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Advice for Foreign Servas Travellers in Denmark
Before planning your trip in Denmark, please check Host List Updates:
www.servas.dk/corrections.htm  

Denmark Ė a country in Scandinavia

Denmark, a small island nation closely connected by bridges and ferries, is the oldest kingdom in the world. The Danish welfare system is renowned and provides us with social security, hospital care, dental care, etc., and the state also finances education, public libraries, infrastructure, etc. The state generally provides for all members of the population all through their lives, but there have been cuts on spending in recent years. This causes us to complain a lot, of course, but most of us are aware that we are quite privileged. The money to finance the welfare has to come from somewhere and we are among the top-taxpayers in the world, also in indirect taxes (VAT is 25% on general commodities and much higher on luxury items, such as cars at 185%). The high level reflects on wages, which again means that the price level is quite high. Protection of the ecosystem has high priority and laws on prevention of pollution are quite advanced. Organic groceries are readily available at most supermarkets.

Denmark is an old democracy and the human rights and freedom of speech are taken for granted. Danes are generally tolerant of those who are ďdifferentĒ, but still, intolerance is encountered by the refugees and immigrants coming in. They find it hard to settle and integrate in a tight-knit population living in a society with a high degree of organization and regulation. The issues of integration and contribution to the society you live in, as well as care for foreign people in need are debated almost daily in the media.

Denmark is famous for its changeable weather. A typical day most of the year is a mix of rainy, cloudy and sunny skies. In the summer it is better to bring a jacket and sweater. For winter bring boots and a heavy coat.

Servas Denmark

Denmark was among the countries where young Bob Luitweiler travelled after the war and conceived the idea of travelling in the open door style to help build understanding between different cultures in order to promote peace. Bob died last year but his idea lives on. In this context volunteers have compiled lists of hosts and shared hospitality for 60 years now. Servas International now has more than 125 countries with 15,500 hosts who open their doors to thousands of travellers. Servas International has a youth group, which offers youth events and the Servas Youth Language Experience (SYLE) in many countries. Servas International is an NGO officially registered with the United Nations. See www.servas.org and servasyouth.org.

During the 70ís Birgitte Damsgaard became the National Secretary of Servas Denmark and she continued to grow Servas for 34 years. It is still going strong. Servas Denmark was formally established as a legal entity in 2001 and is governed by the yearly General Assembly. Currently the administration is shared by a group of volunteers.

You will find hosts all over the country and we recommend that you visit the countryside because hosts in the smaller towns, villages and farms rarely get any visits. Public transportation works very well and you can easily reach most hosts by train or bus, - or you could even bicycle. It is a small country.

The hosts represent all social strata and occupations. You will find that hosts are generally informal and easy-going. Unmarried couples are as numerous as married couples and married women can keep their maiden name, so the Servas list will not tell you if a host couple is married or not. You donít have to worry about language barriers since most hosts - and other Danes as well Ė speak English and other languages. Children learn English from the age of 9.

Servas Denmark welcomes you. 

Basic Servas rules and advice.

  1. Always give the notice requested. It is considered polite to phone ahead before calling at the hostís door even if the host says NPNR in column 1.
  2. Hand over your Letter of Introduction on arrival.
  3. Inform the host if you donít arrive as agreed (or not at all). If the host doesnít answer the phone you may leave a message with a Host Help.
  4. Ask before using a hostís phone. All calls (also local calls) are charged by the minute.
  5. Leave after two nights, unless you are invited to stay longer. Donít expect a longer stay unless the host is marked 2d+ and the host invites you.
  6. Most hosts appreciate you bringing a sleeping bag or sheets. If you have a sleeping bag, you may have more chances of finding a host. Look for SB in the list.
  7. One of the best ways to share your hostís everyday life is to offer your help with chores Ė cooking, cleaning, shopping, painting, weeding, etc. One host may not accept your help, but the next may be grateful.
  8. Donít limit your stay to Copenhagen. Public transportation is very good and distances are short, and hosts outside the capital hardly get any visitors.
  9. In many homes smoking is not allowed indoors. So if you want to smoke step outside or take a walk in the neighbourhood.
  10. Hosts welcome all kinds of people who will follow not only the Servas rules, but also ordinary decent behaviour. If a host must explain what this means in her home, listen; find out that cultures differ.
  11. After your stay, thank your host by sending a post card, letter or photo greeting.

Servas events in Denmark

Regular events:

There are two yearly get-togethers in Denmark and travellers are welcome to join us.

Summer meet: This is an outdoor mid-August get-together at host Gunna Starkís place in central Copenhagen. Planned for 11th August 2012. The date and time will be posted on the homepage.

Winter meet: Around February we meet at a hostís home. The date, time and place will be posted on the homepage.