Moving to Denmark?
Moving to Denmark
Once a Viking nation and a European force to be reckoned with, Denmark has, a millennium later, evolved into a thriving little nation that plays an important role in European and Scandinavian politics. Expats moving to Denmark will not only benefit from the country’s close proximity to other European nations; they will also enjoy the comparatively mild climate and the very high quality of life. Again and again, surveys have deemed the people of Denmark the happiest in the world.
Denmark has more to offer than a beautiful countryside and a happy population, however. The Danes are a very design-savvy bunch and are known around the world for their style in furniture, fashion, architecture, and graphic design.
Denmark: An Introduction
Anyone moving to Denmark will find themselves in a small country between the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, just north of Germany. Denmark consists of the peninsula Jylland (Jutland), the islands of Sjælland (Zealand), and Fyn (Funen), and upwards of 400 smaller islands, most notably Lolland and Bornholm. Wherever they choose to settle down, expats who move to Denmark enjoy a temperate climate with mild, windy winters and cool summers.
Denmark is the most densely populated country in Scandinavia. It has an area of just 43,000 square kilometers, but its population of 5.6 million is only half that of Sweden and actually greater than Norway’s.
The Autonomous Provinces in Denmark
When thinking about the Kingdom of Denmark, most people are only thinking of Denmark proper, i.e. Jutland, Zealand, Funen, and the other surrounding islands. However, two autonomous provinces belong to Denmark as well: the Faroe Islands and Greenland. A move to either of Denmark’s provinces gets you in touch with a completely different environment, culture, and language — not to mention a rather frosty climate.
The Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands, where population estimates range between 46,000 and 50,000 people, lie a two-hour plane ride northwest from Copenhagen. The 18 mountainous islands, located between the North Atlantic Ocean and the Norwegian Sea, boast dramatic landscapes, peaceful mountains, and wild oceans along 1,100 kilometers of coastline. Moreover, you are never more than five kilometers away from the ocean. The largest town of the archipelago is Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroes, with almost 20,000 inhabitants.
A move to Denmark’s Faroe Islands will also introduce you to a nation directly descendent from the Vikings. Faroese, the local language, derives directly from the Old Norse spoken in the Middle Ages. Other Scandinavian languages, such as Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish are spoken as well. However, expats moving to this Danish autonomous province need not worry. Many Faroese have a good grasp of the English language as well.
If you would prefer an even frostier environment, Greenland will impress you with giant icebergs and layers of inland ice that are kilometers thick and frozen solid. With its 2.2 million square kilometers — 1.8 million of which are covered in ice — it is the 12th largest country in the world, and yet just 58,000 people call it home.
However, to the surprise of many, green mountains and beautiful wildflowers are found in Greenland as well, next to various fjords and hot springs. The flora and fauna of this enormous island is indeed breathtaking. Upon moving to Denmark’s northernmost province, you may encounter such wildlife as whales, seals, polar bears, and reindeer.
Greenland’s native people have long since learned to survive and thrive under extreme conditions. Located east of the Alaskan archipelago, Greenland has traditionally been home to hunters and sealers who lived in small, isolated communities.
The culture of Greenland is still reflected in the country’s language, clothing, and food. Greenlandic (also known as Inuit or Kalaallisut) and Danish are the official languages, and a basic command of either can be of great help to expats moving to Denmark’s northern autonomous province.
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