For the last two years, The UN World Happiness Report has listed the Danish people as the happiest on earth. If that weren’t enough to convince any expat that Denmark is the perfect place to be, who knows what is? Beyond the jolly people and the astoundingly civilized culture, Denmark has all of the trappings of an expat’s dream: the oldest continuing monarchy in the world, Denmark is a fascinating mix of culture, heritage, art, history, and modern trappings, all rolled into one. With enough food, culture, and diversity to keep anyone busy, this beautiful country is one of the most sought-after expat destinations in the world.
Home of Danish pastries, The Little Mermaid, some of the most unique architecture in the world, and free universities, Denmark has plenty of unique things to love. Here are a few of the top reasons expats choose to move there in droves:
1. Everything in Denmark is close to the sea. People who love the sand and surf will adore Denmark. An archipelago made of more than 100 islands, no place in Denmark is more than 30 miles away from the ocean.
2. Denmark has one of the most vibrant food cultures in the world. As the fifth largest exporter of food on the globe, there are an enormous number of culinary delights to explore in this tiny country.
3. Denmark has some of the lowest income inequality in the world. This makes for an excellent environment for workers and a robust employment outlook.
4. The Danish royal family is one of the oldest and best-loved in the E.U. People in Denmark are proud of the royal family, and overwhelmingly support their reign.
5. Demark has an employment rate of 75%, the highest in Europe. In Denmark, good jobs are prevalent and easy to find.
6. Denmark is beautiful. There’s no doubt about it: Denmark is one of the world’s most beautiful countries. From scenic rural landscapes to streets that look like they hopped off of the pages of a storybook, there’s plenty to love about this vibrant, green area.
7. The food in Denmark is to die for. While many people think of pickled herring when they think of Denmark, the country offers many more appetizing dishes. Some examples include Danish pastries, chocolates, and local dishes inspired by locally-sourced produce and ingredients.
8. Denmark is a very eco-friendly country. In Denmark, 50% of commuters travel to and from work on their bikes. This helps keep emissions low, decreases traffic jams, and keeps the Danish people healthy, fit, and in great shape. What’s more, Denmark is also a global leader in eco-friendly building and design and sustainable city architecture.
9. The Danish tradition of Hygge is the best. Denmark gets cold and dark in the winter, and it can take a toll on anyone who isn’t used to it. Luckily, the Danes have a tradition called hygge, which roughly means “coziness.” An important part of winter, this tradition involves lots of warm candlelight and plenty of long, happy, drawn-out meals, coffees, and meetings with friends and family.
10. Welcoming people make Denmark easy to access In Denmark, it’s easy to adapt to the culture because the locals are ready and willing to embrace expats. Regardless of where you come from or what your background is, Denmark’s residents are more than willing to help you adjust and create a new life in this beautiful country.
If you’ve decided that moving to Denmark is right for you, the first thing you’ll need to do is get your visa sorted out. Denmark is a Schengen Agreement country, which means that E.U. nationals coming from other Schengen countries will be allowed to travel freely to Denmark without a visa. For people outside of the E.U., however, visas are required for stays exceeding a given period. To apply for your Denmark visa, you’ll need to follow these steps:
As goes with all visa applications, you should check with Denmark’s government to ensure you’re not missing any needed paperwork before you complete and submit your visa application.
When it comes to finding housing in Denmark, you’ll have several different options for searching. Because housing can be difficult to find in some of Denmark’s more in-demand areas, such as Copenhagen, many people look for housing through networking with old and new contacts. Word of mouth is a powerful form of advertising in the Denmark real estate market, and it pays to ask your friends and connections in the country (if you have them) what they know about available housing. If you’re not yet linked into the community in Denmark, you can go through a variety of Denmark housing portals designed to hook renters up with potential housing in the country. Alternately, you can hire a Denmark-based real estate professional to assist you in your search. No matter what you do, it’s wise to avoid the temptation to go it alone and, instead, pool your resources to ensure you find the perfect piece of property in Denmark. Keep in mind that, in Denmark, like so many other areas of the E.U., “unfurnished” rentals are often just that – completely unfurnished, even down to the kitchen cabinets and appliances. Don’t forget to consider this as you search for housing in the country.
If you’re searching for the best places to live in Denmark, consider the following options:
The capital of Denmark, Copenhagen is a trend-setter if ever there was one. A unique mix of colorful, historic homes and ultra-modern, eclectic diners, bars and galleries, Copenhagen is home to some of Denmark’s best jobs, as well as some of its best attractions. One of Copenhagen’s main draws is its foodie culture. The city, which is home to just more than one million people, also boasts 15 Michelin-starred restaurants and offers virtually any cuisine anyone could dream of. If world-class dining isn’t your thing, Copenhagen also offers world-class museums and some of the most astounding Danish architecture the country has to offer. Ideal for any expat who wants to be at the heart of it all, Copenhagen is an exciting, vibrant city with a friendly, welcoming population of locals.
Denmark’s second-largest city, Aarhus is located on the Jutland peninsula. Known among locals and expats as a vibrant cultural center with plenty to do and see, Aarhus is the perfect place to settle down when you want all of the attractions but not all of the people of Copenhagen. Home to museums, galleries, world-class diners, and picturesque streets that look like something out of a fairy book, Aarhus is an excellent place to relax and put down roots. Plus, the high concentration of well-paying jobs also makes it a wonderful place to build a life.
Odense is Denmark’s third largest city and is located on the island of Funen. The birthplace of famed storybook author Hans Christian Andersen, Odense is a quirky place that’s currently known as the bicycle capital of Denmark. Home to mythic-looking castles, diverse galleries, and plenty of delicious cafes and diners, Odense is a modern city with its feet firmly rooted in history and myth. After all, it’s named after the Norse god of warfare – Odin.
With a population of just over 100,000 people, Aalborg is a quiet university city located in the northern part of Jutland, Denmark. Home to one of the country’s best schools, Aalborg is best known for its laid-back waterfront vibe. Residents here can find any number of jobs in industrial fields and, when they’re not working, enjoy the city’s many art and architecture, food, and drink and nightlife attractions.
Located on the western coast of Jutland, Esbjerg is a seaport that offers all of the attractions of a larger city with none of the frenetic hustle and bustle. One of the more nature-rich areas in Denmark, Esbjerg offers dozens of beautiful places to take a hike, enjoy a bike ride, or stroll the shores of the North Sea. Ideal for expats who want to raise a family and live in a small, quiet, nature-dense area, Esbjerg offers a high quality of life and beautiful scenery.
Pros and Cons of Moving to Denmark
Denmark, just like any other place has its pros and cons. By understanding the ins and outs of these things, though, you can make an informed decision about whether moving to Denmark is the right choice for you.
Regardless of whether you’re looking for a good job or a nice place to raise a family, Denmark has it. From rural, rolling countrysides to beautiful, modern cities, this is one country that offers all of the attractions, diversity, and culture an expat could want – and plenty of handmade chocolate to back it up!