One might think that the Scandinavian societies would be easy for an Englishman to fit right into. But that is not always the case. To shed a light on the differences we asked 2 Englishmen who have been working and doing business in respectively Denmark and Sweden.
David James Thomas, Creative Director at Concesnsus Online in Denmark. Originally from Wales, GB. Lives and works in Denmark, and has done so since 2013.
What is your general impression of the culture in Denmark?
Very friendly and open now that I've lived here for two years. However, in the beginning, I found it much harder. It seems to me, that a lot of Danes have got their old friends from school and they do a lot of socializing at home. But once you are "in there" they are very open and have a very sarcastic humor, a bit like the British. And they are in general just nice people.
What do you wish someone would have told you before you came to Denmark?
That the taxes are very high, would probably be number one. And the expense of living is super high compared to the UK. I also wish they would have told me that finding an apartment or accommodation for living was a very difficult task to do. The whole process of getting a CPR-number (Danish identification number), in general, the whole process with the government was an absolute nightmare. So if someone would have told me that, I would have had a set expectations of, instead of learning the hard way.
How would you describe the business culture in Denmark?
Denmark is a very very very creative and innovative place. There are a lot of startups and in general risk takers. Everyone seems to take a risk and have a gamble. And they seem to have a good business ethics behind what they do. They think much more practical, they want to know people's opinions, and always want a lot of feedback. They are survey and data analytical driven in Denmark. Of course their design is fantastic, but there is always a lot of thought process behind it. They got a "why" behind what they do, and then a "what" and then a "how".
If you moved to Denmark, in the current market situation, what would you do?
Exactly what I am doing now! Because it is a blue ocean. What I mean by "blue ocean" is that it is an industry that's still not tapped into by many people. An industry you still don't know, where it is going to lead. That's where the creativity happens –it's not restricted.
Luciano Sgarbi, Director and Game Designer in Malmö, Sweden. Originally from Leeds, GB. Lives and works in Sweden, and have done so for the past year.
What is your general impression of the culture in Sweden?
There is not a lot less small talk between strangers, and people are not as quiet and introvert as a lot of Swedes like to joke about. People just seem very friendly and eager to show off their English skills.
What do you wish someone would have told you before you came to Sweden?
I came to Sweden with no expectations. I didn't really know anything about Sweden besides Abba, and Ikea. There hasn't really been any culture shock, since coming over here. There isn't really anything that has taken me by surprise.
How would you describe the business culture in Sweden?
In a place like Minc everybody seems fired up and enthusiastic. I think Sweden does a good job encouraging startup businesses. I know that in the UK there aren't many startup hubs like this one. The few that I've seen are really quite expensive, which you know, could create a bit of a barrier for people getting started.
If you moved to Sweden, in the current market situation, what would you do?
I would immediately start looking for accommodation. Rent here just seem to be going up and up and up!
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