You’re excited about your trip to Denmark, but what about the language? Even though most Danes have an excellent grasp of English, not everyone speaks it fluently outside the major tourist hot spots. So it’s always a good idea to learn some basic Danish words and phrases that will help you get around smoothly.
Learning tak, which means thank you in Danish, and farvel, which means goodbye, would be polite before visiting Denmark. This article also includes words you may need to know when using public transport and for popular attractions around Copenhagen.
You don’t need to worry about hello in Danish; it’s hi (spelt hej). However, it’s essential to know the words that will keep you out of danger or Danish words you may need in an emergency. And it’s helpful to know Apotek is the Danish word for pharmacy.
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You may find an English translation alongside Danish words in some places, but not always. So, don’t forget to keep this guide with you during your trip.
How To Be Polite In Danish: 7 Words To Know
Knowing polite words like thank you when travelling is important because it can make a big difference in how you are perceived.
The person you speak to will be more receptive to you if they feel that you have made an effort to understand even just a few words in their language, which can make a huge difference when trying to find your way around.
|Polite Words in English||Danish Translation of Polite Words|
|See You Later||Vi Ses|
|Excuse Me||Undskyld mig|
|Please||There is no Danish word for please|
Danish Words You Need To Know To Stay Safe In Denmark
During your stay in Denmark, you may encounter some words you need to know to keep out of harm’s way. Most of these words aren’t obvious to a non-Danish speaker, so keep this list handy during your trip.
The Danish words in the table below are in alphabetical order.
|Danish Words You Need To Know To Stay Safe||English Translation of Danish Words You Need To Know To Stay Safe|
|Adgang Forbudt||No Trespassing|
|Biologisk Fare||Bio Hazard|
|Farlige Materialer||Hazardous Materials|
|Hed / Brændende||Hot|
|Ikke Røre||Do Not Touch|
|Ingen Adgang||No Entry|
|Ingen Svømning||No Swimming|
|Rygning Forbudt||No Smoking|
|Privat Område*||Private Area*|
|Ud Af Drift||Out of Order|
* Private Area / Privat Område doesn’t necessarily mean the area is out of bounds. Check the signage; there may be a message in English which allows you to pass through the area provided you follow the specified rules.
Danish Words That Will Help When Using Public Transport
If you plan to use public transport to get around Copenhagen, you must know that Copenhagen Central Station is København H or Hovedbanegården in Danish.
Train and metro announcements around Copenhagen (but as a general rule, not the rest of Denmark) are given in Danish and English.
Regional and intercity trains have a small screen above the seat that may show two cities; this indicates that the seat is reserved for that leg of the journey.
However, it may state kan være reserveret, which means you can reserve the seat, or it is available, so you can sit in it.
Ikke i rute means a vehicle is not in service.
The following table lists Danish words you may need while using public transport.
|Danish Words Used On Public Transport||English Translation of Danish Words Used on Public Transport|
|God Rejse||Good (safe) journey|
|Ikke i rute||Not In Service|
|Kan Være Reserveret||The seat can be reserved (see information above)|
|Næste Station||Next station|
|S Tog||Commuter train serving inner and outer Copenhagen|
|Tog Bus||Replacement bus service|
Danish Island Names In English
Denmark has several islands with Danish and English names, which can be confusing. The table below shows the three largest islands (other than Greenland) that you will likely travel to or through while visiting Denmark.
Jutland is connected to Germany, technically making it a peninsula, but I have included it in this list as many people refer to it as an island.
|Name Of The Island in Danish||Name Of The Island in English||Largest City on the Island|
Copenhagen Attractions In Danish
Some maps may list Copenhagen attractions in Danish, which can be confusing. Below is a handy table that shows all the good things to see and do in Copenhagen, both in English and Danish.
|Copenhagen Attraction in Danish||Copenhagen Attraction in English|
|Botanisk Have||Botanical Garden|
|Dansk Arkitektur Center||Danish Architecture Centre (DAC)|
|Davids Samling||The David Collection|
|Den Lille Havfrue||The Little Mermaid|
|Det Kongelige Bibliotek||The Kings Library / The Black Diamond|
|Dyrehaven / Jægersborg Dyrehave||Deer Park|
|Københavns Museum||Museum of Copenhagen|
|Kongens Have||Kings Garden|
|Marmor Kirken / Frederiks Kirke||The Marble Church (also known as Frederiks Church)|
|Medical Museion||Medical Museum|
|National Museet||National Museum of Denmark|
|Rosenborg Slot||Rosenborg Castle|
|Slot||Castle / Palace|
|Statens Museum For Kunst (SMK)||National Gallery of Denmark|
|Statens Naturhistoriske Museum||Natural History Museum|
|Strøget||Copenhagen’s Walking Street|
|Vor Frelsers Kirke||Church of Our Saviour (with the spiral tower)|
|Vor Frue Kirke||Copenhagen Cathedral|
Everyday Danish Words To Help Your Trip Run Smoothly
You are likely to encounter the words in the table below daily. Knowing these words will help you navigate your travels more smoothly.
The easiest way to refer to the toilet (bathroom) is to ask for WC. However, it is pronounced VC.
One particular word doesn’t translate well: Juli, meaning July. Google translates it to Christmas, and it’s incredibly confusing if you’re looking at dates. For example, if the text reads 30 Juli, it means the 30th of July, not Christmas.
The Danish word for Christmas is Jul.
The everyday Danish words in the table are in alphabetical order.
|Everyday Danish Words For An Easy Trip||English Translation of Everyday Danish Words|
|Have / Havn||Harbour|
|Indre By||Inner City|
|Pant||Refundable deposit on drink bottles and cans|
|Skubbe / Trykke På||Push|
|WC (pronounced VC)||Toilet|
Emergency Numbers For Denmark
It’s always good to add emergency numbers to your phone before you travel. Then, if you need them in a hurry, you have them to hand.
You can find emergency numbers for Copenhagen in this article titled Emergency Numbers For Copenhagen, Denmark.
Road Signs in Denmark
I have not included road signs in this post. If you are hiring a car or riding a bicycle check out Traffic rules.com.
Danish To English Dictionaries
It’s no surprise how few Danish-to English-dictionaries there are now that we have Google Translate, but if you are interested in learning a little more about the Danish language, take a look at these two handy dictionaries and phrasebooks.
Are You Ready For Your Trip To Denmark?
Knowing these essential Danish words will help your visit to Denmark run smoothly. You won’t find it challenging to get around Denmark if you don’t speak Danish. 90% of Danes speak English.
Neither will you struggle if English isn’t your first language. The Danes are friendly people and will happily help if you ask.
But it’s always a good idea to learn at least some words and phrases for any country you visit.
A trip to Denmark should be on everyone’s bucket list. Denmark is a beautiful country that’s easy to travel around. The people are friendly, the food is good, and the standard of living is high. As a result, Denmark is ranked 2nd (behind Iceland) on the 2023 Global Peace Index.
7 Useful Links For Your Trip To Copenhagen And Denmark
Feel Free To Contact Me If You Have Any Questions
I know how it feels when trying to organise your trip, and you can’t find what you really want to know.
Feel free to use the message box below if you have any questions about your trip to Copenhagen.