Denmark… What's it like? Anyone lived there?

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  • Denmark… What's it like? Anyone lived there?
  • lobby_dosser
    Member

    I've been doing some contract work for a Danish company for the past 6 mths and for the past few weeks I've been commuting/working in Denmark. Here's my sweeping generalisations (of course this could be more to do with the company culture that I'm working for):-

    Work life balance, the Danes have got this more leaning towards life. Generally a relaxed non confrontational environment and working hours are 'loose'. In the morning most people start work 8.00 to 9.00 , followed by breakfast break (free fruit and coffee) and relaxed lunch. Come 4.30pm my office is deserted.
    The Danes like meetings. Long ones. However they don't like taking decisions or actions.

    As above tax is high and the Danes don't really complain about this, they will quickly point out the benefits of it such as health care and social security. Deep down though I think they would like to pay less tax. I think if you come to Denmark as a critical employee, you only pay 25% for 3 years but this only counts if your salary is over 100k euros per year.

    Cars are expensive, however one benefit of this is that cars are less of a status symbol as they are in the UK. Cars tend to be practical & plain and not used as a display of wealth.

    The Danes are friendly and their sense of humour is quite similiar to UK, without being crude.

    Nothing happens during the week. The towns I have stayed in are pretty dead. Although I've only been in small towns during the week.

    Mountain biking- looks like there's plenty of places to go biking as there's a lot of space.

    Bream
    Member

    oddjob, she must be very fit 😉 😆

    oddjob
    Member

    OMG that's where I've been going wrong all this time 🙂

    Danes tend to socialise at home as there is not much of a pub culture here and I suspect it is partly the result of me being over 30 with kids. However, the affect is that you can get to know people to some degree, through the good social type work events and things that they like to have here (organised fun is a huge industry) but to get to be real friends you need to be invited into their homes. This is a bigger step than agreeing to meet at the pub or whatever.

    BTW, I met Mrs OJ whilst we were both living in France. She is more negative about Denmark than I am in many instances…

    It's not a bad place to live at all, safe and secure, just a little dull

    oddjob
    Member

    As a butchers dog 😯

    DrJ
    Member

    but to get to be real friends you need to be invited into their homes.

    As we discussed before, I think my perspective is altered by having been in Holland before. In FOUR YEARS in Holland, the only time I was in a Dutch person's home was a party from work. In 6 months here I have been invited into 2 peoples' homes.

    This whole "home" thing is weird to me. We really enjoy visitors – what's the cultural resistance?

    oddjob
    Member

    I have no problem with inviting people into my home, but somehow you need to get to know people somewhat before that first invite.

    Perhaps the problem is made worse by the fact that I am a miserable, antisocial swine with no social skills and refuse to make sufficient effort to learn their language.

    Could be.

    Oddly though, now we have the opportunity to move somewhere else, I am starting to see the nice things about being here – the bike club, nice working environment, 6 weeks holiday per year and leaving work at 4…

    DrJ
    Member

    I meant – why do Dutch/Danes/whatever place such importance on inviting someone home? It's like they have something to hide !!

    Aristotle
    Member

    Having worked with foreigners of all descriptions, I've found that the Danes are possibly the most similar to Brits (-in a good way), more-so than the Dutch.

    The Danish chaps I worked with commented (and were impressed ;)) that Irish and British ladies were much more well-endowed than Danish ones, albeit as a side-effect of their general extra mass…

    They also noticed that going out to the pub with mates and getting really p*ssed was more common for 30-something blokes in the UK than in Denmark, although they would have a few jars.

    Incidentally, they did complain about taxes and pointed out that their mates who were self-employed tradesmen managed to pay much less in taxes. A bit like the Uk, but with even greater tax 'efficiencies' to be had.

    oddjob
    Member

    The tax dodging is used to explain why there is a Bang and Olufsen shop in every town with more than a few hundred people in it. The builders etc like to pay cash. I still can't understand why or how people buy those things!

    Beer: 30 bottles for ~£12 at the supermarket or ~£5 per pint – the choice is yours.

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    MaverickBoy – Member

    Mikkel, cheers for the link… I think…

    JESUS CHRIST you're not wrong about giving ALL your money to the taxman… I've just been looking at that tax website, I am gobsmacked! Anything and everything you could possibly be taxed on, is taxed… HEAVILY! I thought giving away 40% of anything over £35k in this country was bad enough, but 40% is about as little as you get away with in Denmark it seems.

    oddjob – Member
    .
    +ves:
    good public transport
    cheap child care
    free higher education (including living allowance)
    good cycle paths and cycling culture (especially for roadies)
    fit women (I've got one :wink:)

    YOu get what you pay for.

    To have good public services and a happy people with not poverty you need to pay tax.

    Most of what folk moan about in this country could be fixed – if folk would pay the tax for it

    Mikkel
    Member

    You get what you pay for?

    When i listen to people in the UK moan about the NHS its often that they mention how the hospitals etc are much better in for example Denmark.
    But there isnt realy a difference, the Danish hospitals is not better, you get the same lvl of service in the UK but at alot lower tax cost.

    oddjob
    Member

    I agree about the value for your tax money. Some of it is good BUT
    We have the most expensive education system in the world, but I think it ranks 17th best on quality and the health care is also very expensive, but we are finding out the hard way that the quality of the care is actually not very good. We have had to travel to the UK for some treatment for my son because it was messed up here.

    Stuff like trains they can get right, but we suffer from being such a small country when it comes to complexities like medicine. There are, after all, only about 1 million of us paying for the other 4.5 million people…

    lobby_dosser
    Member

    16:17 and I'm the last one in the office. Have been for the past 20 mins.

    ro222
    Member

    I've been to Copenhagen lots and think that the place is wonderful. For a cyclist it is a superb place to live day to day with the cycle culture. As has been said, the humour is more English which makes life easier. The airport at Kastrup is great. Public transport is very good indeed – there is a website where you can type in your location and destination and it tells you what public transport to use to get from one place to the next. I guess the city wasn't as clean as I would have expected. It's a busy place and perhaps my expectations in respect of cleanliness were too high.

    Premier Icon myheadsashed
    Subscriber

    http://copenhagengirlsonbikes.blogspot.com/ 😆

    it's only money…………..girls on bikes on the other hand

    Premier Icon mboy
    Subscriber

    Mountain biking- looks like there's plenty of places to go biking as there's a lot of space.

    LOL… I did a fair bit of research on Denmarks demographics last night, and its highest "peak" is about 170m above sea level! Hardly high… Certainly feel if I moved there I'd be rather upset at the lack of any real mountain biking to be had!

    Cars are expensive, however one benefit of this is that cars are less of a status symbol as they are in the UK. Cars tend to be practical & plain and not used as a display of wealth.

    I care not one way or the other if people want to use their car as a status symbol or not… I do however care about cars being expensive! That's not gonna help me one bit… Especially as if I sold my car here I'd get about £1k for it tops, and would be looking to replace it with something of similar value if I moved anywhere (if no company car was provided), which I suspect wouldn't get me anything in Denmark!

    There are, after all, only about 1 million of us paying for the other 4.5 million people…

    What makes you say that oddjob? The ridiculously high tax system?

    ebygomm
    Member

    Certainly feel if I moved there I'd be rather upset at the lack of any real mountain biking to be had!

    Certainly Denmark lacks any real mountains, 'Sky Mountain' reaches the dizzy heights of 147m!! But that area, the 'Danish Lake District' has some great riding. Undulating rather than mountainous, but some great forest tracks, and deserted singletrack. And as others have mentioned Sweden is easy to get too if you want proper mountains, it's not all that different from living in the south east and having to travel to the peak/wales, scotland etc. Whilst cars are expensive, petrol and especially diesel is cheaper than the UK right now, and Denmark is small so you've got a huge variety of places to go.

    Ridiculously safe place too, when we rode the west coast route earlier this year, we'd just leave our bikes plus belongings propped up somewhere if we wanted to go in a shop/museum etc. There's a great network of huts/sleeping shelters, which are free, in great locations and rarely used so multi day trips are easy.

    b r
    Member

    I've worked a lot in Denmark (and most other European countries), and the Danes I worked with, while paying large amounts of tax, had the same (or better) lifestyles than most. Very much a 'social' system.

    They use to come to the UK for work (and money), and then once the kids were turning up go home for the benefits.

    But Copenhagen is now grey until the summer…

    oddjob
    Member

    Turns out I was exagerating a bit

    The population of Denmark is about 5.5 million. There are about 2.75 million workers. 35% of the workforce are public employees so that means that 1.75 million people are earning the money to keep the remaining 3.75 million fed, entertained healthy and educated. No wonder we have high taxes 🙂

    I was using the commonly banded about numbers above so I jsut checked them to get these numbers. They come from an official paper here

    http://www.netpublikationer.dk/um/8585/html/entire_publication.htm

    Premier Icon mboy
    Subscriber

    35% of the workforce works in the public services! OUCH! I thought the UK was bad… That's just ridiculously inefficient!

    Quite ironic really, as the job I applied for is in continuous improvement. I asked why any companies in Denmark would want to employ Brits, the answer I got given was that there aren't the skills or abilities in Denmark in general, and that Denmark is "behind the times" and struggling to catch up… No wonder, from what I've heard it sounds worse than the UK in the 70's! Means someone like me getting in at the right time could end up making a real name for themselves…

    Also, anyone know any more about the 3 year ex-pat tax rule? Read somewhere that immigrants with specific skills can get away with massive tax breaks for up to 3 years… Anyone shed any more light?

    DrJ
    Member

    MaverickBoy – I am on the 25% thing but I have absolutely no idea why 🙂

    lobby_dosser
    Member

    Google is your friend

    Lobby Dosser wrote

    I think if you come to Denmark as a critical employee, you only pay 25% for 3 years but this only counts if your salary is over 100k euros per year.

    92k GBP?

    oddjob
    Member

    I think the 25% income tax rule was invented to attract foreign footballers!

    DrJ
    Member

    I think the 25% income tax rule was invented to attract foreign footballers!

    Pretty sure that doesn't apply to me 🙂

    Premier Icon mboy
    Subscriber

    DrJ, without being a pain, do you reckon you might be able to find out how or why you're only on the 25% income tax?

    DrJ
    Member

    MB – it's because my employer is pretty influential, and they have a problem finding people locally with my skillset (sounds fancy !! 🙂 ). I'm not sure of the details, and what sort of argument needs to be made to the tax man to support that claim. Sorry to be not much help – your HR people may be able to help more. I contacted a tax advisor on another subject, and when they respond to me I'll drop in your query in the conversation.

    HTH

    Premier Icon mboy
    Subscriber

    OK cheers DrJ, gonna email you if you don't mind as your situation sounds pretty similar to what's being described to me…

    lobby_dosser
    Member

    bacon, butter, b.o or wind?

    Premier Icon Haze
    Subscriber

    Baked beans are (apparently) frowned upon.

    Mikkel
    Member

    btw there is no bacon in Denmark, its all shipped to the UK.

    Premier Icon mboy
    Subscriber

    Right, more news on this one…

    Have spoken directly to the hiring manager for the company in Denmark today, he is very keen on me so I understand! Anyway, found out some specifics about the job…

    Though they have offices in Copenhagen, and other cities in Denmark and the world too, this job is based just outside a fairly small town called "Lem", about an hour north of Esjberg, or 2 hours north of the German Border. Or in other words, 4 hours west of Copenhagen.

    The job does sound interesting though… My cup of tea so to speak, and it's a big company with a lot of opportunities going forward so I understand.

    Salary wise, well… They're offering almost twice what my last salary was, though because I'd be paying twice the rate of tax, my take home pay would only be marginally higher if anything. And then there's the increased cost of living to take into account too!

    Anyway, gonna have to wait til the new year now to hear if they wanna speak to me again… Which if they do, will be a trip out to meet them in Denmark so I would hopefully get the chance to get a feel for the company, the area and the country as a whole hopefully. Though the idea of being in a town of 10,000 people, an hour or more from anywhere any bigger, and 4 hours from a decent sized city (let alone even further from any decent mountain biking!) might be the deal breaker to be fair… Just don't know if at 29, as a single guy, who likes going out and values a social life that I could deal with living in the arse end of nowhere not knowing anybody really!

    Not ruling it out just yet though… See what happens, sounds like they want me (they're not interviewing anyone else at least apparently!), so maybe could name my price… Or get them to see what they could do about the 25% tax rule, cos the salary they're offering me, if I could get away with paying only 25% tax, would be VERY favourable!

    Oddjob, where exactly are you based in Denmark?

    Goz
    Member

    Good to see you today Mark, which ever road/track you choose….good luck…..Glad you enjoyed your ride 😯

    oddjob
    Member

    Hi
    I am in Ringsted which is about an hour from Copenhagen in the centre of Sjæland.

    My first reaction would be that as a single guy, you would be really stuck out on your own there. Copenhagen is fairly cosmopolitan but outside it, everywhere is most of the time. Shops close at lunchtime on a saturday and nothing happens on a sunday. You may get lucky, but my guess is that you'll feel pretty isolated. I guess it depends a bit on where you're going to work, if it is a small company full of young people then there may be some socialising, but if it is a normal mix then I suspect you'll spend a lot of time on your own. (bear in mind that most Danes don't really enter the job market until their late 20s and by then a lot of them are quite settled and some even have kids)
    4 hours to Copenhagen sounds optimistic, it could easily be longer I suspect and bear in mind the cost of the train or approx £40 to go over the Storebelt bridge and back by car).
    If you want to PM me then try wmillarduk at yahoo dot co dot uk , I'd happily have a chat on the phone if you want to get some more inside info.

    iDave
    Member

    I was working in that part of Denmark a couple of months ago. I think while you may get some amusement by being be seen as 'fresh meat' for a while, there isn't much else going on – it's a fair old trek to Copenhagen from there. It seemed a bit 'Norfolky'

    ebygomm
    Member

    Lem is reasonably well placed for getting to decent biking round Silkeborg – about an hour away. Århus is only a couple of hours away. Lots of windsurfing, kite boarding etc round there too

    ebygomm
    Member

    4 hours to Copenhagen sounds optimistic

    Esbjerg – Copenhagen is around 3 hours so 4 hours sounds right.

    http://www.mikkel.org.uk/ebygomm/category/north-sea-cycle-route/

    The above should give you an idea of what the area looks like

    Mikkel
    Member

    There is nothing around there, exept for super nice beaches and long flat roads, perfect for road biking.

    Is the job for Company making windturbines by any chance? cant think of anything else out there.

    Im from the westcoast myself and i prefer that part of the country to copenhagen. You would defenetly need a car out there though.

    Ohh and have they told you what Lem means?

    oddjob
    Member

    Esbjerg is the Danish Grimsby by the way!

    wheelz
    Member

    The Downhill mountain biking opportunities don't look to be too good in Denmark!

    Downhill in Denmark

    ebygomm
    Member

    Aside from the docks, Esbjerg isn't even remotely similar to Grimsby. Fifth largest city in Denmark, pretty sure pregnant women don't get stabbed to death in the street, ambulance crews don't get attacked etc.

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