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An Expat Talks about Moving to Copenhagen, Denmark


Copenhagen, Denmark

Expect to live in an apartment and not a home unless you have a very large budget for housing expenses. CIS and Rygaards are the only international schools I would recommend in any way. When setting a budget, double or triple it. And, lastly, rent through a rent manager and NOT directly with a home owner.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Copenhagen

Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.

I wish I had brought 1. Over the counter medicines; 2. Purchased more all weather shoes and boots before moving; 3. Hair cutting supplies for humans and canines.

I wish I had left home several electronic devices that I thought would work on plug converters but didn't (hand blender; hair dryer); 2. high heel shoes -- very hard to walk on cobbled streets in and got ruined in all the rain; 3. summer clothes -- only used for about 3 weeks tops and took up too much storage space.

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What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?

Plan first where you need to be -- work and schools -- and chose someplace that is very close to that area. Expect to live in an apartment and not a home unless you have a very large budget for housing expenses. CIS and Rygaards are the only international schools I would recommend in any way. When setting a budget, double or triple it. And, lastly, rent through a rent manager and NOT directly with a home owner. You will have major problems when moving out. I've heard many nightmare stories and ours was bad but not as bad as others.

What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?

We lived in a townhouse in the outskirts of Copenhagen in a small town -- Horsholm. We had to move to the suburbs to find a decent sized home for our family of four. It was small but ok. The car park was a long walk to our townhouse which was difficult when grocery shopping American style for a family of four. We had a much lower idea on our housing budget than what reality is there. In hindsight we should have rented closer into Copenhagen in an apartment. Most expats have a large rental cost covered by their employer that allows for more decent living style. We were on a contract and not as an employee so our budget came out of my husband's contract fee.

How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?

We needed to rent a furnished apartment or home. That narrowed down our search to only one decently sized townhouse (rakehaus). In hindsight I wished that we had just sucked it up and purchased Ikea furniture to open up our choices. The townhouse was ok but I kicked myself for not listening to my gut instinct that one main bathroom for a family of four just wouldn't work for us. It didn't. And it was a supreme source of frustration because that one bathroom had a shower leak that the owner refused to fix until we moved out and charged us for the repair and cleaning of all the lime buildup. That's common in Denmark -- the owners of rentals will charge you for fixing things they should have fixed while you lived there.

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Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?

Our housing costs were double what we had thought we could live with in Denmark. We had minimal time to agree to move there and with minimal research we thought we could manage living outside of Copenhagen on a lower rental amount. That was our first mistake. The time it takes to get into Copenhagen either by car or train takes its toll and increases costs. We paid about $8000 a month in rent for a three bedroom townhouse.

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