Business gifts in Denmark
What should you give to your Danish business partners?
Gifts are an important part of doing business in many cultures – but what about business gifts in Denmark? What should you bring to a potential Danish business partner? Should you give gifts to your boss or your colleagues at holiday time or on their birthdays?
Generally, doing business in Denmark does not require any gifts at all. Denmark prides itself on its reputation as one of the world’s least corrupt countries, and any gift to a potential business partner can be misunderstood as an attempt at bribery.
Most companies have strict policies about what employees and executives can accept from a business partner; some even specifically outline the price of a bottle of wine that can be ordered at a business dinner.
Business gifts if you are invited to a home
Very inexpensive items, such as an item with your company’s logo on it, are usually permitted, but not always appreciated. Danes have small, tidy homes and don’t like to clutter them up with stuff they don’t need. Avoid items that are purely decorative instead of immediately useful.
If you’re invited to a Danish business partner’s home for dinner, flowers are always appreciated, as is a good bottle of red wine if you know your host or hostess enjoys alcohol. (Most Danes do.) A small box of candy is also welcome, but don’t bring cake or anything that has to be consumed immediately unless your host asks you to do so.
Employees don’t give gifts to bosses in Denmark
As for employees, they are never required to give gifts to their Danish bosses. In fact, this would make the boss very uncomfortable. (The same is true of teachers receiving gifts from their students – also a no-go in Denmark.)
Colleagues generally don’t give each other gifts either, unless someone is getting married, leaving the company, or having a “round” birthday (20,30,40). In that case, a collection is taken up for a group gift.
Generally, however, gifts are not an important part of business etiquette in Denmark.