours, and file a form obtainable from the police to Erstatningsnævnet; Gyldenløvesgade 11, 1600 Copenhagen V. Tel +45 33 92 33 34, Fax: +45 39 20 45 05, Email: erstatningsnaevnet@erstatningsnaevnet.dk. Claim processing time is a minimum of 3 months.

customer service

By most standards the Danes have a great deal to learn about customer service, and many visitors may initially be appalled by the low standards present outside upmarket establishments, used to dealing with international expectations. Many attribute this to the high equality not only being present in practice, but also mentally - "you are not worth any more than me, so why should I treat you any different". By and large it is just one of those cultural differences you have deal with while visiting another country, and throwing a hissy fit or demanding to speak to the supervisor, is unlikely to get you anywhere. On the upside; tipping is neither expected - nor required, and when you do bump into good service, it tends to be truly genuine helpfulness, rather than an expectation for tips, or employee training courses - so savour such moments, remember to tip, and forget about the rest.

On a practical level, this means that you should only expect table service in restaurants. In café's and bars you usually order in the bar or counter and pay immediately when ordering, even if you intend for a 2nd order. It is also common that staff doing other duties than serving customers will happily keep the customer waiting, until he or she is finished with with whatever needs doing. Also don't expect any sir or madam's, verbal bromides seems awkward to most Danes, including those behind a counter.

phone

Bring your own unlocked GSM phone to make calls. Prepaid SIM cards are available at most shops and international calling can be reasonably priced. Any prepaid credit generally only valid for calls made in Denmark, but can be purchased in small amounts to avoid waste when you leave.

International collect calls are not allowed from phone booths, which are all ran by the TDC company. You should be able to make international call with the prepaid SIM cards anyways.

Denmark's international phone country code is 45. The prefix for international dialing is "00" or '+' on a mobile phone.

media

Apart from children's shows, nothing gets dubbed in Denmark although a sizeable portion of broadcasts in Denmark are American and British productions - so even with no English channels, there will usually be something on in a comprehensible language, same goes for cinemas - so you should be safe for a lazy rainy day. Nearly all hotels will have CNN and the BBC World Service available.

If you want updated with local news, the Copenhagen Post is the country's sole English newspaper, it is published weekly and available in many bars and Cafés in Copenhagen, while much harder to find in the rest of the country.

Online you can follow Danish news in English at:

The Copenhagen Post
neutral (http://www.cphpost.dk)
Politiken
centrist (http://politiken.dk/newsi...)
Jyllands Posten
right (http://jp.dk/uknews/)
Denmark.dk
official news (http://www.denmark.dk/en/...)
DR
public broadcaster (http://www.dr.dk/Nyheder/...)
talk

Denmark's national language is Danish, a member of the Germanic branch of the group of Indo-European languages, and within that family, part of the North Germanic, East Norse group. It is, in theory, very similar to Norwegian Bokmål and also to Swedish, and is to some extent intelligible to speakers of those languages, especially in written form. However its sound is more influenced by the guttural German language, rather than the lilting languages found to the north and understanding spoken Danish may be a trace more difficult to those who only speak Swedish or Norwegian. It is also more distantly related to Icelandic and Faroese, though spoken Danish is not mutually intelligible with these languages.

English is widely spoken in Denmark close to 90% of the population speaks it, making Denmark one of the most English proficient countries on the planet where English is not an official language, and many Danes have near native fluency. Danish school children start their English lessons in third grade, and regular English lessons continue until students finish high school, and many Danish university courses are fully or partially taught in English. In this regard, it is worth noting that Denmark is probably one of very few countries in the world, where you get no extra points for trying to speak the language, and Danes in general have very little patience with non-fluent speakers. So except for a few words like Tak thank you or Undskyld excuse me, English-speakers are much better off just speaking English than fighting their way through a phrasebook. If you do try, and the person you are talking to immediately switches to English, don't feel bad as it is not meant to condescend or belittle. Also of note, the Danish language has no equivalent to the English word "please" so at times it may seem as though Danes are rude when speaking English. This is not their intention, but it is just from their directly translating from Danish to English.

Many Danes also speak German. Denmark is one of the top countries in Europe when it comes to knowledge of the German language, since more than 58% of the population has a good knowledge of the language. It is widely spoken in areas that attract many tourists from Germany, i.e. mainly the Jutland West Coast, the southern part of Funen and nearby islands e.g. Langeland and Ærø, and also especially in Southern Jutland Sønderjylland / Northern Schleswig, where it has status of a minority language. Elsewhere in the country, many people prefer to avoid speaking it, even when they do have some command of the language, and you will have a hard time convincing anyone to outside the tourist industry otherwise: this has nothing to do with history but is merely a result of the high fluency in English, making the locals less inclined to struggle through a language they are not entirely comfortable with. In a pinch or emergency though, people will probably step up, and do their best to help. There is a native or indigenous German speaking minority along the southern border to Germany Sønderjylland / Northern Schleswig and vice verse across the frontier there is a small community of Danish speakers to be found in Germany.

French is also spoken to some degree, as all Danish students have received at least three years of lessons in either German or French, but given the Danes' limited contact with the French language, fluency tends to be lagging.

Foreign television programmes and films are almost always shown in their original language with subtitles. Only children's programmes are dubbed into Danish.

smoking

As of 15 August 2007 it is not legal to smoke in any indoor public space in Denmark. This includes government buildings with public access hospitals, universities, etc, all restaurants and bars larger than 40 sq m and all public transport.Also be aware that you have to be at least 18 years old to buy cigarettes in Denmark.