Culture shock for an American in Denmark

Five weeks of annual vacation – really?

One of big culture shock for an American in Denmark is the question you’ll hear at the beginning of the summer: Are you taking three or four?

That means – are you taking three or four weeks of summer vacation? Danes are entitled by law to at least five weeks of paid vacation per year, and the law requires employers to permit at least three weeks of time off from May to September.

In addition, Danes who work for others (in other words, people who are not self-employed) are entitled to “vacation money” that allows them to enjoy their vacations without economic difficulties.

This payment, which is equivalent to 1% of the employee’s salary in a calendar year, is kept by the government until it is time to go on vacation, upon which time the employee applies for a payout.