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Summer freedom before the work begins!

Photographs: iStock

Text: Josephine Wan

In Denmark, summer holiday’s seem to focus around graduating students, heralding the end of high school or higher education. Once you have finished and entered the job market, you don’t quite capture that “summer holiday vibe” as you did when you were young. Of course, as an employee, you still have your annual leave, which you usually take together with some bank holidays. But nothing comes close to summer as a graduating student!

When is the summer holiday's celebrated in Denmark?

Most people with full-time employment have 25 days of annual leave (feriedage) each year - and some also have additional five days (feriefridage) or 37 hours (feriefritimer) off during the so-called holiday year (ferieår). For more official information, you should check with your employer or your union.

In many cases, three out of the five weeks will be held during summertime. This is because people who have children at school usually plan three weeks of their annual leave during the summer holiday to have quality time with them. There used to be a pretty common term describing these three weeks where most companies closed for summer, and everyone held their holiday called industrial holiday (industriferie). However, this concept of closing entirely for three weeks is probably being phased out or becoming less common. Nowadays, many Danish companies are trading with overseas partners, and it is not practical to have no employees available to handle production or communicate with overseas partners for such a long period. So instead, most employees take turns to have their summer holiday during late June and mid-August - and usually, they plan that far ahead with each other to ensure there are no gaps.

What’s on the itinerary?

Such an extended holiday period is handy for overseas travel, and most parents like to explore the world with their children. They may travel far away to another continent or travel to other European countries either by plane, car or caravan. Those who stay in Denmark may visit their families in other parts of Denmark, take a staycation at hotels or inns, or travel around Denmark with their caravans – there are so many options!

Summer festivals

One specific way to spend holidays in Denmark is very traditional - attend festivals! There are tons of festivals during the summer (except this year – thank you, Covid!), and some have a long history and have become part of many people´s yearly pilgrimage. I’m sure you’ve heard of the famous: Roskilde Festival, Smukfest, Samsø Festival, to name a few. Most people always relate festivals and concerts to alcohol and drinking, and if you’ve experienced a festival before, you will know it is not only about drinking. It’s the experience (oplevelse). The common thread of these festivals is the enjoyment of the music and being together with friends or families. The celebration of spending free time together, camping, being away from everyday life, and of course hygge! Tickets are usually sold out shortly after sales starts, as people plan that as part of their summer holiday activities.

Work and moving

For many young people and students, the summer holiday is also a time to earn extra money for the new school year ahead. Others move away from mom and dad to their own apartments, so they are ready and prepped for starting their career or further education on the other side of their summer holiday. So, what are your plans this summer? If you travel overseas or stay home in Denmark, let us know, or share your pictures on our social media channels – we’d love to see them!

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