Moving to Copenhagen
Are you moving to Copenhagen? Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark and the most populous city in the country. It is home to the Royal Family and the Seat of Government. It consistently appears in the Top 10 Most Liveable Cities in the world, as well as on the happiest place to live lists.
Our free, in-depth Moving to Copenhagen report includes info on:
• The best areas to live
• The good schools
• The average monthly rental prices
• The excellent public transport system in the city
Putting Copenhagen on the Map
The capital sits on two coastal islands, Zealand and Amager.
There is a link to Malmo, Sweden via the Öresund Bridge, making it easier to cross the sound by train, which runs 24/7, or by car. There are direct trains between Stockholm, Sweden and Oslo, Norway.
The Airport, Kastrup, is located on Amager Island and has a capacity of 50,000 passengers a day. It services Denmark, Malmo and southern Sweden. Located just five miles southeast of the centre of Copenhagen, taxis and buses are available at the front entrance or trains beneath Terminal Three. Here the Metro connects to all Danish cities, and the Öresund Railway runs directly to and from Sweden. From the airport to the city centre is a mere 20 minutes by the Metro.
The Port of Copenhagen has five ports and is so picturesque that many international cruise liners visit.
Copenhagen suffers dreadful traffic congestion, with many of the cars travelling with one occupant, and the majority would choose to drive rather than take public transport.
Transport links within the city are reliable and punctual. The trains, Metro and the bus, which includes waterbuses, can all be used with the same ticket, the only stipulation is on how many zones you will pass through on the trip. Buses are the most used form of transport, with the A buses running every three to seven minutes in rush hours, and every ten minutes in non-peak hours, 24 hours a day. The S buses run every ten minutes, with few stops, from 6 am until 1 am. The N buses or night buses operate between 1 am and 5 am.
The Copenhagen Card allows unlimited transportation, by whichever means, in the entire Capital Region. It also offers free entry to more than 72 local attractions and museums.
Most expats prefer to rent a property and apartments, terraced houses and villas are the most common types available. With both private and public housing sectors, public housing is the less expensive, and waiting lists are long. Private housing gives owners or leasing companies the right to select the tenants of their choice, and are generally more expensive than the public options. Furnished units are available only for short-term rentals, while long-term rentals are generally unfurnished.
The inner city is the heart of the capital, and as per normal, more expensive than the outer suburbs. However, this charming neighbourhood, with crooked houses, canals, and narrow, cobbled streets is in high demand. Close to shops, cafes, lovely green areas, and the modern waterfront, people from all walks of life live here, from professionals to young families. The area has a thriving culture. Between art galleries, theatres and museums and a multitude of shops, there is always something to do in the bustling city.
Properties include period houses to up-market, modern apartments. Incorporated in this area is Christianshavn, a man-made island between Zealer and Amager, a popular and trendy place to live.
South of Inner Copenhagen, Amager has many new residential areas and apartments in areas such as Bella Centre, Islands Brygge and Ørestad. Made up of above-average income inhabitants, along with a thriving student population, the district is home to the Copenhagen IT university, Denmark’s radio (DR), and employment in the social and healthcare sector and the service industry.
There are many parks including Amager Fælled, the famous Harbour Baths for swimming, a beach park at Amager Strand, and Dragør, a picturesque fishing village, ensuring there is plenty of amusement here, away from the city hustle and bustle.
Vesterbro, the former red light district, has been transformed into one of the most popular areas in the city. Walking distance from the city centre, and near the central train station, there’s no need for a car here. Seven parks and Svanemølle Beach provide an escape from the city. With a wealth of designer shops, restaurants, and bars, it is a fashionable area but nowhere near as elegant as its neighbour, Østerbro.
Østerbro, to the north, is the suburb where the rich and famous live. It is the most expensive area in Copenhagen, and whilst it is quiet to live here, there is a hectic business centre and booming commercial area.
Broad avenues, designer shops, green oases, delicatessens – and The Little Mermaid, this area is also known as Copenhagen Ø. This is a brilliant area to bring up kids, with good schools.
Fælledparken – Denmark’s largest public park – has football grounds, sports facilities, playgrounds, the national stadium, and areas where a dog need not be on a leash. There is water nearby, including a new beach park at Svanemøllen and Copenhagen’s Lakes.
Characterised by heritage and creativity, Valby was once an independent village which grew into an industrial area, which has now been transformed into creative workspaces, bars and clubs. This area is excellent for expats, with choices of housing spaces in terms of type, size and price. There is an international preschool, and local primary and secondary schools. But in this safe city, it is easy for children to use local public transport, and everything is relatively close-by. There are over 100 hectares of green space here, too.
With a more established and older population, this green oasis is more expensive than most, with great shops, delicatessens and sushi restaurants. It is widely considered to be Copenhagen’s most prestigious area. Rental options vary between standalone houses and apartments, of all shapes and sizes, but are dominated by three to five storey houses, and large single-family homes.
With good state and private schools and excellent transport links, this is a great area to raise a family.
The main street is Gammel Kongevei, or the Kings Road, lined with pricey clothing stores.
The enormous green areas of Frederiskberg Gardens and Søndermarken are both close-by, as is the zoo. And, always popular with the foodies, there is a food street. Værnedamsvej is a gourmet’s paradise, with many specialist shops, from chocolate or cheese to wine or fish, and grocery stores and cafes.
Who Lives and Works in Copenhagen?
The capital features third in Western Europe in terms of distribution centres and regional headquarters, behind London and Paris. With a thriving economy, held up by a strong and educated workforce, typical headquarters in the city include Novo Nordisk, Maersk, Saxo Bank, Trustpilot, IBM, Carlsberg, Wiredelta, Microsoft, Accenture, Nokia, Deloitte, Ramboll, and Dell. The new UN City complex, a central location for eight UN organisations based here, clearly shows the commitment to promoting environmental sustainability through green building. A seawater cooling system, rainwater tanks and solar panels are all features in the award-winning green office complex.
The Danes place enormous emphasis on the balance between work and living. The workforce enjoys great flexibility, from choosing their starting and finishing times, to even working from home. The minimum paid annual holiday is five weeks for all wage earners, and lunch breaks are at a designated time, enabling employees to interact with each other.
Tourism plays a large part in the economy, along with agriculture, shipbuilding, furniture manufacture, food processing and agro-industry, engineering and chemicals.
Unemployment is low, and there is an excellent social welfare system in place.
The Best Bits
A popular, but strange, haunt in Norrebro is Assestens (Kapelvei 4). This cemetery, filled with famous Danes, is by no means morbid but is frequented by the locals as a barbeque spot, or a secluded rendezvous for lovers. Most definitely an urban hideaway.
The Tivoli Gardens first opened in 1843, this is one of Europe’s most popular theme parks filled with theatres, dance halls and restaurants. A roller coaster, games and shows will entertain the kids, while the classic Japanese garden and Nimb water features will enthral the adults. The gardens also showcase ballets and live performances by international artists. Friday night is fireworks night which is spectacular.
Christiania is almost a city within a city. This autonomous district dates back to 1971 and was built by hippies on an old military base. This fascinating area, with masses of colourful graffiti and ramshackle huts now has its own laws. There is a distinctive collection of organic cafes, galleries and workshops.
Strøget is the city’s largest shopping area, which features among the longest pedestrian streets in Europe. The maze of streets are lined with big brand name stores, such as Gucci and Prada.
Ballet, opera and theatre are extremely popular in Denmark, and Copenhagen definitely celebrates the arts. There is a multitude of theatres, from The Royal Danish Opera House and Det Ny Teater, with its revolving stage, to Østre Gasværk Teater, which is in a converted gasometer originally built in 1883 and was in use until 1935. It was then used as a storage facility until it was rebuilt inside to become a theatre.
There are 11 history museums, 14+ art galleries and numerous historic buildings and green spaces.
Bringing the Kids
This sprawling city, with its high quality of life, a good reputation for education and many good schools, is an ideal place to bring up a family.
- There are two universities, along with the business school. Higher education is free for all bachelors and master’s courses for students from the EU/EEA, and for exchange students.
- There is one international school, but it’s costly and has a long waiting list.
- If children are not Danish, they will be offered training in Danish as a second language in state primary and lower secondary schools.
- Pre-schoolers are offered language stimulation training for bilingual children.
- Language stimulation is mandatory for kids who need it and will be assessed by local municipal authorities, who will also assist in finding a tutor to help with language and other subjects.
- Expat children will require a Danish identity number, or CPR number, to be enrolled into a school.
- There are a number of private schools. About 13% of Danish kids attend private schools, using the comprehensive voucher system to afford private education.
Relocating to Copenhagen
Copenhagen is clean, safe and offers a high standard of living.
A thriving economy, an innovative social welfare system for all locals, a great education system, low unemployment and a culture encompassing museums, art galleries, theatres and historic buildings all adds up to make Copenhagen one of the top cities in the world to live in.
It can be very confusing at first if you don’t speak the language or know the areas. Finding the right accommodation in the right area, close to suitable schools for your children, and on the right transport route to work may be mind-boggling, but the help of an experienced relocation specialist to smooth the way will be invaluable.
Saunders 1985 offer services including home and school finding, lease negotiations, move management and immigration assistance. We will also find interim accommodation, should it be required.
Average Monthly Rent - Copenhagen
|Apartment (1 bedroom) in city centre||9,518 kr|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) outside of centre||6,887 kr|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) in city centre||17,186 kr|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) outside of centre||12,208 kr|