Take the stress out of Danish bureaucracy with this newly updated guide

Danish bureaucracy can seem confusing at times but it is a lot simpler than in some countries (Germany I’m looking at you!). Nevertheless there are many ways you can fall foul of various elements of bureaucracy when you are settling here.

I have written a useful guide to all aspects of bureaucracy with loads more details about how to get your CPR number, opening a bank account, digital services such as NemID and E Boks as well as how to pay bills, the media licence (and yes you do have to pay this!), insurances and much more. The guide is concise, easy to use and has all the check lists you need. You can get the guide here

If you want a quick introduction I’ve prepared an easy to understand infographic about some of the key elements which you can get hold of here  for free and you get to be on my mailing list. I promise to protect your data and you won’t get spam from me, just information you need. It goes without saying you can unsubscribe at any time but I hope you find it a useful list to be on!

My new book “Moving to Denmark – All you need to know”

I am writing a book specifically about moving to and living in Denmark. There is nothing like this out there but my research tells me that people are searching for this information a lot, both as a book or just general information. Add to this the huge amount of misinformation available online – either in good faith or from people who want to mess with you a little – I felt this was something I should do.

So my second book (you can order my first, more general, book about relocation here) is going to be call “Moving to Denmark – All you need to know” and quite frankly it will do what it says on the tin. I didn’t want a fancy or clever title, just one that reflected what the book will offer you.

I have opened the book up for preorders and it will be published in late spring 2018. It will be a Kindle book first and then a hard copy depending on interest. You can preorder it via my website.  If this sounds like a book that would interest you please do preorder, if you think a friend or colleague would find the book useful then please do share this post or the link to the preorder with them. If you want to hear more about this book, my services and exclusive content about living in Copenhagen you can join my mailing list (I promise not the spam you!)

Pre-order here….

Lactose Free products in Denmark

I have written before about gluten-free products and today I thought I’d write a quick guide to lactose free (laktosefri) products here in Denmark. This is a subject close to home for us as my husband needs to follow a lactose free diet.

One thing which has surprised me is how many products contain lactose, many of which you wouldn’t immediately assume would. Many sausages here contain lactose as well as frikadeller (meat ones), pates including leverpostej. Crisps and pre made soups also can contain lactose.  If you shop carefully you can find some of these free of lactose. It is a positive move by food producers in Denmark to highlight in bold type any potential allergens in their ingredients lists, which makes this process a little easier. Another thing which surprised me is that some blue cheeses are naturally lactose free!

So onto the products. Arla has a wide range of lactose free dairy products (it is important if you are following a lactose free diet not to cut out all dairy products as you can be missing out on health benefits – this page by the UK NHS is very useful). Arla is a brand name UK readers will have seen offering lactose free products in the UK. Here you can buy almost all products that usually contain lactose in a free from variety including milks, cream, yoghurt, cheese and butter. These seem to be available in almost all supermarkets. There are also some supermarket own brands as well.

Alpro  is a plant-based alternative to dairy and they have a number of products available again in most supermarkets. Of course there are lots of nut milks available.

Recently I have spotted that Galbaninow produces a lactose free mozzarella, a relief for pizza lovers! I also bought some lactose free parmesan (not seen it many places) – in my opinion it had zero resemblance to real parmesan but did the job.

Matilde now offer their ubiquitous chocolate milk in a lactose free variety. Hansens Is have lactose free ice creams.

Philadelphia have a lactose free incarnation perfect for cheesecake fans. Another surprising one is Wasa crackers have lactose free ones – I had no idea their regular ones contained it at all!

There are other products offering lactose free alternatives. I use Nemlig.com as a good guide for these, even if you choose to shop elsewhere. A quick search simply for ‘laktosefri’ in Nemlig with show you many alternatives.

If you are not all exclusively lactose free in your household you may find my guide to dairy products useful!

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

So I am back after about a three week break. We enjoyed Christmas at home and then spent almost a week at a summer house at the top of Sjælland, like we usually do. We may break from tradition next year and head further north to see the Northern Lights.

Whilst we were away I saw a few posts on social media about bullet journals. At 1pm when I started Googling them I didn’t understand the point, by the time I went to bed I was fully converted to the idea. I had ordered a special dotted book to begin my bullet journal (It should arrive this week). I am aware that I need a regular creative, non screen based outlet, I like to be organised and I often think of things I need or want to do and they stay in a swirl in my mind. Apart from the diary and to-do aspect of a bullet journal, I am going to use it to encourage me to read more and to think of places we should visit (and plan to actually visit them, especially in Denmark. A few things have happened over the last few years that make me believe we should seize the day and not add things to a ‘one day’ list.

In other news I have my surgery on my stuck ulcer nerve scheduled for the end of the month and before that I will be launching the short series of interview podcasts I have already recorded. I am struggling a little with the iTunes element of it and it has been a bit of a show stopper (pun intended) so I shall release them via my website in the first instance, whilst I iron out the issues.

Also if you read my last post I am working on my new book – Moving to Denmark – all you need to know. I need a certain volume of pre-orders to be able to go ahead and publish it (even self publishing a Kindle book comes with costs) so please do pop over and order it if you think it may be of use to you and also share with others who may be interested. Click here!

FAQs about Dejlige Days Welcome

I’ve had a number of queries about how my relocation business, Dejlige Days Welcome, works. I decided to write a few answers to come the questions and queries I get asked. It is on the Dejlige Days Welcome website but I thought I’d post it here too to reach some more people.

Q You offer each service separately rather than one complete service. Why is that?

A Traditional relocation services offer set packages and are usually paid for by the recruiting company. For many people there are elements they may not need or want to use. The way my services are organised means that you have the choice of what you want to take and you can add more services on as you need them. In the first instance I can help you with advice as to what would work best for your situation not simply offering a generic package. It more like a ‘chose your own adventure’ book than a text book.

Q Can you help us find somewhere to live?

A I work with Copenhagen Housing to offer packages which include an hour of consultation time with me and a written local guide and a house search element offered by Copenhagen Housing.

Q Can you find me a job?

A I can’t help you find a job but I have some free resources to get you on the way with this.

Q Do you offer to come with us for appointments such as EU Registration, opening a bank account etc?

A I don’t offer these services as the processes here are pretty straightforward and most people speak English. It would not be a good use of your money to pay for me to sit with you in waiting room for ten minutes of support. A lot of bureaucracy here is done online as well. To help people out with the processes with a step by step guide to registration and other elements of red tape, I have prepared a guide for this which you can get here. It brings together all the information you need with all the links to save you hours of time on the internet when that can be better spent on other aspects of your relocation.

Q Can’t I just google the information you provide?

A In theory yes but sometimes the things you need to Google will not be obvious if you are new to a country or you may not know the Danish word to use in the search bar. My written local guide is usually around 20 pages long and is tailored to your specific needs. To get all this information together yourself would take hours so I can saving you that time and effort. I also will include information I know you need but you may not think about.

Q Who are your usual clients?

A My usual clients are people moving here without relocation support from their new employers. I’ve had a number of clients who are self employed, students or those simply looking for a new adventure here in Denmark. But I have also had people who have chosen to add my services to those already provided by their new employers as they want a more personal touch and someone a little less ‘corporate’.

Q We can’t afford or access the bigger relocation company’s services but need help. Is your service for people like us?

A Absolutely, you would be my ideal client. It is hard for people to access services from the larger relocation companies and often their prices are not affordable for individuals. As I mentioned above you can pick and chose which elements of my services you wish to take or can afford. I am very transparent with my prices which are lower than the bigger companies but come with a real personal touch. You are more than just another client to me but a real person.

Q Why are some of your resources free but others have to be paid for?

A I offer a lot of free resources on my website, much of which are also on my blog but I have made them into easy to download files so you can print or read them online. I have some interactive ebooks which I sell as they took a long time to research and they are laid out professionally to enhance your experience of using them. They offer a lot of value and tons of resources so I feel they are worth paying for.

Q What is it about you that makes your service different to the other relocation companies?

A You get me and my experience. I treat you are individuals and I have heard that this makes people feel able to ask questions they may not feel comfortable asking a more corporate consultant. My motto is that no question is a silly one, nothing is trivial when you are moving to a new country and I want people to have the best experience they can when relocating here.

Q Do you work with corporate clients?

A I do work with the German Embassy with my joint services with Copenhagen Housing and I am happy to take on more corporate clients but of course still offering the personal service everyone gets. You won’t find me in a suit though!

Q Can you come and speak at events about relocation and settling in?

A I am very comfortable making presentations about expat life here, elements of relocation and practical elements of moving here. If you would like to book me to speak drop me a line at hello@dejligedayscommunications.com

 

Dejlige Days Podcast coming this autumn

So to give myself some accountability I thought I’d share my plans to start a podcast in the autumn. It was be an initial season of around 6 episodes to see how I, and the audience, get on with it.  There will be a mix of solo episodes and also interviews, with content not just about life in Denmark but looking at other subjects which would interest other expats (or potential expats) elsewhere.

I love reading blogs and articles but I find that I tend to consume a lot of content via podcasts, especially as I can do this when travelling back from dropping off my son at school and walking around. I believe that more and more people are also consuming in the same way.

It is a daunting prospect but its something I really want to do and I hope that people will be interested. Do get in touch if you can think of anything you might like me to talk about.

So watch this space as I navigate the tech and planning around this. I hope to be launching in September.

New Dejlige Days Publications

I have added a couple of new ebooks to my shop on the Dejlige Days Welcome website.

First up is Dejlige Days Welcome Guide to Danish Bureaucracy – Getting you started. This ebook guide to bureaucracy in Denmark pulls together publicly available resources into one simple to use document. Finding all the information you need easily and in a timely manner can be tough when you are in a new country with a language you don’t understand, this guide takes the stress away. Click here to buy.

Secondly is a pre order Dejlige Days Welcome Guide to Having a Baby in Denmark (and the first year of parenthood). This e-book covers everything you need to know about having a baby in Denmark – from pregnancy to birth to the first year. Sections include where to buy what you need, the medical process, bureaucracy, places to meet people, classes, private clinics amongst other super helpful information. Pre-order before the publication date of 31st May 2017 and save 30dkk. Click here to pre-order

Don’t forget there is also a ton of free resources there too.

An explorer in a new place

With a weird synchronicity we found ourselves making a big change in our living situation almost exactly nine years since we left the UK to start our Danish adventure. For the last nine years we have lived in city apartments and for a lot of that time it suited us. But as my son got older and we looked for more quiet around us (and at the same time not worrying about the noise we made) we decided to move to a house or villa as they are called here.A lot has changed in Copenhagen over those nine years but it is still a city I am in love with. It has matured into a different kind of love than the heady early days. I still get my breath taken away by the city, I still love the people here and our life. But most of the time it is the kind of love that makes you feel comfortable and safe.  That this is my city and my home – this makes me happy. I have changed areas completely with the latest move but that feeling doesn’t change.

One thing that helped moved to a whole new area is the experience that I have gained from creating the local written guides I produce for my clients. Even moving within a city can pose a lot of the same questions as moving to a whole new city – where is my local pharmacy/supermarket/post office/ bakery etc? As well as looking at ways to get around either by public transport or by bike. It helps if you already know a city, you have a basic structure of how things work and where you are most likely to find things. Yet this doesn’t remove some of the basic problems. I again found myself bobbing up and down on the bus on a new route unsure of which was my stop (just as I did nine years ago) but at least Maps on my phone makes it a little bit easier. I will admit that I walked around Amager Center for more than was normal looking for the exit to the metro station area. I kept ending up at H&M, and I almost started to believe there was two branches in there (for the record there are not).

I am enjoying the local area and it is exciting again to be an explorer in a new place, albeit with a lot more confidence and knowledge. If you are new to Copenhagen and you feel you need that little extra help finding your way in your new neighbourhood (even if you have been there a while), do drop me a line via my Dejlige Days Welcome website and we can work together. I believe that people underestimate how much this kind of guide can help them. I think we often have the thinking of ‘how hard can it be?’ when two months in you are still struggling to find places and it is starting to be an issue. Honestly there are only so many questions you can pose on Facebook forums. I catch up with a number of clients who didn’t take the local guide and I can see how much they would’ve benefited from it from the start and how much those that have taken it have valued it. I hope to hear from you!

My Relocation Story – Copenhagen

Today I thought I’d share another chapter from my book (My Guide to a Successful Relocation) about how I came to be here in Copenhagen.

Enjoy and if you fancy reading more you can get buy a copy directly from me if you live in Denmark, 100dkk including postage and packing ( saving of almost 50dkk from purchasing via Amazon), by sending me an email hello(at)dejligedayscommunications(dot)com. You can also get hold of it via Amazon if you are outside Denmark.

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My relocation story – Copenhagen

Back in 2007 my husband and I got married after twelve years together (clearly we didn’t rush into it!) and it felt like a new life was starting. I had been working for a not-for-profit organisation as Head of Communications for a few years. Over that time I had started to take control of my personal life (I lost two stone in weight, learnt to swim and got married) but my professional life was stressing me out. I had lost team members who were not being replaced due to budget cuts, office politics were reaching ridiculous levels and I was often in tears in the evening and waking at 5am unable to get back to sleep as I worried about the day ahead. This was no way to live.

For a number of years my husband’s employers had been tempting him with exciting jobs abroad but I had always been reluctant – I was building my career. But suddenly that just seemed to not matter. I was working hard but getting very little back and I could see no real change on the horizon unless we made the change. So we did. It was late summer when he asked at work about possible places we could relocate to and was given the options of San Diego (too far from family), Germany (no – how ironic) and Copenhagen. So we settled on Copenhagen without me ever having visited. I bought some guide books and the process at my husband’s work started. big beers in tivoli 2008

I joined him just before Christmas whilst he was in Copenhagen for a week sorting out his new role. It was the first time I visited the city and I fell in love immediately: big beers, delicious real Danish pastries and sparkling Christmas lights. Apart from the superficial things I also liked the kind of lifestyle I saw around me and, chatting to various people we met along the way, it seemed to make people happy.

Once it was a sure thing, I spoke to my boss and arranged to leave my job at the end of the year (as it turned out they were generous enough to let me work almost until I left the country, extending my notice period on a monthly basis).

I finished work at the end of February 2008, having negotiated a year-long freelance contract to start in the summer so I would have some money coming in when we moved. nyhavn-copy

At the start of March we headed out to Copenhagen for our home search. We were met at our hotel by our relocation consultant who had a bag packed full of information about the city and life here. We viewed seven places in one day, a luxury that is no longer possible with the tough market now, and we had to give him a top three by the end of the day. It is funny that our initial number one was soon relegated to number three. I hadn’t yet adjusted my expectations and had felt the modern apartment was the right one for us despite it being totally wrong. My husband gently talked me round to a beautiful late 19th century first floor apartment in Frederiksberg, which was of course perfect for us when we moved in.

Things moved quickly from that day – they accepted our offer and the moving date of the 31st of March was set. We then had to get rid of about a third of our belongings, which we sold at a boot sale and a garage sale, and put more things in storage. In hindsight I wish I had been more brutal about getting rid of things but at this point we were not sure if our Copenhagen adventure would work out. We then put our house up for rental and arranged for packers to come in and pack up the remains of our belongings.

I am something of a control freak so you can imagine how I felt when I was bedridden (on the futon in the chaos of packing) with very bad tonsillitis. In fact the packing was all done efficiently without my interference. I was sad to be sick as I missed seeing my oldest friend and her newborn baby before we left.

All of a sudden we were at the new terminal 5 at Heathrow, with a suitcase and carry-on ready to start our new adventure.

At the time I was sharing my new life on a personal blog and this is what I wrote about that first day:

Handover today went well, the flat is much bigger than I remembered so everything went in fine. The removal men turned up with the truck at about 11.30am and were unpacked  by 2pm even with unscheduled stops whilst our elderly new neighbour travelled down the stairs. If she was a better time manager she could have done all her errands in one go but at least it keeps her fit!

I visited our local Irma (a supermarket chain similar to Waitrose) several times in the day and made friends with the young manager, Peter, who was happy to help with my queries about the many types of cream they sold. He also welcomed me to the neighbourhood.

After we unpacked random boxes and the kitchen we went for a quest to find a DIY shop which took us miles only to buy the plugs in a supermarket having given up on the directions we had. On the walk back, about 2 yards from the supermarket, we spotted the shop. Sadly my current vocab doesn’t extend to DIY!

The area seems really nice with plenty of shops, bars and restaurants on Gammel Kongevej, the only street we have explored so far. It is very quiet in our apartment even though we back onto a school, they seem to do lessons in shifts as there always seems to be a teeming playground. Bizarrely the school bell rang at quarter to ten tonight. We can’t hear neighbours so I am hoping that they can’t hear us!

Other bizarre observation of the day – they leave babies outside shops and cafes unattended as ‘the fresh air is good for them’! cimg0197

From that first day onwards I felt a fizz of excitement in my tummy every morning. After a few mornings with our relocator, we were registered with resident numbers and he had taken us around our local big supermarkets, which at the time I thought was a strange excursion but it was a great thing to do to help me get acclimatised.

I decided to take a month before I started Danish lessons and took that time to explore the local area and dig into the city. We spent weekends exploring places such as Christiania (which I loved but my husband hated) and many of the touristy places. In those days there was no social media to guide us so we explored blind, and it was amazing. I felt like an explorer; every day I found new places, had new experiences and excitedly shared these with my husband every evening.

One afternoon in our local supermarket I heard a very clear English voice and I bravely walked up to a very statuesque woman and introduced myself. This was my first friend. She had also just moved to Copenhagen from the US (although she was from Ghana and had been at boarding school in the UK, hence the accent). We met for coffee later in the week and I noticed she carried a little leather bound notebook into which she wrote down recommendations and information she discovered. I liked this and her. We parted without making another date and I wasn’t sure we would meet again.

Fast forward a few weeks and guess who was in my first Danish class? We became good friends and even ended up having our sons within weeks of each other a few years later. I was glad I made the bold step of speaking to her in the supermarket.

I think I spent a lot of that first year in a constant state of excitement. I balanced my days with Danish lessons in the morning, some freelance work in the afternoons and a lot of exploring, often on a whim. I met people in class and soon realised which people I had more in common with, I got to know my neighbours and I found a feeling of peace that had been lacking for a long time in the UK. One May evening we sat eating our dinner with the windows open, birds singing outside and I turned to my husband and said how much I loved our new life, and he agreed.

I look back and wonder what made the experience so good. I think it was a combination of many things. The disillusionment with my life in the UK meant that I was open to a new experience. My parents had already moved from the UK to France so I didn’t feel I was leaving anyone behind (friends were more than happy to plan trips to visit). Our move was actually very stress-free, from the home search through to the actual move, and then the subsequent settling in period (a lot of which was helped by a brilliant relocator). I found that the Danish way of life suited me – being car-free was brilliant.

Moving in the summer so the days were long and we had great weather meant that we could explore a lot more. We did tons more things in the evenings than we ever did at home without the long car commute at the end of the day. We saw things were happening and we went along. We went to watch dragon boats racing at Island Brygge – it turned out to be a company team building event but we sat in the sunshine at 9pm and just enjoyed ourselves with no pressure. We went along to a free concert to hear Tina Dickow. We lived a lot more spontaneously than we ever did in the UK. We had more time together and life was more relaxed in general.

bump-in-tivoliAfter our first calendar year in Copenhagen we decided to start a family and we were lucky enough that I fell pregnant quickly (I always wonder how quickly this would have been if I had still been run ragged in the UK). A whole new journey started.

 

Tons of free resources

Over the last four years of writing this blog (I had to work that out and it shocked me) I have written a number of useful practical guides to life here so I thought that I would gather them all together as downloadable PDFs over on my Dejlige Days Welcome website. I will be writing some longer guides to aspects of life here which I will be selling but it is important to me the still offer a lot for free. I will be adding to the free guides in the same way – the information will appear here on my blog first and then be available as a free download. So please do pop over and download any that seem useful to you. I would also really appreciate it if you could add a comment here telling me of any other guides that may be useful to you.

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