Are you after a cosy life? Moving to Denmark will introduce you to the concept of Hygge. Hygge is the quality of cosiness and comfortable living. Living in Denmark also means you get to live in a country that is one of the happiest in the world and, in 2021, came in 2nd best for quality of life.
Moving to Denmark seems to be an excellent idea, but as with any country, there are pros and cons of living in Denmark. In this article, we’ll explore 10 valuable pieces of advice about the cost of living in Denmark, the best cities to live in, public transportation, the official language and more, so you can make the best decision for you!
1. Take Note Of The Pros And Cons When Living In Denmark
According to the 2022 World Happiness Report by the United Nations, Denmark is the second happiest country in the world. The report is based on 3 things: life evaluations, positive affects, and negative affects. Life evaluations is further divided into six key variables namely GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, and absence of corruption made into a Cantrill ladder.
This isn’t surprising, though, as one of the defining characteristics of Danish life is the concept of Hygge or the pursuit of cosiness and comfort. Living in Denmark allows you to experience living in a very healthy environment,reducing stressand promoting wellness.
High Quality Of Life
In a similar study, the 2021 Social Progress Index ranks Denmark’s quality of life 3rd best in the world. The study uses 53 social and environmental outcome indicators such as nutrition, medical care, water, access to information, rights, quality of the environment, free education, and so much more. Public transportation is also one of the highlights of Denmark, as it is efficient, highly accessible, and very affordable.
Consistently ranking high in this study shows just how high the quality of life in Denmark is. In fact, the Danes ranked number one a few years ago. The decline in ranking is nothing to worry about, though, as the difference is only in the tenths of a point. A high quality of life leads to a happy life, your needs are met, stressors are low, and you’ll have the space to enjoy everyday living.
In the Danish healthcare system, you won’t need to pay for medical services up front. Just present the yellow health card or “sundhedskort“, and you are good to go. Healthcare is funded by the government via a tax deduction. The card is also available as a mobile app if you don’t want to risk carrying the physical card around. Having excellent healthcare is important for any citizen, as they say, “health is wealth”. Living in a country that provides excellent healthcare is a huge plus.
The Weather Can Get Dark, Gloomy, And Wet
As with other Scandinavian countries up north, the weather can be colder. Denmark sees an average of 170 days of rain. When it’s not raining, the skies can get dark and gloomy, and in winter, there are days with shorter sunlight. But, that’s not always a con if you prefer the cold weather. Besides, cold weather means warm blankets and fireplaces. You can even try Glögg, a spiced mulled wine that is a traditional Nordic drink, during winter.
High Tax Rates
Denmark is noted to be one of the highest taxing nations in the world. An individual who is fully tax liable in Denmark will be taxed at an average of 45%. This is considerably higher than other developed nations, averaging 35%.
Of course, there are other deductions depending on a person’s situation such as having kids, donating to charity, employer associations, and more. However, studies have shown that many Danes are good with their tax schemes as the government provides lots of free services such as education, healthcare, leaves, and even childcare.
2. Familiarise Yourself With The Cost Of Living In Denmark And Prepare A Budget
Denmark is one of the most expensive countries to live in. Prices of goods and utilities are relatively high, but this is also balanced by higher salaries, a great work-life balance, and a quality of life at the very top of the world.
A single person will need, on average, 7,051.06 DKK (993.35 USD) for living expenses each month, excluding rent. For a small family of four, this number will go up to about 25,353.66 DKK (3571.80 USD).
Rent largely depends on where you live and what part of the city you stay in. As with any other city, there are expensive neighbourhoods, and there are also cheaper choices.
3. Choose The Best City That Fits Your Lifestyle
Denmark is already regarded as an amazing place to live in. Still, each city has its own personality, charm, and local culture that you should look into before making a choice.
Up first is the capital city, Copenhagen. It is a fantastic city that exemplifies all that is great about Denmark. Although it is regarded as one of the more expensive cities in Europe, Copenhagen is home to several major universities, the famous canals, one of the greenest cities in the world, and a haven for bike enthusiasts. Several cultural centres, museums, and other lifestyle spots can also be found here.
Aarhus is the 2nd largest city in Denmark and has gone through such an impressive industrial revolution. It is the economic centre of the Jutland region. However, the city is home to a younger populace, so it has its own cultural charms, its own flavours and drinks, and its role as an important industrial port. Major Danish companies have headquarters in the city, and the economic revolution only continues to grow.
Odense, the third largest Danish city, can be found on the island of Funen. Famous Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen was born and raised in Odense. He has continued to inspire the city. Odense is regarded as one of Denmark’s more affordable cities whilst still offering the same quality of life. Odense is a great choice for expats who want to experience that cosy life.
Other Popular Cities
Other major cities include, Aalborg, Esbjerg, Frederiksberg, and Kolding. Of course, you can always opt to stay in a smaller town as public transport will still make it easy for you to visit the main cities.
4. Take Note Of Housing And Accommodation Costs
In 2021, on average, rental properties in Denmark went for 857 DKK (120.65 USD) per square meter. Apartments, locally referred to as lejebolig, can be found both furnished and unfurnished for rent at varying price levels.
A single bedroom can cost anywhere from 3,500 to 13,000 DKK (492.75 to 1,830.21 USD). For a larger 3-bedroom apartment, it will cost you at least 6,000 DKK (844.71USD) up to 20,000 DKK (2,815.71 USD).
The prices do vary significantly, and this is due mainly to demand and proximity to city centres. For example, a starting price of 5,800 DKK (818.30 USD) for a one-bedroom apartment would be fair in Copenhagen. In Aarhus, a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre would start at about 4,500 DKK (634.89 USD).
Depending on where you choose to live, you can save money by cutting corners, such as in transportation costs, and knowing how to spend responsibly.
5. Always Budget Your Income And Stick To It
According to Statistics Denmark, the average employee earns 44,514 DKK (6,331.12 USD) monthly before taxes. This would include pension and is calculated by standardised hourly earnings converted to the monthly full-time salary.
There is a wide breadth, however, as, on the lower end, the lowest average monthly salary is 10,300 DKK (1,450.09 USD) which what about 25% of the population earns. On the opposite end, executives and highly skilled professionals have a high average salary of 181,000 DKK (25,482.18 USD).
In 2020, Danes had, on average, a net worth of 1,190,730 DKK (167,637.52 USD) after subtracting liabilities from assets.
6. Local Sights And Tourist Spots You Need to Visit After Moving To Denmark
Denmark is a beautiful country with lots of amazing places that you need to visit. Both modern and historical, Denmark offers a wide array of world-class tourist destinations. Find your next favourite hangout from this list!
- Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen
- Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen
- The National Gallery of Denmark (Statens Museum for Kunst), Copenhagen
- Skjoldungernes Land National Park
- LEGO House, Billund
- Viking Ship Museum (Vikingeskibsmuseet), Roskilde
- Hans Christian Andersen Museum, Odense
Denmark has such a rich history, from Vikings to storytellers. The country has many attractions that are just waiting to be visited. Once you are more confident with the transportation system, try to do a little more exploring, ask the locals what they would recommend, and add them to your list!
7. Cultural Activities You Need to Attend When Living In Denmark
As a foreigner in a new country, it might be hard to connect with the locals in the beginning. That’s why joining local festivals and celebrations is a great way of breaking the ice and making lasting connections with your new neighbours. If you’re going to move to Denmark, then these festivals are something you cannot miss!
- Copenhagen Light Festival
- Midsummer Festival of Saint Hans
- Saint Martin’s Eve (Mortensaften)
- Christmas Brew Day (julebrygsdag)
- New Year’s Eve
Although some of these might seem common, the Danes have added their own twist and traditions to make these holidays uniquely their own. Being part of these new traditions will pave the way to get you closer to the locals, so don’t miss out.
8. The Best Food In Denmark You Must Try
Traditionally, Danish food made use of available ingredients nearby that could survive the long dark winters and short-lit summers. Root vegetables were an important part of their diet, as well as fish, pork, and mainly rye bread. This is why the smørrebrød, or open-faced sandwich, became a staple. Top it with anything you can find, such as fried or pickled fish, meat, eggs, potatoes, and other vegetables.
Today, Danish food has evolved quite a bit but is still harkening back to its roots’ flavours and textures. Dubbed “New Nordic Food”, this generation of Danish cuisine focuses on experimentation, health, and more ethical production. So, check out this list of must-try food in Denmark:
- Stegt flæsk med persillesovs or (crispy pork with parsley sauce)
- Tarteletter (Chicken Pies)
- Frikadeller (Danish meatballs)
- Medister Pølse (Medister Sausage)
9. Connect With Your Local Expats Living In Denmark
With its high quality of living, high salaries, high safety ranking, and being one of the happiest countries in the world, it’s no wonder that a lot of foreigners have migrated to Denmark and started calling it home. A study in 2020 by Oxford Research revealed that 9 out of 10 expats were happy with their choice of moving to Denmark.
One of the reasons for that is the well-cultivated expat communities within Denmark. Still, there will be cultural differences. If you are finding it hard to locate expat communities on your own, check out their social media platforms and see if they have a social event you can attend.
You can find websites like www.fyidenmark.com that promote expat activities and forums so you can find people who, like you, are finding their way in a new country.
Try to open up and join these events, and you will surely feel at home in no time.
10. Prepare These Things To Make Your Move Hassle-Free
What You Need To Stay Long Term
You will need a working visa if you wish to stay in Denmark permanently. If you are already from Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden you do not need a work or residence permit to stay in Denmark.
People from the European Union, countries like France, Portugal, The Netherlands, Italy, etc., also won’t 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.
For everyone else, you will need to start the process of applying for a working visa. It begins with choosing a Work Visa Scheme based off of your employment. The three most common 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 and visa requirements.
Make a “Relocation Checklist” Of The Things You Need
You will need a lot of things to be able to make a move. This includes documents, tickets, budgets, to-do lists, etc. Create a checklist to make sure you have everything you need, and they are all where they need to be:
- To-do list – include items you wish to bring, what to give away, and what to sell
- Documents for Identification – 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.
Writing all these down and checking you are all set at every step is important in making sure nothing goes awry.
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Conclusion On Moving To Denmark
Denmark is all about the pursuit of Hygge. It is true that the cost of living in Denmark compared to other European countries might be high, but it is all worth it. The pursuit of a cosy and comfortable life with some of the best quality of life, healthcare, and government services is a great deal. You will love Denmark.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Moving To Denmark
Is Denmark Safe?
Denmark consistently ranks among the safest countries in the world. The crime rate is low, and people are very relaxed.
Is Healthcare In Denmark Free?
Healthcare is free at the point of access if you have your Yellow Card (or sundhedskort) bearing your Central Person Register (CPR) number. However, it is not totally free as the Danish government adds a tax deduction in your income to pay for the health insurance.
Can I Go To Denmark Without A Job?
Yes, as a tourist, you can enter Denmark without a job as long as you secure the necessary passes for the Schengen Area. However, if you wish to live in Denmark long-term, you will need a job and a working visa.
Do They Speak English In Denmark?
Yes. Although Danish is the national language of Denmark, 86% of the population speaks English very well. So, you won’t need to fear a language barrier.