The Kingdom of Denmark in Scandinavia is the most expensive country to live in. While there may be cities around the world that has higher prices, notably Tokyo, Geneva and Nagoya, on a per country basis, Denmark is on top of the list.
The cost of living in the country is notably higher than in other advanced countries. A high tax rate used to support its extensive social benefit system is probably the cause, with income taxes ranging from 45% to even as high as 56%, depending on your field and salary. There is also a flat rate for value added tax amounting to 25%, though rental cost, medicines and newspapers are exempted from this requirement.
The country also has strong trade unions to represent its workers. As a result, the minimum wage rate has been favorable to employees, with the current negotiated amount standing at $ 20 per hour.
Location and Background
Denmark is an advanced country situated in the northern portion of the European continent. It has a population of more than 5.5 million, and it run by a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy. The country lies above Germany on the map, and is near Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland.
The Danish krone is the accepted currency, though the United States greenback can be readily exchanged in banks across the country. The country has very limited natural resources, and as a result, they have relied on human resources, with the service sector comprising a huge portion of Denmark’s economic and employment numbers.
Denmark’s economy also relies on the importation of raw materials to support its industrialized status. The country also engages heavily in foreign trade. Danish economic bureaucrats have been managing the economy quite well, with inflation kept at only 2.1%.
Except for education, everything in Denmark is costly especially when compared to other countries. Schools cost more than $ 11,000 for the primary level at private international schools, and more than $ 13,000 for secondary.
Cost of Living
Below is a sample of some of the expenses one may encounter when living in Denmark:
- Central location, high end and unfurnished apartment with 3 bedrooms, excluding utilities – $ 3,190
- Suburban areas, excluding utilities – $ 1,873
- 46-inch LED High Definition TV – $ 1,339
- Blu-ray DVD Player – $ 135
- Pack of cigarettes (20 pieces) – $ 6.34
- Jeans for men – $ 129
- Office leather shoes – $ 144
- Running shoes – $ 141
- Summer dress – $ 55
- Monthly standard internet subscription – $ 28
- Tariff on mobile usage – $ 0.14 per minute
- Apples, 1 kilo – $ 3.45
- Boneless and skinless chicken breast, 1 kilo – $ 12.35
- Cheddar cheese, 1 kilo – $ 14.59
- Eggs, 12 pieces – $ 3.74
- Full cream milk, 1 liter – $ 1.21
- Head lettuce – $ 1.61
- Oranges, 1 kilo – $ 3.65
- Potatoes, 1 kilo – $ 1.92
- Water, 1 liter – $ 2.03
- White loaf bread, 500 grams – $ 3.40
- Consultation with a doctor, if person has no insurance – $ 104
- Private hospital stay, including diagnostic tests, food, laboratory exams, medications, nursing care and other related costs, if person has no insurance – $ 3,062
- Bottle of midrange wine – $ 11.50
- Local beer, 500 ml – $ 1.97
- Imported beer, 330 ml – $ 2.86
Meals and Restaurants
- Cappuccino, regular and medium – $ 5.59
- Fast food burgers – $ 11.51
- Restaurant, for two – $ 94.43
- Soda, 330 ml, Coke or Pepsi – $ 3.58
Personal Care and Effects
- Dry clean, two pieces – $15.83
- Men’s haircut and blow dry – $ 42
- Women’s haircut, blow dry and color – $ 211
Recreation and Culture
- Fitness or gym club membership per month – $ 54
- Movies – $ 13.79
- Newspapers – $ 4.87
- Car, compact, economy or small, 1.4 L – $43,131
- Petrol, high octane, 1 L – $ 2.06
Are the Expenses Worth It?
While the costs of living expenses in Denmark are indeed much higher compared to other countries, one has to remember that the salaries generally paid for by employers to its workers are also better than in other places. The high tax rates, which may seem ridiculous at first glance, are also offset by the fact that Denmark offers a very generous welfare benefit package for its residents and citizens. Education and medical assistance are mostly free, as the Danish government pays for them. The key here is to learn to speak the native language because it is one of the main requirements to obtain a permanent residency pass. This, in turn, is what will make a foreigner eligible for the different social benefits.
The typical Danish middle-class family sees both parents working. If a child is born, however, then the country’s welfare benefits mean that one of the parents is allowed to take a year off from work with full support from the government.
Workers in Denmark also enjoy relatively short working hours, with normal business time ranging from 9 am to 4.30 pm only. They also enjoy a standard allowance of leave benefits numbering 25 each year. Danes enjoy a good balance in work and life, and conduct meetings only during office hours.
The Danes also have a democratic style in conducting their business. Ideas and opinions are encouraged and respected, and status is not important. Thus, you will seldom see any barriers even between high-ranking officers and low-level employees of a corporation. Discussions are straightforward, so avoid using sarcasm and irony as these may be misunderstood.
The high tax rates and living expenses are obviously balanced out by the decent salaries and benefits given to the people. No wonder, Danes have always been surveyed as among the happiest people on the planet despite the fact that they live in the most expensive country in the world.