How To Move To Denmark - The Definitive Guide
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Apply For A Visa[back to top]
Denmark has visa policies that tend to be foreigner friendly. This means that expats from various countries will find that they dont need to apply for a visa in order to enter this country. For nationals of some other countries, an entry visa along with residence permit and work permit are needed to live and work in Denmark on a permanent basis.
The Kingdom of Denmark is part of the Schengen Area, so there is a list of countries whose residents may enter the country only if they already have a valid visa to enter Schengen countries. Citizens of the European Union, the United States of America, Australia and New Zealand can enter Denmark freely without a visa. Those who are coming to this country as employees, interns, students, on a working holiday or as an au pair must know that a visa alone is not enough. They usually need to get residence and work permits.
Residence and work permits
Many people are free to live and work in Denmark without needing to apply for work and residence permits, including citizens of European Union and European Economic Area states, Nordic citizens and citizens of Switzerland. However, all those who plan to stay in Denmark for more than three months need to register with the authorities and acquire an identification number, the CPR number. If you don’t have a CPR number it is impossible to open a bank account, register with a doctor or get help from public authorities. It is even hard to buy a mobile phone.
Expats who dont come from one of the mentioned countries must apply for a residence and work permit. It is important to know that granting residence and work permits is not automatic and it largely depends on specific labour market conditions. To apply for these permits, expats need to have a specific written job offer which defines employment conditions and salary. Even with these documents, some may not acquire the residence and work permit if their prospective role can be filled by available workers in Denmark. In addition to general residence and work permits, there are numerous special schemes that can help expats in particular sectors to live and work in Denmark, such as those with specialist skills, Master’s degrees or PhDs from Danish universities.
Foreign nationals who need a visa to enter Denmark and who plan to stay in Denmark for more than 3 months have to apply for a residence permit before arriving in Denmark. It is crucial to know that if expats apply for a visa and residence permit at the same time, their visa will be turned down. Those who have been granted certain types of residence or re-entry permits in a different Schengen country do not need a visa to enter Denmark. These types of residence permits are not valid if entering the Faroe Islands or Greenland.
To enter Denmark, everyone needs to have a passport which is valid for three months beyond the length of stay and issued within the past 10 years, except EU nationals who are holders of passports or national ID cards which are valid for the duration of the stay.
EU nationals who travel from one border-free Schengen country to another are not required to show a passport or national ID card. It is still good to travel with a passport or ID card to make sure you can prove your identity if needed. Bulgaria, Croatia, Ireland, Romania, Cyprus and the United Kingdom are not part of the Schengen area, so a passport or ID card is required when travelling from or to these countries. Citizens of the European Union are not required to have a return ticket or show sufficient funds.
Nationals referred to above are not required to have a visa to stay in the country for up to three months. EU nationals who wish to stay longer than three months have to apply to the Regional State Administration for a registration certificate. Other nationals are required to contact the embassy to find out about visa requirements for Denmark.
Short-stay Schengen visas cost €60 (£48). The normal Schengen visa is not valid when travelling to the Faroe Islands or Greenland. To visit these parts of Denmark, those who need a visa have to apply for a Schengen visa from a Danish mission with the wording "Valid for the Faroe Islands" or "Valid for Greenland" on the visa.
Those who travel on a Schengen visa have to travel within three months from the date of issue of the visa. It is valid for 90 days within a six-month period.
Visa applications have to be made at a consulate or consular section at an embassy. UK residents who need a visa should apply to VFS Global; this carries an additional £24.05 charge. All visa applicants must submit biometric data at their visa appointment.
Schengen visa applicants are required to prove they have sufficient funds to support their stay.
Applications for Schengen visas are generally completed within 15 days, but some may take up to 60 days if additional processing is required.
Extension of stay
Schengen visa holders can extend their visas only in exceptional circumstances, such as force majeure or for humanitarian reasons.
Entry with pets
Those who bring a pet from another EU country must prove that the animal has a microchip or tattoo, an EU pet passport and a valid rabies vaccination certificate. Animals from outside the EU zone are required to have a microchip or tattoo and rabies vaccination certificate, along with a veterinary certificate issued by an authorized veterinarian.
Embassies and tourist offices
Embassy of Denmark in the United Kingdom
Telephone: (020) 7333 0200.
Opening times: Mon-Thurs 0900-1630, Fri 0900-1600.
Embassy of Denmark in the United States of America
Telephone: (202) 234 4300.
British Embassy in Denmark
Telephone: (45) 3544 5200.
Opening times: Mon-Fri 0900-1700.
Find A Job[back to top]
In recent years, there is an increasing need for foreign labour in various industries in Denmark, but competition from Danish graduates is high as well. The chances of those who look for graduate employment may be better if they are skilled workers and have some knowledge of the Danish language. The labour market in this country is flexible and Denmark is considered to be one of the best places to find employment in Europe. The majority of the population speaks English, although knowledge of Danish is very useful when looking for work as well.
Where to find work
There is always a chance to find a job in industries concentrated on metals, pharmaceuticals, furniture and wood production, food processing, shipbuilding, chemicals, machinery and transportation equipment, textiles and clothing.
In recent years there has been a need for new employees in wind turbine industries and manufacturing for global export.
When it comes to shortage occupations, theres always a place for engineers, various medical and social work professionals, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and IT experts.
In general, one of the best ways to find work is to apply to some major companies, such as Maersk (transportation), Danske Bank, TDC (telecom services), Novo Nordisk (pharmaceuticals), Carlsberg, Jyske Bank, Danisco (food), H. Lundbeck (pharmaceuticals), Lego, ALK-Abelló (pharmaceuticals), Sydbank, TORM (shipping), or FLSmidth & Co (construction and engineering).
Average working hours in Denmark are 37 hours a week. When planning holidays, future employees should know that they have a statutory minimum of five weeks’ annual leave entitlement. The holiday year goes from 1 May to 30 April. There are also 12 official public holidays during the biggest Christian festivals and many workers have the option of taking the Constitution Day off, which is 5 June.
The Kingdom of Denmark is one of the highest taxed countries in the world. Flat rate social security tax is 8%, which is gross, deducted before other taxes are included. Every municipal area imposes a tax for local services as well, and the average in 2013 was 24.9%. The income tax is progressive, so the top rate is 15%. At highest rates, the total tax can hit 55.6%, according to data from 2013 and 2014. For those who come from UK, it is smart to check the UK tax and National Insurance position with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to ensure that they are not going to forego any UK pension rights.
Applying for jobs
Citizens from the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) can visit their nearest job centre in Denmark to look for employment. In addition to that, there is also the Work in Denmark website and service centres in Copenhagen, Odense and Aarhus that can help in finding work. In general, those who apply for work have to present their covering letter and CV. The Danish CV should be made in a similar format to the UK one. To see an example of CV in Denmark, just type "Eurograduate, Denmark - Sample CV" into your search engine.
The interview process is similar to the one in the United Kingdom. Candidates are usually invited for an interview and questioned about their professional competence, motivation and personality. Employers will try to see if their candidates will fit with the culture of their company. The employers will also expect that future employees have a good understanding of their business. In recent years, psychometric and aptitude tests are becoming popular, particularly with larger companies.
Following the Bologna Process and the creation of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), UK qualifications are usually recognised by employers in the Kingdom of Denmark.
- Jobnet Denmark is the official website for Danish jobseekers and employers. It includes contact details for job centres by area, but it is in Danish.
- EURES - European Job Mobility Portal – this portal provides job vacancies and a CV-posting service for those looking for work, as well as information on living and working conditions in Denmark.
- Work in Denmark – another popular platform.
Recruitment agencies, newspapers and the internet, as well as Danish libraries and telephone directories can also give valuable details of appropriate companies to approach. It is also good to check Karriere Vejviser for company profiles.
There are numerous job vacancies that are not advertised and are filled via personal contacts, so it can be worthwhile sending speculative applications to employers in the field that jobseekers are interested in. Potential employees should send a CV and covering letter expressing their interest in the company and their goals in coming to Denmark.
Erasmus+ is the EU programme for education, training, youth and sport for 2014-2020 and it covers student exchange, work experience and volunteering opportunities. Undergraduate and postgraduate students can use this to study abroad for 3 to 12 months. Erasmus+ also includes opportunities for work experience for students to learn new skills or languages, as well as volunteering in different countries for between two weeks and 12 months.
Work placements and internships
It is wise to look for apprenticeships and traineeships in Denmark on the Praktikpladsen, but the website is in Danish only. Placements can also be found through organisations such as AIESEC, the Association Internationale des Etudiants en Sciences Economiques et Commerciales, or IAESTE, the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience and the International Voluntary Service (IVS) in Britain. Its even smart to send speculative applications to relevant companies asking them for work placements.
Sometimes there are opportunities for seasonal or summer work in hotels, restaurants and pubs in Copenhagen or other major cities. It is important to know that some knowledge of Danish may be required. Denmark has a large agricultural industry which employs casual workers as well. Between July and September, theres the main fruit harvest, the season of tomatoes, apples, cherries and strawberries.
Rent Property[back to top]
The best and easiest way to lease a property in the Kingdom of Denmark is to go through "Housing Denmark". It is also important to know that Housing Denmark has all the terms and conditions that are recognized by Danish law.
Civil registration system
All people moving to Denmark are required to register with the Civil Registration System if they are to stay more than 3 months, which applies differently for EU, Nordic and Swiss citizens. Upon registering with the Civil Registration System you will be issued a CPR number which gives access to a range of services in Denmark. You must register within 5 days of your arrival. Some diplomats or expats may not need to register.
Contact the International Citizen Service if you need assistance with the following:
- Issuing a CPR number
- Registering your postal address in the National Register
- Assigning a doctor
- General information on how to fill in the tax form
- General guidance on the Certificate of Registration for EU citizens
It’s important to register with your municipality as soon as possible in order to have access to medical services, language courses and other services.
All people moving to Denmark must register with the National Register in their municipality within 5 days after they move in. Every person in the household must be registered. Some immigrants or expats may not need to register.
Leasing a property
Most expats are not allowed to buy property in Denmark. In order to lease a property, you need a CPR number and to register with the National Register prior to, or just after, moving in. There may be exceptions to this rule.
There is a residence requirement for all properties (except vacation houses) in which there have been one or more persons previously registered as residents. This system is to ensure that there will always be someone registered at the address.
To register at a property in Denmark, you must be a resident of Denmark by having a CPR number and being registered at the National Register. In Denmark, you can only be registered as a resident with one property at a time. There are very few properties that don’t need a resident requirement. They are typically newly built properties, with no previous residents registered, or properties in the few Danish municipalities that don’t have residence requirements.
Once a tenant has registered at such a property, all tenants thereafter need to register as well. Therefore, these types of properties are only leased out to people who are exempt from the mandatory property registration requirement. Two common examples of those who are exempt are diplomats and those who are already registered for a different property. Properties in municipalities which do not have residence requirements do allow individuals to move in and register if necessary.
Many properties are managed by Housing Denmark. This means that all contact between the tenant and the landlord goes through Housing Denmark Services. This allows both the tenant and landlord to call in with various requests in case of emergency. Some tenant requests may have to be approved by the landlord, which will take a little longer to process. The deposit is held by Housing Denmark throughout the tenancy and the rent is likewise administered through the Accounts Department.
Managed leases come with extra services such as a free move-in and move-out report to ensure the rights and duties of both the tenant and the landlord. Also, in managed leases, minor repairs that fall under the landlord’s responsibility will be initiated automatically. However, more extensive repairs will require the landlord’s approval. It is believed that this service protects and ensures the rights of both the tenant and the landlord.
In accordance with the Danish Rent Act, it’s your right to have a tenancy agreement stating the conditions agreed by you and your landlord. Among other things, the tenancy agreement must state how much notice you have to give when terminating the lease. Furthermore, it must state in what condition the apartment must be when handed back to the landlord. When renting a property through Housing Denmark, an accurate tenancy agreement is provided to ensure the rights of all parties. Housing Denmark provides an English agreement upon request.
Deposit and lease premium
You should expect to pay a deposit or lease premium before the first months rent. The size of the deposit or premium is decided by the landlord. Normally, the deposit will be equivalent to 3 months’ rent and you will have to pay the first month’s rent up front. The landlord can use the deposit or premium to cover the cost of damages to the apartment upon termination of the lease. However, if you leave the apartment in the same condition as you found it, the landlord must refund the full deposit when you vacate the apartment.
If the property is managed by Housing Denmark, they hold the deposit for the entire lease period. In other cases the landlord will hold the deposit. Depending on the condition upon move out, the landlord must return the deposit within 6 weeks after the tenants leave, though if ot needs to be refurbished, under the responsibilities of the tenant, the landlord may use the deposit to cover his costs and may therefore hold the deposit for a longer time.
The rent that is stated on the website of Housing Denmark is the actual rent. Consumption costs for water, heat, electricity and sometimes TV and internet are in addition to the monthly rent. Their housing agents can give the approximate monthly consumption costs per specific property.
The tenancy agreement will state the maximum number of tenants that can occupy an apartment. If there is more than one tenant per room, the landlord can turn down the offer. Furthermore, more than 2 people per room are not allowed due to the restrictions of Danish law.
Buy Property[back to top]
All non-EU/EEA nationals have to obtain permission from the Ministry of Justice in order to purchase property in Denmark, and must confirm that the property would be used as their personal residence throughout the year. EU/EEA citizens do not have to obtain permission to buy property, but they must confirm in a statement attached to the deed that it would be used for year-round residency. The majority of people in Denmark find their property with the help of an estate agent, and use a solicitor to conduct the legal work that is involved. The house purchase process can generally several months.
It is also possible to borrow finances to purchase property in Denmark from various banks or mortgage credit institutions, normally up to 80% of the property value. It is recommended to obtain a buyers certificate from the lender which confirms the finance arrangement, so that buyers can make a quick offer if they find a suitable property.
Many sellers have a property report that is compiled by a building expert and can make this document available to all prospective buyers. The report gives details of the physical condition of the property and any possible defects. If no property report is provided, the seller can be responsible for a period of 20 years for any serious defects that could emerge. If the buyer requests a transfer deed, the cost of which is shared between them and the seller of the property, this property report must be produced. A transfer deed provides insurance for the buyer against any faults or defects that may occur, and insurance for the seller against any claims from the buyer.
When the offer is accepted and the purchase agreement has been signed by both buyer and seller, the buyer should give a deposit of 5% of the purchase price with the estate agent. There is also a cool-off period of 6 days after signing the purchase agreement during which the buyer can annul that agreement, and may be required to pay the seller 1% of the purchase price.
The balance of the purchase price is payable on the agreed closing date for the sale of the property. Various documents can be involved in the purchase of a property in Denmark, which are transferred to buyers via their solicitor.
These documents include:
- the land certificate, which sets out the rights and obligations relating to the property, a cadastral map of the property
- the operating permit which confirms that the property meets building regulations
- the BBR-owner information which is issued by the local council and provides details of the property such as its size, history, dimensions, location and technical conditions
- the property tax note, issued annually and setting out the expected level of the following years taxes and related property expenses
- energy rating and energy plan, showing the current heating, electricity and water consumption and giving guidance on how to reduce these.
If the purchase is financed with a mortgage, the buyer is required to take out buildings and fire insurance on the property.
Despite Denmark being known for the liberalism, acquiring the property in this country can be quite difficult. Non-residents may not buy real property in Denmark unless they fulfill the following:
- Have previously resided in Denmark for at least five years.
- Are an EU national working in Denmark.
- If a non-EU national, have a valid residence or business permit.
There are also some special restrictions on foreign ownership in some areas of the country, especially when buying summer holiday houses. This is particularly the case in coastal areas. These are popularly known as the "anti-German rules", because they are made to prevent coastal areas from being overrun by German second home owners. However, the purchase of "all-year-round" properties, which are not located in popular areas along the coastline, is actually possible as long as buyers satisfy the aforementioned requirements.
Since it is very tricky to buy Danish property as a non-resident and foreign individual, expats could consider forming their own local limited companies to do the buying. An ApS (Anpartsselskab), the Danish version of a private limited company, is highly recommended. Resident legal entities are allowed to buy property in this country.
Once the right property is found, it is recommended to get someone to check for damp or building construction errors. The seller will offer a property report which describes the physical condition of the property, including noticeable defects or some conditions that may cause new defects. Though a property report is not a requirement, it is necessary when wanting a transfer deed. When buying a property, except co-operatives and weekend cottages, the seller is required to inform the buyer about the energy expenses and give suggestions on how to lower the energy consumption on the property.
Once the contract is made, a deed of conveyance is subsequently drawn up, usually by the buyer’s attorney. The deed of conveyance assures the buyer of clear title to the subject property once the deed has been recorded at the local land registry office. After that, the real estate agent corresponds with a solicitor/lawyer in negotiating the purchase price, before the buyer and seller sign the final document contracts. The solicitor/lawyer has to notarize them on the behalf of buyer and issue the official owner document. For a period of six days after signing the purchase agreement, the deal can be nullified by giving written notice, but the buyer is required to pay compensation, which is 1% of the nominal purchase price.
When the purchase agreement is finally signed, the buyer deposits the first part of the down payment, which is 5% of the cash price, with the real estate agent. The rest of the down payment is deposited usually in the seller’s bank, or into some commercial escrow bank account once the transfer deed has been signed. The funds can be released only when the buyer has received the unconditional title to the property. Escrow typically lasts 60 to 120 days.
Register For Healthcare[back to top]
QUICK LINK: Denmark health insurance
Healthcare in Denmark is of a very high standard, and expats who move here usually find the quality of healthcare on par with, or better than, what they are used to. The healthcare system in this country is comprehensive and there are many medical facilities to choose from. Denmark is covered by a universal healthcare scheme, meaning that all citizens have the equal right to access it. The majority of people here use public healthcare facilities because of their high standards, but there are numerous hospitals for expats who prefer private care. As the most Danish people are able to speak English, expats shouldnt have trouble finding an English-speaking doctor.
There are numerous public hospitals in Denmark, so expats will easily find a suitable institution in this country. Medical care is free to all Danish citizens, but certain treatments may incur additional fees. EU citizens are also entitled to free healthcare as long as they can produce a valid European Health Insurance Card. Expats who come from non-EU countries can receive free emergency healthcare in Denmark, but they need to get international health insurance for routine medical care.
When expats become permanent residents in Denmark and have registered with Citizens’ Services, they will receive an identification number and health insurance card, which will give them full access to universal healthcare. All expats who have a health insurance card have to choose a general practitioner before receiving any medical treatment.
Because of the high standard of public healthcare, there are not many private healthcare facilities in Denmark. However, the popularity of private care has increased in recent years, so some new clinics are slowly starting to open. Another reason for the growth of private hospitals and care is the increasing number of employers who offer private health insurance. This means that employees can easily use private healthcare facilities and avoid the waiting periods which are common in the public healthcare system. Expats should talk to their employers to find more about the health insurance policy options available.
All across Denmark its easy to find pharmacies, some of which are open 24 hours a day. This countrys regulations towards medicines are very strict, so expats may need a prescription for certain medicines which they might be able to get over the counter at home. Presricption drugs are not expensive for Danish and EU citizens, because they are subsidised by the Danish governement.
Expats who move to Denmark should get international health insurance to cover them until they become permanent residents in the country. Once expats have been in Denmark for more than three months, they can apply for permanent residency. All expats should also register with the National Register in their municipality to acquire a CPR number and health insurance card. This card must be acquired in case of receiving any sort of medical care in Denmark.
The general emergency number in Denmark is 112. This service also has operators who speak English, so expats can call an ambulance even if they dont speak Danish. Emergency treatment is free to all in Denmark, regardless of their nationality or current resident status.
Healthcare for students
The Danish healthcare system offers equal access for all residents. Those who are international students and residents in Denmark can access to free medical treatments with some exceptions, such as dental care and physiotherapy.
Coverage without registering with the Danish Civil Registration System
Students from outside the EU/EEA
According to the Danish Health Act, all non-residents who are staying in Denmark are entitled to emergency hospital care free of charge "in the event of an accident, childbirth, acute illness or sudden aggravation of a chronic disease". All other healthcare services must be paid for by themselves or their insurance.
Note: The Danish public healthcare system does not cover transportation of patients back to their home country in the event of illness.
Students from the EU/EEA or Switzerland
Those who are EU/EEA citizens or Swiss nationals planning to stay in Denmark for less than 3 months, who are covered by a statutory health insurance service in another EU country, can use their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to access any health service needed during their stay in Denmark. These people enjoy the same healthcare services that are offered to residents in Denmark. The fee for these services is forwarded to the statutory health insurance service which issued the EHIC.
Note: Students from Nordic countries dont need to show any of these documents, while students from the UK need only their UK passport as a proof.
Coverage when registered with the Danish Civil Registration System
Students from outside the EU/EEA
Those who are non-EU/EEA citizens planning to stay in Denmark for more than 3 months must obtain a Danish residence permit and register with the Civil Registration System. After that, they are entitled to free medical treatment in Denmark.
Students from the EU/EEA or Switzerland
Those who are EU/EEA citizens or Swiss nationals planning to stay in Denmark for more than 3 months, and covered by the statutory health insurance service in their home country, can enjoy full access to the Danish national healthcare system once they have registered with the Civil Registration System. In order to register they must present an E106 form, a S1 Portable Document, or a valid EHIC card issued by their statutory health insurance.
How to register
When registering with the Civil Registration System applicants must choose whether they want to be insured in Group 1 or Group 2. Care offered by General practitioners (GPs) and specialists in Group 1 is free of charge. It means that the applicants will need to choose a GP who will refer them to a specialist when necessary.
Those who choose to be insured in Group 2 will not be assigned a specific GP but will enjoy access to any GP or specialist on request. However, only a part of the costs for treatment in Group 2 is reimbursed. Roughly 98% of Danish residents are insured in Group 1.
The Danish National Health Insurance Card
Upon registering with the Civil Registration System, applicants receive a national health insurance card, called "Sygesikringskort". This card serves as proof that they are entitled to all public healthcare services in Denmark. It must be presented at all visits to doctors, hospitals and at pharmacists when collecting prescription drugs. This card states the personal name, address and the Civil Personal Registration number, along with the name of the doctor. It also provides healthcare coverage for up to 30 days on trips within the EU/EEA and Switzerland.
Open A Bank Account[back to top]
The banking system in Denmark is quite user-friendly and opening an account goes quickly when you have a CPR number. Once the CPR number is acquired, people can choose between a Dankort and Nem Konto. Sometimes it is even possible to open an account without the CPR, but it takes time and excludes many services. Danske Bank and Nordea have a reputation for being helpful in those cases, but as banking has become less personal in recent years it can be difficult.
Opening the account is generally the biggest hurdle. Once its opened, users can transfer money from their home account immediately. It is important to know that those who have a job sometimes must wait weeks or even months before the first paycheck is put into their account.
Those who have a residence permit, but not a work permit, have to prove that they are financially capable of supporting themselves. Once they put money in a Danish bank, it helps appease the government that they are self sufficient. After opening the bank account, users can acquire a banking cash card, enabling them to withdraw their funds from cash machines all over the country. It is generally free to withdraw money from a cash machine of your own bank. Using another banks cash machines will usually lead to some fees. Banks usually charge for everything that is related to customer service, including meeting with a customer service person.
It is also possible to find a bank that has internet banking in Denmark, offering services in English or other languages. Some banks also offer meetings with English-speaking account managers, which is important in case of loans, contracts and insurance. Its also helpful in getting the documents in a native language as well. You can compare fees and services at www.mybanker.dk.
In Denmark, the Dankort is the major banking debit card. Those who want to apply for a Dankort should know the following things:
- it can take several months
- a copy of some previous paychecks is required
- a healthy bank balance is required.
Before issuing a card, a bank may require any of the above. It can still take several weeks to get a card. It is advisable to discuss the conditions for acquiring a Dankort before opening the account. It is also important to know that Dankort is the "national currency". This debit card can be used anywhere in Denmark and its generally more widely used than credit cards or cash in this country.
After setting up the bank account, it is wise to ask to have a Nem Konto set up at the same time. This is the account that is linked to users personal bank account and also linked to users CPR number. Every resident in Denmark is required to have a Nem Konto. All the necessary information about this account can be found at nemkonto.dk, which has the information in Danish, English and German.
The bank will sign the client up for NemID, which is a digital signature that allows them to access both public and private internet services such as online banking, data and tax information. The client will receive two different parts in order to login. The first step is to create your own username and password. This is usually clients CPR number and an individually chosen password. The second step is to type in the code from the code card that has 148 keys on it. As this system can be used on any computer, it is important to use it safely and always log off to prevent fraud.
In Denmark, banking hours are similar to general working hours, so people rarely have time to actually enter the bank if they work normal hours. In general, banks are only open Monday to Friday. Hours are 10 am to 4 pm, except on Thursdays when most banks are open to 5 pm or 5:30 pm. These hours may be a little different especially in Copenhagen. This is one reason why internet banking is so popular. Phone banking hours can vary greatly, but they usually open at 8am for business. Many banks also answer questions via email. Banks are not open on weekends, but there are phone services for stolen cards.
The Kingdom of Denmark is part of the European Union, but it has not converted the national currency to the Euro. The official currency of Denmark is the Danish Krone or Crown, abbreviated as DKK. The krone is divided into 100 øre.
Notes: 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 DKK
Coins: 50 øre and 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 DKK
Taxes in Denmark
Expats who are tax residents of Denmark are generally taxed on their worldwide income, and they qualify for tax residency by being resident in Denmark. Expats who are not Danish residents but who live in Denmark for six consecutive months can also qualify for Danish tax residency. The tax system in Denmark is automatic, which means that tax is deducted from an expat’s salary before they are paid. Expats must register with the Central Tax Administration (SKAT) before they receive the first paycheck. Expats also receive a tax card that is sent directly to their employer, which ensures that they are taxed correctly.
Learn The Language[back to top]
The Kingdom of Denmark recognizes only one official language: Danish. It is the national language of the Danish people, but there are also several minority languages in everyday use in the country. These include German, Faroese, and Greenlandic. A large majority of Danes, around 86%, also speak English as a second language.
As the English language is mandatory for all Danish students, they start learning it from the first grade in Folkeskole. In the fifth grade of Folkeskole, a third foreign language option is offered to everyone, which is German or French in most cases. The majority of students choose to study German. Around 47% of Danes report they are able to speak conversational German. The third most widely understood language is Swedish, with 13% of Danes reporting that they are able to speak it.
German is an official minority language in the former South Jutland County, the part that is now known as the Region of Southern Denmark, which was part of Imperial Germany before the Treaty of Versailles was signed. There are between 15000 and 20000 ethnic Germans living in South Jutland today, of whom almost 8000 use either the Standard German or the Schleswigsch variety of Low Saxon in day-to-day communication.
Schleswigisch is very different from Standard German and can be quite difficult to understand by speakers of Standard German. Outside the area of South Jutland, the members of St. Peters Church in Copenhagen use German in their church and school. The German minority has its own system of primary education, having German as the primary language of instruction. This also includes the system of libraries across South Jutland. There is even a German high school, located in Aabenraa. Apart from this area, there are also 28,584 immigrants from Germany in Denmark, according to 2012 census.
Faroese is a North Germanic language like Danish, and it is the primary language of the Faroe Islands, which is the self-governing territory of the Kingdom of Denmark. This language is also spoken by some Faroese immigrants to mainland Denmark. Phonetically, Faroese can be seen as similar to Icelandic, and the Old Norse language which was spoken in the Scandinavian area more than a thousand years ago.
Greenlandic is the main language of the 54,000 Inuit who live in Greenland. Greenland, like the Faroe Islands, is a self-governing territory of Denmark. When it comes to Greenlandic in Denmark, roughly 7,000 people speak this language on the Danish mainland.
When it comes to numbers, the following list shows how many people in Denmark speak each language as a native or learned language:
01. Danish – 98,39%
02. English – 52,95%
03. German – 30,5%
04. Swedish – 6,75%
05. French – 6,37%
06. Spanish – 3,29%
07. Italian – 0,87%
08. Arabic – 0,64%
09. Dutch – 0,52%
10. Turkish – 0,4%
The Danish language is a northern Germanic language which has an alphabet consisting of 29 letters. It uses the basic 26-letter Latin alphabet plus the three additional letters Æ, Ø, Å. Danish is also known as Dansk. This language is also used by almost 50,000 Danes who live in the northern region of Germany, where it has the status of a minority language. One of the most difficult words to pronounce in Danish is "speciallægepraksisplanlægningsstabiliseringsperiode", which means "Period of plan stabilising for a specialist doctors practice."
Starting Danish lessons
Danish is taught at several universities around the world. There are also both private and public organizations that offer lessons in Danish at various levels. When trying to learn Danish in Denmark, there are many types of courses which are available, and some of these are even free for those who have a CPR number or a work contract.
In recent years there has been a growing influx of English words into the Danish language. This is very helpful for English speaking people in Denmark. They can easily recognize various words in newspapers or in everyday language, such as computer, cyberspace and teknologi. Numerous words of Latin and Greek origin can be found in Danish texts, such as relevans, hospital, demokrati, and so on. Danish grammar is quite simple and it is similar to English grammar.
Foreigners typically find pronunciation the hardest part of learning Danish. There are three main reasons for this:
- the language has many vowels
- the Danish glottal stop
- the huge difference between the spoken and the written language.
Those who wish to learn Danish should be aware that the difference between the written and the spoken language can be quite frustrating at first. Many words are not pronounced in the same way as they are written and numerous endings are not pronounced at all. If the purpose of learning Danish is everyday oral communication in Denmark, its best to choose language course that focus on speaking. Attending supplementary conversation courses is always a helpful choice.
However, it is possible to move to Denmark without speaking Danish. This is mostly because the Danes speak several languages and are usually happy to use them. Almost everyone in Denmark speaks English, many speak German and one out of ten people is able to speak some French. There are also those who speak Spanish or Italian as well.
There are numerous courses in Danish language and culture at different difficulty levels during the whole year. It is always possible to find one that matches your specific level and needs. In the summer, intensive language courses are offered as well. Depending on needs, interest, qualifications and time, these are the available options for those who wish to learn the language:
- Municipal education and language courses
- Private language schools and courses
- People’s college language courses
- University language courses and other courses offered by higher education institutions
Municipal language schools
Many municipal language schools in this country offer free Danish courses for foreigners. The Danish “kommuner” are obliged to offer courses in Danish language and culture for all foreigners. The Ministry of Education decides the level and the difficulty of the courses and tests and it empowers every language school to offer particular courses. Municipal language schools have offers that vary from basic courses for those with a limited schooling to courses for people with higher education. Most of the courses take 18 hours a week. There are some schools that offer more intensive courses and some that match the individual needs of the participants.
Language at VUC
The municipal adult education centers are institutions that offer courses in all public subjects to adults at the "folkeskole" and "gymnasium" level. Adult education centers, also known as VUC, offer courses to all Danes and Danish speaking foreigners.
Private language schools
If expats opt for private language education, they should know that there are private schools and private tutoring options available. Those who need more intensive and individually tailored lessons should contact one of the municipal language centers to find out more about opportunities that might match the desired level. In Copenhagen and its suburbs, just like in other bigger cities, a huge amount of private language courses are offered. To find out more about these, its best to contact your koommune or look at the yellow pages under the language section, “sprogundervisning”.
Most universities offer language classes to foreign students and visitors. Numerous universities offer crash courses in Danish language and culture at the beginning of the school year, during the semester or even as the part of the arrangement at summer schools. It is best to contact the specific university’s international office to find out more about the selection of courses, admission requirements and potential fees.
Choose A School[back to top]
Education in Denmark is compulsory for children below the age of 16. It is important to know that attending Folkeskole is not compulsory. Folkeskole is the public school for children below the age of 16. About 82% of students choose to take further education after finishing this school. Government-funded education is mostly free of charge and open to all students. Denmark has a long tradition of private schools, so around 15.6% of children at basic school level go to private schools. These schools are supported by a voucher system. Based on the data from 2006, the Education Index which was published with the UNs Human Development Index is 0.993 in Denmark. That puts this country amongst the highest in the world, tied for first with Finland, New Zealand and Australia. Literacy in Denmark is approximately 99% for both sexes.
Education can be seen as a key priority in Denmark. The Danish public schooling and education system is financed by taxes, so it is free of charge. There are also many private schools, including international schools with partial parental payment.
Primary and lower secondary education (age 6 to 16)
Primary and lower secondary education in Denmark is generally free of charge. Five out of every six children go to a public school, or folkeskole, and one in six chooses a private school. There are more than 24 international schools in the country, which are primarily chosen by foreign parents, and people who live in Denmark for a shorter period of time. Primary and lower secondary education is the responsibility of the municipalities. Those who have already chosen a place to live should contact the municipality find out information about the appropriate school for their children.
Upper secondary education (age 16 to 19)
In this country the upper secondary education is also free of charge and offers two types of programmes:
General education – this enables the students to qualify for access to higher education.
Vocational education –technical education that enables the students to qualify primarily for access to the labor market.
There are numerous study programmes that are offered in English or some other foreign languages. Denmark has 15 international upper secondary schools, which generally offer the International Baccalaureate, IB.
Danish universities and other institutions of higher education have a wide range of study programmes to choose from. In this country, about 40 % of all students complete a higher education study programme. More than 50 different educational institutions offer study programmes of varying durations and levels. Higher education is mostly free of charge for Danish residents. If certain conditions are met, students can also receive study grants and loans to finance their living costs during the studies.
Very young children in Denmark always have the option of enrolling in various child care centers. There is a huge variety of child care options for children below the age of 6. Each municipality has different overall goals and framework of child care options.
Day care is an option where a group of children between the ages of 6 months and 2-3 years are taken care of by a childminder at their own home. There can be up to 4 children apart from the child minder’s own. If two childminders decide to work together, they can take care of up to 10 children.
Day nursery is another childcare option for children between 6 months and 2-3 years. The number of children may differ, but the average number is 4 children per one childcare employee. Most nurseries are equipped with toys for each age group. Nurseries usually include outdoor spaces such as playgrounds with swings, sandpits, and so on. In these institutions children are usually taken on excursions as well.
Kindergarten in Denmark is for children between the age of 3 and 7. Institutions may vary in size, but the average number is 6 children per one kindergarten teacher. They also offer a wide variety of toys for the children, and have an outdoor area with a playground as well. Sometimes they even offer bicycles and carts.
Some municipal authorities award a grant to parents so their children can be put in private day care centers.
The price of childcare is determined by the municipal board individually. Its good to know that, according to state law, parents must not be charged more than 25 to 28% of the cost of the childs care in the institution. There are also some institutions that offer meals, and others that don’t, so this can affect the cost as well.
Young children are known for their quick adaptability and fast language-learning. Bilingual kids also have an advantage in school, on standardized tests, in college admissions and their careers in general. "Berlitz Kids + Teens" is the main institution in Denmark that tries to make children learn a language while having fun. All language instructors on the Berlitz Kids + Teens programs are native speakers. They all have experience working with children as well.
The Kingdom of Denmark has a policy of nine years compulsory education. Children start with education from the age of seven. However, most of the children start in a pre-school class at the age of six. After spending nine years in primary and lower secondary school, the choice of what comes next is individual. Students decide on their own if they want to pursue higher education.
Primary and Lower Secondary School
In Denmark, all children are entitled to free tuition at municipal primary and lower secondary school. The free tuition includes a one-year pre-school class followed by nine years of further education and a tenth class which is optional.
Upper Secondary School
Following primary school, which is usually completed by the age of 16 or 17, the majority of Danish students continue with some form of upper secondary education. Upper secondary education consists of general and vocational programmes for students from 16 to 20 years old. Some study programmes are offered in foreign languages as well. This school provides an entry into higher education programmes.
In this country students may find several International Schools, and schools which offer an English-language IB programme. For information on enrollment costs and supported age groups, students should consult the individual school websites or simply contact the school administration.
Private and Boarding schools
Denmark is known for its 200 year old tradition of private schools. The private schools have a higher degree of freedom relating to the way in which the schooling is organized, compared to public schools. There are six main boarding schools: Sorø Akademi, Herlufsholm Skole, Nyborg Gymnasium, Struer Gymnasium, Grenå Gymnasium, and Viborg Gymnasium.
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