Firstly, it’s an island with countless secluded sandy beaches that are just a short trip from any of its historic towns. Charming manor houses are a frequent sight in the countryside, much of which is farmland recognised for its high quality agricultural produce.
So far, so good. But not much going on in a place like that, you think? Think again.
A major cross-border infrastructure project is bringing jobs to the region and will mark a huge step forward for Denmark’s links to central Europe. Lolland is seizing the opportunities this creates with a new regional growth strategy that includes the opening of Denmark’s first public international school, which offers bilingual teaching in English and Danish.
As two international parents relocating to Lolland tell us, it also boasts impressive family-friendly credentials. All of this only 90 minutes away from Copenhagen and within easy reach of German cities such as Hamburg and Lübeck.
Photo: Lolland Kommune
The career opportunities luring internationals
After three years in Copenhagen, Marjorie Plivard, a French mother-of-three, has just moved to Lolland with her partner Remi and their children. Both herself and Remi work on the Fehmarn Belt fixed rail-road link, a huge infrastructure project that includes an 18km under sea tunnel between Lolland and Puttgarden in Germany. Due to open in 2029, the tunnel will feature railway tracks and a four-lane motorway.
This summer, the family settled into a house in Maribo, a charming town where the new international school is located.
“I understand there was already an international community here [before the Fehmarn Belt project] and I was a bit surprised by that,” says Marjorie, a Quality, Safety & Environment Manager, who has also previously lived in Chile, the UK and Russia. “Now, we’re excited to join this growing international network as new residents knowing that Lolland is becoming more and more international.”
Clean energy is a big part of Lolland’s identity, and another important driver of opportunities for skilled international workers.
Jalindar Aher moved to the area from India last year to work as an engineer for Vestas, the Danish wind turbine manufacturing giant. He had never even visited Denmark before but already likes the way of life. “It’s a better place than India for work-life balance, for sure,” he says.
Jalindar’s wife and two young sons recently moved over to join him, with the family now settling into a new home in Nakskov, Lolland’s largest town. Both Jalindar and Marjorie work solely in English and Lolland Municipality strives to provide key local information in English.
The outdoor life: freedom for all the family
If you want a better quality of life and you love scenic landscapes, the coast, and sustainable, local farm produce, Lolland should really be on your radar. Wherever you are on the island, you’re never far from the sea – along with the smaller neighbouring island of Falster, there are 600km of coastline to explore.
You’ll also find a wealth of exciting outdoor activities on your doorstep: kayaking, horseback riding, fishing, hiking, cycling, sailing, kite surfing and more.
Jalindar says the outdoor environment is an important factor in making the region an excellent place to raise a family. “Lolland is a good place to live,” says Jalindar. “The countryside looks amazing and there are lots of good farms offering local produce. In terms of getting around, there are also good connections to other places from Nakskov.”
Marjorie already has a lengthy list of places to go in the region for the kind of quality family time that can be hard to come by with city living. “We’re planning to go to the safari park with the kids, visit the smaller cities, and go to the little farm shops,” she says. “We want to cross over to see more of Germany as well – it’s less than one hour away by ferry.”
Perhaps more than anything, she’s looking forward to feeling secure enough to give her kids more freedom. “In Maribo, they’ll be able to do more by themselves,” she says. “It will be better for them to go to the swimming pool and do their activities. The after school care is also definitely cheaper than in Copenhagen.” In the Danish capital, she adds, her children faced a waiting list just to get swimming lessons.
A new international school
Both Marjorie and Jalindar say the opening of Lolland International School in Maribo – Denmark’s first international public school – is a major plus point for the region. The school opened in early August and will be inaugurated by Denmark’s Crown Princess Mary on August 24th.
“The main challenge for moving my family over was to find an international school,” says Jalindar. “It will be different from school in India and the kids are excited to start.”
The free bilingual school – with teaching in English and Danish – offers a “world-class Cambridge-certified education”, says Holger Schou Rasmussen, the Mayor of Lolland. It caters for both Danish and international families in the area.
Marjorie’s children have previously always gone to French schools, but she says the international school made it far easier to decide to leave Copenhagen.
A new international talent hub
Between 2020 and 2029, the Fehmarn Belt project is expected to create the equivalent of 42,000 full-time jobs (through both direct and indirect demand for new roles), many of them in Lolland. The project provides attractive career prospects “including for international talent”, says Rasmussen. But there is also much more going on in the area.
“In the coming years, we expect that the area will develop into a new international hub,” he adds. By this he means not only for Denmark but also “in relation to both Scandinavia and Central Europe”.
The Mayor promises those who come to make a new life that the local government, along with civic society and a strong community of volunteers, will seek to help them “quickly settle down and feel at home”. Newcomers can get support from a range of introductory and networking events, as well as a team of international ambassadors.
“We pride ourselves as a large community with a unique culture that stands together to help build the good life,” says Rasmussen. An increasing number of international families are embracing that vision by taking the leap to live the good life in Lolland.