Living in Denmark?
Denmark: Where to Live and What about Your Kids’ Education?
How to Find Housing in Denmark
When looking for an apartment or house, hiring the help of a real estate agency is probably your best bet. They can arrange viewings for you and will pick out the best offers. In addition, they are experts when it comes to the average cost of living in your new Danish home and might give you advice on the most attractive locations in a city.
Many real estate agencies offer both furnished and unfurnished apartments and houses. Ask yourself what your housing needs are and which option you would prefer, but keep in mind that unfurnished long-term rentals are usually the cheapest.
Expats who are not yet proficient in Danish can refer to one of the following agencies and websites.
If you are unsure which real estate agency to use, you could always ask around among friends, co-workers, and other expats. Referring to your expat network in particular can be a good idea since someone may be about to leave Denmark and is looking for another expat to take over their lease.
How Education in Denmark Works
The year 2014 marked the 200th anniversary of the first law that made schooling obligatory in Denmark. Today, children receive nine years of compulsory education, usually from the age of seven onwards. However, most kids also attend pre-school at the age of six. Except for private institutions, primary and lower secondary education is completely free of charge. In the years after, children are generally free to choose how they would like to proceed.
The vast majority pursues some kind of upper secondary education, which includes both general and vocational programs, most of which take three years. Upon the conclusion of upper secondary education, students can decide whether they would like to pursue higher education or rather take up full-time employment.
If You Opt for International Schooling
Expats who prefer to send their children to an international school instead of a Danish one have no shortage of choice in Denmark. For some expat children, international schools may be the better choice, since they avoid having to deal with the language barrier on top of culture shock.
For instance, there are 17 schools in Denmark that offer the International Baccalaureate curriculum (IB). The advantage of such schools is twofold. First, it allows children to easily connect with other expat kids. Second, it also makes for a fairly easy transfer to another school abroad should their parents be assigned elsewhere.
As for international primary education, the Danish Ministry of Education offers a list of international basic schools in Denmark.
Another option for expat children are private and boarding schools. Private schools are, generally speaking, organized very similarly to municipal schools but enjoy more freedom in terms of curriculum. Boarding schools are available as well, at for instance Sorø Akademi (website in Danish only), Herlufsholm Skole, Struer Statsgymnasium, Grenå Gymnasium, Nyborg Gymnasium, as well as Viborg Katedralskole (Danish only).
Options for Young Children in Denmark
In Denmark, childcare is widely available for all children up to the age of six. There is a variety of options, and the goals and programs of childcare institutions vary from municipality to municipality.
From the age of six months to three years, kids can be looked after at a day care center or a day nursery. Day nurseries are very similar to day care centers, except that each employee is responsible for only a handful of kids. At ages three to six, most children attend kindergartens. The staff is well-trained and offers both lots of playtime and simple educational programs.
Costs vary and are strongly dependent on your municipality, usually around 3,900 DKK (600 USD) per month for day care, including meals. Kindergartens a usually cheaper. However, regardless of municipality, all children in Denmark are guaranteed a spot in a childcare institution.
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