Local tipping customs

We are on the July 4 Baltic Sea cruise. As we have several opportunities of free time, especially in Copenhagen in advance of tour, we wondered what the customary rule is for tipping in restaurants, cafes, at any of the other places on the trip where we will be on our own. Would appreciate some hints.

R & I


  • I just googled tipping etiquette in Denmark. I wanted to refresh my memory that tipping wasn't customary … after all, it has been ten years since my last visit. Remarkably, the google search turned up an intriguing reference. I hesitate to post it, but in the spirit of good cheer and good humour, here it is: The Morons Guide to Denmark for Americans. I swear I'm not making this up … do your own google search! And before you yell at me, I can assure you I know there are morons everywhere.



    PS. I actually think the advice given in the aforementioned site is very useful and, like everything Danish, very pragmatic.
  • I did this tour in May and while in Copenhagen, we were talking with a waitress. She explained that tipping is acceptable and when the guide books say that one should not tip, it is frustrating to them. I am not sure what the book Jan suggested but with this waitress, who was quite uneasy telling us as she didn't want to appear rude, and another waiter, we discovered that 10-15% was acceptable.

    Enjoy this tour. It was great.
  • Human nature is human nature. Some people are always prepared to take money from tourists, particularly Americans, when it is offered. The question was for some assistance on Danish customs and I felt qualified to have a go.

    My search was for tipping etiquette in Denmark …. custom, culture and etiquette being the operative concepts behind the search. If you care to duplicate my search I'm sure you will find the same set of hits I did, even in the US. I am not aware that google, or anyone else, prevents you from finding the same results as I did yesterday afternoon.

    I know Denmark and Danes well. Denmark pays their workers living wages, which means tipping is not required to keep the body and soul of Danish workers together. Tipping is, perhaps, given for exceptional service. That is a quite different situation to what you are used to in the US. If you care to check, you will find that in Denmark it is common to round up a taxi fare. The point is, tipping can be regarded as a small courtesy. It is not the norm. It is not required. It is not necessary. The Danes are very formal and very polite. Thank you means something other than two simple, English, words. But even the pragmatic Danes will not look a gift horse in the mouth. Danes will appreciate and respect the traveller who has taken the trouble to discover some aspects of Danish culture before arriving in their country. As do all people.

    While you are in the Tauck bubble, however, all this is academic. Tauck take care of everything for you and that is a truly wonderful and comforting place to be!


  • Jan, on my Tauck tour of Australia 2 years ago, I was amazed to learn that the hourly wage rate was quoted at $23 an hour, a living wage. You may be able to correct me on that amount, but basically, one of the reasons I love to travel is to learn and see that there is more than one way to live your life, more than one way to enjoy life, more than one way to enjoy food, more than one way to dress and so on, more than one way to reward a job well done and Vive la difference
  • edited June 2014

    The hourly rate can vary. This is the official Federal government site for such matters:


    While it lasts. The barbarians are posturing. Egalitarianism is under threat. The natives are getting restless. Huzzah!
  • Thanks to all for the responses. Know in some countries, (a few) workers are confused by the tip, possibly in more isolated villages. We'll be prepared.
  • I am on the Scandinavia tour and 10% is acceptable. As an American it feels like not enough, but they get a good hourly wage.
  • However you phrase it, the aforementioned waitress's employer would be officially appalled that an employee was touting for tips, which by another description is begging. That is so out of bounds in the Danish culture. The only mitigating factor in the employee's favour might be that she was stinging an American tourist … ergo, fair game. Naughty, but … gee whiz! If you tip at all, a small rounding up amount would be considered quite sufficient. It's a cultural thing. If people are confused by a tip, odds on you are insulting them by implying that they require charity. It's a sensitive area.


  • It is good to see others in this forum on the July 4/5 Baltic Seas small ship cruise. We are on this tour as well. Raj and Sharmi Mehta

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