19 Pros and Cons of Living in Denmark as an Expat!

Dreaming about living in Denmark? Moving to another country can feel like a lot, whether it’s for work, education, or just a new beginning.

I get that making such a decision is no easy task. The excitement of something new can mix with the fear of the unknown. It takes courage to leave your familiar surroundings and start fresh in a new place.

Before making such a big change, it’s a good idea to plan and check out the new country and city you want to settle in. That’s where I come in – here to help you figure things out.

Denmark is known for having some of the happiest people globally. Happiness here isn’t just an idea; it’s a way of life. The Danes follow a unique lifestyle called ‘hygge,’ which is all about appreciating small moments in the present.

Whether you’re in the lively city of Copenhagen or a calm Danish town, you can experience this way of life. Denmark’s great quality of life, strong economy, and amazing food attract people from all over the world.

If you dream of living the Danish way, this article will list the good and not-so-good parts of living in Denmark. Let’s start with the positive stuff.

Pros of Living in Denmark – Exploring the Advantages!

Living in Denmark has many advantages, whether you prefer the lively atmosphere of a big city or the peaceful charm of the countryside. So here are some of the benefits of moving to Denmark.

1. Exceptional Quality of Life

You’ve likely heard that Denmark is one of the happiest countries in the world. There are several reasons for this well-deserved reputation.

In Denmark, the atmosphere is super chill, with lots of people cruising around on bikes. When the sun’s out, you’ll find everyone hanging out in parks, by the seaside, or at the harbors, having a blast with music and barbecues.

But when it gets chilly, it’s all about indoor gatherings, snuggling up with hot tea and blankets. Danes love having financial stability, a great work-life balance, and a government that has their back.

Denmark has created a society where everyone is treated equally and respects each other, thanks to things like their free healthcare, transportation options, and overall safety.

Denmark’s green lifestyle adds to its charm, with abundant green spaces and forests throughout the country. Plus, no matter where you are in Denmark, you’re always within 50 km of the sea.

2. Exceptional Work-Life Balance

Denmark’s big advantage? They’re all about finding that sweet spot between work-life balance. Danes really value their free time and make sure to put their personal happiness first.

Oh, and did I mention that the average work week is only 37 hours instead of the typical 40 you see in other parts of Europe? Sounds amazing, right?

With shorter workweeks and lots of vacation days, folks there have loads of time to do what they love – whether it’s their hobbies, spending time with family, or just chilling out.

Some even get a minimum of four weeks off from their full-time jobs, which is way more than what you’d see in other countries like the USA.

Believe it or not, some lucky ones might even score over three months of vacation time in a year! Their approach is simple – people work to enjoy life, rather than living just to work.

3. Best-in-Class Education System

Denmark’s education system is well-known for being top-notch, covering everything from primary school to university.

Students get to learn in a supportive environment that focuses on critical thinking, creativity, and practical skills, preparing them for future success.

And the best part? Education in Denmark is completely free! Whether you’re in elementary school or pursuing a college degree, you won’t have to pay any tuition fees. Amazing, right?

It’s all funded through taxes, so you can avoid the stress of taking out loans. Plus, it ensures that everyone has the skills they need to land a great job.

4. Top-Tier Safety Standards

Denmark is known for being one of the safest countries globally. Crime rates are low, law enforcement is very efficient, and people really look out for each other.

That’s why Denmark is famous for being one of the happiest places to live. Whether you’re in the city or the countryside, you always feel safe.

You hardly ever hear about gun violence in Denmark, especially when compared to what you might know from other countries like the U.S.

5. Healthcare—Inexpensive, Quick, and Easy

Denmark’s healthcare system is well-known for being among the best worldwide. What’s remarkable is that it’s essentially free for citizens.

While you won’t be directly charged when you visit the doctor, it’s important to note that healthcare costs are covered through taxes.

This covers everything from yearly check-ups with the doctor to outpatient care. The government also covers expenses for programs like meals-on-wheels and care for the elderly.

That’s why there are lots of healthy and happy people all over the country. You won’t have to pay for anything related to healthcare, like surgeries or medicines. Just make sure to bring your government healthcare card!

6. Public Transportation is a Breeze

Denmark puts a lot of money into making sure its public transportation system is strong. They have lots of routes that can take you all over the country and even to other places in Scandinavia.

In addition to that, Denmark also has lots of metro lines, especially in big cities like Copenhagen. Every day, more than 450,000 people ride the Copenhagen Metro.

And there’s still plenty of room for more passengers on these lines. So, no matter where you want to go, you can easily hop on a bus, train, or ferry and get there hassle-free.

You’ll also notice that buses and trains are well maintained, roads are nicely kept, and there are plenty of bike lanes if you prefer cycling to work or the store.

7. Equality for Everyone

Denmark works hard to make sure everyone is treated equally. It’s a leader in women’s rights, civil rights, disability rights, and supporting working people.

When you live in Denmark, you’ll find that people believe respect is something you earn. There’s no pressure to fit into a particular status or perspective.

Your gender identity, financial situation, or educational background doesn’t define your worth here. Whether you’re into politics or not, what really counts is staying true to yourself and making a positive impact on society.

The Danish government offers lots of services to its people to make sure everyone feels equal. Things like affordable daycare, strong unions, and free healthcare make life better for low-income workers.

8. Childcare is Affordable

In Denmark, they believe in equality for everyone. They don’t expect women to stay home and take care of the kids all the time.

Thanks to this mindset, Denmark offers a fantastic system of subsidized childcare once you settle here. It’s common for children in the country to start attending daycare before they even turn one year old.

At daycare, kids get to learn Danish and important social skills from trained teachers, like how to take turns speaking and cooperating in groups.

The cost of this perk changes depending on where you live in Denmark. If you’re in Copenhagen, it might be around 500€ per month. But if you have more than one child or a low income, it could be less.

In Denmark, not using public daycare is frowned upon, even by the royal family—they make use of this benefit too!

9. Lots of Greenery and Clean Energy

Denmark does an amazing job of looking after its parks and outdoor spaces. You’ll always find beautiful spots to enjoy nature, and with hundreds of islands to explore, there’s an endless adventure waiting for you. The clear waters make coastal living particularly attractive to many people.

Besides that, Denmark is a global leader in the fight against climate change, so living in Denmark can help you feel good about your eco-friendly lifestyle.

A whopping 67% of Denmark’s electricity comes from renewable sources like wind energy. You’ll notice plenty of wind turbines off the coast and on certain islands.

In Copenhagen, they’ve taken sustainability to the next level with CopenHill, a ski hill that operates year-round. What’s unique? It’s built atop a modern trash incinerator, showcasing Danish innovation in action!

10. EU’s Schengen Agreement

Probably the best perk of living in Denmark is that it’s a part of the EU’s Schengen Agreement. The EU is a group of 27 countries working together on a bigger scale.

This means that once you meet the government’s residency rules, you can become a citizen and travel freely to these 27 countries without needing a visa or passport (though you may still need an ID in some cases). Cool. right?

Discovering large parts of our planet with ease is one of the best things you can do. It’s like how Americans can travel between states without any fuss.

Cons of Living in Denmark – Exploring the Disadvantages!

Just like any other country, Denmark has its own share of disadvantages that you might want to consider before moving to this beautiful Scandinavian country. So here are some of the drawbacks of moving to Denmark.

1. Denmark is Expensive

Denmark isn’t exactly a budget-friendly country when it comes to living expenses. If you want to make Denmark your home sweet home, you’ll need a hefty paycheck or a solid stash of savings to live comfortably.

High taxes play a big part in why living costs are so high in Denmark. This pushes it ahead of countries like the U.S., the UK, France, Italy, and many others when it comes to the cost of living.

Denmark has been ranked as the 10th most expensive place to live worldwide. When comparing with the USA, you’ll find that everyday items, from shampoo to food, come with a higher price tag in Denmark.

Almost every aspect of life in Denmark, including dining out, grocery shopping, utilities, clothing, and more, tends to be pricier.

Moreover, housing isn’t particularly affordable either, and it differs significantly from what you might expect in other countries. Let’s now talk about the housing scenario.

2. Housing Scenario is Different

When you first get to Denmark, you’ll likely be hunting for a rental place instead of buying a home. But renting here works a bit differently, especially if you’re coming from outside Europe.

It’s important to know what exactly an “unfurnished apartment” means in Denmark before you make your move. In many countries, rental properties usually come fully equipped with appliances.

However, in Denmark, the approach is somewhat different—sometimes, you might not even find kitchen cabinets included. It’s a good idea to look for a furnished rental when you first arrive unless you’re ready to buy what you need for your initial days here.

Renting a house in Denmark isn’t cheap either. Copenhagen ranks as the 25th most expensive city globally for rental prices. Plus, if you’re renting here, get ready to pay a hefty deposit and maybe even some rent upfront.

Landlords might ask for up to three months’ rent in advance, along with another three months’ rent for the deposit—meaning you could end up paying nearly half of your yearly rent before moving in!

3. Challenging Weather

You’ve likely heard about this one before. Denmark’s weather isn’t exactly its biggest charm. During the months from October to March, Denmark often experiences rainy, cold, and gray weather.

Even as spring begins, there may still be blustery days that make staying indoors more appealing. Summers in Denmark are usually enjoyable, with average temperatures around 23 degrees Celsius.

However, depending on the year, there might be rainy spells throughout the season. If you’re used to lots of sunshine and warm weather, Denmark’s climate might take some getting used to and might not be your cup of tea.

4. Visa Process is Complicated

If you’ve decided that Denmark is where you want to live, the first thing you’ll need to do is get your visa sorted out. Be ready for a tough visa process as it involves following a long list of steps.

Here’s what you’ll need to do to obtain administrative approval for your visa application:

  • Download the visa application form from the government website and fill it out completely.
  • Make sure to keep several hard copies.
  • Attach the required photos according to the visa requirements.
  • Include any previous visas or passports you have.
  • Show proof of health insurance coverage for your stay in Denmark.
  • Provide evidence that you can financially support yourself during your time there.
  • Don’t forget to include any other documents relevant to your situation.

To learn more about the visa application process, head over to the official website of the Danish Government.

5. Passive Racism in Some Regions

Changes in population dynamics are impacting Europe and many other parts of the world. This shift sometimes leads to subtle forms of racism, especially in Denmark, particularly for individuals from minority racial groups.

It’s not uncommon for people to prefer neighborhoods where they find others who share similar backgrounds and perspectives.

If you move to Denmark and fall in love with a local, there are specific requirements for getting married. You must be able to speak Danish, and your spouse must pay a $10,000 bond. This process can be tiring for those not familiar with it.

6. Danish Language is Hard to Learn

One of the toughest parts of moving to Denmark is getting the hang of Danish. While many Danes speak English, you’ll realize sooner or later that learning Danish is necessary.

Learning Danish isn’t easy. For some people, it can take up to two years to become proficient in the language. But knowing the language has got its perks too!

You’ll have a more fulfilling experience and feel more connected to Danish society if you speak the language. But if you decide not to learn Danish, you might find yourself feeling a bit out of place at work or social events.

Moreover, about half of the job openings at any given time are in the public sector, and most of them require fluency in Danish for applicants. Learning Danish would greatly boost your chances of landing a job effortlessly.

7. You Can Feel Lonely

Moving to Denmark can be challenging, especially when it comes to feeling lonely. Leaving behind your closest friends means you’ll need to make new connections a priority.

It’s important to invest time and effort into building friendships and finding a group of people you enjoy spending time with.

Making friends in Denmark can be tough since many Danes have lifelong friendships. While people are generally polite, forming new bonds can be challenging.

For meeting people in Denmark, try going to bars or enjoying the sunshine in parks—these are popular spots for locals. You can also join clubs or teams to connect with others who share your interests.

8. Making Friends Can Be Difficult

Making friends and building meaningful relationships can be tough, especially if you move to Denmark after university.

Since many people form friendships during college or earlier, it might be a bit harder to connect as an adult. But that doesn’t mean Danish people are unfriendly or rude.

In fact, there are plenty of social events for internationals, especially in big cities, where you can meet people from all over the world.

9. Heavy Drinking is Normal

It’s quite common to see Danes drinking alcohol. Depending on your personality, heavy drinking could be seen as either a good thing or a bad thing.

However, because of the social pressures linked with drinking culture, we’ve decided to list this as a downside. In Denmark, drinking is a common part of everyday life.

It’s often seen as more unusual if you choose not to participate than if you enjoy a beer at lunch. This also means you should be ready for plenty of socializing once the drinks start flowing.

Even if you don’t have much interaction during the week, the weekends offer plenty of chances for conversations. In Copenhagen or other big cities, it’s not unusual to see people heavily intoxicated by 7 pm on a Friday.

Plus, more people tend to drink during the dark winter months when there’s less to do. If you’re not keen on joining these gatherings, you might feel a bit out of sync, which can be a bit awkward.

Wrapping Up

Denmark is an amazing place to call home. Whether you enjoy biking or taking the train, there’s always a way to explore this beautiful country on your own terms.

Plus, with their free healthcare, you can breathe easy knowing you’re covered in times of need without worrying about costs. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

If you’re on a tight budget, Denmark might not be the most budget-friendly option. Housing and everyday expenses can be quite high compared to other European countries, so keep that in mind!

Moving to Denmark: What are the formalities?

If you’re from the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you can live in Denmark for up to three months without a visa. But if you want to stay longer for work, study, or living, you’ll need to get a residence permit and registration certificate from the Danish immigration authorities.

People from countries outside the EU, like Americans and Canadians, as well as citizens of EU member states, must apply for a visa, residence permit, or work permit at the Danish embassy in their home country.

You can take advantage of Denmark’s ‘green card’ program, which lets you stay and work in the country for up to three years. To qualify, you earn points based on your education level, language proficiency, and professional skills. It’s a great opportunity for you if you’re seeking employment in Denmark!

To ensure you have access to social security benefits and can easily handle daily life tasks such as opening a bank account or subscribing to a telephone service, it’s important for everyone living in Denmark, including expatriates, to register with the National Population Register (Folkeregister). This registration provides you with a personal identification number (CPR-nummer) and a public health insurance card.

Best Things to Discover in Denmark

Here are some fantastic experiences waiting for you in Denmark:

  • Immerse yourself in the finesse, functionalism, and simplicity of Danish design, recognized as among the best in the world.
  • Take a leisurely stroll along the Nyhavn canal throughout the year.
  • Grab a bike and explore the country with your friends on two wheels.
  • Uncover the history of Ribe, the country’s oldest city.
  • Join the Danes in enjoying summer music festivals, including the Copenhagen Jazz Festival and Roskilde, Scandinavia’s largest music festival.
  • Be captivated by the lights of Skagen, which inspired a group of Scandinavian painters.
  • Visit the enchanting gardens of Tivoli, the world’s most visited amusement park.
  • Recharge on the magical beaches of Dueodde or Hvide Sande, or on the island of Bornholm.
  • Indulge in Danish cuisine, whether on the go or at Michelin-starred restaurants.
  • Dive into local Viking culture and history in Ladby or the workshops of Roskilde.
  • Explore Copenhagen’s must-see museums, the Nationalmuseet and the Louisiana, along with vibrant districts like Christiana and Nørrebro, easily navigable by bike.
  • Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Aalborg waterfront promenade.
Bonjour! I'm Parv, and I'm on a mission to discover the world's most awe-inspiring destinations. With my trusty backpack and my insatiable wanderlust, I've trekked through countless countries and discovered some of the most incredible hidden gems on earth.

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