Danish Language Blog

Shopping in Denmark Posted by on Oct 31, 2018 in Vocabulary

(Photo courtesy of Thomas Rousing at Flickr, CC BY 2.0 licence.)

No matter how much dåsemad (canned food) you bring from home, sooner or later you’ll need to do some shopping in Danmark. Fortunately, this is normally straightforward and easy – you don’t need to prutte med priserne (bargain) or discuss a lot with the shop people in butikken (the shop). But be prepared for witty comments and price tags that might be a little bit scarier than those at home! 🙂

In Danish, you can either gå på indkøb/shopping (go on ”buy-in”) or go the short route and say købe ind/shoppe (the words borrowed from English are less ”practically oriented” and more like ”shopping around for cool stuff”). As a kunde [KONNeh] (customer) you usually betaler [beTAHler] (pay) an ekspedient (shop assistant).

Denmark is a very busy shopping country, so there’s no shortage of spændende varer (interesting/exciting goods). Tourists often go for souvenirer (or souvenirs) such as dansk design (Danish design), specialøl (special beer), postkort (postcards) and t-shirts. Try some Danish smørrebrød (open sandwiches) and maybe a flødebolle (Danish-style cream puff) with your kaffe (coffee). On a rainy day it can be nice to gå på opdagelse (go exploring) in the local boghandel (bookstore), tøjbutik (clothes store), bageri (bakery), dagligvarebutik (grocery store), legetøjsbutik (toy store), hobbyforretning (hobby store), apotek [apoTEK] (farmacy), supermarked or even genbrugsforretning (second-hand store).

Here’s a little shopping dialogue which might be useful:

E (ekspedient): God dag! Hvad kan jeg hjælpe dig med? (Hello, how can I help you?)
K (kunde): Hvor meget koster en lille havfrue? (How much does a little mermaid cost?)
E: Et øjeblik… Det bliver 100 kroner i alt. Betaler du med kort eller kontant? (Let’s see… That’s 100 Kroner, please. Do you pay by cash or card?)
K: Tager I Dankort? (Do you accept the Dankort card?)
E: Selvfølgelig. Værsgo! Her er kvitteringen*. Vil du have en pose med? (Certainly. Here you are! Here’s your receipt. Do you need a bag?)
K: Jo tak. (Yes, please. [Hesitatingly.])
E: Hav en god dag! (Have a nice day!)

*Another common word for receipt is bon [bong]

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About the Author: Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.