From Stateside to Scandi: A Beginner’s Guide to Moving to Denmark From the US

Posted Country Guides / July 20, 2023
Julie Grace

Originally from The Golden City, Julie has explored the ins and outs of moving and has written all the tips down.

Embarking on a new chapter of life in a foreign land is an adventure like no other. Picture yourself trading the hustle and bustle of American cities for a serene Scandinavian oasis, where happiness is not just a concept but a way of life. Well, moving to Denmark surely will provide you with all that. So, pack your dreams, ambitions, and a dash of wanderlust as we embark on this remarkable adventure together.

Why Should You Consider Moving to Denmark?

Why choose Denmark, you may ask? Well, let’s just say it’s a place where fairy tales come to life, where innovation thrives, and where happiness permeates every corner. Even if you decide to relocate alone, Denmark, with its picturesque landscapes, charming cities, and progressive society, beckons with a magnetic allure that is hard to resist.

Renowned for its high standard of living, Denmark offers a harmonious blend of social welfare, excellent healthcare, and education systems that rival the best in the world. It’s a country where work-life balance is not just a buzzword but a fundamental value, allowing you to savor every precious moment and truly live life to the fullest.

Here are some interesting facts you should know about this country:

  • Happiest country – Denmark consistently ranks among the top countries in global happiness indexes, showcasing its dedication to well-being and quality of life.
  • Danish Vikings – The country has a rich Viking heritage, and the Vikings originated from this region. The country’s history is intertwined with tales of seafaring explorers, warriors, and Norse mythology.
  • LEGO – The world-famous LEGO brand was founded in Denmark. The colorful building blocks have brought joy to countless children and adults worldwide, sparking creativity and imagination.
  • Green energy leader – The country is a global leader in renewable energy. The country has made significant strides in wind power generation, with wind turbines dotting its landscape, contributing to its commitment to sustainability.
  • Longest pedestrian shopping street – Strøget, located in Copenhagen, is one of the longest pedestrian shopping streets in Europe. It spans approximately 1.1 kilometers (0.68 miles) and is home to a wide range of shops, boutiques, cafes, and entertainment venues.
  • Tivoli Gardens – This is one of the world’s oldest amusement parks, located in the heart of Copenhagen. It offers a magical experience with beautiful gardens, live performances, thrilling rides, and a charming atmosphere.
  • Danish design – The country is renowned for its contributions to the field of design. Danish design principles, characterized by simplicity, functionality, and elegance, have influenced various industries, including furniture, architecture, and fashion.
  • Small monarchy – Denmark is a constitutional monarchy with a royal family that has a deep connection with its citizens. The Danish monarchy is one of the oldest in the world, tracing its roots back over a thousand years.
  • Smørrebrød – Smørrebrød is a traditional Danish open-faced sandwich. It typically consists of a slice of rye bread topped with various toppings like fish, meat, cheese, or vegetables and is often beautifully arranged and garnished.

These interesting facts provide a glimpse into the unique aspects of Denmark’s culture, history, innovation, and lifestyle.

Explore All Documentation You Need to Have When Immigrating to Denmark

While the process of meeting the requirements for a Danish visa can be quite extensive, similar to other countries, it involves the collection of necessary documents for international travel. However, the application process itself is known for its efficiency and quick turnaround times. All you have to do is visit the website New to Denmark and apply online.

Denmark offers various visa types, including those specifically designed for businesses seeking to recruit foreign talent, presenting an excellent opportunity for Americans to secure employment in Europe. Relocating to Denmark follows a visa framework akin to that of many other nations, encompassing visa categories such as work (including work holiday, au pair, religious work, or internship), family reunification for those moving for love, study visas, and asylum visas.

The country also offers residence visas for Greenland or the Faroe Islands, allowing for diverse migration options within its territory. So, before you hire a professional overseas moving company to take care of your relocation, be sure to explore all the visa options.

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How to Move to Denmark and Obtain Permanent Residency and Citizenship?

When relocating to this country, similar to other countries, there is an option to obtain a short-term visa, enabling you to reside in this Scandinavian nation for up to 90 days. The initial permit you apply for is temporary, and the application process is the same as that for a visa. If you wish to keep living overseas, primarily for work-related purposes, it is advisable to initiate the extension process within the last three months of your permit’s expiration.

After continuously residing within Danish borders for five years, you become eligible for permanent residency. Establishing a permanent home or staying within the country for a consecutive period exceeding six months will classify you as a tax resident. Once you have obtained permanent residence status and completed nine years of continuous residence, you can apply for Danish citizenship.

Find a Suitable Accommodation in the Land of Vikings

One of the crucial relocation mistakes you can make, besides not ensuring safe shipping overseas and finding a new job, is not exploring the accommodation and place you’ll stay in. Luckily the cities in this country possess an inherent beauty and rich historical heritage, making them captivating destinations to explore throughout the year. In fact, they rank among the top choices for European residents seeking an exceptional quality of life.

Similar to many other European countries, this nation boasts an enviable reputation for providing some of the most desirable living environments for those who plan on moving overseas.


Denmark’s capital city is a vibrant destination that seamlessly blends modern amenities like cozy cafes and restaurants with exquisite architecture and historical landmarks. If you are seeking to relocate to a city that offers a harmonious fusion of the contemporary and the traditional, Copenhagen is the perfect spot for you. The city is embraced by the scenic Øresund, a 10-mile-wide waterway that separates Denmark from Sweden, lending a picturesque backdrop to Copenhagen’s long harbor. No wonder why it’s among some of the best European cities to live in.

From the iconic “Little Mermaid” statue perched upon a rock by the waterside to the splendid King’s Garden at Rosenborg Castle, the city is adorned with captivating attractions. Additionally, Copenhagen hosts various free events throughout the year, including the lively Copenhagen Pride Festival, inviting residents and visitors alike to partake in the festivities. With its remarkable landmarks and delightful ambiance, Copenhagen is an enchanting city that captures the essence of Denmark’s cultural heritage.


Roskilde presents a multitude of historical attractions, including sites that showcase Viking ships from the 11th century and a boatyard adjacent to the harbor. For a truly extraordinary adventure, venture west of Roskilde and immerse yourself in the captivating Land of Legends attraction. This interactive open-air museum offers a one-of-a-kind experience, where skilled actors skillfully recreate the daily lives of individuals from the Stone Age and the Viking era, providing a fascinating glimpse into the past.


Aarhus, Denmark’s primary seaport, may be small in size, but it boasts a vibrant character and a plethora of attractions that are conveniently within walking distance. This charming city offers an exciting nightlife scene, inviting cafes, and architecturally stunning buildings that emanate a rich cultural history.


Esbjerg, the largest city in its respective region, serves as a picturesque seaport that offers not only stunning views but also a diverse array of entertainment options, ample shopping opportunities, and an abundance of museums. From Esbjerg, you can embark on a delightful ferry ride to the charming island of Fanø, nestled in the North Sea. Fanø entices visitors with its idyllic natural setting, boasting sandy beaches and expansive dunes that create a true paradise for nature enthusiasts.

Unlock Professional Portals and Check What Job Opportunities You’ll Have

Before embarking on a relocation across the world, it’s essential to be aware that the average cost of living in this Nordic country is more than 20% higher than in the US, while rental prices are comparatively lower by about 18%. However, for Americans seeking job opportunities in Europe, this country presents a promising landscape. With a thriving economy and a business-friendly environment, it offers potential employment prospects for expats.

Despite the higher costs, rest assured that the quality of life is truly remarkable. In fact, it has been recognized as the world’s second-best country to reside in, and the average net salary is about $34,000 a year. With a move for a business position, you can expect to have more than enough financial resources to cover your expenses comfortably.

Nevertheless, it’s worth exploring how expenses may vary from city to city within the country, especially when finding a job abroad. Here’s a table with some of the most important living expenses the cities from above have.

City Rent Utilities Apartment price per square meter Transportation
Copenhagen $1,900 $236 $8,400 $87
Roskilde $1,150 $166 $5,600 $151
Aarhus $1,100 $249 $7,000 $60
Esbjerg $1,050 $488 $2,200 $75

Learn All About the Healthcare System When Moving From the US to Denmark

Studying or working as an American in Europe long-term means you need to explore the healthcare system. The Danish healthcare system stands as a shining example of excellence and equality, setting a benchmark for countries worldwide. With its emphasis on universal access, comprehensive coverage, and patient-centered care, Denmark has crafted a healthcare system that leaves no one behind.

From the moment you set foot in this remarkable country, you can rest assured that your well-being is prioritized. With a network of state-of-the-art hospitals, highly skilled medical professionals, and a commitment to preventive care, Denmark ensures that every individual receives the highest standard of treatment.

Whether it’s routine checkups, specialized procedures, or emergency services, the Danish healthcare system seamlessly blends cutting-edge technology with a human touch, making it a beacon of trust and compassion. If that’s something you are looking for, start planning the move and hire an international moving company, such as Sunset International Shipping, to help with the preparations.

Popular Transportation Here Will Benefit Your Health

Denmark is renowned for its bike-friendly infrastructure, making cycling a popular and eco-friendly mode of transportation. The well-maintained cycling paths and bike-sharing programs encourage both locals and tourists to pedal their way through the picturesque landscapes.

Furthermore, the public transportation system, including buses, trains, and metros, is highly developed, connecting cities, towns, and even remote areas. With extensive coverage and regular schedules, public transportation offers a sustainable and cost-effective means of getting around.

Don’t Worry About Education Because It’s Among the Best Ones

The educational landscape in this country boasts a stellar reputation for its exceptional quality. It encompasses a range of educational institutions, including both public and private schools, as well as international schools. Referred to as Folkeskole, education is compulsory up to the age of sixteen, although a significant majority of students, over 80%, choose to pursue further education.

If you are considering moving abroad to study and have set your sights on this Scandinavian nation, it’s important to note that Danish universities offer free tuition for their domestic students and those from EU countries. Additionally, international students interested in language immersion or enrolling in other academic programs, such as exchange programs, can explore various scholarships and grants that cater specifically to their needs.

Danish Culture and Lifestyle Have Cracked the Code of Happiness

The Danish commitment to equality and social welfare also plays a significant role in cultivating happiness. Denmark consistently ranks high in measures of social trust, gender equality, and overall well-being. The strong social safety net ensures that individuals have access to healthcare, education, and other essential services, fostering a sense of security and contentment among the population.

Furthermore, Danish culture places great emphasis on work-life balance. The Danish people prioritize leisure time, family, and personal well-being, ensuring that their lives are not consumed by work. With a shorter workweek, generous vacation policies, and strong social support systems, Danes have more time to engage in activities that bring them happiness and fulfillment. So if you feel a bit stressed about moving internationally, just remember this.

Learn About the Danish Concept of “Hygge” and How It Influences Daily Life

One key aspect lies in the Danish concept of “hygge” (pronounced “hoo-ga”). Hygge is a word that encompasses coziness, comfort, and an overall sense of well-being. It represents the art of savoring life’s simple pleasures and creating a warm, inviting atmosphere.

Whether it’s sharing quality time with loved ones, enjoying a cup of hot cocoa by a fireplace, or relishing in the tranquility of nature, the Danes have mastered the art of embracing the present moment and finding joy in the little things. So, if you want to adjust to the new country quickly, ensure you memorize the hygge.

It is also worth mentioning that Denmark’s strong sense of community and social connection plays a vital role in fostering happiness. Although it can be a bit of a culture shock for you, be aware that Danes actively engage in social activities, whether it’s joining clubs, participating in communal events, or simply connecting with neighbors. This sense of belonging and togetherness creates a support network and a feeling of being part of something larger than oneself.

Prepare for the Scandinavian Weather

Due to its bordering proximity to both the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, the weather in this country tends to be changeable. While summers can experience warmer temperatures, they often come with cloudy skies, so it is wise to pack a raincoat and a jacket if you are planning to make this nation your new home.

The transition between spring and fall is distinct, and winter temperatures hover just above freezing on average. So, what should you pack? Keeping these climate considerations in mind, it is advisable to include warmer clothing on your inventory list when getting packing services and put the summer pieces in a storage unit. It’s definitely the easiest way to pack and have everything done in time.

Language Shouldn’t Be a Problem, But Make Sure You Learn Some Danish

In this nation, the official language is Danish, which means that acquiring some strategies for language learning will help you overcome any potential language barriers. Additionally, you may encounter other languages spoken by minority communities, such as Faroese, German, and Greenlandic. It’s worth noting that a significant majority of Danes (over 80%) are proficient in English as their second language, while nearly 50% are able to converse in German.

If you need to learn Danish quickly, make sure to check out the video below:

Embark on Your Danish Dream

From the vibrant streets of Copenhagen to the tranquil landscapes of the countryside, this Scandinavian gem holds the key to a life filled with endless possibilities. Whether you’re captivated by the charm of Danish culture, enticed by the thriving job market, or drawn to the promise of a high-quality lifestyle, Denmark welcomes you with open arms. So, take a leap of faith, venture into the unknown, and let the magic of this extraordinary country unfold.

Your Danish dream awaits, ready to transform your life into an unforgettable adventure of happiness, growth, and unparalleled experiences. And that’s the main reason why you should have a professional overseas shipping company, like Sunset International Shipping, aid you in the journey. If you want to make the relocation easier, all you have to do is give us a call.

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