Funny hats and trucks: Learn about Danish high school graduation

by Luisa Geitmann-Mügge
Photo: Knord-kommunikation. Source:
Photo: Knord-kommunikation. Source:

Graduating from high school is a big deal and a great achievement for young people all over the world. In Denmark, this milestone is marked with some peculiar traditions.

Studenterhue” – Student cap

The distinctive hat worn by graduates of the different high schools and an increasing number of graduates of other so-called youth educations is called “studenterhue”.

The most important rule around this hat is that you mustn’t wear it before you have completed your last exam.

If you do, it is said to bring bad luck.

Since more and more students are currently reaching that relieving point of their school education, you will soon be able to spot young people proudly wearing their studenterhue everywhere.

Most hats you will see around are primarily white with a coloured band around them.

The color of the band and what is displayed on the pin at the front of the hat are determined by what the student studied.

Most students graduating from regular high school educations wear a white hat with a blue band of various shades.

Students from vocational educations wear other colours such as light pink for health care assistants, green for gardeners or beige for carpenters.

Photo: Al Case. Source:

Studenterkørsel” – Student drive

Another fun and especially audible tradition is what is called “studenterkørsel” in Danish.

“Studenterkørsel”  roughly translates to student drive or student tour.

This custom started out as a group of high school graduates dancing around the horse statue on Kongens Nytorv in Copenhagen in the 1930s and has since turned into a party on a truck-like vehicle with loud music, decorations and not seldomly alcohol.

Nowadays, offering vehicles, sound systems and drivers for studenterkørsel has become a business.

Graduates ride around town to visit each of their classmates’ homes.

Thanks to the loud music – often supplemented by singing –  the whole street then knows that one of their neighbours has graduated high school.

Towards the end of May and through June, you will witness many of these trucks driving around Aalborg and maybe even your street.

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