How To Tell The Time In Danish

Do you know what time it is? Ask the klokken.
overhead bridge in copenhagen with big clock telling time in danish

Taking your new Danish skills for a spin? You probably won’t get very far without knowing how to tell or ask for the time in Danish. Whether you’re learning for a job, for a new life in Denmark or for a vacation, you’ll need to know how to make plans with your new friends or colleagues, make a restaurant or hotel reservation or catch a train on time.

Thankfully, it’s not overly complicated once you familiarize yourself with a few basic rules, vocabulary, and sentence constructions.

Oh, and it’ll probably help to learn the numbers in Danish, too — definitely at least being able to count to 12, but knowing how to count to 59 will be useful for when you need to express the time down to the exact minute.

Telling Time In Danish

Before you get the time, you must ask for it (or at least know when someone else is asking you for the time). In Danish, “What time is it?” literally translates to “What is the clock?”.

What time is it? — Hvad er klokken?

Alternatively, a conversation about the time can also start with an inquiry about when something is taking place in the future.

When will we see each other this evening? — Hvornår ses vi i aften?

To simply state the time rounded to the hour, you would respond with Klokken er (“The clock is”) + the number of the hour.

  • It’s three o’clock. (lit. “The clock is three.”) — Klokken er tre.
  • three o’clock — klokken tre

Klokken always comes at the beginning of the sentence. However, if you want to express the same thing in a slightly more casual way, you can also replace klokken with den, which means “it.” This is similar to the difference between “It’s three o’clock” and “It’s three” in English.

It’s three. — Den er tre.

To say when something is taking place in the future, you would express what’s going to happen and then say klokken + the number of the hour.

  • The guests are coming at two o’clock. — Gæsterne kommer klokken to.
  • They will eat at three o’clock. — De spiser klokken tre.

You might be aware that there are two words for the number “one” in Danish: en and et. When you’re telling the time in Danish, always use et.

The birthday guests are coming at one o’clock. — Fødselsdagsgæsterne kommer klokken et.

Now, let’s get a little more specific. In English, we often say “it’s half past six” or “it’s 10 minutes to seven.” You can express time in Danish this way, too. To do this, use the prepositions i (to) and over (past).

  • It’s ten minutes to two. — Klokken er ti minutter i to.
  • It is quarter past three. — Klokken er kvart over tre.

One small note: “half past seven” would actually be expressed as “half eight,” like so:

We’ll see each other at half past seven (lit. “half eight”). — Vi ses klokken halv otte.

Here are some more examples of how you can express time in Danish:

  • It’s half past six (lit. “half seven”). — Den er halv syv.
  • It is 27 minutes past eight. — Klokken er 27 minutter over otte.
  • It’s 16 minutes past seven. — Klokken er 16 minutter over syv.
  • It’s ten minutes to two. — Klokken er ti minutter i to.
  • It’s quarter to twelve. — Klokken er kvart i tolv.
  • It’s half past nine (lit. “half ten”). — Klokken er halv ti.
  • It’s a quarter past six. — Klokken er kvart over seks.

Finally, here are words for identifying the part of the day you’re in:

  • morning — morgen
  • late morning — formiddag
  • noon, midday — middag
  • afternoon — eftermiddag
  • evening — aften
  • night — nat

More Phrases And Expressions You’ll Want To Know

Here are more contextual examples of how you can tell the time in Danish.

  • We’ll see each other at quarter past nine. — Vi ses klokken kvart over ni.
  • The train leaves at ten minutes past one. — Toget går klokken ti minutter over et.
  • The film starts at half past seven (lit. “half eight”). — Filmen starter klokken halv otte.
  • We’ll meet at quarter to seven. — Vi mødes klokken kvart i syv.
  • They will go home at quarter past four. — Klokken kvart over fire går de hjem.
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