If you want to try freelancing in Denmark, the set information we have prepared will come handy before you leave and once you reach your destination. Released Monday, the 2013 World Happiness Report ranks the happiest countries around the globe, with Denmark, Norway and Switzerland leading the pack. In 2012, Denmark also took the top spot, receiving the highest combined score on a scale of zero through 10. Since freelancing is supposed to be all about freedom and being happy, we've decided to inspect Denmark to continue our research on the Ultimate Freelancing Guide. The citizens of this European country have some good reasons to be happy. And we were looking for those reasons to, so that you too, can live the Danish dream.
Legal issues for those freelancing in Denmark
The Kingdom of Denmark (the official name) is in Northern Europe on a peninsula between the Northern Sea and Baltic Sea. It also has two autonomous constituent countries in the north Atlantic Ocean, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Denmark is part of the EU (European Union) so just like it was in Portugal, things are definitely easier for citiziens of other EU states. But as our research proves, they are not that extremely complicated for people coming from outside the EU. Denmark is a very modern country with a stable economy and very good living conditions. It might not have Portugal's weather, the exotic qualities of Thailand or the vast territories of Canada, but it surely is worth examining if you want to be an expat and try freelancing. One thing you have to check whenever you decide to travel to any country are all the conditions you must meet to actually get there. If you wish to visit Denmark for a short period of time, you must obtain a visa prior to entry. Check this list of countries whose citizens need a visa to enter Denmark.
Of course you must realize that a visa is only intended to allow a foreign national to visit Denmark and/or the other Schengen countries for a limited period of time. If you wish to reside in Denmark for an extended period of time, you need to apply for a residence permit. A visa normally grants you the right to stay in the entire Schengen region. The Schengen countries are: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. A regular tourist visa allows you to stay a maximum of 90 days per 6 months in Denmark and is normally valid for the entire Schengen region. If, however, you are a citizen of a country with no visa requirement to enter Denmark, you can also stay in the Schengen region for a maximum of 90 days per 6 months. You will find all necessary information regarding visa applications here.
Being self-employed and freelancing in Denmark
One of the ways to be freelancing in Denmark is to become a self-employed professional. It is possible to be granted a work and residence permit in order to be self-employed and/or operate an independent company in Denmark. It is your own responsibility to obtain a work permit if you are required to. And take it rather seriously, since If you work illegally in Denmark, you risk deportation, and you and your employer risk fines or jail time. I doubt that's the sort of expat life you want to live. When processing your application, the Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment will pay particular attention to the following conditions. First of all you have to prove that there is a particular Danish business interests related to the establishment of your business in Denmark. Second of all you must present documentation that you have access to sufficient financial means to run your business.
The Danes keep things simple but still you have to go through some beaurocracy to establish your (even the smallest) company. Before submitting the application, you must create a Case Order ID and pay a fee. The fee is a case processing fee. This means that the fee covers the processing of your application. Consequently, the fee will not be refunded if your application is turned down, or if you withdraw your application. The Word version can be completed on-screen and must then be printed out and signed by hand. The PDF version must be printed out and then completed and signed by hand. You will find all the important information necessary to complete the process here.
Work permit for those freelancing in Denmark
Like you would have expected you cannot just come to a country and start working. In most cases, foreign nationals need to have a residence and work permit before they can begin work. In certain cases, however, foreign nationals can perform work-related activities while in Denmark on a visa, without holding a residence and work permit. If your stay is shorter than three months, you are allowed to perform certain types of work-related activity even if you do not have a residence and work permit. Such activities include teaching or attending a course or participating in meetings, negotiations, briefings and training. Obviously If you already hold a Danish residence permit based on family reunification or asylum, or hold a residence permit on humanitarian grounds, you do not need a work permit in order to work in Denmark.
Health insurance for those freelancing in Denmark
Securing all the possible scenarios once you decide to live in a new country is highly unprobable, but making sure you'll be taken care of if you should fall sick is something every expat should think of. You are automatically entitled to public health services once you have registered in Denmark and received your CPR number and yellow health insurance card. But you must be aware that the Public Health Insurance does not necessarily cover all your health care wishes or needs. You must take your health insurance card with you when you visit the GP, dentist, hospital emergency or in the event of hospitalisation, as well as when you travel outside Denmark. The health insurance card provides cover if you fall ill or have an accident while travelling in Europe as long as the trip is for pleasure and you are away for less than a month.
Access to the public health service is through your GP, whom you choose when you register with the national register in your municipal authority. Your GP can treat some health problems immediately. Others may require a referral for further examination or treatment by a specialist or at a hospital. As I've mentioned before the Public Health Insurance does not cover all the things in the world, so you might want to consider getting a more complex program and get yourself a commercial insurance. In Denmark as in most countries you'll find tons of companies with different profiles that you can choose from.
Renting a flat when freelancing in Denmark
When you decide you want to be freelancing in Denmark you obviously will need a place to stay. Properties available for rent in Denmark are normally advertised in local and national newspapers or registered with estate agents. There are also many relocation agents who can help expats find rental properties, such as Scandia Housing or City Housing. It is also worth checking out the Housing in Denmark website.
In order to rent a property in Denmark, you will generally be expected to pay a deposit amounting to 1 to 2 months rent, by bank transfer. Just remember not to pay the deposit by cash, because you can't prove the the payment if anything goes wrong. For furnished rented apartments in the areas popular with expatriates, you should expect to pay in the region of 9.500 DKK per month for a studio apartment, 12.000 DKK for one bedroom and 15.000 DKK for a two bedroom property. These figures include the charges for heating, hot water and cable television. However, the further away you get from the central cities, the cheaper it is.
You might also want to consider the unfurnished option since they are cheaper. It is definitely a better proposition for those who know that they will stay for a minimum of one year. Prices will be 25 – 30% below those quoted above for furnished lets.
Food and eating out in Denmark
Denmark may not be the ultimate destination for a foodie traveler. In fact until a few years ago, Danish food was essentially associated with potatoes and bacon, and Danish cuisine was completely unknown outside the country. But that is no longer the case. Things have changed. Over the last decade, the New Nordic Cuisine has revolutionised Danish gastronomy and created an entirely new focus on local ingredients. It has meant a renaissance of classic Danish dishes, which are currently available in modern versions at several of Copenhagen's best restaurants.
One of the restaurants definitely worth visiting is Copenhagen's Noma restaurant (short for nordisk mad meaning Nordic food). Since its opening, the restaurant has aimed to serve dishes prepared under guidelines drawn up for the new cuisine. In 2010, 2011 and 2012, it was awarded the title of "world's best restaurant" by the Restaurant magazine, supported by the San Pellegrino mineral water company. Other restaurants in Copenhagen and the provinces have followed the trend attracting increasing interest at home and abroad. Among those who have adopted the new approach are Ti Trin Ned in Fredericia, Geranium in Copenhagen and Restaurant Malling & Schmidt in Aarhus.
Food in Denmark is pretty expensive. If you are planning to eat out in a restaurant be prepared to pay around $9-$14 USD for a cheap meal during lunch time. Dinner time meals will be closer to $20-30. That adds up quick. You can find cheap hotdog vendors for around $4-$5 USD but you definitely will not want to live on fast food all the time. If you decide to shop and cook yourself, then the groceries will cost you around $35 USD per week.
Car and fuel costs for those freelancing in Denmark
All over the world drivers are complaining about the prices of fuel. But this time it is the Danes we must feel sorry for. Their petrol has gone up by 9% and their diesel by a whopping 18%. Some of this is caused by the weakening of the Danish Kroner versus the euro, but still, there must be some belt tightening in Denmark. Unleaded 95 costs around € 1.58 and Diesel around € 1.45 /per litre (prices from September 2013). But if you decide to live in Denmark you will very soon realize that having a car is actually not a necessity. Public transport is great and very well organised. You might also want to consider getting a bike and cycling your way around. This would be a very good idea as the infrastructure for those who chose this healthy and einvironmentally friendly alternative over a car.
If, however, you decide to drive around you will most certainly need a driving licence. You can either exchange your current driving licence or get a Danish one. If your driver's license is issued in another EU country, Norway, Lichtenstein, Iceland or the Faeroe Islands, you do not need to exchange it for a Danish one. If your driving licence is issued in Russia, South Korea, Japan, Switzerland, Taiwan, Brasil, Ukraine or Australia (only Capital Territory) you must exchange it for a Danish driver's licence, but you do not need to take any tests.
If you wish to obtain a driver’s license in Denmark, start by looking for a driving school. There are plenty of them and some organize courses in English as well. Driving school will guide you through learning and application process. You can apply for a driving license at the Citizen’s Service Centre (Borgerservice), where you will need to bring an application form provided by your teacher at driving school. When taking up residency and bringing a car to Denmark, you must register your car within two weeks upon arrival. You can do it at your nearest your nearest tax centre.
Commuting for those freelancing in Denmark
Denmark has an extensive, efficient and fairly affordable public transport system. The government encourages the use of public transport rather than private cars and the majority of the population use these services on a regular basis. Within Copenhagen there is a Metro which opened in 2002 and is gradually being extended throughout the city. City transport is also provided in the form of Copenhagen's distinctive yellow buses. Denmark's smaller towns and rural areas are well served by local buses and regional train services. You can plan your route by public transport and find out all the costs on-line. Just use the following website which is available in English and German: www.rejseplanen.dk.
Internet for those freelancing in Denmark
I suppose that since you want to live a life of a freelancer, a self-employed professional, an Internet connectiong might be something you will need. In Denmark most of the offers comes with a six month long contract. Normally you rent or buy the hardware (router, the basic cables for one computer etc.) directly from the provider for a small fee, and the contract ensures the provider that they will benefit from having you as a customer, despite selling or renting the hardware for a very cheap fee.
If you are looking for a normal internet connection, there are more than enough offers to choose from. Unfortunately, the Danish internet providers don’t translate their ordering pages to English, so you have to have a Dane helping you through the order or you could just install a translating program for your browser – Google Chrome has it preinstalled. All standard Danish connection for normal broadband has no spending limit, unless you use hundreds of GB every month.
Weather in Denmark
In Denmark you can enjoy all four distinct seasons during the calendar year. Copenhagen, the capital and largest city of Denmark, enjoys an oceanic climate that features unstable and changing weather patterns in all four seasons.. During the coldest months (November to February), the city becomes quiet with many remaining indoors to escape the sub-zero temperatures. However, the seaside community springs back to life when summer (May to August) hits and the boardwalks once again enjoy heavy traffic. Copenhagen weather in the spring (April to May) sees temperatures of about 10 to 15 °C, similar to autumn (September to October), which idles between 7 to 12 °C.
As you can see Denmark might be an option to consider if you like a more relaxed, eco-friendly and simple lifestyle. Even if you chose to live in Copenhagen, you do not need to fear certain things that are sometimes related to grand metropolies. Denmark is charming and although is not a big country you'll find plenty nice spots to discover in your free time. Not to mention the world-famous Danish design.
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