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All the survival knowledge you need for your first weeks in Denmark. Shopping, taxes, work or university life.
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Feb 9, 2020
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Denmark 101

Jaroš Vyhňák
In the first episode of our welcome series, we're talking about all the practical things you need to know in your first weeks.
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ello and welcome to Denmark! In this page, you can find all the practical information for your first days in Denmark. If you never heard of rugbrød or have no idea how to pronounce piskefløde, read up!

10 Facts About Denmark You Need to Know

  • Denmark in a constitutional monarchy.
  • The head of Denmark is Margrethe II since 1972.
  • The official language is Danish.
  • The currency is Danish Krona (DKK).
  • Denmark is member of EU since 1973
  • The favorite drink is beer.
  • Danes hate Norwegians and vice versa.
  • Denmark loves to tax everything.
  • Value Added Tax (25%) with Income Tax (approx. 40%), we tax sugar, soft drink, tabbaco, cars, bikes and God knows what else.
  • Danes loves to relax (hygge), excercise and care about the environment.

Communication

Danes are kind people but don't expect to have a deep conversation with your neighbours on your first day. You will most likely receive a light nod or greetings.

A similar thing applies to public transportation.

Rather than talking, we prefer to sit and enjoy the music in our headphones.


However, once you get to know them, you will find out they are no different from anybody else.
Aside from figuring out the communication face to face, it is a good idea to get yourself a Danish SIM card.
Personally, we would advise you either Lycamobile or Lebara.

They are easily accessible since you can get them in almost every kiosk and they offer amazing bundles. For only 100DKK which is around 13EURO per month, you can get 1000GB of 4G internet and many hours of calling.


Thanks to the fact that the EU promises free data roaming, you don't have to worry, even outside of Denmark.

Bicycles

Denmark is a country of bikes. And there is a good reason for that. Aside from keeping you fit, you will find amazing bike infrastructure in all the bigger cities. In Aarhus or Copenhage, it may be sometimes even faster than going by car. You can find dedicated bike lanes between the road for cars and a sidewalk for pedestrians. Where you have traffic lights for motor vehicles, you also have traffic lights for bikes. And lastly, there are special parking slots for bicycles, right next to major institutions and buildings.


If you wish to get yourself a bicycle, you can either buy it or rent it. We made a blog where we guide you through the process.


Buying a brand new bike in Denmark can be quite expensive, so we would advise you to search through the Facebook marketplace or look at dba.dk. Just write the word "cykel" and get your results. The decent second-hand bike will cost you around 1000DKK, which is around 130EURO.

If you're in Copenhagen area, you can check out TheBikeBuddies. They are an eco-startup that recycles bicycles for students to use.


The other option is renting a bike. It works through specialized companies such as Swapfiets. The will not only lend you a bike for a reasonable price but also provide extra services. So if you get a flat tire, you don't have to solve it on your own. The students have to pay 150DKK per month.


Once you have a bike, you need to remember to have both front and read light. Absence of either one of these will cost you around 500DKK which is more than 65EURO.
With the lights, you should get yourself some quality lock. Believe it or not, but the bicycle theft is quite common in Denmark, so keep your bike safe.

Other means of travelling

Even though biking is the perfect way how to get around the city, you cannot really use it to travel 30km to work every day. At this moment, it is good to know something about public transportation in Demark.


We will talk about it more in future blogs/videos, but the most basic thing is to download Rejseplanen and get yourself Rejsekort.


Rejseplanen is an app that allows you to find the exact bus/train you need to get anywhere.


Rejsekort is a card which you use to travel with a discount, which increases more you travel. Remember that to set it, you need to pay 50DKK and then wait for the card to actually arrive.

Danish krona

Even though Denmark is part of the EU for many years, we are still using Danish krona. But how much is that?


1 EURO is around 7,4DKK


It is going to be quite confusing at first, so I would advise getting some currency converter app. This way you will get an idea of how much you are actually spending.


Like many other countries, Denmark is moving forward to the digital age, so forget about the cash. It still exists, but it is way more comfortable to pay with card or mobile pay. Mobilepay is an app designed by Danske bank. It allows you to transfer money immediately, without fees and with only one swipe. However, you need a danish phone number to get started.

Shopping

The first shop, you are most likely going to visit is your local supermarket. In this case remember, that the cheapest ones are Rema 1000, LIDL or Fakta. On the other hand, I would advise avoiding SPAR, SuperBruksen, and Kvickly. Those of you that shop in big, I would recommend Bilka.


Also, all the supermarkets in Denmark have centralized prices, so beer from LIDL in Copenhagen is the same as beer from LIDL in the middle of Jutland.


IF you are searching for some cheap furniture into your place, try looking either to IKEA or JYSK. They're not everywhere, but it is worth a trip. The other option would be searching again though dba.dk or genbrug, the second-hand stores. The main chain of these is called "Blue Cross" which donates all of their income to charity.


Anybody in need of electronics can try El Giganten or Bilka.


The great tool for finding anything else online is pricerunner.dk. This way you can find the cheapest price all around Denmark.

Eating out

After a long and tiring day, you should treat yourself to something good, right? Well, maybe you shouldn't. The basic menu in McDonald's will cost you at least 65DKK and proper restaurants will start around 150DKK.


On the other hand, there might be some street food options that are both delicious and affordable. Pizza slices, kebabs or burgers are usually between 30-60DKK.

Anyway, this should be everything you need to survive your first days before you settle up. Stay tuned for our next blogs and videos. We will cover topics like transportation and shopping in more detail, together with bringing new areas to discover. Next time, we are going through the basic phrases you need to know in Danish.

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Jaroš Vyhňák
🇨🇿
I came to Denmark in August 2015 with a vision. I wanted to study, work, receive some government support, get a degree, and leave back to the Czech Republic. Aside from studying, nothing went according to plan. It took me many months to settle down the way I wanted to, and somewhere in the process, I fell in love with this country. Now I would like to give something back. Not only did I fall in love in Denmark, but also with Latin dances, which became my life passion. Aside from that, I enjoy a good beer, even better company, and other basic things in life.‍
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