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Life in Denmark

Life in Denmark might be different from what you are used to. Below we have gathered some basic information about the Danish society and way of life we hope you will find useful.


Denmark’s infrastructure is well developed. The roads are of high quality, our public transportation offers are extensive, and every city is equipped with bike lanes. This makes Denmark an easy country to get around in.

The Danes love to bike no matter the weather. Bicycles are easily the most common form of transport in Denmark. The many kilometres of bike lanes in every major city makes this an easy, cheap, and secure way of transportation. 

If you are interested in buying a bike you can either buy a new or a second-hand bike at one of many local bike dealers or from other students through Facebook pages. In the major cities of Denmark, some companies rent out bikes. When buying a used bike, you should first check if the bike has been reported stolen. This can be done by checking the frame number of the bike on the website of the Danish Police.

In all our campus cities, you can get around by bus. Please visit to get more information concerning timetables, routes, and prices.

If you are a frequent user of public transportation, we recommend that you get a ‘Rejsekort’, which is an electronic ticket system. For more information regarding this visit

If you wish to travel around in Denmark this can easily be done by train or coach. For information regarding train tickets, schedules, and prices, visit

Multiple long-distance coach companies operate in Denmark. For information regarding destinations, schedules and prices check the various companies’ webpage.

Some international students choose to bring their cars to Denmark. You can drive a foreign-registered car in Denmark. However, please be aware of the rules and regulations regarding foreign-registered cars in Denmark.

SDU cannot help you with this.

Information regarding rules and regulations can be found here at



The Danes are good at English, so you don’t have to worry about the language barrier when studying at SDU. However, the Danes love it when you try understanding and speaking Danish. It is also a really good idea to learn Danish, if you would like to work in Denmark during or after your studies.

Therefore, we recommend that you enrich your stay in Denmark by getting a basic understanding of the Danish language. All international SDU students in Odense can sign up for Danish lessons at a local language center.

You will receive further information regarding this at Orientation day at the beginning of your stay. If you are studying at our campus in Sønderborg, Kolding, or Esbjerg, please keep yourself updated on the Campus page relevant to your city of study.


Digitalisation and NemID

Denmark is a very digitalized society and the public sector communicates with the citizens through digital solutions, such as For this the NemID is used. NemID is a digital signature and is used for many different public websites, online banking, changing your address, the annual statement from the tax authorities (SKAT), your municipal’s online self-service, and much more. 
You can apply for a NemID at the local Citizen Services once you have received your CPR number.


Finances and banking

The cost of living in Denmark can be considered expensive depending on where you come from. However, salaries are correspondingly high and most medical treatment is free of charge in Denmark. The Danes studying at SDU are experts at living on a student-friendly budget, so if you follow the local habits, life as a student in Denmark shouldn’t blow your budget. Examples of an estimated student budget can be found at Study in Denmark.

We recommend that you hold an international credit card when you arrive in Denmark, so you can pay your rent, food, and other fees until you have a Danish account. You need to obtain a Danish civil registration number, before you can open up a Danish bank account. If you only bring cash, please keep in mind, that not all places will accept cash – this especially applies when paying rent. 

You can open a Danish bank account once you hold a Danish CPR number. To open a Danish bank account, just bring your Passport/ID card along with your CPR number to a bank. SDU cannot advise you on which bank to choose. If in doubt, try asking a fellow student for recommendations.

You must register your Danish bank account as a NemKonto.

A Nemkonto is a normal bank account that you assign as your Nemkonto. All payments from public institutions will be transferred directly to this account. For more information, please visit

All major credit cards, such as MasterCard, VISA, American Express, Diner’s Club, and Euro Card are accepted in most restaurants, supermarkets, international chains, and major stores. However, in some smaller stores, they don’t accept foreign cards. Here cash, a Dankort, or Mobilepay is an option.

A Dankort is a Danish debit card. If you wish to obtain a Dankort, please contact the bank in which you hold a Danish bank account and hear more about your options.

Mobilepay is a payment app, widely used in Denmark. You can use the app to pay with your credit card from your smartphone in supermarkets, pay in different stores and take away restaurants, as well as sending/receiving the money to your friends.

If you would like to be able to use Mobilepay, it is required that you open a bank account in a Danish bank.

If you have been accepted in the State Education Grant and Loan Scheme in Denmark or you plan to work in Denmark during your study period, there is a series of tax rules that you need to know about and by which you must abide.

In Denmark, the tax and customs administration is called “SKAT”, and you will find further information on their website. SKAT may take retroactive action if the rules are not properly observed.

There are limits as to how much work you can take on as a student. For more information visit this webpage from SKAT and New to Denmark’s website. 

With your student card in hand, it is possible to get student discounts at various places such as restaurants, stores, museums, and fitness centres in our cities of study.

The University book shop gives a 10% discount on books.

Student discounts are often not listed; therefore, we recommend that you ask if student discounts are available.


Public Holidays

In Denmark we have the following public holidays:

 New Year's Day 1 January 
 Maundy Thursday  Thursday before Easter Sunday
 Good Friday  Friday before Easter Sunday
 Second Day of Easter   Monday after Easter Sunday
 Prayer Day  Friday after Easter
 Ascension Day  Monday after Whitsunday
 Christmas Eve   24 December
 Christmas Day  25 December 
 Boxing Day  26 December


Social Life in Denmark

SDU International University of Southern Denmark

  • Campusvej 55
  • Odense M - DK-5230
  • Phone: +45 6550 2264

Last Updated 07.06.2023