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LIVING IN DENMARK

KEY POINTS: What changes about life in Denmark in October 2021

Here's what changes in Denmark in October and how it could affect you.

KEY POINTS: What changes about life in Denmark in October 2021
People taking driving tests in Denmark will have to fork out a little more from October. File photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

New parliamentary year: Budget and parental leave high on agenda

The new parliamentary year begins on October 1st, meaning Danish lawmakers resume voting on and discussing law proposals in parliament.

Parliament is traditionally opened with a speech given by the prime minister – somewhat comparable to a US State of the Union speech – in which the PM gives her or his assessment of the situation of the Scandinavian nation as the new political year begins.

The speech is usually attended by the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family, who watch from the Folketinget parliament’s Royal Box.

High on the agenda for politicians this autumn will be discussion of the budget proposal put forward by the government in late August. Following debates over the budget last month, a bill will be tabled this month to begin its passage through parliament. All bills must pass through the chamber three times before a final vote, according to Danish law.

The budget is usually finally passed at the beginning of December.

You can read more about the proposed budget for 2022 here.

Another issue set for discussion is reforms to parental leave rules, which could see more of the statutory parental leave tagged to individual parents, making it impossible for only one parent to take the vast majority of leave without any being forfeited.

The plan has elicited a divided response since its announcement last week, with backers saying they promote equality and critics saying they interfere with childcare decisions in the private sphere.

READ ALSO: Parental leave: How new agreement could change rules in Denmark

Banks and lenders required to include a standardised summary in mortgage offers

The new summaries which lenders will be required to provide will include five key metrics which customers will be able to use as a basis for comparison.

The Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Konkurrence- og Forbrugerstyrelsen), a government agency, said that the purpose of the new requirement is to make it easier for consumers to compare offers and thereby increase competition on the housing market.

READ ALSO: New Danish rules make it easier to compare mortgages

Price of driving test increases

The price for taking a driving test will increase as of October 1st, from the current 600 kroner to 800 kroner.

Last November, a directive restricting changes in fees related to traffic laws was lifted, enabling the hike to driving test fees now about to take effect.

No other driving licence-related fees will change, however. You can see a full list (including for replacing lost licences) on the Danish Road Traffic Authority website. The agency takes over responsibility for conducting driving tests from the police as of October 1st.

HBO Max launches

If you want to avoid the autumn weather, you’re free to visit museums, cafes and bars across the country, given that all domestic coronavirus-related restrictions were lifted in September.

Alternatively, you could channel the lockdown spirit by staying in and watching content not previously available in Denmark.

Streaming service HBO Max will launch and replace the existing HBO Nordic platform. In addition, the whole WarnerMedia catalogue will be available on the platform, which launches on October 26th. 

Brits in Denmark born between 1985-1989 should apply for permanent residency 

The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration has advised Brits living in Denmark who were born between 1985 and 1989 to send in their applications for post-Brexit permanent residency status during October.

The agency said in an open letter published in December that it wanted to stagger the applications to avoid a surge which would overwhelm its staff. However, the dates given were only a request and British residents who have applied ahead of the recommended time have had their applications handled as normal

You apply for residency at the New in Denmark page. 

New rules for lawsuit court fees 

A law modernising the system used to determine fees charged by courts for lawsuits comes into effect on October 1st. The law, passed by parliament earlier this year, replaces existing legislation from 2019.

The new rules replace a percentage-based system with set fees. This means that court fees for civil cases of significant value is likely to decrease. The fee for filing a suit will be less, with the main part of the fee payable when the case is processed.

According to an explanation published by law firm Bech Bruun, law suits worth 7 million kroner will cost 1,500 kroner to file and 160,000 for the court process. The current system would cost 75,000 kroner for each of those stages.

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WHAT CHANGES IN DENMARK

KEY POINTS: Everything that changes about life in Denmark in May 2022

The tax return deadline, more public holidays and thousands of runners returning to the streets of Copenhagen are among the things to expect in Denmark in May.

KEY POINTS: Everything that changes about life in Denmark in May 2022

Deadline for making changes to tax returns 

If you haven’t yet done so, now’s the time to log on to tax website skat.dk and check your annual return or årsopgørelse.

Tax returns are published by tax authorities each March and taxpayers have until May 1st to check their details – relating to earnings, tax payments and deductions – are correct. In some cases, making sure you have the right information on your tax return can mean you get a tax rebate.

The tax authorities have in recent years asked taxpayers to pay particular attention to their commuter deduction or kørselsfradrag information, after the method for entering this on the return became more manual as home working increased during the Covid-19 pandemic. But all information can be checked and updated on the online return up to May 1st.

READ ALSO:

Switch to summer tyres (if you haven’t already)

Alternating between winter and summer tyres is not a legal requirement in Denmark, but is broadly recommended, including by FDM, the Danish membership organisation for motorists.

Neighbouring SwedenNorway and Germany – where many Danish residents head on skiing and other holidays during the colder months – all have rules requiring winter tyres, meanwhile, meaning the practice is common in Denmark, not least for those who may need to take their cars over the border.

Most people switch back to summer tyres at Easter, which this year fell on April 17th. But the week leading up to Easter was cold for the time of year with some frosts in the mornings, so some car owners may have held out a little longer.

More about the practice of using winter and summer tyres in Denmark can be found in this article.

Public holidays

Following on from Easter, we’re still in boom season for public holidays in Denmark.

Great Prayer Day or Store Bededag gives a long weekend starting Friday May 13th, while Ascension Day, Kristi Himmelfartsdag in Danish, is less than two weeks later on Thursday May 26th.

Many Danes take the Friday after Ascension Day as annual leave, giving them a four-day weekend at the cost of only one day of leave.

READ ALSO: What public holidays does Denmark have in 2022?

Look out for extension of border controls

Temporary border controls in place in Denmark since 2016 are currently scheduled to expire on May 11th but will be extended if past practice is basis for prediction.

First introduced in January 2016 in response to the European refugee crisis of late 2015, Denmark’s border controls have remained in place since through regular extensions. The checks generally consist of spot checks at border crossing.

EU countries which are part of the Schengen agreement, like Denmark, are permitted to introduce border controls if these are deemed necessary to protect internal security. The Danish government cited the treat of Islamist terrorism and organised crime in its justification for retaining the controls when they were most recently extended in October.

The controls can be extended for a maximum of six months. As such, they are still considered to be temporary even though they have now been in place for over six years.

Controls at borders undertaken as a measure to prevent the spread of Covid-19 are no longer in place, so all checks are security related.

Return of Copenhagen Marathon

After a three-year absence caused by consecutive cancellations due to Covid-19, the 41st edition of the Copenhagen Marathon takes place on May 15th.

The 42.2-kilometre route through the Danish capital starts and finishes by the harbour at Islands Brygge and takes in each of the central districts: Vesterbro, the Inner City, Østerbro, Frederiksberg and Nørrebro.

There’s usually a great energy along the route. I’d recommend either Nørrebrogade near Dronning Louises Bro (Bridge) or Islands Brygge as the best spots to take in the atmosphere.

New parking rules take effect

Municipal parking rules change on May 1st and it’s worth being aware of these to avoid an unwanted yellow ticket on your windscreen.

The new rules mean that municipalities can now issue fines for cars parked on areas that divide roads with bicycle lanes and pavements (sidewalks). This broadens existing rules against parking on pavements, either completely or partially.

Sometimes the ‘reservation’ or grassy or gravel area between a road and the cycle lane (or pavement) might be wide enough for a car, or part of one, and could be used for parking on. This is no longer permitted, motorists’ organisation FDM writes.

A ticket for breaching the new parking regulations will set you back 510 kroner.

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