This is a collection of my choice of the best books about Denmark. If you are traveling to Denmark or just have an interest in this beautiful Scandinavian country I have selected some of my top choices from the best fiction and non-fiction works set in Denmark. If you have other Danish books you would like to recommend please leave a comment at the end of the post as I am always on the lookout for new reading material!
Denmark is the birthplace of one of the most famous fairy story writers of them all – Hans Christian Anderson. If you are visiting Copenhagen you may plan to see The Little Mermaid sculpture which is displayed on a rock by the waterside at the Langelinie promenade in the Danish capital. She is one of the top tourist attractions for visitors to Copenhagen and of course a character from the Hans Christian Anderson fairy story of the same name!
For fans of crime fiction Denmark (and Scandinavia in general) are the home of Nordic noir books. Defined as crime fiction and television drama that typically features dark storylines and bleak urban settings Scandinavian crime fiction has grown in popularity in the last few decades. I first came upon it when I read Peter Hoeg’s novel Smilla’s Sense of Snow Published in 1992 this novel was at the vanguard of Nordic noir which has since developed a huge fan base.
In my selection I have included my top choices in guide books too so not only will you be well read when you arrive in Denmark you will know exactly what you want to see!
BEST DANISH BOOKS – FICTION
An Illustrated Treasury of Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales
I have to start any selection of Danish books with the great Hans Christian Anderson. These classic fairy tales are a must for every child. A beautiful book to have in any children’s collection this book will ensure endless hours of enjoyment. Read to your children or grandchildren and enjoy the beautifully crafted tales.
The Keeper of Lost Causes: The First Department Q Novel (A Department Q Novel)
Described by ‘The Times’ newspaper as “The new ‘it’ boy of Nordic Noir a few years after this novel was published Jussi Adler-Olsen has gone on to write another 6 books in the Department Q series of which this is the first. If you enjoy Nordic noir books this is a great series to get your teeth into!
The Boy in the Suitcase (A Nina Borg Novel)
Another absolutely phenomenal Scandinavian crime fiction offering and the first in the Nina Borg series of Danish novels.
BEST DANISH BOOKS – NON-FICTION
Why are the Danish consistently recognised as the happiest on earth? What is it about their way of life that makes this a population enjoy such a contented existence? If you have ever pondered these questions these are the books to read for the answers!
The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living
Ideas of how to incorporate some hygge (pronounced hoo-ga apparently) into your life! Hygge is an atmosphere and an experience we could all do with so I am glad the Danes are sharing their secrets with us!
How to be Danish: From Lego to Lund, a Short Introduction to the State of Denmark
Learn more about Danish culture, history, food and politics in this well written and easily accessible book by Patrick Kingsley. A great introduction to understanding and appreciating the Danish way of life.
The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country
As an expat myself I always look out for books written from an expat perspective. Written by a top UK journalist who moved to Denmark after her husband was offered a job with Lego this gives great insight into the Danish way of life. It is humorous and informative and unputdownable! Great read for expats, prospective expats, prospective expats moving to Denmark or anyone else with an interest in Danish life!
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BEST BOOKS ABOUT DENMARK – GUIDE BOOKS
I am a fan of Lonely Planet guidebooks and this recently published guide to Denmark would be in my bag if I was heading there soon!
As a HUGE fan of Rick Steves I had to include his guidebook too! I love listening to his podcasts and find his down-to-earth advice and reflections on European travel engaging! Are you a fan? Definitely check out his guidebook for Denmark if you are planning a visit!
Those are my Danish book selections for fiction, non-fiction and guidebooks. I have chosen my favourite 3 in the first 2 categories. Are my favourites yours too? If not what would you have chosen? Let me know in the comments!
PIN FOR LATER – BEST BOOKS ABOUT DENMARK
SOME HELPFUL WEBSITES TO CONSULT WHEN PLANNING TO VISIT DENMARK
The official site for visitors to Denmark – Visit Denmark
For Copenhagen – Visit Copenhagen
For Aarhus (Jutland) – Visit Aarhus
Tracy has lived and worked in 7 countries on 4 continents and travelled to over 50 more. A qualified school teacher with an interest in history, reading, photography, nature and wildlife she is always planning her next trip (preferably by train)
With a lifetime of travel experience, and a network of friends all over the world, she is also able to share genuine insider guides, recommended best book lists and train journey inspiration to help you travel authentically to some of the most beautiful places on earth.
Come and join me as I travel the world one country (and train journey) at a time!