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Living in Denmark - How to enjoy the famous: 'Hygge'

Living in Denmark

If you are considering working in Denmark, you are most likely keen on knowing what life is like there ahead of your arrival.

Here's a fresh take on: Why is Denmark a fantastic place to live?

  • Denmark may defy your expectations. Sure, it's known for its chilly weather and typically fair hairbut beyond the stereotypes lies a country full of delightful surprises. It consistently ranks among the happiest nations globally, boasting an exceptional quality of life. This is due to the way of work-life balance
  • With a standard 37 hour workweek, Danes prioritise leisure time, dedicating themselves to family, friends and hobbies. OECD's Better Life Index confirms this, with only 1% of Denmark's population working longer hours than average and the country ranking fourth globally for personal care and leisure time. The work-life balance will be elaborated on the end of this article
  • Firstly, Denmark sets a high bar for living standards. In 2024, crowned Denmark the second best country worldwide for quality of life, just behind Finland. With Sweden at sixth and Norway at seven the Nordic region dominates the list, showcasing its commitment to wellbeing
  • When it comes to earning potential, Denmark doesn't disappoint. Statistics Denmark reports an average annual pretax salary of DKK 440.000 for employees
  • But it's not just about the salary. Danish employers offer robust benefit packages, backed by solid legal protections. Take the Danish Holiday Act of 2020, which grants workers a generous 25 days of paid holiday leave annually, with many companies throwing in an extra two weeks, albeit unpaid. Moreover, new parents can rejoice in 52 weeks of shared paid maternity and paternity leave benefits, fostering a supportive work environment
  • Denmark hosts a slew of renowned global companies, many of which operate in English, making it an attractive destination for expats. From LEGO to Amazon Web Services, Meta to Novo Nordisk, the opportunities are vast, catering to diverse skill sets and career aspirations. So, whether you're drawn by the work culture, lifestyle or professional prospects, Denmark offers a compelling case for calling it home
Living in Denmark

A few statistics:

  • If you meet a person called Anne or Peter it's not a coincidence, as they are the most common first names. The most common family names is: Nielsen meaning the son of Niels (the father's first name)
  • 44.8% of the Danes above 18 years old are married, though they are not visiting church every Sunday. The average age for the first marriage is about 34 years, as finishing studies and starting a good career before getting married and having children is important for Danes. Most Danes only go to church at Christmas, confirmation and other days of Christian celebrations
  • After 12.5 years of marriage the Danes are getting divorced on average
  • A family consist of 2.1 people in general
  • By law the paternity leave is split between the parents
  • Crime novels are the most read literature

Ready for a quick lesson on living like a Dane? Then you have to know about Hygge which is a Danish concept.


The essence of the Danish concept of Hygge goes beyond mere convenience.

It's a matter of personal experience. More crucial than appearances is the sensation it evokes. Whether it's basking in the warm sunlight streaming through the window on a crisp day or snuggling under a soft blanket with a good book, that's where you find hygge.

Fun fact:

When you're hunting for an apartment in Denmark, don't be surprised if you stumble upon unfurnished places. Curtains and lights are almost never included. So, be prepared to bring your own lamps.

Hygge is about the feeling, not the action itself. It's about being at ease. The thing is, if you try too hard or overthink it, you miss the mark. It's deeply ingrained in Danish culture, but it's not something that pops up randomly. 

If you're unsure how to pronounce it, don't worry. According to the Cambridge Dictionary Hygge is pronounced like this.

It's a Danish term that embodies "coziness" or "comfort," capturing the feeling of getting snug indoors on a chilly day.  When Danes are asked about hygge, they typically describe it as spending quality time with loved ones at home, wrapping up in warm attire for a sense of security and relishing tasty foods and drinks like mulled wine in soft lighting. Meanwhile, you can also experience hygge alone.

Danish anthropologist Jeppe Linnet has delved into the concept of hygge over the years, discovering that its meaning varies depending on social context. It's essential to note that hygge isn't solely about individual feelings and isn't exclusive to Danes.

For some, creating a cosy atmosphere may involve different activities. Visiting the local handball club or having a game night with friends might evoke more hygge for some, while others may prefer a night at the theatre. Despite the diverse hygge scenarios, a common thread remains: A sense of security, surrounded by loved ones and delicious food and drinks.

At Christmas the Danes create hygge by making: Æbleskiver. It's basically a sweet dough fried in a special pan which produces their round ball shape. Æbleskiver is as Danish as the famous pastry itself. 

Are you keen to learn more about Denmark? If yes, then click below.
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