Welcome to the Kingdom of Denmark!
Congratulations on your move to Denmark! In this Copenhagen Relocations Guide, you will find facts about your new home country and useful tips for living in the Happy Kingdom of Denmark.
Government and society
Denmark is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government. Our present queen is Queen Margrethe II and is very well liked. Danes are in general proud of their Queen.
The national language is Danish, which is close to both Swedish and Norwegian. These three countries share strong cultural and historical ties. 82% of the inhabitants of Denmark and 90.3% of ethnic Danes are members of the Lutheran state church. About 15% of the population has foreign citizenship (2023 level). Around 30 % of the foreign citizens are of Scandinavian ancestry, whilst the remaining part of the diaspora is of a variety of nationalities.
The Danish government is organized into 3 levels: national, regional, and local. Denmark has a state-level government, including the Prime Minister and Parliament. There are 5 regional councils in Denmark. Within the regions, there are local governments in each section called “Kommune” or commune/local municipality.
Denmark is a member of the European Union but has not integrated the Euro. In Denmark, the currency is called Danish Crown (ISO code DKK) and it is pegged to the Euro via the European Union’s exchange rate mechanism. The plural form is Crowns or Kroner and one Crown/Krone is divided into 100 ore.
Denmark has a free-market capitalist economy and is a large welfare state.
For multiple years, Denmark has held the title of the “the happiest place in the world” based on standards of health, welfare, and education. From 2018-2023, Denmark has consistently ranked in the top 2 happiest countries in the world.
The 2016 Global Peace Index survey ranks Denmark as the second most peaceful country in the world. Denmark was also ranked as the least corrupt country in the world in 2023.
General living and culture
Denmark is a wonderful country to live in. It has a rich and diverse culture that values equality, democracy, personal choices, tasty food and great design.
- It is an egalitarian society with a high level of income and high gender equality. Workplaces operate under informal tone, have a relatively flat leadership structure and women often hold high positions. Equality can also be seen in family life where mothers and fathers share the parental duties.
- Surveys point out that Danes are happy people that live longer, are more productive, earn more, and are better citizens.
- At first, Danes may seem a little private. The best advice is to make the first move. You’ll soon discover that most Danes are very approachable, friendly and ready to help.
Superficiality and hype are normally avoided by Danes. Instead, polite and honest approaches work best. This does not mean that Danes lack humor, quite the opposite actually. Humor – especially irony – is an integral part of Danish culture.
- The Danes travel extensively and are highly interested in other cultures and traditions. Approximately 80% of the population speaks English, and many also speak French, German or Spanish.
- Danes value their free time and families. A lot of their social life is centered on friends and family. Many participate in sports like football (soccer) and sailing and cultural activities like visits to museums, films, and theater. Around 40% of Danes do volunteer work in their free time, particularly youth and retirees.
- The Danish cultural life is varied, offering music, ballet, film, theatre. The Royal Danish Ballet, the opera houses in Jutland and Copenhagen as well as the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra all enjoy international acclaim.
Denmark is also known as the country of music festivals and in the summer there is a varied and international choice of music, especially rock, folk music and jazz. Even outdoor opera performances will happen around the countryside.
The weather in Denmark is fairly mild through all the four seasons. Summers bring temperatures averaging around 22 °C (72 °F) with lows of around 14 °C (57 °F). In winter, temperatures hover just above and below 0 °C (32 °F), but the wind factor will often make it feel colder. Rainfall is moderate too and spread throughout the year, so showers are possible in any season. Snowfall is light and usually does not stay on the ground very long.
Denmark is a coastal country. Wherever you find yourself in Denmark, you are never more than 50 kilometers from the sea.
Cost of living
In Denmark, prices for accommodation, food, transport and entertainment are relatively high compared with other countries. To compensate, salaries are also high. The Danish welfare system subsidizes many services via taxes e.g., medical help and education.
A typical Danish family’s expenses are proportioned as follows:
- Accommodation and maintenance – average 26% [or 1/3 of disposable income]
- people living in big cities could spend as much as 40% of income on housing
- Food and drink – 14%
- Transport and communication – 16%
- Other goods and services e.g. child care – 15%
- Equipment for leisure activities and entertainment – 10%
- Heating and electricity 8%
- Furniture 5%
- Clothes and shoes 4%
- Medicine and medical expenses 2%
Need to know- Immigration:
The rules for settling, living and working in Denmark depend on your nationality:
- Nordic Citizens: As a citizen of a Nordic country (Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden), you have the right to reside, work and study in Denmark without a residence permit. If you will stay in Denmark for more than 3 months, you must register your address with the Civil Registration System and get a Civil Registration number (CPR-number).
- EU/EEA Citizens: EU/EEA citizens may freely enter Denmark and remain here for up to three months without an EU residence document (registration certificate).
If you expect that your stay will last more than three months, you have to apply for an EU residence document (registration certificate) before the end of your first three months in the country. EU residence certificate is a condition for obtaining CPR –number.
- Citizens from outside the Nordic countries, the EU/EEA and Switzerland: Citizens from a country outside Scandinavia, the EU/EEA or Switzerland must apply for a residence and/or work permit in their home country through a Danish mission, i.e. a Danish Embassy or a Danish Consulate General.
- There are several different options for a residence and work permit in Denmark, determined by the education, qualifications, and job type of the applicant. Note that Danish authorization may be a condition for your residence and/or work permit.
Foreigners often mention security and safety as the country’s most distinctive features.
Children walk to school on their own, and bodyguards are rarely used by politicians, diplomats or celebrities. The country’s parliament – Folketinget – is open to everyone, and it is common to see our ministers cycling through the city.
Denmark is consistently ranked in top 5 of the most peaceful countries in the world. It is indeed a safe country with low crime rate. However, it is always advisable to be careful and take precautions against burglary and theft. Theft is the most common crime.
- Rejseplanen- travel routes via public transport
- DSB- train schedules and tickets
- EasyPark- parking app
- DanTaxi- taxi app
- Mobilepay- app to send payments to private people or businesses (must be linked to a Danish bank account)
- E-boks- receive Digital Post from public authorities and businesses
- Work in Denmark
- Life in Denmark
- New to Denmark
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs Denmark
- Danish Tax Authorities
- Digital Post
- Postal service
- Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) for weather
- DBA – buying/selling secondhand
- Meetup- for social events and activities
News/publications in English:
Copenhagen Relocations’ Destination Guides
For city-specific information, please refer to Copenhagen Relocations’ Destination Guides (links):
- Copenhagen Destination Guide
- Aarhus Destination Guide
- Odense Destination Guide
- Aalborg Destination Guide
- Kolding Destination Guide