Denmark is the worst place in the world for making new friends. So says a survey in 64 countries amongst 20,000 people who work in a country other than their home country.
This is the third year in a row where Denmark is at the bottom in this area, so the results are no surprise to Lene Nording-Grooss, who is a consultant in Finansforbundet's Work Life Investment. As something relatively new, they are in the process of creating networking opportunities and other types of offers that give foreign nationals in the sector opportunities to get closer to Danes and feel more connected.
"We know that many people struggle with loneliness and we also hear that we Danes are perceived as being more preoccupied with our own than in other countries. Danes are less spontaneous and more preoccupied with our home life, association life and our own friends".
In many other countries, there is more of a tradition of going out after work together, but here in this country, both men and women have to go pick up children. The weather is also not always as inviting for city life and outdoor activities as under more southern skies.
"But there are actually really good opportunities to make new contacts via the events and networking we offer at Finansforbundet. And when we Danes open up, we are actually very open and like to do things".
Keeping jobs in Denmark
Steen Lund Olsen, Vice-President of Finansforbundet, explains that Finansforbundet does things around networking not only for expats' sake, but also for both the sector and society.
"It's also important, because many foreign nationals are in development jobs that we would like to keep in Denmark. There is a better chance of this happening if they feel included and are happy to be here. We pull together, because it makes sense from colleague to colleague, but also for our society from a larger perspective", says Steen Lund Olsen, who encourages Danes to take a foreign colleague under their wing to some of the events offered in the association.
"The sector is becoming more and more global, both in the business itself and in staff composition, and the more international colleagues who become part of the major network that is Finansforbundet, the more offers will be developed and offered".
If you don't find the network or offer you are looking for on Finansforbundet's website, there are also opportunities to get help from the association or its circle to realise a good idea. One initiative that comes from a member is 'The Finansforbundet Internationals Network', which is still in the pipeline. The idea comes from New Zealander Vicki Leigh-MacKenzie from Danske Bank, who felt lonely when she moved from London to Copenhagen. In time, she found that she was far from alone in that feeling, and got the backing for her idea from both the bank and Danske Kreds.
The plan is for the network to be a platform for understanding Danish work culture and will help ensure that our international knowledge and experience is put to use. The network will offer various events, whether it be a book club, football team, wine tastings or something else entirely.
If you would like to be part of that network, you can contact Daniel Dalum-Larsen from Finansforbundet at email@example.com.
You can read more about Finansforbundet's network on the website, the English and Danish versions are available here:
Make Friends in a New International Network