- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Denmark Guide (PDF)
An archipelago of more than 400 islands, much of Denmark is surrounded by water – with the notable exception of the Jutland Peninsula, which shares a land border with Germany. The majority of residents live on one of Denmark's various islands, the largest of which is Zealand. Here, the thriving capital city of Copenhagen can be found.
Living in Denmark as an expat
Denmark is rapidly increasing in popularity among expats, as the Danish government, industry and higher education institutions are all keen on greater internationalisation. Generally, Denmark is a high wage, tax and welfare economy.
The labour market is governed by the concept of 'flexicurity', which means that government policy and labour market legislation are guided by a high degree of market flexibility while providing substantial security through the welfare system. As a result, there is a relatively low rate of income inequality in Denmark. Despite many larger companies adopting English as their company language, expats working in the country may find it difficult to progress as well career-wise without at least some Danish.
Getting around Denmark is convenient and efficient. Denmark’s roads are in excellent condition and congestion isn't a major issue. There is also a comprehensive public transport system in Denmark comprising trains, buses and ferries, so expats who choose not to drive will have plenty of ways to get around.
Accommodation in Denmark is undeniably expensive, especially in Copenhagen. But housing comes in a variety of forms and is generally of exceptional standard. From city apartments to suburban houses, expats are sure to find something to suit their lifestyle and budget.
Cost of living in Denmark
It must be said that the cost of living in Denmark is high. Copenhagen is one of the most expensive cities in the world where almost everything is expensive. Taxes are also high in the country, but these at least go towards excellent infrastructure, service delivery, universal healthcare and free education, so residents are generally happy to pay them.
Expat families and children
A fantastic destination in which to raise a family, Denmark has excellent schools, healthcare and plenty to do for children big and small. Despite its small size, Denmark has much to offer expats in terms of culture, sport and outdoor life. Visitors are often surprised at how unpopulated some parts of the country are. Being a peninsula and a series of islands, there is no shortage of coastline, and water-based activities are very popular. Denmark is also in an ideal position for regional travel, with land and sea links to countries such as Germany, Sweden, Norway, Poland and the UK.
Climate in Denmark
A feature that can get some expats down is the long, frosty winters of Denmark when temperatures drop below freezing and the sun goes missing in action. That said, the summers are mild, with the average temperature being around 20°C (68°F).
Expats who manage to secure a good job in Denmark's competitive job market often find their stay in Denmark to be extremely comfortable. It's all too easy to fall in love with this Scandanavian country, and many expats stay on long past the end of their assignment. Denmark's beauty and high quality of life certainly offer good motivation to do so.
Population: About 5.8 million
Capital city: Copenhagen
Neighbouring countries: Most of the country is bordered by the North Sea. Denmark's only land border is Germany in the south.
Geography: Denmark is made up of a large landmass surrounded by around 400 islands. The geography of Denmark is primarily made up of flat plains and sandy coastline.
Political system: Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Major religions: Christianity
Main languages: Danish, but most of the population can also speak English.
Money: The Danish krone (DKK) is divided into 100 øre. The banking system is efficient and easy to use. ATMs are widely available.
Tipping: By law, all service charges (including gratuity) are included in the price billed, but additional tips can be given for good service.
Time: GMT+2 (+1 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October)
Electricity: 230V, 50Hz. Plugs have two round pins and some have an additional grounding pin.
Internet domain: .dk
International dialling code: +45
Emergency contacts: 112
Transport and driving: Cars drive on the right-hand side of the road. Denmark is well served by public transport systems including trains, buses and ferries.
►For tips on finding a job in Denmark, see Working in Denmark
"I love the city’s vibe. There is an amazing mix of old and modern architecture, plenty of small cosy cafés, bikes everywhere and a unique culture in each neighbourhood." Read more about Astrid's expat experience in Copenhagen.
Are you an expat living in Denmark?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Denmark. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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