14 July, 2010

From Du to Gnadige Herr

Denmark has a classless society. That doesn't mean that there no difference between rich and poor, and it doesn't mean that there are not those who hate immigrants and wish they could be sent back to their country of origin.

Everyone says du to each other which is the informal. Everyone is called by his or her first name.

There's a queen and her family, who are not paid by the state as the royalty is in England,, but they are a mill for the popular magazines and gossip sheets. They have no power running the government.

Ihere are those who long for a different time. Last night we had dinner with a friend and his mother. The head of the house is an 88 year old matriarch, who not only made the meal, but served each person at the table. I don't do that when I have guests and surely wouldn't do it at her age. I guess she grew up expecting to serve the people invited to her house.

Apparently in the Danish society, one has a meal and then sits for hours after the food is finished, because we weren't able to leave for more than two hours after dessert was served. Remember that when you are invited to dinner in Denmark.

In Danish businesses, the lowest man or woman in the company has access to the CEO and is expected to do his/her job without oversight. Doing your job well is expected and no one gives you kudos for getting your job done. Doesn't sound like any company in America.

The Danes go to work in their overalls, and their shirt wrinkled, and I mean in big companies where they meet clients. They dress to the teeth when they are invited to dinner at someone's house: suit, tie, white shirt. My husband asked a man why he dressed up in a suit when he was invited to dinner. "It would be an insult to the hostess to show up in their khakis," he said. Then my husband asked, "Don't you think your business clients are insulted when you dress so informally when you meet them?"

No comments:

Post a Comment