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Living in Copenhagen

Life in Copenhagen is largely characterized by diversity, social equality, and overall excitement. In our Expat Guide, you can learn all about Copenhagen’s city districts, the housing search, healthcare, and education to get ready for living in Copenhagen!
Copenhagen is the capital of one of the world’s happiest countries.
  • Denmark is a democratic country with a monarchy. Although there has been a recent rise in popularity for right-wing parties, the country is politically stable.
  • Accommodation can be expensive and hard to find in Copenhagen, but make use of all the available sources and you’ll be well on the way to building a new home abroad.
  • You need to register your address and get a CPR number in Copenhagen — without this number, you can’t open a bank account or get access to the public healthcare system.

Copenhagen is becoming increasingly popular among both expats and Danes, as the metropolis has a reputation for being one of the most cosmopolitan and exciting cities in Northern Europe. While its food, its culture, and its art scenes are among the many reasons locals choose a life in Copenhagen, this big city with its small-town flair attracts many an expat as well.

Political Stability in the Democratic Capital

The head of government in Denmark is the prime minister, and the parliament obviously plays an essential role in the political life in Copenhagen and Denmark. Nevertheless, the Danish monarch, currently Queen Margrethe II, still functions as the official head of state, and laws are not enacted until signed by her. Overall, expats living in Copenhagen experience political stability as well as freedom of speech. It is a democratic rule that has its roots in the age of the Vikings.

The single-chamber parliament (Folketinget) with its 179 members is based at Christiansborg Palace. The Liberal Party (Venstre) and the Social Democratic Party (Socialdemokratiet) have always been the most influential parties in Denmark’s political system and since 1982, no political party has reached an absolute majority in parliament. In the 2015 elections, however, the Danes saw a rise in support for the Danish People’s Party, known for its Eurosceptic and anti-immigration policies. While the Social Democratic Party remains the biggest in parliament, the DPP claimed the second largest number of seats. It is the Liberal Party Venstre, though, that forms the current minority government.

Understanding Copenhagen’s Districts

Expats who plan on living in Copenhagen have many different districts to choose from. They each have their individual flair and features, which is precisely what makes Copenhagen as diverse as it is. Below, you will find an introduction to the most notable ones.

Inner Copenhagen

Copenhagen’s inner city is the heart of the Danish capital, with its canals and its harbor. Both the medieval city and Christianshavn are located here. The city’s oldest neighborhood is well known for its small and narrow streets, crooked houses as well as its abundance of shopping opportunities, cozy cafés, and green areas.

The area captivates people living in Copenhagen, young and old, with the beautiful canals and the modern waterfront. Strøget is the main pedestrian street and runs from the City Hall Square to Kongens Nytorv. Of course, you shouldn’t miss out on the exciting side streets of Copenhagen either.


Not all expats living in Copenhagen, however, settle in the city center, and many turn to Amager instead. South of Inner Copenhagen, Amager offers lots of new residential areas and flats, for example in Ørestad, Bella Center, and Islands Brygge.

While students like to settle here as well, the majority of Amager’s population is made up of people with an above-average income. The district is home to the Copenhagen IT University as well as Denmark’s radio (DR). The area offers many jobs in the service industry as well as the social and healthcare sector.

Østerbro and Vesterbro

Those living in Copenhagen’s Vesterbro area have settled in the city’s former red light district, which has grown into one of the most popular areas today. Located within walking distance from the city center, it is considered one of the most fashionable places to spend your life in Copenhagen. In this district, you find lots of bars, restaurants, and designer stores. At the same time, however, Vesterbro is a lot less posh than Østerbro.

Living in Copenhagen’s Østerbro is mostly for the rich and the beautiful. The district is the most attractive, but also most expensive living area in the Danish capital. But, while Østerbro is a quiet district with privileged citizens, it also has its hectic sides with vibrant business areas and a thriving commercial life.


Copenhagen’s Valby district is characterized by creativity and heritage. Originally an independent village, it grew into a bit of an industrial location. Today, the area has been turned into creative working spaces, clubs, and bars.

Living in Valby offers quite a pleasant life for both expats and locals. The district offers a wide choice of housing space with regard to size, type, price, etc. Here, the feeling of living in a small town meets the vibe of life in Copenhagen’s urban center. In a sense, Valby is truly a city within a city!


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