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Eight things in Denmark that are actually quite cheap

Denmark is more expensive overall than any other country in the EU, but some things are surprisingly good value.

Eight things in Denmark that are actually quite cheap
This house in Nørreballe on Lolland is listed for just €25,000. Photo: Kindsgaards Bolig
We asked foreigners in Denmark what things they are think are, if not a bargain, then at least fairly reasonable.
Here is what they told us. 
1. Houses outside the big cities
“Houses in the countryside,” said Nina Olczak, who lives in Lolland Falster. “Where I live you can get a nice house for as little as €15,000. In Germany prices start at €500,000 for a comparable house.” 
“Houses,” agreed Patrícia Castanheira. “Coming from England I was surprised at prices here.” 
“For the price my parents [in the UK] paid for their house in the middle of nowhere four hours from the nearest city, I can buy a small house 10km from the city centre,” added Ellie Cruickshank. “And then for the price of my tiny little city apartment here, I could buy an entire retired high school in Jutland.” 
The Local did a search and found the cute half-timbered house in the photo above, in Nørreballe on Lolland, listed for just €25,000, so they're not wrong. 
2. Mobile phone plans and internet 
“Data,” said Nina Olczak. “I have a Lebara prepaid card with 100 GB for 99. For that price in Germany I can get maybe 500 KB – 1 GB.” 
“Internet is one of the fastest in the world and the price is cheap when comparing to other countries,” said Mohammed Adel Elkhouly. 
3. Beer and cigarettes
Beer from supermarkets in Denmark is much, much cheaper than in Sweden, Norway or Finland, although perhaps a bit pricier than in Germany. 
Cigarettes, at about €5.39 a pack in 2019, are much cheaper than in Sweden, Finland, Norway, France, The Netherlands, the UK or Ireland, but more or less the same as in Germany, and more expensive than most other European countries. 
4. Private schools (and international schools) 
Denmark's free school system, through which privately-run schools are largely paid-for by the government, means that private schools are cheap in Denmark. 
This also goes for schools that teach towards the International Baccalaureate, for which according to the International Schools Database, Copenhagen is the second cheapest city in the world after Cape Town. 
5. Milk
Milk and other dairy products tend to be cheaper in Denmark, or at least in line with other countries where most other food is much cheaper. 
6. Organic and health food products 
A lot of foreigners said that they had found organic and health food products were relatively cheap compared to their home countries. 
One respondent said that people from southern Europe actually take 'natural' shampoo and soap with 0% perfume, colorants or parabens back to their countries because they are so much cheaper in Denmark. 
7. Municipality-organised children's activities. 
Municipalities in Denmark lay on loads of activities for children throughout the year and particularly during the summer. If they're not free (which they often are) they're normally very reasonable. Copenhagen residents can look at the Børn i Byen for ideas. 
8. Public swimming pools and gym membership
“One of the biggest surprises for me were gym prices. Prices in Estonia are easily two to three times higher,” says Laura Veelmaa. 
Others said that swimming pool entry prices were surprisingly low, as were sports clubs for windsurfing, sailing and other sports. 
Other suggestions. 
Other things that foreigners suggested weren't too pricey included: Pastries in local bakeries, Harald Nyborg, drinking fountains, soda, cut-your-own Christmas trees, dentist visits, Himalayan salt, popcorn and tortilla chips, books, toys, board games in libraries, rubber gloves, fresh yeast, diapers/nappies, products from Tiger, spirits in Lidl, toilet paper, and for some reason, capers.

Member comments

  1. Everything is So great in Denmark. I wish I lived there. Still, hopefully I’ll be visiting again once coronavirus is over.

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EXPLAINED: Denmark’s new property tax rules from 2024

New property tax rules (boligskatteregler) take effect in Denmark in 2024. How will they affect homeowners and first-time buyers?

EXPLAINED: Denmark’s new property tax rules from 2024

The new tax rules, which will impact property value tax rates (ejendomsværdiskattesatser) and land value tax (grundskyld), were originally ratified by the previous government in a 2017 bill. In general, they mean the rates for both of the above property taxes will fall in most municipalities, according to the Danish tax ministry.

A public real estate appraisal (ejendomsvurdering) forms the basis for taxation of your property. According to the tax ministry, many homeowners will find that new appraisals issued from September 2021 are higher than preceding valuations from 2011 and 2012. That is partly due to increasing house prices in recent years.

In order to avoid much higher property taxes as a result of higher valuations in the public real estate appraisals, the 2017 political agreement secured a reduction of the two forms of property tax, effective from 2024.

Homeowners who appear to be facing higher property taxes due to the new appraisals – even though tax rates will be reduced – can be eligible for a tax subsidy. This can occur in cases where a property has seen a large increase in its valuation.

In short, the new tax rules will not result in taxes for existing homeowners in 2024 that are higher than they would have been if the current rules (still in effect in 2022 and 2023) were to remain in place.

However, the tax subsidy mentioned above does not apply to new homeowners from January 1st 2024. This is because first-time buyers will be expected to “plan their finances in accordance with the new tax rules,” the ministry states.

This could have a knock-on effect on the housing market, according to financial media Finans, which wrote in November 2021 that people buying apartments would be likely to demand reduced prices as 2024 approaches, to offset the higher taxes they are likely to pay.

READ ALSO: Danish apartment sales cool to eight-year low

An analysis by Finans and Nykredit showed that apartment prices in major cities, particularly in and around Copenhagen as well as in Aarhus and Odense, will typically have to fall by around 5-10 percent for total costs for now buyers – mortgage plus tax – to be unchanged compared to the outgoing rules.

The new rules and subsequent increased taxes will hit first-time (in 2024) buyers of apartments hardest, according to Finans. That is because many buyers will not be able to afford the same mortgage they previously could, due to the higher property taxes.

One reason apartments are more likely to get tax increases under the new rules is that the valuation appraisal system left them subject to lower property tax relative to houses.

“Apartments have been too lightly taxed for many years because the land under them is massively undervalued compared to appraisals of detached house land,” Mira Lie Nielsen, housing economist at Nykredit, one of Denmark’s major banks and the country’s largest mortgage lender, told Finans last November.

People buying apartments before 2024 could also push prices down knowing they risk making a loss if they sell shortly after the tax reform takes effect.

From 2024 onwards, the two property taxes – ejendomsværdiskattesatser and grundskyld – will be pegged to appraisals of the property and land value such that if these fall in valuation, so will the property tax.

If the valuation of the property, and thereby the property tax, increases after 2024, homeowners can fix the rate of (indefryse) their taxes by postponing payment of a part of the property tax. The frozen tax payment becomes due (and is calculated) when the property is sold. Alternatively, the increased taxes can be paid in instalments.