Denmark is known for its high standard of living, enticing mix of calm natural environments and buzzing cities, and a great work-life balance. In fact, in the World Happiness Report, which has been produced annually since 2013, Denmark has featured in the top 10 every time¹. It’s no surprise that many expats are drawn to Denmark as an exciting place to live, work or study.
Whether you’re retiring, temporarily relocating, or moving there for good, you’ll want to know a bit about the cost of living in Denmark so you can plan and budget. This guide has you covered. We’ll also explain how you can make your money go further with a smart multi-currency account from Wise.
The official money in Denmark is the Danish kroner - shown as DKK. Here’s what the kroner is currently worth against other major world currencies. The value of currencies changes all the time - so use a currency converter or Google search to find the live rates for your currency pairing.
$1000 = 6,313DKK
£1000 = 8,166DKK
€1000 = 7,373DKK
A$1000 = 4.490DKK
The values of DKK compared to other world currencies shown above use the mid-market exchange rate. That’s the rate banks and other currency providers get when they buy foreign currency themselves.
However, it’s good to know that this is not often the exchange rate they make available for their customers. Instead, banks and exchange services typically add a markup or margin to the exchange rates offered - which pushes up the price. This markup is an extra fee but it’s not always obvious and makes it tricky to see the true cost of your currency exchange.
To see this in action, compare the exchange rate offered by your chosen provider against the mid-market rate which you can find using a reputable currency converter. The difference between the rates represents the markup - or additional charge - added by the provider.
It’s common for banks and currency exchange services to add a hidden fee on the exchange rate offered to customers. But there are services out there which prefer to use the real mid-market rate with a transparent fee structure, like Wise.
With Wise you can get a free multi-currency account, to hold and manage 50+ currencies, and send payments to over 80 countries. You’ll be able to switch between currencies whenever you need to, using the mid-market exchange rate with no markup, and for just a low transparent fee. That can work out on average 8x cheaper than using your regular bank.
Sign up online today - fee free - and get your linked debit card for simple spending. It’s never been easier or cheaper to manage your money across currencies.
Life in Denmark isn’t cheap. However, as with many places, costs vary depending on your lifestyle and where in particular you choose to live. Copenhagen is the only Danish city which features in the top 100 of the Mercer’s cost of living index in 2020 - at 25th most expensive place on the planet to call home.²
Here’s a quick overview of the costs of living in Denmark compared to some major UK cities.
|Comparing basic cost of living||1 bedroom flat in city centre (monthly rent)||Meal for 2 (mid-range restaurant, three courses)||Transportation (monthly pass)|
*Live data from Numbeo, correct at time of research 29 September 2020
As the capital, and largest city by far, Copenhagen is a natural draw for expats moving to Denmark. However, there are some other exciting places to consider, where the costs of living may be somewhat lower. Aarhus - also written Arhus - for example, is Denmark’s second city by size of population, and offers great cultural attractions on the east coast of the Jutland peninsula.
Other notable places to consider include Odense and Aalborg.
Here’s an insight into the costs for different family sizes - including the necessary household utilities - in the 2 biggest cities in Denmark.
|Total living expenses in Copenhagen||Average cost|
|1 person, per month (without rent)||DKK7,409.90|
|4 person family, per month (without rent)||DKK26,540.16|
|Utilities, basic, for 85m² apartment||DKK1,434.32|
|Total living expenses in Aarhus||Average cost|
|1 person, per month (without rent)||DKK7,183.77|
|4 person family, per month (without rent)||DKK25,218.23|
|Utilities, basic, for 85m² apartment||DKK1,726.91|
While the costs of life in Denmark are on the high side, this is reflected in extremely healthy average salaries. To give an example, if you’re a receptionist in Aarhus, earning a median salary, you could be among the highest paid people in the world for your job.
Similarly, the median salaries for architects, fashion designers and financial analysts also rank within the top 3 globally in Aarhus. Check out the average salaries for your profession, using Teleport⁹.
|Salary averages for Copenhagen||Average salary|
|Salary averages for Aarhus¹⁰||Average salary|
Living in a major city will usually be significantly more costly than choosing a rural retreat - and Denmark is no exception. You’ll find some average costs for apartments in Denmark’s major cities below - but you’ll find your money goes further if you are able to live a little out of the city centre, or if you choose a smaller town as a base.
|Rental cost in Copenhagen¹¹||Average monthly cost|
|Rental cost in Aarhus¹²||Average monthly cost|
Denmark has a comprehensive health system including both public and private services. If you’re working in Denmark you’ll be entitled to public health cover, which means free care at doctors surgeries and in hospitals. There’s a partial charge if you need dental care, and you’ll also have to pay for prescriptions yourself. ¹³
It’s also possible to use private healthcare facilities or buy private insurance if you’d prefer.
The Danish government describes Denmark as a ‘country of cyclists’. There are actually 4.5 million bikes in Denmark - which works out at almost one per person living there.¹⁴
This all means that there are great facilities for commuters who want to cycle, walk or use public transport. In large cities like Copenhagen you’ll be able to use local trains, metro or buses, and there are good connections to even the most rural of areas.
Most of the road network is free to use if you prefer to drive, although there are some tolls and traffic in cities can be heavy during peak times.
Denmark is a relatively small country, and it is well connected with trains, buses, ferries and internal flights. Getting around for work or leisure should pose no problem.
Denmark has high quality education throughout, including some great universities for higher level study. The University of Copenhagen comes in at 33rd in the world rankings of universities for 2020.¹⁵
Studying at a university in Denmark is free for students from the EU, those holding a permanent residence permit, a temporary permit which can be changed to permanent, or those from outside of the EU who have a parent already working in Denmark.
If you’re not eligible for free university education, the fees will vary according to the course and institution you choose. The Danish government gives an approximate range of fees running from DKK45,000-120,000.¹⁶
Life in Denmark is attractive - but certainly not cheap. If you’re moving there, it makes good sense to plan your budget in advance, and cut costs where you can. One smart way to avoid paying excess bank fees is to use a free multi-currency account from Wise to send, spend and receive money internationally.
- World Happiness Report
- Mercer’s cost of living 2020 report
- Numbeo - cost of living in London
- Numbeo - cost of living in Manchester
- Numbeo - cost of living in Edinburgh
- Numbeo - cost of living in Copenhagen
- Numbeo - cost of living in Aarhus
- Numbeo - cost of living in Aalborg
- Teleport - salaries in Copenhagen
- Teleport - salaries in Aarhus
- Teleport - cost of living in Copenhagen
- Teleport - cost of living in Aarhus
- Life in Denmark - healthcare
- Life in Denmark - getting around
- Shanghai University rankings 2020
- Life in Denmark - study in Denmark
All sources checked on 28 September 2020
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