Public Holidays in Denmark 2016

including days of celebration

Denmark has several public holidays in 2016, which are known as helligdage.

Below you will find a list of the various public days and the date they are held. Most are held in the first part of the year and than there is a long dry spell until  December.  Not all helligdage are days off work, but have tried to give you an idea of which days you can expect to get off. The good news is that you get 5 weeks paid holiday each year from your company, which can help with that dry spell late in the year.

January 1, 2016 is Nytårsdag or New Years Day and all business are closed on that day. (this falls on a Friday)

January 6, 2016 is Helligtrekongersdag, which is a religious holiday celebrating the end of the 12 days after Christmas. Not very known and only celebrated in church.

February 7, 2016 is Fastelavn or Shrovetide, which is a celebration with children dressing up in costumes and beating up a barrel with a stick. Fastelavn is celebrated on the Sunday before Lent. Businesses do not close on this day.

holidays in denmark

February 14, 2016 is of course Valentines Day, which is becoming more of a holiday here. Often it is resented as a holiday from America, but flower shops, jewelry stores and other merchants have picked up on the idea and are pushing it in Denmark now.

March 20th, 2016 is Palm Sunday and is the start of the Easter season.

Påske or Easter consists of 4 days and all businesses are closed during this time. Businesses are open on the Saturday between the 4-day hellidage.

March 24th, 2016 is Skærtorsdag or Maundy Thursday, commemorating the last supper.

March 25th, 2016 is Langfredag or Good Friday commemorating the Crucifixion of Christ.

March 27th, 2016 is Påskedag or Easter Sunday commemorating the Resurrection of Jesus.

March 27th, 2016 is also when summertime starts so remember to change you clocks - set them 1 hour ahead. 

March 27th, 2016 is 2 påskedag or 2nd Easter Day and comes on the Monday following Easter Sunday. 

April 1, 2016 is Aprilsnar or April Fools' Day and in like so many other countries, this is a day for pulling pranks on your friends and colleagues. Everyone seems to get on the act, even the media and politicians. Businesses are open.

April 9, 2016 is called Occupation Day or Besættelse Dag and commemorates the day that German started the occupation of Denmark.

April 16th, 2016 is the Queen's birthday and tho it is NOT a holiday, many people do take the day off to go visit the Queen and wish her happy birthday. Royal birthdays are still very popular in Denmark and celebrated my many Danes.

April 22, 2016 is called Store Bededag or Great Prayer Day and is to celebrate the various prayer days and is always on the 4th Friday after Easter. All businesses are closed. It is a tradition to go the local bakery the night before St. Bededag and get "varme hveder" or wheat rolls to eat with melted butter and jam. On the Thursday night before Store Bededage you will find long lines at your bakery getting these treats - join in, because not much else happens on this day.

May 1, 2016 is Arbejdernes Kampdag / Labour Day and a free day from work. Celebrates the social and economic improvements for workers.  Snce this falls on a Sunday, it is not really a holiday for most people.

May 5, 2016 is Kristi Himmelfartsdag or Ascension Day is held 40 days after Easter Sunday.

May 5, 2016 is Befrielse Dag / Liberation of Denmark from German, Denmark celebrates Liberation, when the German troops surrendered on 4th May 1945 and freedom took effect on May 5. Not a day off work, but a celebration day.  This year since it falls on the same day as Kristi Himmelfartsdag it will be a holiday.

May 8, 2016 is mother's day in Denmark.

May 15, 2016 is Pinsedag or Whit Sunday, which is held 50 days after Easter and celebrates the birth of the church.

May 16, 2016 is 2nd Pinsedag or Whit Monday and is part of the Whitsun celebrations. Businesses are closed.

 June 5, 2016 is Grundlovsdag:or Constitution Day and celebrates the signing of the Danish Constitution in 1849. All businesses close at 12noon.  

June 5, 2016 is also Father's Day in Denmark.

June 15, 2016 is Flag Day or Valdemars Dag, which is the date when the flag fell from the skies and Denmark got its flag. This is not a free day .. still got to work. Not really, cuz in 2014 it falls on a Sunday.

June 24, 2016 is Sankthansaften or Midsummer Night and is celebrated with bonfires all over Denmark; it is again not a public day off, where businesses close.  The celebration happens at night, when everyone gathers to watch the bonfires at sunset.

October 30, 2016 marks the end of summertime and the clocks go back an hour on this day.

October 31, 2016 is the traditional Halloween, which again is gaining some popularity in Denmark, but do not expect Trick or Treaters at your doorstep.

November 10, 2016 is Mortens Aften or Saint Martins Eve which is a unique celebration to Denmark. The Danes will eat goose or duck for their evening meal in honour of the legend of Bishop Martin of Tours. The story goes that the missionary hid out in a goose shed to avoid being consecrated as a bishop. But the geese started cackling and gave away his hiding place. So he declared that every November 10, geese should be served as the main meal in order to get back at them for their deception.

The first Sunday of December is the start of the Christmas Holidays and this is a good time to start brushing up on your singing and learning a few good Danish Christmas Songs.  This first Sunday or advent Sunday is not a legal hellidage. But you should be aware of the tradition if living in Denmark, since you might be invited over for traditional Danish cookies and gløg!

December 13, 2016 is Saint Lucia Day /Sankta Lucia and is heralded by parades of girls dressed in white and carrying lit candles. This is based on a Swedish tradition, celebrating the martyr, Sancta Lucia, who distributed food to the beggars before the New Years Fast.

The parade is led by one girl, Lucia Queen, wearing a crown of candles and the girls all singing the Lucia song. It is well worth attending a church service this day to be part of this celebration.

Now comes a holiday at last! The Christmas break which in 2014 will give us 5 days off in a row since the 24th is on a Wednesday. 

December 24, 2016 is Juleaftensdag or Christmas Eve, the day that most Danes celebrate Christmas. You can find out more about a traditional Danish Christmas below.

December 25, 2016 is Juledag or Christmas Day If you are in Copenhagen, you will want to take in some of these Copenhagen Christmas events

December 26, 2016 is 2. Juledag or Boxing Day and stores are not usually open. Grocery stores are open, but the major stores do not open until the 27th, when many of the sales start.

and finally we have

December 31, 2016 which is New Years Eve or Nytårsaften.

School Breaks and Holidays

School vacations will vary a bit from year to year, but here is a general guideline. It is best to use the week numbers versus the dates, since holidays are based on week numbers. If you are unfamiliar with the week numbers check out Danish Week Numbers

School starts on January 4, 2016 (week 1)

Winter School Holiday usually starts in (week 6/7), which is February 15 - 19 (week 7)

Easter Break / Påskeferie: March 19 - March 28, 2016 (week 14)

Summer School Holiday: June 25 - August 07, 2016   (week 26 - 31),

Autumn School Holiday / Efterårsferie: Oct 15- 23, 2016 (week 42),

Christmas holiday / Juleferie - December 21, 2016 - Jan 3, 2017 (week 51/52/1)

Now if you have children attending school, it is always best to check with your school to make sure they are on the same schedule. This is only a general school guide and should be pretty close to your school. The school holiday dates start with the first full free day and end with the last free day.

For example: Some schools start earlier back from summer break and some a bit later.

If you found this page helpful, please give a google+ and or a facebook like at the top of the screen, so others can also find this information. Thank you.

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