4 Things I was surprised about relationships in Denmark

Denmark marriage

if you ask what’s the biggest culture shocks / differences between Denmark and Japan, I’d say “Relationships”.

Of course, this doesn’t apply for everybody in Denmark. This is something that I Have experienced in Denmark, happens to people around me, that surprised me.

-mkay, Let’s look closer,

  1. How Danes are friendly with ex’es.  ex-husbands, wives, girlfriends or boyfriends….. This totally blew me away. Peace is wonderful – but I just can’t get rid of this awkward feelings. Do I have a small heart, or think too much, I don’t know ^^;;;  it’s better than hate each other I suppose. I just don’t know how to react on this… ^^;;;
  2. People don’t marry in Denmark.
    This blew me away too when I first heard stories. What, you are… just boyfriend and girlfriend, and have kids!??
    I think this, Asia culture can be a bit strict. In Japan you almost never see couples that are not married, who have kids.If you get kids, before marriage…. hummm….people will be whispering about you behind the back.  But in Japan, some people find out that a girlfriend is pregnant, so they marry.  But almost nobody have kids without marriage.I’ve learnt that this no-marriage system is quiet popular in Northern Europe and France. Is this great ? or  not great? I have no idea… as long as people are happy, I guess.
  3. They call my husband “boyfriend”
    This relates to #2.  So in Denmark, people assume that you’re “just” boyfriend girlfriend, even though you’re living together or having kids together. When I first moved to Denmark quiet some people had asked about my background and they asked”so, what’s your boyfriend’s name?”
    “what does your boyfriend do?”now understanding marriage system in Denmark, I totally get it.
  4. High Divorce Rate
    Japan has lower divorce rate compare to other foreign countries.
    But it’s changing.
    Back in 80s – 90s, divorce was considered to be “dishonor”.  I remember in my classrooms (elementary school~junior high~high school) almost nobody’s parents were divorced.Today Japan’s divorce rate is much, much higher, (30%) but still, quiet surprising that Denmark  (and other European countries) divorce rate is +50%.  wikipediaIt’s a difficult problem, but if you suffer why bother sticking to the marriage.

Thanks for reading!


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  1. andrea_ says:

    Number 1 and 4 are strictly related. I come from a much more conservative country than Denmark, and I’ve seen many families and lives devastated by the idea of non-divorcing (often with under the umbrella-excuse of “the sake of children”). People don’t divorce, and when they separate their lives are completely compromised, with bags of hate still with them. In Denmark they separate and divorce well before they fight daily and their life is impossible, and they can have a good relationship with their exes (who of course have something or a lot of good, since they choose each other, before splitting), healthy relationship with new partners and with children.
    It’s so obvious… 😉