Expat in Scandinavia: Moving to Scandinavia – Part 1 – Denmark

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Expat in Scandinavia: Moving to Scandinavia – Part 1 – Denmark

This article is the first in a new series, Expat in Scandinavia. From the iconic silhouettes of the spires of Copenhagen to the wide variety of natural scenery and areas, the beauty of Denmark’s culture and landscape has drawn people from around the world for centuries. Start reading Expat in Scandinavia: Moving to Scandinavia – Part 1 – Denmark.

While the country’s diverse economy and liberal immigration policies once made it easy for expats to move to Denmark, immigration requirements have become tighter over time. Now it’s generally expats with specialist skills that are in demand. Free movement in EU countries is, however, a fundamental right guaranteed by European Treaties. Article 2 of the Schengen Agreement states that “internal borders may be crossed at any point without any checks on persons carried out.” Denmark is an EU member country. 

Expat in Scandinavia: Moving to Scandinavia – Part 1 – Denmark
You will find that there is plenty of scope for career progression in Denmark.

Living in Denmark as an expat

There are a number of strong sectors in the Danish economy, including IT, engineering, finance, healthcare, energy, construction, oil and gas. Expats with experience and sought-after skills in these sectors will find that there is plenty of scope for career progression in Denmark.

The quality and affordability of housing in Denmark varies widely. While expats may struggle to find spacious, high-quality accommodation that doesn’t break the bank in notoriously expensive Copenhagen, there are many areas in Denmark where it’s much easier to find appropriate housing at a decent price.

Public transport in Denmark is generally of a high standard and the quality of road infrastructure is excellent.

You can read the story of the ten things an expat was missing most about living in Denmark by clicking the image below.

Expat in Scandinavia: Moving to Scandinavia – Part 1 – Denmark
Ten things an expat was missing most about living in Denmark

Healthcare in Denmark

Healthcare in Denmark is largely provided by the local government’s of five regions, with coordination and regulation by central government, while nursing homes, home care, and school health services are the responsibility of 98 municipalities. Some specialized hospital services are managed centrally.

Expat in Scandinavia: Moving to Scandinavia – Part 1 – Denmark
Visitors from the European Union can receive public healthcare services in Denmark just like locals would. Photo: Yadid Levy / Norden.org

Because necessary healthcare is taxpayer-funded, personal expenses are minimal and usually associated with copayments for certain services. Those expenses are usually covered by private health insurance.

Visitors from the European Union can receive public healthcare services in Denmark just like locals would, providing they hold a European Health Insurance Card or EHIC. An EHIC is free but must be obtained in your home country before you travel.

If you’re a professional living and working in Denmark, you can ensure your medical needs are met by choosing a suitable international health insurance plan.

Denmark is a startup kingdom. Learn about how Denmark became an entrepreneur’s paradise by clicking the image below.

Expat in Scandinavia: Moving to Scandinavia – Part 1 – Denmark
Denmark is a startup kingdom.

Cost of living in Denmark

As with any country, the cost of living in Denmark varies depending on expat’s lifestyle choices and location. Major cities such as Copenhagen have a well-earned reputation of being pricey to live in, and while life in the rest of Denmark is by no means cheap, the cost of living is substantially lower outside the capital area.

Expat in Scandinavia: Moving to Scandinavia – Part 1 – Denmark
Your children must participate in educational training either in a public school, a private school, or through homeschooling. Photo: Copenhagen International School.

Expat families and children

In Denmark, there’s compulsory education from the age of 6. This means that your children must participate in educational training either in a public school, a private school, or through homeschooling – though very few opt for the last solution because of the high quality of schools in Denmark.

It’s not mandatory, but most children attend some kind of daycare in the early years, beginning with nurseries from around the age of 1 and kindergartens at the age of 3. Both are heavily subsidized with low levels of user charges.

Ultimately, Denmark is a fantastic option for skilled expats, and for raising a family. It is also well positioned for easy and affordable travel to Europe and beyond.

Expat in Scandinavia: Moving to Scandinavia – Part 1 – Denmark
State of Green. Climate adaptation: The square, Israels Plads, underwent a transformation designed by COBE a few years back. Formerly a car park, the square now includes an underground parking lot and the space above ground has been reserved for skate spots and basketball courts, which also double as climate adaptation initiatives. Please note that a graphic design has been added to the original photo. Photo: International Water Association.

Climate in Denmark

The Danish climate is temperate with precipitation evenly distributed over the year. The mean annual temperature is 8.3ºC and mean annual precipitation is 746 mm. The annual mean temperature varies from year to year, from below 6ºC to 10ºC, with an average of 8.3ºC (1981-2010 level; 8.9ºC (2006-2015 level). Although Denmark is in northern Europe, the warm waters of the Gulf Stream make the climate mild.

Fast facts

Population: 5,913,771 (2023)

Capital city: Copenhagen (also the largest city)

Neighboring countries: Denmark shares a land-border with Germany. It is connected to Sweden (Malmö) by the Öresund bridge.

Geography: Denmark is made up of the Jutland Peninsula and more than 400 islands in the North Sea. Denmark’s terrain is mostly flat, with gently rolling hills. During the Ice Age, glaciers moved slowly across the landmass and shaped the country that exists today. Denmark has a long coastline with many lagoons, gulfs, and inlets. No part of Denmark is more than 32 miles (67 kilometers) from the sea.

Major religion: Christianity.

Political system: Parliamentary, constitutional monarchy.

Main language: Danish. English is mostly fluently spoken.

Money: The currency of Denmark is Danske kroner (DKK), which is subdivided into 100 øre. In order to open a bank account in Denmark, most banks require proof of a local address and a form of official identification, such as a passport.

Time: GMT (GMT +2).

Electricity: 230V, 50Hz. The power plug sockets are of type F (flat two-pin plug).

Internet domain: .dk

International dialing code: +45

Emergency contacts: 112.

Transport and driving: Driving is on right-hand side. There is a variety of public transport options available in Denmark and the transportation network is generally well formed both across the country and within most cities.

Useful links:
Internations.org:
https://www.internations.org/expat-insider/2022/denmark-40252

FYI Denmark:
https://www.fyidenmark.com/

Global Health
https://www.foyerglobalhealth.com/destination/living-in-denmark-as-an-expat-your-guide-to-a-successful-move/

Expat in Scandinavia: Moving to Scandinavia – Part 1 – Denmark, compiled by Tor Kjolberg

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