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BANKING

Readers’ tips: Which bank is the best option for foreigners in Denmark?

The Local asked its readers to share their tips about which bank offers the best account for foreigners living in Denmark. Here's what they had to say.

Readers' tips: Which bank is the best option for foreigners in Denmark?
File photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

Which bank is the best choice for foreigners living in Denmark?

The most popular choice amongst the responses we received was Nordea, which is part of a large Nordic financial group.

Why Nordea?

“English service was good. Accounts had low fees, and their mortgage offer has turned out to be the best, overall,” Gareth Bristow, who lives in Copenhagen, wrote.

A reader in Horsens, who did not give their name, also mentioned good English skills amongst Nordea staff.

“It was the only bank that agreed to open me an account when I arrived in Denmark almost eight years ago. Also, everyone there speaks English and are willing to help,” the commenter wrote.

Other people responding to our questionnaire named good customer service, help with mortgages and few unexpected fees as reasons to choose Nordea.

Were any other bank accounts recommended?

Danske Bank and Vestjysk Bank were also recommended as good banks for foreigners to open Danish accounts.

In the case of the former, a good English-language website and app was considered a winning feature by more than one reader.

At Vestjysk Bank, customer service was praised.

“They are always ready and eager to help, which as an expat I could see rarely with the other banks that I tried,” wrote Saleh, who lives in Esbjerg.

Any banks readers recommended avoiding?

Although some recommended it, Danske Bank was also the bank most-often mentioned as the one to avoid. Our readers mentioned fees charged by the bank as the most common reason for this.

In general, readers advised to be sure you ask about any fees you might be liable to pay before opening a bank in Denmark, including annual fees and charges for ATM withdrawals.

What other advice was given?

The most important step you must take before trying to open a bank is to register as resident in Denmark and be issued with a personal registration (CPR) number, according to our readers.

“You need a (registration) number first, which can take many months to receive. Without that, you'll struggle to do many things, including opening a bank account,” Bristow wrote.

“Without a bank account you can't receive a salary either. Additionally, banks are much more loathe to offer credit cards with a credit line. I have excellent credit history with a good job but was not offered a credit card (with credit line) when I signed up,” he added.

Gareth Bristow also offered some very helpful comments about saving and borrowing with Danish banks.

“The central lending rate is very low, as it is all over Europe, which means savings accounts give very low returns. On the other side, home loans are very cheap and very accessible. Given this and the tax structure, I strongly recommend buying a home sooner if you plan to make Denmark your home,” he wrote.

READ ALSO: What's it like to work in Denmark as a foreigner? Here's what you told us

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WEATHER

Essential rain gear for a wet Danish winter (and autumn, spring and summer)

Winter in Denmark is a shock to the system, particularly for those of us who come from warmer, drier climes. But if you know where to look, you can find the right rain gear to keep the Danish drops off your head.

Bicycling in wet Danish weather doesn't have to be
Bicycling in wet Danish weather doesn't have to be "træls" (bothersome) if you're kitted out in the right water resistant gear. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

This roundup is unsponsored and the fruits of much googling, review-reading, and recommendation-begging by a sad, damp American.

Where to shop? 

To try things on, the best places are Intersport, Spejder Sport (home to Columbia, Patagonia, Asivik and FjällRaven) and Eventyr Sport, as well as outdoor outfitter Friluftsland.  

To shop the Danish way, put in the hours combing the racks at your local second hand or charity shop. If you strike out there, search by brand on DBA.dk or Facebook marketplace.

Rain jackets: Regnjakker

Your rain jacket is your second skin in Denmark during the damp winter months. Helly Hansen is a go-to brand, according to a Johannes, a Jutland native who offered his recommendation to The Local. The Norwegian company offers well-made jackets at a reasonable price point, ranging between 600 and about 1,500 kroner. These can be ordered direct from the manufacturer or on Amazon.de (the German one) for delivery in Denmark—if you want to try before you buy, go to Eventyr Sport.  

A budget pick is McKinley, which you can pick up at Intersport. These cost between 200-400 kroner.

The classic Scandinavian splurge rain jacket is Fjällräven—these are available in stand-alone Fjällräven stores, Friluftsland, Eventyr, and Spejder Sport, and cost a not-unsubstantial percentage of your rent starting at about 2,500 kroner and climbing north of 6,000 kroner.

Rain pants: regnbukser

Rain pants are a novelty to those of us who don’t come from bike cultures, but after your first rainy day cycling commute leaves you at the office with drenched trousers you’ll understand the appeal.

The New York Times’ product review service Wirecutter highlights the Marmot PreCip Eco Pant as the best pick—here in Denmark, they’re available for men and women at outdoor gear purveyor Friluftsland for about 700-800 kroner.

McKinley also makes rain pants that will set you back around 200 kroner.  

Some of Patagonia’s rain pants, which we found at Spejder Sport, have side zippers for ventilation—if you’re on the sweatier side, this may be a good call. (Their website also proudly reports these rainpants roll up to the “size of a corncob.”)

Rain sets: regnsæt

Also on the market are rain sets, which are coordinating jacket-pant combos like this one from Asivik. It’s cheaper to buy the set rather than both pieces separately, but for many people it makes more sense to invest in a higher-quality rain jacket and go for a more affordable rain pant.

Backpack rain covers: regnslag til rygsæk

Backpack rain covers are an easy buy and cost orders of magnitude less than the laptops and other electronics they protect. Snag one on the way out the door at Intersport, Spejder Sport, or most anywhere that sells rain gear. Expect to pay about 60-180 kroner—just make sure it fits your backpack.

Gloves: Handsker

Your favourite fluffy mittens may not be well suited for your bike commute. GripGrab, a Danish company popular all over the world, offers a variety of waterproof and winterproof gloves— including the lobster style, which has split fingers that allow you the dexterity to ring your bell, pull your hand break and do a Spock impression at a moment’s notice. These are available at specialty cycling stores.

Rain boots: Gummistøvler

Perfectly serviceable budget rainboots are available at the same retail stores discussed above—though for longevity, look for boots made from rubber rather than PVC.

At a higher price point, Hunter rainboots are sold by Danish online retail giant Zalando and keep you dry and in style.

Tretorn is a Swedish brand over a hundred years old—their rain boots are available for both men and women through Spejder Sport and, of course, their website.

For women: available on the German Amazon website is the Asgard Women’s Short Rain Waterproof Chelsea Boot, one of the best reviewed women’s rain boots that doesn’t make you feel like you’re wearing clown shoes.

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