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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

Find out what's going on in Denmark today with The Local's short roundup of the news in less than five minutes.

A tree felled by strong winds in central Copenhagen on Monday.
A tree felled by strong winds in central Copenhagen on Monday. Photo: Martin Sylvest/Ritzau Scanpix

Schools say they could be forced to close due to staff absence 

Schools have raised alarm over difficulties filling their teaching rotas because of the number of staff who are off sick, primarily because of Covid-19. That includes teachers who test positive for the virus as well as those who have to isolate due to being close contacts.

Merging classes and loaning staff from other schools are among measures taken by school administrators to tackle the problem, as well as a shortening of the school day in some areas, broadcaster DR writes.

But some schools could find themselves forced to close if these measures do not stretch far enough, according to the report.

Drivers urged to dial 112 for motorway breakdowns 

If you are unfortunate enough to break down or suffer a flat tyre on the motorway, you should call the Danish emergency number 112 and await assistance, according to advice issued in a new campaign from the Danish Road Directorate (Vejdirektoratet).

The agency wants to prevent drivers from pushing their cars on to the hard shoulder of the road — and thereby putting themselves in increased danger — instead of calling 112. According to an estimate, 500 to 1,000 motorists each year break down on motorways without calling 112.

READ ALSO: Emergency in Denmark: Who to call and what to say

Denmark won’t send official representative to Beijing games

Denmark said on Friday evening that it would not send any official representative to the Beijing Winter Olympics due to the human rights situation in China.

“The government has decided that we will not take part in the Winter Olympics in China… It is no secret that we, in Denmark, are very concerned by the human rights situation in China,” Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod told news wire AFP in a statement.

Danish athletes will however compete in the games to start next month.

Ex-minister denies sharing state secrets

Former defence minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen on Friday said he was being investigated for allegedly divulging state secrets, claims he denied.

Frederiksen, who served as minister from 2016 to 2019, said in a statement shared by his Liberal Party that he was suspected of “violating the limits of my freedom of expression”, AFP reports.

He referred to a section of the penal code which states that “any person who discloses or imparts any information on secret negotiations, deliberations or resolutions of the state or its rights in relation to foreign states, or which has reference to substantial economic interests… in relation to foreign countries” can be jailed for up to 12 years.

Storm-strength winds buffer country

A strong wind from the northwest can be felt across much of Denmark today. Gusts of up to 29 metres per second – storm strength – were recorded this morning, DR writes.

North facing coasts on Funen and Zealand are most affected.

Trees were snapped by the winds in Copenhagen and the Great Belt Bridge was closed off for tall vehicles earlier this morning.

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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

Rental resources for newcomers to Denmark, a spate of home loan refinances, and EU's airplane mask mandate ending today are among the top news stories this Monday in Denmark.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

New website helps newcomers navigate Danish rental rules 

From painting white walls whiter to eye-watering deposits, the rules to Danish renting are hard to grasp for many foreigners used to more humane practices in their home country. 

Inspired by a TV2 documentary on how often South Americans are scammed by Danish landlords, Oliver Hancke set up a new website — RentalRules.dk — to offer plain language explanations of how to navigate renting in Denmark. Hancke emphasises he doesn’t have a legal background and is instead compiling translated resources found elsewhere.  

Currently, the RentalRules.dk is available in English, Spanish, and Italian, but Hancke is recruiting volunteers to translate into other languages.  

READ ALSO: Deposits, complaints and registration: Five key things to know about renting in Denmark

Danish homeowners refinance loans as interest rates rise 

As interest rates climb, some Danish homeowners spot an opportunity. 

Finans Danmark, a financial sector interest organization, told newswire Ritzau that  lenders made nearly 13,700 offers to restructure homeowners’ mortgages in the month of April alone.

“This is because when interest rates rise, the price of the bonds behind the loans will fall and can therefore be redeemed at a lower rate than they were taken out at,” Ritzau reports. “If you choose to convert your fixed-rate loan into a higher-rate one, you can cut your outstanding debt.” 

As of May 16, the interest rate on a fixed-rate loan is 3.5 percent, up dramatically from 1.5 percent at the end of 2021 and 0.5 percent at the start of 2021. 

Who stands to benefit from restructuring their mortgage? 

“Currently, it is especially homeowners with loans of 0.5, 1.0 and 1.5 percent where a conversation would be worth considering, as they can cut a good chunk off the residual debt,” Brian Friis Helmer, private economist at Arbejdernes Landsbank, told Ritzau. 

EU airplane mask mandate ends today — but many countries keep theirs 

The European Union’s requirement for travelers to wear masks in airports and on airplanes expires today. However, depending on where you’re flying, local rules may still apply.

Budget airline Ryanair published the following list of 15 EU countries where masks are still mandated for flights, including many popular summer holiday destinations: Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Austria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Malta, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg.

Denmark dropped its requirement for masks in airports and airplanes in March. Even when it’s not required by law, passengers are of course still free to mask for their own health or out of consideration for those who may be at higher risk. 

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