Moving/Relocating To Copenhagen: 12 COMPREHENSIVE Steps To Help You Settle Down Smoothly

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Do you want to live in a place once dubbed the happiest and safest in the world? Then you might want to try moving to Copenhagen.

Living in Copenhagen brings you canal rides, daily cycling, and an abundance of sausages.

Excited? In this article, we’ll share with you the cost of living in Copenhagen, where’s the best places to eat and visit, and when living in Copenhagen, the pros and cons you need to consider before making the big move. Let’s get started!

1. Find Out The Pros and Cons You Need To Know About Living In Copenhagen


It Is Consistently One Of The Happiest Cities In The World

Improve your quality of life in one of the happiest cities in the world. Every year, the World Happiness Report ranks hundreds of major cities around the world in their quality of life, health, and overall happiness. For years, the Danish capital of Copenhagen has consistently ranked high, topping the list in 2013.

Boat Rides In Its Famous Canals

Taking a cruise along the canals of Copenhagen is one of the best ways to get to know the city. Copenhagen is a port city that hosts a narrow strait between the two islands, Zealand and Amager. The iconic canals run throughout the city and make for a beautiful ride. It’s perfect for any tourist or resident to enjoy as you go about the city.

The Bike Culture Will Get You Fit

Be a little bit healthier as you bike around the city. The cycling culture of Copenhagen is another one of its defining characteristics and one that you will get into once you settle in. There are bike lanes everywhere and equally as many bike rental services making Copenhagen the most bike-friendly city in the world.


The Weather Can Get Wet And Gloomy

Copenhagen has an oceanic climate, so the day-to-day weather can vary greatly. Copenhagen sees around 170 days of rain throughout the year, and heavy snow during the days between December and March. In contrast, June sees the most sunshine, with July being the warmest month overall.

2. Research On Apartment Locations And Relative Rental Costs

Copenhagen can get a bit expensive, but the location still has a significant effect on how expensive rent can get. Smaller apartments with a kitchen and bathroom are in demand and can cost between 8,000 to 10,000 DKK (1,117 to 1396.53 USD). Larger apartments with 2 to 3 rooms plus a kitchen and bathroom can go as high as 13,000 to 15,000 DKK (1815.49 to 2094.80 USD) but are great for families.

three people riding bicycles

Image Credit: Unsplash

3. Check Out Neighbourhoods And Pick One That Best Fits You

If you plan to stay closer to the city centre, Indre By is the best choice. It’s close to the sights, convenient, and here you will find all the amenities that you’ll ever need, from the main shopping centre to restaurants and recreational areas.

Another excellent place to stay is in Vesterbro, a place that has grown a reputation of being a cool place to live in Copenhagen.

Amager is also an excellent choice if you want to stay close to the inner city but far enough to have your space. A little south of Inner Copenhagen, Amager has a lot of newer residential areas that has flats and apartments excellent for expats.

Right across the bank in the inner city, Christianshvan is another excellent option to stay in Copenhagen. Christianshvan was re-developed in the mid-20th century and has grown into a favourite residential space. It is here where you will find the famous “city within a city” Freetown Christiana.

Finally, Osterbro is also there for people who have a little extra to spend. Upscale and elegant, this neighbourhood offers cafes, restaurants, and beautiful apartments catered to the more affluent customer.

4. Get To Know Local Routes And Public Transportation Options

The go-to public transportation for most of the population in Copenhagen is by bike. It’s fast, promotes health, and is relatively cheap. Copenhagen is known as the most bike-friendly city in the world.

But if you’re not in the mood to paddle, there are Metro lines that serve the city 24/7 and are fast, reliable, and quite cheap.

There are also the three bus systems, A-Bus, S-Bus, and Night Bus, that serve the city throughout the day. They vary from each other depending on the time of service and the number of stops.

To make it even easier for public transportation passengers, a mobile app called DOT Mobilbilletter is available to pay for your tickets. Another option is the purchase of a Copenhagen Card which gives you unlimited transportation in the whole capital region as well as discounts and free admission to several top attractions and museums.

5. Take Advantage Of Free Services And Visit Top Attractions

If you’ve already purchased a Copenhagen Card, then you already have a list of the top 89 attractions you need to visit when in the Danish capital.

But if you had to pick, we’d recommend the following to be the ones to go to first:

  • Tivoli Gardens
  • Canal Tours
  • The National Museum
  • Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art
  • Copenhagen Zoo
  • The Round Tower

The list goes on! So, take your time and plan around all those stops, and you’ll have months of fun-filled afternoons of adventure. Do take note, however, that re-visits are not possible and that the list is revised every year on April 1st, so always plan ahead!

low-angle photography of brown building

Image Credit: Unsplash

6. Enjoy The Danish Cuisine And Explore New Flavours

Nordic cuisine might not be as common as other types of food, but it has its own personality and flavour pallets for you to enjoy. If you are hungry for traditional Danish food, here are some that you shouldn’t miss:

  • Smørrebrød or open-faced sandwiches
  • Stegt flæsk, which is a fried pork belly w/ parsley sauce and potatoes
  • Fresh Oysters
  • Meatballs

There also needs to be a special mention for Danish Sausages. Copenhagen is famous for its numerous sausage stands, which always feature the favourite red sausage.

7. Immerse Yourself In Danish Culture With These Festivals And Locales

To experience local culture, take a walk and chill at Jægersborggade. A cobblestone walkway filled with bars, boutiques, cafés, Jægersborggade is a great place to just relax and enjoy an afternoon.

Any fan of Jazz will have their fix at the Copenhagen jazz festival. Held on the first Friday of July, dozens of musicians perform in many venues all over the city with thousands of attendees. It’s no wonder that it’s one of the biggest music festivals in all of Europe.

A celebration of nightlife and new dance music, the Copenhagen Distortion is another music event that you shouldn’t miss. Starting with multiple street parties in many different locations, the festival week culminates with Distortion Ø. Formerly called the final party, Distortion Ø is held in the Copenhagen harbour on a former industrial island.

The Copenhagen International Literature Festival is there for all literature lovers. Celebrating literary work through readings, conversations, drama, documentaries, and film, the festival aims to promote the works of writers, novice and professional writers alike.

8. Research On The Cost Of Living In Copenhagen And Form A Budget

Copenhagen is listed to be one of the more costly places to live in Europe. A single person’s estimated monthly living expense totals up to about 7,523.33 DKK (1,050.66 USD) before rent. For a family of four, a net monthly cost of 27,108.19 DKK (3,785.74 USD) is needed before rent.

As mentioned above, monthly rent varies significantly depending on which part of the city you choose to live in. Stick to your budget and try to apply money-saving tips so you won’t go over budget. These could include biking instead of paying for transport, making use of free libraries and free events, and eating locally sourced food.

people walking on sidewalk near building during daytime

Image Credit: Unsplash

9. Upskill And Get Better Opportunities By Going Back To Uni

When working overseas, it’s always a great idea to upskill. Whether you’re getting a higher degree and receiving advanced training, or venturing out into a new field, upskilling will always be beneficial for your career.

The University of Denmark and Technical University of Denmark are excellent educational institutions that rank worldwide in QS World University Rankings. Thanks to Copenhagen’s high quality of life, universities consistently rank high in terms of student quality of life and education.

Although not necessary, you might also want to learn to speak Danish. Scandinavian countries are known to speak English well, but learning Danish might also help you relate to your Danish classmates and might even open up more job opportunities.

10. Look Up The Most Promising Industries To Land A Higher Paying Job

Danes are known for Hygge or the quality of cosy living. Most employers in Copenhagen will value work-life balance for their employees. Unemployment in the city is quite low at about 5.66% (as of 2020).

There are many jobs in industries such as engineering, medicine, dentistry, and pharmaceuticals. If you are currently in a job search, look out for Denmark’s release of a ‘positive list’ which indicates industries that have a shortage of individuals with higher education and skilled workers.

This is a great way to look for job opportunities where you can upskill and get higher pay or even transfer to a different career if you want a more considerable change.

11. Overcome The Effects Of Culture Shock By Making Connections In Expat Communities

The Danish are regarded as nice and welcoming people but are said to rarely talk to strangers, and it might take some time to get to know and connect with locals. However, the good thing is that English is widely spoken by almost everyone in Copenhagen, so communication won’t be an issue.

Aside from English, French and German are also becoming common in Copenhagen owing to it becoming more and more of a tourist destination.

If you are finding it hard to find a footing in the city, there are several expat groups online where you can connect with people who are in the same boat as you. The good thing is these communities also host events to meet new people and have forums where you can chat and get to know each other and network. Put yourself out there and join events, attend local festivals, and get to know your local community. Just start by saying hi!

12. Prepare These Things Before Moving To Copenhagen

Long Term Residency And Work Permits

To stay long-term in Copenhagen, you will need a working visa. But there are some things you need to know about the visa process.

Those who are from countries such as Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden do not need a work or residence permit.

Those coming from the European Union, such as Austria, Italy, Portugal, and the Netherlands, also do not need a visa but have to meet standards set by the Danish Immigration Service and the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration’s (SIRI) immigration rules.

Others who don’t fall into the categories above will have to apply for a working visa. The process starts with choosing a Work Visa Scheme, depending on the nature of your employment. The most common of these schemes are:

  • The Pay Limit Scheme – intended for highly paid applicants
  • The Positive List – for those who are working in industries with a shortage
  • The Fast Track Scheme – for a worker from a company certified by SIRI

Conduct your research on what scheme you will fall under and follow through with the application.

List Of Things To Prepare For Your Relocation

Take note of all the documents, tickets, budgets, to-do lists, etc., that you will need as you make the move. These will likely include:

  • To-do list – which can include what to pack, what to give away, and what to sell
  • Documents for identification such as Passport, Visa, Work Permit, IDs
  • Travel ticket (especially if you have a connecting flight)
  • Budget (be sure you are using the correct currency)
  • Essential contacts (in case of emergencies)

Moving can be stressful, so writing all these down and making sure you have all you need will take a load off of your shoulders.

Engage With A Professional Relocation Company

Sanelo helps people by making the transition of moving to a new place as easy as possible. With years of experience providing adaptable solutions, your move to Copenhagen will be a breeze.

You’ll be at ease the whole transition, from the paperworks to the shipment of your belongings. Find out more about our shipment protection.

Conclusion On Moving To Copenhagen

If you’re excited about a Hygge life, the bike culture, the many sausage stalls, the close proximity to canals, and most importantly, the prospect of a higher quality of life, there’s really no need to think twice. It’s a great city, and life in Copenhagen is for you.

Although the cost of living in Copenhagen is quite high, the upside is well worth it. Just remember that there are always corners you can cut to save, so follow these steps, do your due diligence, and you will be on your way to Copenhagen in no time.

Interested in other articles on how to have a hassle-free relocation experience? Check out these guides on moving to Denmark, Kuala Lumpur, and Beijing.

Frequently Asked Questions About Moving To Copenhagen

Is Copenhagen An Expensive City To Live In?

Denmark’s capital city, Copenhagen, has high taxes and is one of the most expensive cities to live in in the European Union. However, Copenhagen is also known for consistently ranking at the top of the quality of life surveys.

Is Healthcare In Copenhagen Good?

Healthcare in Copenhagen is outstanding as Denmark is a rich and well-developed country, and the Danish government has invested much in healthcare to attain very high medical standards.

Is Copenhagen A Safe Place For Expats?

Yes. Aside from ranking at the top of cities having the best quality of life, Copenhagen ranked number 1 in The Economist’s safe cities index in 2021.

Can I Get In Touch With Sanelo To Ship My Belongings From Overseas?

Please do! Contact Sanelo today and speak with our representative, who’ll help you get through the necessary details and paperwork for an international shipment that best caters to your situation of a new life abroad.


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