Valby and Sydhavn coffee shops

Since the start of this school year my son’s school is now located in Valby. It is an area I know from when he was at preschool here but a lot has changes in the area since then. Our route in from home also takes us through the older, more traditional part of Sydhavn. In my quest for my second morning coffee and perhaps the odd pastry, I have been discovering a few coffee shops in the area. Here are a few I like in case you are also in this area.

First is Snabel B located close to Valby Station. This is a retro, grungy cafe which reminds me a lot of the Berlin aesthetic. Friendly staff, comfy seats, great music and reasonable coffee. 

Next is the Valby outpost of the Emmerys chain, located at Trekronergade 147b. Not a big fan of their coffee as I find it a little strong but if you like it that way then this is the place for you. It is a short walk from Sjælør Station. Their avocado on rye bread is very good.

Saving the best for last is Rallys, located just off Mozarts Plads in Sydhavn. A cosy place with great coffee, pastries and breakfast plates. It is also very reasonably priced. This is certainly an area on the up and Rallys has got in before the area gets too gentrified.

Also worth another mention is South Harbour Cafe (close to Sydhavn Station) and Wild Kiwi Pies (close to Valby Station).

Buying a home in Denmark

Many expats find the price of renting a home here too expensive and look at the possibility of buying their own place as the mortgage repayments are less than renting.We first bought an apartment in Østerbro back in 2014. We had returned from Germany at the beginning of 2013 and took a beautiful rental apartment in Frederiksberg. The rent was more than we could afford in the long-term and the rental contract was only for 18 months. As we knew we’d like to live in Denmark for good, the obvious thing was to buy somewhere. Moving from a rental to your own apartment is much simpler than both buying and selling as we found out in 2016 when we decided to move from Østerbro to Amager.

I have gathered some online resources here to help first time expat buyers. Robinhus, a Danish estate agent, has a really useful guide to buying property here as an expat. International House also has a useful page. 

Unless you have lived in Denmark for a period of at least 5 years, you must obtain permission from the Danish Ministry of Justice (Justitsministeriet) to buy property. However, this restriction does not apply if you are an EU-citizen, and if the property is to be used as a permanent residence.

In regard to getting a mortgage, the larger the deposit you have the more appealing you will be to lenders. First try your own bank and see what they think about the amount you would like to borrow and the deposit you have. If they don’t offer you what you would like then try other banks. We moved all our banking from Nordea to Nykredit to secure the mortgage we needed. The process, like more bureaucracy in Denmark, is pretty straightforward once you have found a bank to lend you the money. Don’t feel downhearted if the first bank can’t help you.

If you already own a property here and you plan to sell it and buy another place, we found that unless we had sold our place or took out a bridging loan, most sellers were not interested in taking an offer from us. We found an amazing house but as we were yet to sell our place they didn’t even entertain our offer.

It is normal for there to be open houses at properties for sale and these usually take place on a Sunday. If you plan your day well you can see a number of places in one day. You can, of course make a private viewing appointment. We found boliga.dk was the best portal for looking for a new place.

It is normal for your never to see the owner of the properties for sale. You will be shown around by an estate agent. I think this is because Danes are very proud of their homes and would not want to see someone have a negative reaction to their lovely hyggeligt home.

When you are buying property you need to be aware of extra taxes you may need to pay. Sales materials put together by estate agents will have tables explaining these costs etc and it is a good idea to ask the estate agent to go over one of these with you so you understand how it all work. The tables are the same on all documents so once you understand one you can understand them all. This guide can help understand property tax and other tax issues.

I hope this helps out.

Get a new look this autumn with a fab hairdresser!

I have written before about my amazing hairdresser, Sharon Hatting. Not only is Sharon a great hairdresser but she is also something of an inspiration to me.

Sharon is now renting a chair in a salon called Hair by Dunja at Enghavevej 70 in Vesterbro. It is a great location and easy to get to. In September she is offer 10% off a cut as an introduction offer to her new location. You can book an appointment via their website here.


I also interviewed Sharon for a My Danish Career piece in The Local Denmark and it is getting a cracking response. You can read it here and find out more about Sharon’s business journey.

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

 

Shamyat – amazing baklava on Amager

Thanks to an instagram post from some people I know who have just moved to an apartment on Amagerbrogade I found out about the most amazing baklava shop called Shamyat. It is the kind of place you might miss as it is located on Amager Boulevard, a little before the main parades of shops start on Amagerbrogade.

On Sunday I decided that it was time to try this place and I was not disappointed. As soon as I walked in the door the man behind the counter offered me a taster and that was enough to know that this was the place to get some delicious Mediterranean delicacies.

I asked the man for a selection box and he popped in two of each type. In my excitement to order I hadn’t really looked closely at the prices. As he presented me with the box below I was astounded only to be charged 50dkk. And it was 50dkk well spent!

They went down a storm at home so we’ll definitely be back! Shamyat also sell a selection of more generic (and not doubt delicious) petit fours and boxes of little Dannebrog cake/cookie type things.

So if you don’t live on Amager pop on the 5C bus, which stops almost directly outside and get the taste of the Mediterranean this autumn. (Address: Amager Boulevard 127)

On another note, I am starting to record the first interviews this wee, for my forthcoming podcast, which will be launched in October. If you are interested in hearing more about the podcast and other Dejlige Days news please sign up for my newsletter here.

Got milk? – Quick guide to main dairy products in Denmark

Ok, so today I am going to write about milk. Ever since I moved here (and probably a long time before) milk, milk products and yoghurt have been baffling newly arrived (and not so new) expats. Everyone has a tale of either themselves or someone they know who inadvertently bought a litre of yoghurt thinking it was milk and ruined a very decent cup of tea! 

So this is the quick and dirty on milk etc

Milk (available as organic (økologisk) and non organic)

Sødmælk – this is one of the highest fat milk sold here at 3.5% fat. You may find variations of this made with Jersey milk or especially formulated for coffee.

Letmælk – next one down in fat content at 1.5% fat.

Minimælk – milk with 0.4% fat

Skummetmælk – the lowest fat one at 0.1%

Gårdmælk – this is literally translated at farm milk. It is high in fat, between 3 and 4.5%. The fat levels vary as this milk is not regulated for fat content and it fluctuates depending on calving times, weather, season and the cows’ diet.

A38

This is a milk with acidophilus added along with another milk acids, which are reportedly good for your stomach. This comes in various fat percentages are well. It is usually used for breakfast with muesli and porridge.

Ymer

Another baffling one which I have stayed away from. It is a milk with concentrated milk proteins and is therefore very protein rich. It takes a little acidic and is used at breakfast.

Tykmælk

Another breakfast milk, this time with a high fat content as it is made from 3.5% sødmælk. It is creamy and also contains added milk acids (lactic acid).

Kærnemælk

Buttermilk, this is high in protein, low in fat and has a sharp taste. It is used as the basis for koldskål (sweet thick milk dessert served in the summer with little biscuits, which can be bought everywhere over the summer months). If you need buttermilk in recipes this is the product to buy.

Yoghurt

This is called yoghurt and comes in various fat percentages again. It can be plain but also with fruit flavours (but not that many to choose from – pear and banana being a popular one). These kinds of yoghurt come in litre cartons a lot like milk and not very often in single serve pots, hence the confusion with milk.

Skyr

This is a thick, sharp tasting yoghurt from Iceland. Generally high in protein and low in fat. Use as you would greek yoghurt.

Cream

There are around three main varieties of cream. Kaffefløde, which is coffee cream; piskefløde, with is whipping cream but not double cream (for UK readers); and madlavnings fløde, which is cooking cream and has a thickener added.

Other milk products should be familiar to expats such as fromage frais, græsk (greek) yoghurt, creme fraiche (best substitute you will get for sour cream), and Kvark (quark).

This guide in Danish is helpful too.

 

 

Winter is on the horizon – time to prepare

It may seem early but it is time to really start thinking about preparing for winter. I wrote a couple of posts over the years about this so I have linked below.

Getting ready for winter (Health)

Getting ready for winter (with kids)

Quick lowdown on lost property

I regularly see posts on expat forums where people have lost something and want to know how to find out where it might be or people have found something belonging to someone else and wonder what to do with it. I thought I’d gather some links and information here to help with those questions. I spent some time with a Copenhagen Police Officer at the main station police station finding out exactly what they recommend.

So if you find something you think is lost such as a wallet or keys what should you do?

The obvious one is to simply hand it in to a police station (you can find your local one here) and they then deal with it. If you find something in a public institution, Tivoli, shop or on public transport, you should hand it in there as they will have a place where they put lost things and often the owner may be retracing their steps to find the lost item.

If there is a name and address on the item you may wish to return it directly but this must be done straightaway.

Post CPR cards and keys can be put into post boxes and they, in theory, should find their way back to their owner or an official lost and found.

If you find a named Rejsekort, hand it into any DSB office or a 7 Eleven with a DSB counter and they will return the card.

How about if you have lost something?

You can call 114 (non emergency police number) and it will be logged and you receive a note about it via your E-boks.

You can also visit the Police lost and found office (you can find your local one or the one local to where you lost the item here.) They keep items for three months (one month if it is a bike). You can email them in advance if you are looking for something very specific. They will ask for serial number or unique identifiers where relevant.

If you have lost something on DSB they have a helpful page of FAQs about that here.

I hope this helps!

Under the world at Cistererne

I have lived here a long time and I have lost count of the times I have said that we must visit the Cisterns in Sondermarken. So this summer we finally did it.

The Cisterns (Cisternerne in Danish) are a former subterranean reservoir which once contained the sole supply of drinking water for Copenhagen and could hold as much as 16m litres of clean water. As the city expanded and other solutions were found for water supply it is no longer used in this way. For many years it has been a venue for art exhibitions and events.

It is an interesting space to visit and at the same time fascinatingly creepy. It takes a little time to adjust to the darkness when you first enter but there are sections of natural light in places, which are often utilised by the artists. You should remember to bring a warm layer as it is chilly in the caves.

When we visited the current exhibition was The Cisterns X Sambuichi, a Japanese artist (you can read more about the exhibition here) and this runs until February. In conjunction with the exhibition there are also associated events.

We walked around three times when we visited as the first time you need to get yourself adjusted to the darkness and also the pathways. We noticed different parts of the exhibition each time we went around. We will definitely be returning to see the next exhibition.

For more information visit their website here

Photo credit for photos 1 and 3: Jens Markus Lindhe

How to fly the Dannebrog

You don’t have to live in Denmark for long to notice how much the Danes love their flag, the Dannebrog. It is used for almost all celebrations and you can get hold of a variety of little flags for parties, napkins, bunting, etc,  and wooden flags on stands for the table at a special dinner or meal. In restaurants if you tell the waiting staff you are celebrating a birthday they will often bring a little flag for the table. I think we are fairly lucky here in Denmark that the flag hasn’t been appropriated in a negative way.Since we moved to a house with a flag pole out the front, like most of our neighbours, we decided to look into the rules about flag flying especially after I read this article .

I also recall a funny chapter in Helen Russell’s book, The Year of Living Danishly,  about how she fell foul of the local flag ‘police’. So what are the rules about flying the Dannebrog?

There is an organisation called Danmarks Samfundet who are in charge of the flag rules here so here goes!

  • The flag must be of the correct proportion and this is related to the height of your flag pole.
  • You must face the flag when it is being raised and it must never touch the ground.
  • It must be lowered before sunset unless you have a light to illuminate it. If you fly the flag after sunset it is known as flying the flag for the devil (at flage for Fanden). If you have a flagstaff and you want to fly the Danish flag but you can’t be doing with raising and lowering it everyday you can use a Danish streamer (see picture below) and this must be half the height of your flag pole in length.
  • No other flag must be flown from the same flagstaff at the same time.
  • Other Scandinavian flags, the UN flag and the EU flag are also permitted to be flown in Denmark, but require special permission from the local police.
  • If Dannebrog is to be flown alongside nearby flags, it must be raised first, and from the left side. Following that, the other flags are raised in alphabetical order (so the Norwegian flag would be raised before the Swedish one, for instance).
  • When the flag is worn out and needs to be disposed of, it must be burned.
  • The flag must be raised and lowered slowly.

Want to know more? Danmarks Samfundet have produced some helpful guides in English here and here.

NB This post contains an affiliate link.