• published on 2/14/2024
  • 5min

Living in Denmark as an Expat

Are you considering a move to Denmark, or have just recently moved to the country? Having an understanding of what life is like here can give you an idea of what the experience of living in Denmark is like for an expat.

Living in Denmark as an expat

Table of contents

1. Denmark's healthcare system

2. Transport

3. Finding somewhere to live

5. Visas and residency permits

5. Climate

5. Work life

We're written a guide to inform you of some useful information and insights about Denmark to help you prepare for a move or settle into your new home.

Denmark's healthcare system

The Danish healthcare system provides universal healthcare to its residents and citizens, and is primarily funded through taxes.

Services included as part of this include preventative healthcare, hospital treatment and emergency care. If a patient requires specialist care, you must first be referred by their GP.

Though medical treatment is generally free, it’s worth noting that healthcare services such as dentistry and optical treatment may not be covered.  Additionally, in order to access Denmark healthcare, expats first need to acquire a personal health insurance card ("yellow health card") or “sundhedskort” in Danish.

Alternatively, expats can opt for an international health insurance policy to protect their healthcare needs, which allows you to access quick diagnostics and eligible treatment and ensures their healthcare needs are met. To find out more about our expat health insurance plans we offer, click here.


Expats can benefit from modern and efficient transport networks when living in Denmark. For fast travel between destinations, high-speed trains are a great option, while the metro system in Copenhagen provides a convenient method of travel for short journeys for residents of the capital.

Denmark’s proximity to other countries is also an attractive prospect. For instance, it takes only 40 minutes to travel from Copenhagen to Malmö by train and car via the 16km long Øresund Bridge.

Another form of transport used here is ferries. With a large coastline, they provide travel to neighbouring countries such as Sweden and Germany, as well as the many Danish islands, with some of the main ports including Copenhagen, Rødby and Frederikshavn.

Coaches also provide an alternative and sometimes cheaper transport option, with many long-distance bus routes spread throughout the country. A disadvantage of this though is that it could take you longer to reach your destination than trains.

Finding somewhere to live

The process of securing a place to live in Denmark can take a while and is sometimes stressful, as it's vital you find accommodation that meets all your requirements. Different criteria to consider include proximity to amenities, cost of living in the area and transport links.

Denmark has many great spots for expats, which may incorporate:

  • Copenhagen: the nation’s capital and biggest city, Copenhagen is situated on the east coast. Famous for its verdant parks, job opportunities and numerous historical sites, this city of more than 500,000 people is ideal for those who enjoy being close to amenities.

  • Odense: one of the more relaxed cities in Denmark, Odense is another great option for expats. It is known for its vibrant art scene and its popularity with sports enthusiasts.

  • Aarhus: located on the east coast of Jutland, Aarhus has a population of 300,000 people. Expats can explore the city by strolling along the canal or visiting the harbour, or sampling the street food to experience the local cuisine.

  • Aalborg: perfect for young people, Aalborg is a university town found in the northern part of Denmark. A city that is home to 200,000 residents, highlights include the wonderful street art and the town's recently renovated waterfront.

Renting a property

Renting can be a convenient option for expats, especially if you’re only staying somewhere short term, but the type of accommodation you require will depend on your lifestyle needs.

The price of renting is one of the most important factors when deciding where to live. If you’re looking to lease a property in Copenhagen, then it could be quite expensive. For example, a studio or 1-2 bed apartment can cost between DKK 8,000 - DKK 10,000 per month, while a bigger flat of 2-3 bedrooms may be upwards of DKK 15,000 monthly.[1]

Should you want cheaper living costs, then the smaller city of Odense could be preferable. Slightly smaller than Copenhagen, renting a one-bed apartment here can cost between USD 750- USD 1500 (DKK 5,190 - DKK 10,430) or if you opt for shared accommodation, you could pay up to USD 680 (DKK 4,730) a month.[2]

Ensure you have all your documentation prepared in advance and are familiar with the country’s regulations at the start of this process to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible.

Buying a property

Another route to consider is purchasing a property, though it might not necessarily be a straightforward process, as certain criteria sometimes need to be met. For instance, for EU/EEA citizens, you can normally only buy a house here if you have been a permanent resident here for a period of five years or have a domicile.

If this isn't the case, you will ordinarily have to get approval from the Department of Civil Affairs. Some of the rules for non-EU/EEA nationals usually include that you must have been a resident in Denmark for a five-year period and may need to receive permission from the Department of Civil Affairs before purchasing a property. Be sure to read up on the rules and regulations to discover which process you must follow.

Buying a property is a big investment, and one that requires a lot of research and consideration. If you're thinking about moving abroad, check out our useful guide about creating a budget for your relocation here.

Visas and residency permits

When relocating here,, it is possible that you might need a visa. Check whether you need one well in advance to avoid any delays to your move.

Whether you need a visa for Denmark can depend on different factors, such as your nationality. For example, EU/EEA citizens do not need a visa for living or working in Denmark; however, if you are staying longer than three months, then you will need to obtain an EU registration document.

Non-EU/EEA nationalities may need a visa to enter Denmark; however, there are certain non-EU/EEA nationalities that do not need a visa for staying in Denmark for periods of less than 90 days. Additionally, if you want to live here for longer than this or work in the country, then you will need to apply for a visa.

Once you’re residing in Denmark, you must register your address, and you will receive a certificate. Another requirement is a CPR number, which you will need in many circumstances, such as attending the doctors or to get your salary.

A permanent residence permit could be an option for you if you want to move here on a longer-term basis. There are certain stipulations that need to be met first that again depend on your nationality, so ensure you research this.


Denmark has a coastal and temperate climate, and experiences distinctive seasons. In springtime, the climate can be cool and windy, while the summer has the warmest weather, though it is still mild, with the hottest months being June-August.

During the summer period, some of the hottest parts of the country are Holstebro and Odense. In autumn, the weather can become cool and rainy, but winter sees the coldest months, where the presence of frost and snow is common. Locations that witness the lowest temperatures include Hovedstaden and Aalborg.

Work life

Denmark can be a great place to work for expats, with Copenhagen ranking 3rd in Expat Insider’s 2023 Survey of best cities for working abroad, as well as 5th for work culture and satisfaction.[3]

Workers are entitled to 5 weeks of paid annual leave a year, which provides a good work-life balance for employees. Both parents can also receive 24 weeks of parental leave following the birth of their child, which is appealing for people thinking of starting a family here.

 For those considering working here, some of the main industries are:

  • Manufacturing

  • ICT

  • Agriculture

  • Hospitality

  • Trade

It’s worth noting that when applying for jobs, having knowledge of the local language in Denmark can be advantageous in securing a role as well as make it easier to complete everyday tasks.