Denmark has a high cost of living compared with other European countries. Eating out, accommodation and utilities are especially pricey, particularly in Copenhagen, which is one of the top ten most expensive cities in the world. Income tax is high by international standards with high earners paying up to 57% of their salary. However salaries are generally higher in Denmark than in most other European countries and expats moving there - particularly those with children - will enjoy a very high standard of living.
Property prices in Denmark are high. However, although renting and buying are expensive in Copenhagen, they are still far below other capital cities such as London and Paris. There are no restrictions on EU citizens buying property but those from outside the EU must gain approval from the Danish Ministry of Justice before purchasing a home.
The majority of foreign nationals choose to rent a property in Denmark before taking the plunge into buying. Prices for rented accommodation in Denmark vary greatly depending on the type of property, its size, and where it is located. For instance, the rent for a luxury apartment in Copenhagen city centre can be as much as 35,000 DKK (£3287) per month. Rents are cheaper outside of the cities in rural areas, although seaside properties and holiday homes can be as expensive as the capital. The easiest way to find a rental property in Denmark is through local and national newspaper classifieds sections or through an estate agent such as boligportal.
Tenants pay a rental deposit of no more than three months in Denmark. Private properties are generally rented for a minimum of three months, but normally have a rental period of one year. Tenancy contracts (lejekontrakt) for a longer period of time are also available.
All home owners in Denmark pay a split municipal property tax (ejendomsværdiskat) which is based on the value of the property and the land it stands on.
The price of utilities in Denmark is high in comparison to other European countries, particularly in the major cities. Gas and electricity bills are usually based on an estimate of what you consume and are paid by standing order. Most other bills such as water drainage, sewerage and wastage are included in the property tax paid by homeowners. Telephone and internet provision was previously monopolised by the state-run Tele-Denmark Communications (TDC) but de-regulation has led to a more competitive - and cheaper -market. Most telecommunications companies offer TV, phone and broadband packages, which are paid monthly.
The average cost of utilities (electricity, water, gas) for a 85m² apartment in Denmark is around 1,252.69 DKK (£117) per month with a cost of 255 DKK (£24) per month for a basic phone and broadband connection.
In Denmark anyone who has a television or a computer, smartphone or tablet with internet access must purchase a media licence (licens). The media licence fee is currently 2,460 DKK (£231) per year and is used to fund the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR)
Healthcare and medical costs
Denmark has a tax-funded universal health care system which is free to all Danish citizens and EU nationals in possession of valid European Health Insurance Card. Expats from outside the EU will receive free emergency healthcare, but need to have a private international health insurance policy for routine medical care until they become permanent citizens in Denmark. The standard of healthcare provision is very high in Denmark, so there are very few private hospitals. However, these medical facilities can be accessed through a private health insurance policy. Most of the Danish population speak English, so expats should have no problem finding an English-speaking doctor.
Global demand for Scandinavian (or ‘Scandi’) homewares, clothing and food has seen an explosion in recent years, so more tourists are heading to Denmark’s stylish shopping malls and high-end boutiques than ever before.
It pays to shop around in Denmark, however, as clothes and furniture are notoriously expensive in Copenhagen compared with other cities. When it comes to food shopping, Denmark has a number of large budget supermarket chains such as Netto, Fakta and the German chains Aldi and Lidl. Groceries are significantly cheaper in these larger supermarkets than the smaller city-based food markets. The cost of food and alcohol are higher in Denmark than other European countries, particularly in Copenhagen, where is it is not unheard of to pay 74 DKK (£7) for a small beer in a bar.
Shops are generally open 9am – 6pm Monday to Friday, with supermarkets open until 9pm and limited hours on Sunday.
Denmark has one of the highest national sales taxes (VAT) in the EU. It is currently set at 25% on nearly all goods and services.
- Rent 1-bedroom apartment in city centre – 6,140.80 DKK (£577.19)
- Rent 1-bedroom apartment outside city centre – 4,325.97 DKK (£406.61)
- Price of apartment per square metre in city centre – 28,972.89 DKK (£2,723.25)
- Price of apartment per square metre outside city centre – 18,087.68 DKK (£1,700.12)
- Loaf of bread – 15.70 DKK (£1.48)
- Milk (1 litre) – 6.56 DKK (£0.62)
- Bottled water (1.5 litre) – 10.40 DKK (£0.98)
- Draught beer (0.5 litre) – 12.64 DKK (£1.19)
- Packet of cigarettes – 44 DKK (£4.14)
- Petrol (1 litre) – 10.88 DKK (£1.02)
- Cinema ticket – 95 DKK (£8.93)
Source: www.numbeo.com (accessed November 2015)
Budgeting and Savings
Denmark has a number of price comparison sites such as kelkoo (http://www.kelkoo.dk/ and) pricerunner (http://www.pricerunner.dk/) but bear in mind that these sites are mainly in Danish. Eating out in Denmark is not cheap (average 205 DKK ~ £20 for one course in a restaurant) so a good way to save money is to shop in budget supermarkets (such as Aldi) and cook at home.