Part of what will help you socialize in Denmark is to follow the country's dining etiquette. Just like in every other country, the Danish have their own way of fine dining. Even if you're not in a fancy setting, as long as you're dining with others, you're expected to follow proper table manners. Not only is it the polite thing to do, you'll also leave a good impression on those around you. Now, isn't that better than offending those who you were intending to impress and socialize? In this regard, here's what you need to know about Danish dining etiquette.
Always Keep Your Hands Visible
To ensure that you're not doing anything shady underneath the dinner table, the Danes expect that you keep your hands visible throughout the entire meal. Of course, you shouldn't put your elbows on the table as it's bad manners, not just in Denmark, but practically everywhere. But what you can do, however, is to put your hands together and gently rest your wrists at the end of the table as you wait to get served. You can also firmly lay them out flat on the table beside your plate and utensils. Either way, just make sure others can see your hands at all times.
Follow Continental Table Manners
According to international dining etiquette, you're expected to hold your fork in your left hand and hold your knife on your right. This is what's known as the 'Continental Table Manners' and the Danes follow them, just like any other European country. At the same time, as you drink your soup, gently slurp in a moderate to low volume. And when slicing up your food, ensure that you don't make too much of a sound so as to avoid disturbing those beside you. For as much as possible, try not to grab attention as doing so goes against the country's social customs
Wait Until Your Host Says 'Skol'
Just like how the French
say Bon Appétit
, the Danes say Skol
when it's time to eat. Always remember that when you go to someone else's home, the host is king. In Denmark, it's proper manners to wait until you get led to your seat instead of finding the nearest one. More often than not, your host/ess might have a seating plan prepared. Also, you have to wait until your host/ess takes his/her seat before you sit down yourself. It's all about letting your host/ess lead as it is their event.
Try Everything That's Served
Generally speaking, the Danes are very homely people. They don't mind doing housework, they'll excitedly decorate their own homes, and when they invite people over, there's a good chance that they prepared the food themselves. And if the latter is true to your host/ess, it's good manners to try everything that's served at least once. A good tip is to get a small portion of each on your place, sort of like a beginner sample, and get larger helpings of those that you enjoyed. Also, don't forget to eat every single course that's served. From appetizers to desserts, make sure you tasted them all.
Finish All Your Food On Your Plate
In the same token, the Danes consider it polite if you finish everything that was on your plate. From the soups and salad down to the last crumb from your dessert, the cleaner your place is, the better. As already mentioned, here in Denmark, there's a good chance that your host/ess prepared the food themselves. Leaving some on your plate may seem like you barely enjoyed the food that they served. How do you think they'll feel about that? In any case, there's no rule that requires you to get large helpings. If you're already full or you actually don't like the food, only go for small helpings.
Wait for Your Host To Toast
Now, when it comes to making a toast, the host/ess has to start as well. They will state 'Skol
' again and possibly even give a speech about why they invited you to their home in the first place. After that, you have to raise your glass with everybody else and start clinking. When you do this, make sure you do so while maintaining eye contact with the other person. Also, it'd be rude if you don't take a sip after clinking your glass, that's the whole point of the toast after all.
Sometimes, your behavior at the dinner table makes all the difference, especially in Denmark. How you adhere to the Danish dining etiquette will make your break how others will see you here. Don't worry, it's not that hard to follow!