If you’re considering a move to Denmark, you’re in for a treat. This Scandinavian country is renowned for its high quality of life, and its capital, Copenhagen, is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most livable cities. From its picturesque coastline and charming villages to its lively cities and friendly people, Denmark has a lot to offer visitors and residents alike.
If you are looking to move to Denmark but aren’t sure where to start, this is the article for you; in this blog post, we will go over all you need to know about moving to Denmark.
Moving to Denmark from the UK after Brexit?
Now that the UK has left the EU, any stay in an EU country longer than 90 days requires a visa. This means that to live in Denmark, British ex-pats must apply for a residence permit.
There are various paths for applying for a residence permit, depending on what kind of move you make to Denmark.
Moving to Denmark to work
There are many different routes to obtain a work and residence permit in Denmark, which is why we will go over three of the most common choices. However, there are many more options than those listed here, from work and residence permits for guest researchers to those for foreign workers offered jobs in the agricultural sector. For more extensive information, it could be beneficial to consult the Danish Immigration Service’s New to Denmark page.
The Fast-track scheme is a Danish government initiative that allows certified companies to recruit foreign employees with special qualifications to work in Denmark.
As a highly qualified employee, the Fast-track scheme allows you a quick and flexible job start date at your company.
The normal processing time for this is one month, meaning that you can start working quickly after obtaining it.
Pay limit scheme
You can apply for a residence and work permit via the Pay Limit Scheme if you have been offered a job in Denmark with a high salary. It is not required that you have a specific educational background or that your job is within a specific professional field.
If you have been offered a job with an annual salary that meets, at least, the minimum amount for that year, you are eligible to work in Denmark under a Pay Scheme work permit. The minimum salary for 2022 is DKK 448,000.
Additionally, to be eligible for this residence permit, you must also receive your salary in a Danish bank account, your working hours must be at least 30 hours a week, and the offered terms of employment must not be inferior to Danish standards.
Positive List scheme
If you have been offered a job in a profession experiencing a shortage of qualified professionals in Denmark, you can apply for a Danish residence and work permit based on the Positive List Scheme.
This type of residence permit requires you to have the proper education and/or work authorisation. There are two versions of this residence and work permit: the Positive List for Skilled Work and the Positive List for the Highly Educated.
To be eligible for a residence and work permit based on the Positive List for the Highly Educated, you must have an educational background that makes you qualified for the job. For example, if you want to work as an IT engineer, you must have completed a three-year IT program at the university or business school level. Some jobs will also require you to have a Danish authorisation.
Similarly, to follow the Positive List for Skilled Work, you must have sufficient experience in your field.
The Positive List is updated twice a year, on 1 January and 1 July. It can be found on the Danish Immigration Service’s New to Denmark work permit help page.
Moving to Denmark to be with family
If you wish to live with your spouse, cohabiting partner, parent, or other family member in Denmark, you must apply for a residence permit as an accompanying family member.
A family member, for these purposes, is a spouse or registered partner, a minor child, or a child who is dependent on the family member residing in Denmark.
Studying in Denmark
If you have been accepted onto a higher education programme in Denmark, you can be granted a residence permit to stay and study in Denmark.
You can be granted a residence permit for many different types of study, including a full educational programme in Denmark, part of your education as a guest or exchange student or a preparatory course for a higher education programme.
Retiring to Denmark
There is no specific retirement visa for Denmark, but you can apply for a work or partner visa.
If you are married to a Danish citizen or have a business partnership with one, you will be able to get sponsorship for a visa.
You must apply for a residence permit and then wait up to five years to qualify for permanent residency.
Life in Denmark
Denmark is said to be one of the happiest countries in the world. In fact, a new study has found that 90% of ex-pats in Denmark are happy or very happy with their life in Denmark. Alongside the strong work-life balance ubiquitous across Scandinavian countries, British ex-pats moving to Denmark can expect friendly public services, excellent standards of healthcare, high satisfaction with the support paid for by their taxes, a plethora of professional opportunities and much more.
Respect is at the heart of Danish society; Danes believe in being respectful of other people’s privacy and not getting involved in their lives unnecessarily. This can sometimes be taken to extremes, but it leads to a more positive environment where people are not wasting their time with gossip or conspiracy.
The food in Denmark is both diverse and delicious, with a wide variety of fresh produce, grains, and meats. Larger cities such as Copenhagen are known for offering extensive options for those following restricted diets, such as vegan, gluten-free or lactose-free. Dinner is the main meal of the day in Denmark and is considered a time for the family to gather together and catch up on their lives.
Ex-pats moving to Denmark can expect to join a highly equal, positive and forward-thinking society, with family at its core and a strong community spirit.
The healthcare system in Denmark ranks among the best in the world.
All legal residents of Denmark are entitled to free public healthcare; however, ex-pats can always purchase private health insurance policies for additional coverage if they so desire.
The healthcare system in Denmark is divided into two sectors: primary care and secondary care. Primary care providers in Denmark include dentists, psychologists, family doctors, and other similar roles, while the secondary care sector provides specialised medical treatments and hospital care. In most cases, a referral from a general practitioner is required before seeing a specialist or being admitted to a hospital.
You can purchase over-the-counter medicines at some authorised convenience stores in Denmark. The pharmacies across the country are usually open between 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday. On Saturdays, they may not be open after 2:00 pm.
Residents in Denmark can get emergency medical assistance by calling the emergency call centre number 112. Those answering this emergency number speak English. If you require medical help in odd hours or during holidays, you should get in touch with your area’s lægevagt (on-call doctor) service.
Education in Denmark
Denmark’s education system comprises both public and private schools. The public education system is free from primary to higher education, while private schools take in around 15% of students. Although compulsory education is only up to 16 years of age, more than 80% of students go on to study in the following education levels.
Many ex-pats choose to move to Denmark from the UK thanks to its excellent international schools.
There are 24 international schools in Denmark, most of which are located in the Copenhagen area. These schools teach everything from basic education to upper secondary education and can take in children as young as three.
In Denmark, you can find both public and private schools following an international curriculum. State international schools are run by municipalities and may teach several education levels, from basic to upper secondary. Just like regular public schools, attending a public international school is entirely free.
The majority of international schools in Denmark teach entirely in English. Some of these schools are entirely international, while others have only a division of the school dedicated to teaching international children. These schools often follow the International Baccalaureate, the International Primary Curriculum (IPC), or other internationally recognised accreditations.
Speaking English in Denmark
A large majority of Danes are fluent in English, so British ex-pats should have no trouble getting by without learning Danish. However, learning Danish can make it easier to settle in and make friends and will also show your commitment to integrating into Danish society. Additionally, it can help your job prospects in Denmark.
Danish is similar to English, so many ex-pats say it is easy to learn, and Danes are always honoured to know that you are making an effort to learn their language and thus delighted to help you.
Fortunately, Denmark offers free Danish courses for newly arrived ex-pats in the country. Not only is this a great way to pick up some Danish for everyday life, but it is also an excellent way to meet fellow ex-pats.
Business culture in Denmark
Danish business culture is said to be one of the easiest, most relaxed work cultures in the world. It is characterised by equality and a low power distance between different layers of the corporate hierarchy.
Danes will chat with employees of any job level, and corporate titles are rarely used and even shunned as pretentious. The importance of a good work-life balance is highly valued, and many people work no more than 37 hours a week.
Your boss can often feel more like a friend in Denmark; it is not unusual to go to drinks together after work hours or for them to want your opinion during work discussions. This is balanced with a high degree of independence; you are expected to work effectively and efficiently, and your boss will trust that you will follow through on this.
Gender equality is also highly important in Denmark; businesses in Denmark boast a high number of women in senior positions. Discrimination and harassment are not tolerated in Denmark, and any reports of it are met with sympathy and immediate action.
Additionally, since Denmark has a low unemployment rate and high levels of labour market flexibility, the majority of residents feel a strong sense of job security.
Accommodation in Denmark
Whether you are buying or renting, housing is generally much cheaper in Denmark than in the UK.
Most ex-pats choose to rent before buying. This allows you more flexibility in finding the right location and property for you.
The most common way to find properties to rent in Denmark is through connections, and it can be difficult to find somewhere quickly in larger cities, so make sure to plan well ahead. There are many ways to find properties; using an estate agent may be the most accessible, but it is also common to find accommodation through property portals, social media such as Facebook and talking to locals.
When it comes to finding real estate to purchase, it may be best to go with an estate agent to simplify the process; they will speak good English and can help you with any local or legal questions.
Where to live in Denmark
Wherever you choose to live in Denmark, you are sure to love it; the country boasts some of the most beautiful towns and cities in the world. We’ll look at some of the most popular destinations for British ex-pats moving to Denmark.
Copenhagen is not only the happiest city in the world, but also one of the most progressive, thanks to its focus on community development and sustainability. With a great work-life balance and high standard of living, there are many reasons to move to this city famous for generous working benefits and unique independent culture. It is home to a thriving ex-pat community, so you will never feel far from home.
There is a lot of growth in the cafe and restaurant industry in Copenhagen, meaning that the streets always feel vibrant and welcoming. The city has 14 restaurants that have been awarded Michelin stars, and it is one of the few places in the world where independent coffee shops are still thriving.
Copenhagen is also a very entrepreneurial city, with lots of small businesses on every corner. Rent is reasonable in Copenhagen, which allows new companies to grow quickly, making it a great place for young professionals looking to boost their professional development.
Work-life balance in Copenhagen is excellent, with a maximum work week of 37.5 hours and almost everyone leaving work at, or before, 5 pm. Additionally, it is a very safe place, with a low crime rate and a high level of trust between inhabitants. This, coupled with the wide range of excellent schools in Copenhagen, makes it a great place to move to for families.
If you are looking for a city with a great mix of city life and nature, Aarhus, located on the east coast of the Jutland peninsula, is the perfect place for you. With easy access to the sea, stunning beaches and forests, you can enjoy all the outdoor activities you love while still being in a vibrant city; all you really need to travel around is a bicycle.
Aarhus is an excellent student city; with a student population of over 60,000, it has one of the highest concentrations of students in northern Europe. What’s more, the general education level in Aarhus is twice as high as the rest of Denmark, making it a great place to go to find skilled workers for your business or to raise children in a highly academic environment. Aarhus’s international school has been named the best in Denmark, and it also boasts an international day nursery.
The dynamic urban atmosphere of Aarhus, with its inspiring venues, theatres and museums, as well as its wide selection of shops, cafés and restaurants, is one of the things that makes it one of the most attractive cities in Denmark. The city’s ambition of becoming Co2 neutral? Carbon neutral? is also appealing to many ex-pats.
Situated towards the north of the Jutland region, Aalborg is one of the most beautiful and charming cities in Northern Europe.
It is Denmark’s third-largest municipality and offers many cultural, shopping, and leisure opportunities to its residents. The pedestrian zone in central Aalborg has more than 400 places to shop and eat and there are several parks and recreational areas close to the city centre.
Housing options and neighbourhoods in Aalborg appeal to many different needs and tastes, and the city has a young and vibrant environment with more than 45,000 students.
Situated in North Denmark, Aalborg is perfect for access to not only Scandinavia, but the entirety of the European Union with its own international airport and port. In addition, Aalborg is on the E45 motorway network. Its proximity to other Scandinavian cities like Oslo and Gothenburg (both a 45-minute flight away), Copenhagen (an 85-minute flight away), and Amsterdam make it an ideal location for international business and professional development, as well as tourism.
Additionally, there are many business opportunities in North Denmark in the sectors of ICT, life sciences, renewable energy, transport, intelligent logistics, etc. Partnerships among businesses, research institutions and local authorities lead to sharing of knowledge and experience, which is key to opening up new professional opportunities.
Aalborg is surrounded by plentiful and beautiful nature, including the North Sea and Kattegat, the Limfjord, and the second-largest forest in Denmark (Rold Forest). It is also a safe and welcoming city, perfect for families; Aalborg’s citizens are frequently ranked among the happiest in Europe. They also feel safer in their city than most people in Europe, and they trust their fellow citizens.
Cost of living in Denmark
Denmark is said to be a relatively expensive country, but with this comes an excellent quality of life and is reflected in their high salaries. Depending on where in the UK you are relocating from, life in Denmark may either be around the same price or a little cheaper; for example, Copenhagen is around 10% cheaper than London, while rural areas of Denmark may be more expensive than rural areas of the UK.
Food expenses in Denmark will typically amount to around £200 per month, depending on your spending habits. Dining out in the city will typically only set you back around £20 per person, a stark contrast to London prices, and a beer or soft drink at a bar is usually around £4.
Travelling in Denmark
Moving to Denmark opens up a plethora of travel opportunities across Europe.
Since it is the southernmost country in Scandinavia, living in Denmark makes it simple to travel across Northern Europe. It shares a border with Germany in the south and Sweden in the northwest, while the Skagerrak Strait separates Denmark and Norway. The sea routes between these countries offer exquisite views for travellers.
Travelling within Denmark is just as rewarding as travelling internationally; Denmark itself is home to a diverse range of landscapes and attractions. The country is made up of a peninsula mainland, Jutland, as well as over 400 islands, the largest of these islands being the North Jutlandic Island, Funen and Zealand, where the capital city, Copenhagen, is located. Each island has its own unique scenery, ranging from sandy beaches to forests. One island, Kattegat, is even home to Northern Europe’s largest desert.
Denmark offers incredibly convenient and affordable public transport, with extensive networks of buses, trains, Metro and light rail services.
DSB is the official Danish national rail operator, and it is easy to travel by train beyond Copenhagen to the rest of Denmark with them. A train from Copenhagen to Aarhus will take three hours, to Aalborg four hours, and to Odense an hour and a half. Train routes, times, and tickets can be found on the DSB website or by calling +45 70 13 14 15. It is advised to book tickets in advance, up to two months before travel, in order to get the best value off-peak tickets. An adult may take two children under 12 on a train for free.
You can catch a train from Copenhagen’s central station to Sweden with the Swedish rail company, SJ. The trip to Malmö will take less than 40 minutes, and there are plenty of daily and overnight options for the direct 5.5-hour journey to Stockholm. Tickets can be purchased online at sj.se or from the station.
If you’re looking for an alternative to flying or taking the train, you can always travel by coach in Denmark. Denmark’s extensive long-distance coach network offers plenty of options for getting around, with providers like Eurolines Germany and FlixBus offering connections between Danish towns and cities, as well as to multiple cities in Europe.
As Denmark is made up of so many islands, boats and ferries are an essential and refreshing way to travel.
There are plenty of options for tour operators that run ferry and cruise services to Denmark from other destinations in Europe. A few notable companies include Scandlines, Color Line, Fjord Line, and Stena Line. For example, DFDS offers a two-night cruise from Copenhagen to Oslo that includes an overnight stay in Oslo, a full day to explore the city, and then an overnight journey back.
If you’re interested in staying within Denmark, there are plenty of ferries and passenger boats that can take you to the many smaller Danish islands.
Denmark is incredibly well-connected in terms of international flights, but there are numerous daily flights from Copenhagen to various cities throughout Denmark. For example, major airlines run regular routes to Aarhus, Aalborg, Billund and Karup. Additionally, some airlines specialise in international flight services to smaller airports such as Bornholm, Odense, Esbjerg, and Sønderborg.
Driving in Denmark after Brexit
After Brexit, many UK citizens are wondering if they can use their UK driving license abroad.
If you intend to live in Denmark permanently, you should exchange your British license for a Danish one. If your UK driver’s license was issued before January 1, 2021, you are able to do this without taking a test. You need to do this within 180 days of taking up residency in Denmark.
If your license was issued on or after 1 January 2021, you can still exchange your license without a test in Denmark, but you can only exchange it for a category B (normal car) license.
How can Matthew James Removals help me with my move from the UK to Denmark?
If you’re thinking of moving to Denmark from the UK, we can help make your transition as smooth as possible. We understand that international removals can feel like a daunting task, which is why our comprehensive removal services can take care of the logistics of your move.
Let us take care of the removals so that you can focus on creating your new life in this beautiful country.
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