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Holidays in Denmark - bank holidays and closing days in Denmark

In Denmark, the official holidays are defined by the national church and as such, Danish bank holidays follow the protestant calendar with small variations from neighbouring protestant countries like Norway and Sweden.

Sunday is normally considered a holiday, seen from a Christian point of view, but it is no longer deemed to constitute as an official holiday itself, unless one of the holidays of the church should fall on the last day of the week.

In general, many Danish shops will still be closed on Sundays except for shopping centres and most super markets and other food stores, which tend to be open even on Sundays.

The list of holidays in Denmark 2017/2018:

2017

Name

2018

January 1st (Sunday)

New Years Day

January 1st (Monday)

April 9th  (Sunday)

Palm Sunday

March 25th (Sunday)

April 13th (Thursday)

Maundy Thursday

March 29th (Thursday)

April 14th (Friday)

Good Friday

March 30th (Friday)

April 16th (Sunday)

Easter Sunday

April 1st (Sunday)

April 17th (Monday)

Easter Monday

April 2nd (Monday)

May 12th (Friday)

General Prayer Day

April 27th (Friday)

May 25th (Thursday)

Ascencion Day

May 5th (Thursday)

June 4th (Sunday)

Whit Sunday/Pentecost

May 20th (Sunday)

June 5th (Monday)

Whit Monday

May 21st (Monday)

December 25th (Monday)

Christmas Day

December 25th (Tuesday)

December 26th (Tuesday)

Boxing Day

December 26th (Wednesday)

The right to halves and entire days off - or just flag days and Christian holidays
in contrast to many other countries, like Germany, Denmark does not have any regional holidays.

It is very simple; everyone has the day off, or nobody has. Unless you choose to pay for either half a day off, or the entire day off. Below other special days in Denmark are described. Some of them used to be paid days off.

Shrovetide - prelude to the fasting period
Shrovetide is not a holiday in Denmark nor does it in any other way qualify to be a day to be off work.

Shrovetide was not just an occasion to have fun back in the medieval times, where you actually would tilt a black cat at a barrel, in the belief that it would keep the much feared plague away from the gates of the city.

It was a carnival for adults and the prelude to the fasting period, which begins Wednesday after Shrovetide Sunday (also known as Ash Wednesday).

Shrovetide culminate on the Shrove Tuesday, known in many countries of the Christian traditions, as Mardi Gras. In 2017, Shrove Tuesday falls on 28th February and in 2018, on 13th February. 

Germanys occupation of Denmark April 9th - flag day
The memorial day of the German troops’ occupation of Denmark April 9th 1940 is not a holiday or closing day. All over the country, the flag will fly at half-mast until precisely 12:02, unless April 9th is the same day as Good Friday - then the flag will fly at half-mast the entire day.

May 1st - Labour Day - International Workers Day
In Denmark, the confusion regarding whether or not workers have the day off May 1st seems to pop up year after year.

Some Danes has the whole day off first of May, others only have half the day off, while the majority of the population in Denmark do not have the day off at all. This is due to agreements and compromises between the employers and the employees. Most people in Denmark do, however, take a day off and the employers, in this case cut May 1st off their wages, if they choose to take the day off.

Historically, this workers fighting day started in Australia, where, on the date of April 22nd back in the 19. Century, they would go on strike and party. The idea spread, among others, to America, where, in 1889, it was decided, that this day for the hardworking people should be on the date we know today.

Denmark’s liberation May 5th – flag day
May 5th 1945 the Second World War ended for Denmark’s part (on the island of Bornholm it ended four days later). This day is a day of rejoicing, but not a holiday or a work free day. The flag will fly all over the country on this day.

Video: the announcement of Denmark’s liberation from BBC radio, as they experienced it in the best TV-series in Denmark: Matador.

Constitution Day June 5th - the democracy of Denmark is being celebrated
Constitution Day is basically a regular workday, but it is still on equal footing with a holiday, as the shops according to the trading law must be closed. So in a slightly peculiar way, June 5th in Denmark is not a bank holiday, but all shops are closed.

Previously the Constitution Day was a statuary half-holiday, but that ended in 1975. The Constitution Day is the Danish version of a national day, as it is seen in many other countries, but as it no longer is categorised as a holiday, the employers have the right to cut it out of the employees’ wages. However, in practice, most Danes have the day off on the 5th of June.

The Danish constitution was made a reality on June 5th 1849, and has, since then, only been edited twice. The first time, it was edited, was in 1915, when women received the right to vote. The second and latest edit happened in 1953 and that the edition, that is valid today.

The day of Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve in Denmark
24th of December is a regular workday according to the holiday act, but on many workplaces the employees have the day off with pay. Shops are obliged to be closed on the day of Christmas Eve from 15.00 as well as the day of New Year’s eve from 15.00 hours.

Video: Christmas in Denmark - this is how a traditional Danish Christmas Eve on the 24th of December is celebrated.

Rules of the Trading Law in Denmark
In 2012, the Trading Law was changed and that meant, in practice, that shops are allowed to be open 24 hours a day, all year round - except on holidays, the Constitution Day, the day of Christmas Eve and after 15 o’clock on the last day of the year.

For shops with a yearly turnover under 32 million DKK (€4.3 million/£3.1 million), gas stations and garden centres, this rules does not apply. They can be open all year round without exception. 


Holidays in Denmark - bank holidays and closing days in Denmark
Article: Holidays in Denmark - bank holidays and closing days in Denmark
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Published: Friday, August 28 2015
Latest revision: Tuesday, December 27 2016

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