The Danish communication style is concise, straightforward, and unpretentious. This is not just apparent in verbal communication, but also in written communication, when writing emails and letters in Danish for instance.
Danish people (myself included) are fairly opinionated when it comes to the proper way of writing emails and letters in Danish.
This article is meant to serve as a guide to Danish email and letter writing etiquette. Hopefully it will help non-native Danish speakers avoid embarrassing mistakes or “faux pas”.
It will teach you how to choose the proper opening and closing phrases, depending on the context and to whom the email or letter is addressed. I will also show you what you should avoid writing if you wish to be respected by your peers.
How formal should a Danish email or letter be?
In Danish there is no formal “you” pronoun like in French or Spanish. However when writing an email in Danish we still have to be careful of using the proper level of formality depending on the context.
The tone of emails is very important to Danish people. Many Danes have strong opinions about this matter.
Here are two examples showing a formal tone and an informal tone:
- formal phrases such as: «Vedhæftet vil du se.. » (lit. Attached you’ll see…)
- more informal phrases like «Vi ser på det i morgen :)» (lit. We’ll look into it tomorrow :)).
If the email is work related, for example to a colleague, a professor, or an attorney, then the email needs to be written as formally as possible.
But there are grey areas and there are discrepancies to this rule. For example, if the email is addressed to a client/customer or a potential customer, then the email could be much less formal. (This is because in some cases it can help build rapport with customers.)
Naturally for friends and family members it can be more casual, without the recipient losing faith in the message.
Danish cultural norms related to email etiquette are visible in the Danish education system. The Danish textbook “Ind i Dansk” states that an email should:
- - Keep a civil, mature, and eloquent tone.
- - Avoid cursing and childishness.
- - Be precise and keep the word count to a minimum.
The two first points may seem obvious but we want to emphasize the 3rd point: Conciseness in writing is important in Danish culture. When writing to Danes, get straight to the point.
How do you start an email or a letter in Danish?
The proper way to start an email or a letter in Danish is to use an initial greeting which conveys an appropriate level of formality, based on the recipient and our relationship towards them.
The initial greeting establishes the tone of the entire email message and shows what level of formality is involved.
When writing an email to a friend or a family member, the usual Danish greeting is ´Hej’ (lit. Hi) or `Kære’ (lit. Dear) – if there is any initial greeting at all.
If it is a formal letter, then the greeting can be:
- `Kære’ (lit. Dear) if the recipient is known
- `Til rette vedkommende’ (lit. For whom it may concern) if the recipient is unknown.
It should be mentioned that the Danish language has become less formal in recent decades, and many Danish people use the email greeting ´Hej’ even when writing to authority figures.
The most obvious reason for this is that `Hej’ has become a neutral greeting in the last couple of decades, whereas ´Kære’ is viewed by some Danes as somewhat archaic, or only suited for loved relatives.
One thing to be mindful of is that Danish people above 50 will often start an email with the greeting `Kære’ while Danes below 50 will often use ´Hej’ instead.
When writing letters in Danish (as opposed to email) `Kære’ is much more common. Some Danes consider an email to be like a letter so they use `Kære’to start emails. Other Danes view email as a text messaging medium, and those people use ´Hej’ instead.
How do you end an email in Danish?
Below is a list of different ways of ending an email (or letter) in Danish. Next, we'll explain each one in detail, and indicate in what context it is most appropriate.
- Kærlig Hilsen (lit. Loving Regards)
- Venlig Hilsen (lit. Kind Regards),
- Mange hilsner (lit. Many Regards)
- De bedste hilsner (lit. Best Regards) [not recommended]
- Knus (lit. Hugs)
- Kys (lit. Kisses)
When to end a Danish email or a letter with «Kærlig Hilsen»:
Just like the initial greeting «Kære», the ending «Kærlig Hilsen» has traditionally been the go-to ending of an email or letter. However, as the language has changed, so have the connotations of «Kærlig Hilsen».
Today most Danes would find it either archaic or way too affectionate if the email was addressed to an authority figure. Amongst the older generation, however, this is still the go-to.
If the email or letter is addressed to a close friend or a family member, then ´Kærlig Hilsen’ would seem archaic or distant at best. Unless the email was from a grandparent.
When to end a Danish email or a letter with «Venlig Hilsen»:
The most common ending among people younger than fifty years is «Venlig Hilsen». At least when addressing authorities. It conveys a formal but respectful distance between the writer and the recipient.
A lot of people also think that this is the most professional ending to an email, as shown in a study from Dansk Sprognævn in 2020. Dansk Sprognævn is the Danish department of language, and their research is based on numerous surveys. ()
When to end a Danish email or a letter with «Mange hilsner»:
Typically used by people under 50, but not as common as «Venlig Hilsen».
This one is generally used when addressing a group, for example a teacher addressing students or their parents.
Avoid using «De bedste hilsner»:
When it comes to `De bedste hilsner’ (lit. Best Regards) most Danes would avoid it. The arguments are generally that it sounds like an anglicism or that it sounds archaic. Danes would want to avoid sounding like an outdated version of themselves or sounding like the English.
An interesting statistic:
A curious finding from the Dansk Sprognævn study was that Danish women are more inclined to use phrases of affection rather than men. 70% of the women asked would use `Kærlig Hilsen’ whereas only 53% of the men would use it.
Of course, these aren’t the only ways of ending an email. Examples like ´Knus’ (lit. Hugs) or ´Kys’ (lit. Kisses) are also used frequently. However, where the use of ´Kære’ is debatable, no one would or should use ´Knus’ or ´Kys’ when writing to people outside their inner circle.
Danish email phrases
Danish email phrases for stating the purpose of an email
When stating the purpose of your email, remember that Danish people value conciseness, so go straight to the point.
- “Jeg kontakter dig med henblik på …”
(“I’m contacting you because … ”)
- “Jeg skriver til dig fordi …”
(“I’m writing this message to you because … ”)
- “Jeg skriver til dig for at høre omkring …”
(“I am writing to enquire about … ”)
- “Jeg kontakter dig på baggrund af …”
(“I am writing in reference to … ”)
- “Jeg vil gerne vide om …”
(“I would like to know if … ”)
- “Jeg vil gerne informere dig om …”
(“I would like to inform you that … ”)
- “Jeg vil glædeligt informere dig om …”
(“I am pleased to inform you that … ”)
- “Kan vi finde ud af dette sammen?”
(“Can we work together to figure this out? ”)
- “Grunden til at jeg kontakter dig i dag er…”
(“the reason I'm reaching out today is … ”)
Danish email phrases for asking about them
The following is not as commonly used as in English. Often this does not appear in a Danish email.
- “Hvordan har du det?”
(“How have you been? ”)
- “Jeg håber at du har det godt.”
(“I hope you’re doing well. ”)
How to acknowledge an email
As Danish people value conciseness, these are not used as often as in English.
- “Tak for dit svar”
(“Thanks for reaching out ”)
- “Tak fordi du kontakter mig”
(“Thanks for getting in touch ”)
- “Tak for din e-mail”
(“Thanks for your email ”)
- “Det er godt at høre fra dig”
(“It’s great to hear from you ”)
Danish phrases for email closing remarks
These are widely used in Danish emails.
- “Mange tak for din hjælp”
(“Thank you very much for your help. ”)
- “Tak for al din hjælp til dette.”
(“Thank you for all of your help with this. ”)
- “Lad mig vide, hvis du har spørgsmål.”
(“Let me know if you have any questions. ”)
- “Hvis du har nogle spørgsmål eller lignende, skal du ikke tøve med at kontakte mig.”
(“If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to let me know ”)
- “Vær venlig at sende en kvittering på denne e-mail”
(“Please acknowledge receipt of this email ”)
- “Jeg ser frem til at høre fra dig.”
(“I look forward to hearing from you ”)
- “Jeg håber at du kan bruge dette.”
(“I hope you find this useful ”)
Danish phrases for informing about an email attachment
- “Se venligst vedhæftede fil.”
(“Please, take a look at the attachment.”)
- “ Vær venlig at se den vedhæftede fil”
(“attached, please find the file. ”)
- “Den relevante information er at finde i den vedhæftede fil.”
(“Relevant information is in the attached file.”)
Phrases to avoid when writing a Danish email or letter
In this section, we’ll show some examples of what you should avoid writing if you wish to be respected by your peers.
We have seen that Danish people value a communication style which is concise, straightforward, and unpretentious.
Email phrases which are redundant, roundabout, or conceited, should be avoided as they risk being perceived as rude.
Here are 12 examples of phrases to avoid when writing an email in Danish:
- “Jeg er ikke sikker på, om du så den mail jeg sendte tidligere?”
(“I am not sure whether you saw the mail I sent you earlier? ”)
Avoid using such a phrase because it implies that the recipient hasn’t read the previous email, which he or she probably already did.
- “Er der noget nyt?”
(“Is there any news? ”)
Rude because it implies that they are taking too long.
- “Beklager for dobbelt mailen”
(“Sorry for the double mail ”)
Avoid using such a phrase in Danish emails because it is simply unnecessary
- “Kom gerne med input”
(“feel free to give feedback ”)
(Better to say: “if you have any questions let me know”
«Hvis du har nogen spørgsmål, så giv lyd» )
- “Som tidligere nævnt”
(“As previously mentioned”)
(Comes off as rude because it is implied that the recipient didn’t take notice of what was previously said)
- “På forhånd tak”
(“Thanks in advance”)
(rude, taking them for granted)
- “Jeg er ikke sikker på, at du modtog min sidste mail?”
(“I am not sure you received my previous mail?”)
unnecessary, plus implies that they don’t check their email
- “Skal jeg gensende mailen til dig?”
(“Do you want me to resend the mail?”)
- “Lad mig vide, hvis jeg tager fejl”
(“Let me know if I am mistaken”)
- “For at gøre det enkelt”
- “For lige at afstemme forventninger”
(“Just to align expectations”)
- “Hav en dejlig dag”
(“Have a lovely day”)
(not something you would say in Danish, too intimate to say in an email)
These examples should give you a feel for what to avoid when writing an email in Danish.
Danish letter / email example
This is an example Danish email from an insurance company, and it is very formal. Here the greeting «Hej» is used as a neutral greeting and «Venlig hilsen» is used as a neutral way to end the mail.
Hej Anne Andersen
Vi har vedhæftet dokumenter til dig vedr. din kaffeforsikring - policenummer xxxxxxx.
Salg & Medlemsservice
Translation:Hi Anne Andersen
We have attached documents for you regarding your coffee insurance – policy number xxxxxxx
Coffeepot Brewing insurance
Sales and Membership Service
PS: you can use our free language tool, VocabChat to create and record your own Swedish vocabulary and phrase lists.
How do you write a formal letter via email? ›
- The subject line: It should be short and specific. ...
- The salutation: Always mention the recipient's name and a suitable greeting. ...
- The body: Like any other email, formal emails have a body of text. ...
- The signature: Your signature needs to be as formal as the email itself.
E-mail and email are both correct ways to spell the same word. The issue of the hyphen (or lack thereof) in e-mail is still far from being settled. Different style guides prefer one spelling over the other, so if you need to follow one make sure you use the spelling it prescribes.Is it difficult to pronounce Danish? ›
Main takeaways. It's always hard to learn a new language and Danish is no exception - especially when it comes to it's pronunciation. The Danish language is filled with silent D's and a lot of vowel sounds. They even have some extra vowels known as Æ,Ø,Å.How do you start Å letter in Danish? ›
Hej is an easy-going word. If you want to be more intimate OR formal, go for Kære… (Dear…)How do you write Danish letters? ›
Type the Æ, Ø, Å and ß using the 10 key pad and the Alt key.
- Æ is 146.
- æ is 145.
- Ø is 0216.
- ø is 0248.
- Å is 143.
- å is 134.
- ß is 225.
The salutation of a formal email is similar to the salutation of a letter. When writing to someone you do not know by name, you put “To Whom it May Concern.” When applying for a job, you would address the person by, “Dear Hiring Manager.” If you do know the recipient's name, you put “Dear Mr./Ms.How do you start and end an email? ›
- Even with someone you know, use a salutation. If you know Bob well, there's nothing wrong with 'Hi Bob' or 'Morning, Bob'. ...
- In a formal situation, go old-school. ...
- Be careful with thanks. ...
- Do sign off. ...
- Don't abbreviate.
- Always start with the sender's address.
- This is followed by the date.
- The receiver's address comes next. ...
- The subject of the letter is very important. ...
- The salutation can be Dear Sir/Ma'am. ...
- The body of the letter can be written in 3 paragraphs.
Subject Line: Short sentence that summarizes the reason you wrote the email. Greeting: This is where you greet your recipient. Be formal and concise. Body: Main paragraph of your email that communicates main message.What are the 5 email rules? ›
- Use a clear, professional subject line. ...
- Proofread every email you send. ...
- Write your email before entering the recipient email address. ...
- Double check you have the correct recipient. ...
- Ensure you CC all relevant recipients. ...
- You don't always have to "reply all" ...
- Reply to your emails.
What are the five common steps for writing emails? ›
- Step 1: Define Your Topic. ...
- Step 2: Think About the Recipient. ...
- Step 3: Make Lists. ...
- Step 4: Create Your Call-to-Action. ...
- Step 5: Write Your Subject Line.
- How do you survive the winter?
- Why do you hate the Swedes?
- You Danes never smile!
- Danes drink too much alcohol.
- Are you really the happiest people in the world?
- Roskilde Festival isn't that nice.
- Don't brag about yourself.
Danish is Easy for Native English Speakers
This is thanks to the similar sentence structures, grammar rules, and vocabulary the two languages may share. So, learning Danish for English speakers is not hard at all, instead, it's one of the easiest languages to master.
The Danish translation of 'no' is nej, which is pronounced /nigh/.What are the 3 extra letters in the Danish alphabet? ›
Difficult Danish vowels
Danish has three 'extra' letters compared to the English alphabet: Æ, Ø and Å. 'Å' is the youngest; it was introduced as part of the spelling reform of 1948 by the Danish Ministry of Education, as substitution of the 'AA'.
When we're discussing German umlauts, you'll find there are three in use within the alphabet including Ä, Ö, and Ü. Rather than implying an accent or emphasis, German umlauts are independent characters with variations that represent both long and short sounds.How do I type the letters å ä Ø? ›
Å = Hold down the Option and Shift keys and type an a. ä = Hold the Option key and type a u, release the keys, and type an a. Ä = Hold the Option key and type a u, release the keys, hold down the Shift key and type an a. ö = Hold the Option key and type a u, release the keys, and type an o.Is Danish the hardest language to learn? ›
The Foreign Service Institute ranks Danish as a “Category 1” language in terms of the amount of time needed for English speakers to learn it – no different to French, Italian or Spanish, but easier than German and non-European languages.What does Å mean in Danish? ›
So what does it mean? En å is the word for a canal, stream or brook. Å also occurs in some place names.What does Å S stand for in Danish? ›
Noun. A/S. (law) Abbreviation of aktieselskab (a stock-based company).
What is the best greeting sentence to start an email? ›
- Allow Me to Introduce Myself.
- Good afternoon.
- Good morning.
- How are you?
- Hope this email finds you well.
- I hope you enjoyed your weekend.
- I hope you're doing well.
- I hope you're having a great week.
Opening Sentence for Email Formal
I hope you're well. I hope this email finds you well. Hope you're having a great week so far. Hope you had a lovely weekend.
"Hello, my name is [name] and I am writing to you about [matter]." "I would like to introduce myself." "I got your email from [name]." "My name is [name] and I am reaching out about [matter]."What is the most respectful way to end an email? ›
- 1 Regards.
- 2 Sincerely.
- 3 Best wishes.
- 4 Cheers.
- 5 Best.
- 6 As ever.
- 7 Thanks in advance.
- 8 Thank you.
- Write a compelling subject line.
- Tailor your greeting to the industry and situation.
- Make your first line about them.
- Explain why you're reaching out.
- Provide value for them.
- Include a call-to-action.
- Say "thanks" and sign off.
- Follow up with them.
Cc stands for carbon copy which means that whose address appears after the Cc: header would receive a copy of the message. Also, the Cc header would also appear inside the header of the received message.How to begin a letter? ›
Formal letters always have a greeting at the beginning of the written content as a cue that your message is about to begin. This is known as the salutation. Most salutations begin with “Dear” and then the name of the recipient. All salutations use title capitalization and end in a comma.How do you write a perfect formal letter? ›
- Be concise. State the purpose of your formal letter in the first paragraph, and don't veer off the subject. ...
- Use an appropriate tone. ...
- Proofread. ...
- Use the proper format. ...
- Formal Letter Format Example. ...
- Heading. ...
- Address. ...
Most formal letters will start with 'Dear' before the name of the person that you are writing to. You can choose to use first name and surname, or title and surname. However, if you don't know the name of the person you are writing to, you must use 'Dear Sir or Madam,'.What are the 3 most important things for an email? ›
- Attention-Grabbing Subject Line. ...
- Enticing Call-to-Action. ...
- Value to the Customer.
What is the most important thing I should do with every email? ›
Your email should do one thing: present a direct and specific message to the user. Every image and word in the email should support this message. The language should be clear and readers should not have to guess why they are getting an email from you. Keep the message simple, using as few words as possible.What is the most important feature of an email? ›
The subject line.
Arguably the most important component of the email, the subject line is the deciding factor in whether your message is read or deleted.
- Don't write like the reader is your best friend. ...
- Don't assume the reader knows who you are and why you are emailing. ...
- Don't use informal language and emoticons. ...
- Don't ramble on and on and on. ...
- Don't forget to proof read for spelling and grammar mistakes.
- Forgetting attachments.
- Sending to the wrong recipient.
- Choosing a bad subject line.
- Using the wrong writing tone.
- Sending at a bad time.
- Replying to all (all the time)
- Neglecting your signature.
- Working with too many (bad) Fonts.
- “Sincerely yours” ...
- “I hope you're well” ...
- “I wanted to reach out…” ...
- Any statement with “Forwarding” or “Forwarded” ...
- “I apologize” or “I'm sorry” when used incorrectly. ...
- “Very important” ...
- “Please note…” ...
- “Don't hesitate to contact me”
- Start with a meaningful subject line. ...
- Address them appropriately. ...
- Keep the email concise and to the point. ...
- Make it easy to read. ...
- Do not use slang. ...
- Be kind and thankful. ...
- Be charismatic. ...
- Bring up points in your previous conversation.
- Greetings are casual, with a firm handshake, direct eye contact, and a smile.
- Shake hands and say good-bye individually when arriving or departing.
- Shake hands with women first.
- Danes tend to introduce themselves with their first names.
Danes are respected for their accomplishments in science, art, literature and architecture. They value tolerance and diversity. The individual is also highly regarded in Danish culture. Danes are very proud of their excellent educational system.What do Danes say when someone sneezes? ›
|Language||Usual responses and notes|
|Dutch||Gezondheid, or if the person has sneezed three times, (Drie keer) morgen mooi weer Less commonly: proost|
|English||God bless you, Bless you, or Gesundheit|
The Danes are not into extremes: not too much unhappiness but not too much happiness either. Modesty is the word. Respect. The Danes are so respectful of other people's privacy.
Does Denmark have a homeless problem? ›
Experts estimate that there are 10,000 to 15,000 homeless people in Denmark, about half of which live in the Copenhagen metropolitan area.Why are Danes happier than Americans? ›
Danes Work Less and Spend More Time with Their Families
"Work-life balance" in Denmark isn't just an HR buzzword, it's a way of life. Danish workers put in the second-fewest hours of all Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries at 1,412 hours a year.
Jeg beklager oprigtigt.
I sincerely apologize. If you feel strongly about your apology, this is another slightly more formal phrase to use.
The word "bae," which is usually used to describe someone who comes "before anyone else," has a very different meaning in Danish. It means poop. To add insult to injury, it means "bye" in Icelandic. Apropos, no?What does Pis mean in Danish? ›
People have mostly forgotten the origin of the word, so anyone who does use it likely won't link it to illness. Pis. This just means 'piss'.How is Å Danish address written? ›
Apartment addresses are written as: street name, house number, floor number (st., 1., 2. and so on) followed by the apartment number or the placement of the apartment (th., tv., mf.). Th. means "til højre" / to the right, tv.How do you address someone in Danish? ›
Danes use the informal “du” (you) in their interaction with others – no matter if they know them well or have never been in touch with them. In spite of this informal approach, the first letter or email you write to somebody you don't know, should be addressed by using their first and last name as mentioned above.How do you pronounce æ in Danish? ›
Æ is (you guessed it) a combination of 'a' and 'e' and is pronounced like 'e' in 'Ben'. Ø is a rounded version of 'e', found in for example ø (island), øl (beer), møs (slang for kiss). And øh… is the sound Danes make when they hesitate. That can be useful when stringing your first couple of sentences together.What does an email ending in .de mean? ›
.de is the most popular German domain ending. Let your customers know instantly that you're a German business. For businesses big and small. The .de domain ending is the go to place for connecting customers with German businesses.What does St mean in Danish address? ›
1st floor is not always 1st floor. In Denmark, the first floor of a building is called stuen or stueetage (st.), translated as “ground floor”. After the ground floor, the following floors are called 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.
How many stamps do I need to send Å letter from USA to Denmark? ›
For just 1 $1.40 First-Class Mail International Global Forever stamp, you can send a 1 oz letter or postcard to any other country in the world.What is Å called in Danish? ›
Å as a word means "small river" in Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian and can be found in place names.What does BAE mean in Denmark? ›
The word "bae," which is usually used to describe someone who comes "before anyone else," has a very different meaning in Danish. It means poop. To add insult to injury, it means "bye" in Icelandic.What does KBH mean in Danish? ›
Copenhagen (the capital city of Denmark)What does the letter ø sound like? ›
The [ø] is a typical French vowel: you pronounce it by pursing your lips, as if you were blowing the candles out on a birthday cake. Many French sounds are pronounced at the front of the mouth, lips rounded and pursed, and your tongue curled. [œ] "neuf", are pronounced at the front of the mouth.How do you pronounce J in Danish? ›
It is mainly pronounced as the English “y” in the word “you” both at the beginning and end of syllables. Anna: Yes, when j is not the initial or final letter of a word, it often occurs after the letters “h,” “s,” and “t.” But no matter what, j is always pronounced the same.What are the 4 D's of email? ›
It's called the 4D's. The 4D method gives you four options of how you will handle an email: delete it, do it, delegate it, or defer it. The goal of the 4D method is to increase our email productivity by keeping the inbox organized and tidy.What is a rude way to end an email? ›
- "Love" It might go without saying, but ending a professional message with "Love" will make your recipient uncomfortable.
- "Kisses," "xx," "xoxo," hugs" ...
- "Yours" ...
- "Ciao" ...
- "Yours faithfully" ...
- "Rgds," "Thx" ...
- "More soon" ...
- "As ever"
- Numbers 0-9.
- Uppercase letters A-Z.
- Lowercase letters a-z.
- Plus sign +
- Hyphen -
- Underscore _
- Tilde ~