KEY POINTS: What changes about life in Denmark in December 2022?

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KEY POINTS: What changes about life in Denmark in December 2022?
Christmas decorations at Tivoli in Copenhagen. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

The wait for a government could be over, reduced Christmas holidays and brighter days on the way: here are some key things to look out for this December in Denmark.


A new government could take over

Since the election on November 1st, the leader of the largest party, the Social Democrats, acting Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has been locked in negotiations with other parties to form a new government.

Frederiksen intends to form a coalition across the centre with parties from traditionally-opposed ‘blue bloc’ or conservative parties. She said before the election that she would pursue such a government and stuck to her stance after the left-leaning ‘red bloc’ took a one-seat majority in the election.


READ ALSO: Could a centrist government change Danish asylum plan?

Talks have become protracted, but there has been some forward movement. The number of parties involved in the negotiations has been whittled down from 12 to 7 with the most likely blue bloc partner in a coalition, the Liberals (Venstre), seeming to soften its stance on governing with Frederiksen’s Social Democrats.

Putting a government in place will enable legislation to be passed in parliament again – crucial for pressing matters like passing a 2023 budget and resolving cash help for low-income families.

Britons who have been told to leave Denmark because they were late applicants for post-Brexit residency permits will hope that a new government will step in and assist them. The government has the authority to intervene in decisions made by authorities but currently will not, because it is in a caretaker role.

You can read about this particular issue, which affects Britons whose residency in Denmark was protected under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, in this article.

Christmas is coming… but with a little less glimmer

The first Sunday in Advent has already passed, falling on November 27th this year. That means Copenhagen’s Christmas are already switched on, albeit two weeks later than in 2021. Due to the energy crisis, the lights will be switched on between 3pm and 9pm rather than the usual 7am until midnight.

READ ALSO: Copenhagen to retain but reduce Christmas lights amid energy crisis

In Aarhus, the Christmas lights have been on since November 11th but the lights are only switched on for seven hours a day, compared to 16 hours in previous years.

Odense’s lights have been on since 19th November, also for fewer hours than usual.

Salling Group’s shopping centres in Aalborg and Aarhus will not be putting up their usual Christmas light decorations, and the same decision has been made by Hotel d’Angleterre in Copenhagen.

Middelfart, Esbjerg, Aarhus and other cities have decided against opening their traditional outdoor ice rinks this winter as a result of high energy prices.

Christmas markets (julemarkeder), complete with the winter-warm alcoholic drink gløgg, will all be going ahead after some Covid-related cancellations in the last two years. Many open at the end of November. Tivoli’s Christmas season is already underway.


When do I get time off work or school for Christmas?

December 25th (Christmas), December 26th (Boxing Day) and January 1st (New Year’s Day) are all public holidays. They all fell on Saturday or Sunday in 2021, denying three extra festive days off which might otherwise have been enjoyed. No substitute day is given when public holidays fall on a weekend.

The Christmas Day and New Year holidays again fall during weekends this year, though Boxing Day is a Monday, so one public holiday has been regained compared to last year.

December 24th (Christmas Eve) and December 31st (New Year’s Eve) are not public holidays, but many employers treat them as such. Unfortunately, these are Saturdays in 2022, so will not be an ‘extra’ day off for most people.

State schools (folkeskoler) generally finish for the Christmas holidays on Wednesday December 21st (so the first day of the holidays is Thursday 22nd) and return on January 3rd.

Private schools may have slightly different dates and there may also be local variations for state schools, so check with your school or local municipality if in doubt. Here’s the calendar for Copenhagen Municipality.

Be sure to send presents on time

If you are sending cards or presents to loved ones abroad or in Denmark, remember to get them packaged and sent on time so Santa can deliver them before Christmas.

Generally, the deadline for sending parcels is December 21st for delivery in Denmark, December 16th for Europe and December 2nd for the rest of the world.

You can check the details in this article.

Brighter days are on the way

It’s now dark well into the morning and only light until mid-afternoon, but the shortest day of the year falls in December. After that, days will slowly get longer again and nights shorter.

The winter solstice, when the Earth tilts the furthest away from the Sun on its axis, occurs on December 21st.

Denmark’s dark winters aren’t as severe as in Scandinavian neighbours Sweden and Norway, which both experience polar nights – when the sun doesn’t rise at all for several weeks.

READ ALSO: Brighter days are on the way in Denmark after winter solstice


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