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Living in Denmark

Denmark has a lot in store for expats from all over the world, and with just over 5.6 million inhabitants, it is the most densely populated country in Scandinavia. Our Expat Guide on living in Denmark offers advice on healthcare, housing, and all else you need to know about life in Denmark.

Life in Denmark is characterized by people who do not only embrace personal freedom but are also incredibly proud of their cultural heritage. As small as the country may be, Denmark can look back on a long history, which is often celebrated at various occasions.

For instance, Denmark has not only one but two national anthems. Der er et yndigt land (There is a lovely country) is the civil national anthem and was first adopted in 1844. Kong Christian stod ved højen mast (King Christian stood by the lofty mast), meanwhile, was adopted in 1780, but is now mainly used on royal or military occasions.

Meet the Danes

While living in Denmark, you may encounter some challenges in communicating with the Danes. These difficulties are usually not exclusively language-related, mind you. Even if you speak a bit of Danish, it can be hard to understand people, as most Danes take life with a lot of irony, and often self-irony.

Still, communication is usually quite relaxed. The majority of Danes address each other with the informal “du” (you). The formal address, “De,” has all but made its exit from everyday speech and is only used to address royalty, the elderly, or, rarely, in business contexts.

Aside from the laidback style of communication, life in Denmark is very much marked by the freedom of worship and the freedom of speech, as well as other such inalienable rights. 

A Proud Danish Heritage

Even though — or perhaps because — Denmark is a relatively small country, its citizens are very proud of their culture and heritage. The Royal Family, for instance, is very popular among a lot of people living in Denmark, and the country’s monarchy is one of the oldest in the world. The monarch, currently Queen Margrethe II, signs all Acts of Parliament and functions as the official head of state in the Danish constitutional monarchy.

But it is not just the monarchy that has a long history in this country. While living in Denmark, you will no doubt often see the Danish flag (Dannebrog), which is red with a white cross. The Dannebrog is allegedly the oldest flag in the world, and legend has it that the flag fell from the sky during a battle in Estonia in 1219, spurring the Danes to victory. Today, the Danes use Dannebrog on many occasions, especially on birthdays.

Choosing the Right Housing Option

Most people in Denmark have settled in terraced or detached houses. In fact, in 2016, 53% of the population, particularly couples with children, live in single-family houses. Most own the house themselves, including the adjacent land. In larger cities, however, buying a house can be a very expensive endeavor, and detached houses are hard to find.

Apartment blocks, on the other hand, are quite common in major cities, and most apartments are rented as opposed to bought. As living in Denmark can be rather costly, young, single people and students often opt for an apartment share.


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