The cost of living in Denmark is high, even by European standards, making the country an expensive expat destination. Eating out, utilities and petrol are especially pricey. Luckily, salaries are relatively lucrative and go some way to balance out the cost of goods and services in Denmark.

Copenhagen, Denmark's capital, is one of the most expensive cities in the world and ranked ninth out of 227 cities in Mercer's 2023 Cost of Living Survey. Life outside Copenhagen is not quite as expensive, but is far from cheap.

The good news for expats in Denmark is that they can expect a high quality of life, which tends to make up for the high cost of living.

Cost of accommodation in Denmark

Accommodation will account for a large percentage of expats' monthly expenses in Denmark. Expats should consider their housing location carefully, which can often affect the price. In particular, Copenhagen's small size, along with its popularity, means that accommodation is scarce and expensive.

The cost of utilities is not usually included in the rental price, so it's essential to budget for this additional expense.

Cost of transport in Denmark

Transport in Denmark can be affordable if commuters use trains and buses, but it can also be costly if they use taxis regularly. Petrol is also notoriously pricey, as is the cost of buying a car. On the other hand, cycling and walking are popular, cost-effective and healthy ways of travelling.

Cost of groceries in Denmark

Groceries tend to be on the expensive side in Denmark, and expats may experience 'sticker shock' the first time they venture into a Danish grocery store. That said, with careful budgeting, it's possible to minimise costs. Buying locally produced, seasonal goods and avoiding imports as much as possible can reduce expenses.

Cost of entertainment and eating out in Denmark

When it comes to unwinding, Denmark offers a plethora of entertainment options, though one's wallet might feel a tad lighter afterwards. Cinema tickets, theatre shows and other forms of entertainment are often pricier than what most Western expats might be used to in their home countries. Moreover, if one's idea of relaxation is a pint at a local pub, be prepared to shell out a pretty penny – the cost of alcoholic beverages in Denmark can make one reminisce about happy hours back home.

Eating out can be a delightful experience in Denmark thanks to its rich culinary heritage, but this typically comes at a price. While one can find reasonably priced eateries and cafés, a meal at a mid-range restaurant can be pretty costly, especially in urban areas. An evening out for two might cost the same as a modest grocery haul. Expats hailing from countries with a robust dining-out culture, like the US or Australia, might find themselves cooking at home more regularly than they're used to.

Cost of education in Denmark

The cost of education in Denmark is very low, as tuition is entirely free. While it's all too easy to rule out public school as an option due to the language barrier, expat parents should consider the fact that there is a comprehensive support programme for non-Danish students. Some public schools offer the International Baccalaureate in English or teach the curriculum of France or Germany in each country's language.

For those who decide to opt for private education, schooling in Denmark can be pricey, with international school fees being particularly exorbitant. These schools offer a more comprehensive range of curricula than that found in public schools and may be the best fit for families planning to stay in Denmark for the short term.

Cost of healthcare in Denmark

The healthcare system in Denmark is renowned for its efficiency and high standards. Thankfully for expats and locals alike, the state heavily subsidises it. Visits to the doctor or a stay at the hospital can seem relatively inexpensive due to the country's high tax rates, which offset these costs. Expats from countries with private healthcare systems, like the US, might find the Danish healthcare expenses refreshingly affordable, while those from countries with free healthcare might notice a slight increase.

While public healthcare is generally of a high standard, some expats opt for private health insurance to cover services not fully covered by the state or to bypass waiting times. These private health plans can be an added expense, and it's wise to compare the benefits against the costs before deciding. Additionally, prescription medicines, though subsidised, often require a co-pay, so it's a good idea to budget for these potential out-of-pocket expenses.

Cost of living in Denmark chart

Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows average prices in Copenhagen for December 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)
Three-bedroom apartment in the city centreDKK 20,300
Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centreDKK 15,000
One-bedroom apartment in the city centreDKK 12,200
One-bedroom apartment outside the city centreDKK 9,000
Food and drink
Dozen eggsDKK 34
Milk (1 litre)DKK 14
Rice (1kg)DKK 18
Loaf of white breadDKK 24
Chicken breasts (1kg)DKK 77
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)DKK 62
Eating out
Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurantDKK 800
Big Mac MealDKK 100
Coca-Cola (330ml)DKK 27
CappuccinoDKK 44
Bottle of beer (local)DKK 55
Mobile phone monthly plan with calls and data DKK 114
Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)DKK 246
Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)DKK 1,500
Taxi rate/kmDKK 18
City-centre public transport fareDKK 24
Gasoline (per litre)DKK 14.33

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