Living in Denmark – A guide to embracing the Danish life
Are you considering living in Denmark? Denmark is renowned for its quality of life and work-life balance, and is considered one of the most livable places in the world - according to OECD. What other reasons might there be for you to live in Denmark? Here, we will provide you with the basic information you need to understand and embrace the Danish lifestyle.
Why move to Denmark?
Denmark is a Nordic country located in Northern Europe - known for its high standard of living, safety, and happiness. The country has healthcare, education, and other social welfare services that are free of charge (paid via taxes) and offered to all its residents.
Furthermore, Denmark offers many social benefits that provide financial assistance and security to residents who need it. These include, but are not limited to: child allowance, maternity/paternity benefits, holiday allowance, SU, and unemployment insurance.
Tip: Read more about moving to Denmark here.
Things to know about life in Denmark
Food and drinks
Danish cuisine is known for its emphasis on fresh, seasonal produce. Some traditional Danish dishes include: smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches), frikadeller (meatballs), fish dishes such as pickled herring and smoked salmon, and stegt flæsk med persillesovs (pork belly with parsley sauce).
Denmark is also known for its beer - with a thriving craft beer scene, as well traditional brews like Carlsberg and Tuborg.
Lifestyle in Denmark
Are you familiar with the concept of “hygge”? Hygge (pronounced “hoo-gah”) is a Danish concept that describes a feeling of coziness and warmth, especially during the cold winters.
Hygge can be interpreted in many ways - it can be snuggling up with a good book and a hot cup of coffee or cocoa, or enjoying a home-cooked meal with friends and family.
The official language of Denmark is Danish. However, many Danes speak English fluently, and it’s possible to get by in most situations using English.
Denmark has a well-developed public transportation system - including buses, trains, the metro in Copenhagen, and the Letbane in Aarhus and Odense.
Cycling is also a popular mode of transportation. Danes are known for their love of cycling, and you’ll find dedicated bike lanes and infrastructure throughout the country.
Cost of living
When considering making the move to Denmark, it’s important to understand the cost of living in Denmark. While Denmark is known for its high standard of living, it’s also one of the most expensive countries in the world . The cost of renting or buying a house or apartment is high, (especially in the bigger cities) and the cost of food is also high.
The healthcare system in Denmark
Denmark has a comprehensive healthcare system. It’s funded by taxes, and provides healthcare to all residents.
Here are some things you need to know about healthcare in Denmark:
- Free healthcare: Healthcare is free for residents with the Danish health insurance card (the yellow card). To get that, you will need to register for the CPR number (Danish Civil Registration System).
- Register with a doctor: As soon as you arrive in Denmark, you should register with a local doctor. This will give you access to free healthcare - that includes doctor’s visits, hospital treatment, and some prescription medication.
- Emergency care: Call the number 1-1-2 for an ambulance, in case of emergency. If you need urgent medical attention that is not an emergency - and it is after-hours - call the medical hotline at 18-13.
- Dental care is not free: While most healthcare is generally free in Denmark, it is important to note that dental care is not. This means you’ll need to pay for dental treatment - unless you have private health insurance that covers it.
Tip: Read more about health insurance in Denmark
Remember: Since the healthcare system is funded by taxes, income taxes in Denmark are among the highest in the European countries.
Education in Denmark
Denmark also has a world-renowned educational system and maintains a ranking of fifth in university ranking reports. With that, Denmark is home to some of the world’s top universities - including University of Copenhagen, Aarhus university, and University of Southern Denmark.
Here’s what you need to know about education in Denmark:
- Education is free: Education is free for all residents in Denmark and expats from EU/EEA – including primary, secondary, and higher education. Private schools are not free; here, you must pay tuition. Please note that international students outside the EU/EEA are required to pay tuition.
- The Danish folkeskole: Folkeskole is the primary school system in Denmark. The grades go from 0 to 9 and will cover all subjects - language, math, science, social studies, and physical education.
- Higher education in Denmark: Denmark also has a range of universities and colleges offering courses in various subjects. You can also find entire courses taught in only English.
- SU in Denmark: SU is a financial aid program providing a monthly stipend to students enrolled in an approved educational program to help cover the costs of living expenses while studying.
Working in Denmark
Denmark is known for its work-life balance, with a standard work week of 37 hours, a strong emphasis on flexible working arrangements, and 5 weeks paid vacation each year.
If you’re moving to Denmark for work, note the country’s labor laws and regulations. If you plan to stay in Denmark for more than three months, in many cases, you’ll need to obtain a work permit from the Danish Immigration Service. Read more about working in Denmark here.
Ready to move to Denmark? Don’t forget your Danish bank account
Lunar is a Danish, award-winning digital bank. If you become a user, you can open a free Danish bank account that includes a digital card as well as an easy-to-use banking app.
You can also open your NemKonto with Lunar, which you’ll need to receive payments from the Danish authorities and welfare system.
The sign-up process is easy and 100% digital, meaning you can do it from the comfort of your home.
Last updated August 18, 2023. This article is based on general information, and there may be special rules and circumstances that you should be aware of. This should not be considered counseling.
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