Moving to Denmark
Last updated on Nov 27, 2021
Summary: Moving to Denmark: Expats, retirees and digital nomads talk about everything you need to know before moving to Denmark.
What do I need to know before moving to Denmark?
When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Denmark, they said:
"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," said another expat in Copenhagen.
"Check out this web-site about moving to Denmark ... especially if you are a member of a "visible minority" (I hate the terminology but you know what I mean). http://somethingmanky.blogspot.com/," remarked another expat who made the move to Copenhagen.
How do I find a place to live in Denmark?
We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:
"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," commented one expat who made the move to Copenhagen.
What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Denmark?
"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," added another expat who made the move to Copenhagen.
"Apartment, I bought it and this is only since the rental market is very limited. Most people "own" some form of apartment here or houses in suburbs. The housing market has crashed and so things have loosened up quite a bit but it is still very expensive," explained one expat living in Copenhagen, Denmark.
What is the average cost of housing in Denmark?
If you are thinking about moving to Denmark, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:
"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," added another expat who made the move to Copenhagen.
"Much higher. The low end of rented apartments is around 1000 USD per month and you do not get much for your money. Most rented apartments, if you can find them, go for between 1500-2000 USD per month," explained one expat living in Copenhagen, Denmark.
What should I pack when moving to Denmark?
We asked people living in Denmark to list three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They responded:
"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," said another expat in Copenhagen.
"Nothing comes to mind ... don't both bringing electronics from NA due to different electrical system," added another expat who made the move to Copenhagen.
What cultural faux pas should I try to avoid making in Denmark?
We asked people in Denmark if they could share any humorous cultural blunders they commited. For new expats, keep in mind that these incidents are an inevitable part of expat life. Learning to laugh about them is the key!:
"The most embarrassing blunder I committed was just bimbling along thinking I was making friends with Danished people, only to realise that friendship is a weird thing in Denmark and has more to do with who you play handball with than who you *thumps chest* bond with. Or something like that. The drunks are very friendly though, so my advice to newbies is to take to the bars if you want to feel any warmth," remarked another expat in Allover, Denmark.
"Yes. I kept telling my mother-in-law for probably 4 years that I was going to the "støvsuger" (vacuum cleaner) to watch television instead of "stuen" (living room)! Of course they knew what I meant (they don't speak English) but were too polite to ever correct me!!!," said another expat in Aarhus.
About the Author
Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.