Denmark has one official language: Danish. However, there are several minority languages spoken throughout the territory, if you include The Faeroe Islands and Greenland.
Danes are taught English from a very young age and 86% of all Danes speak English as a second language. Therefore, it is fairly easy for foreigners to move to Denmark and still be able to communicate with Danes. That being said, it is important to know that Danish is still spoken and used by your colleagues, your neighbours, in the local supermarket and by the Danish authorities. Typically people wonder if it is possible to take a position at the University of Copenhagen without learning the Danish language.
To help you decide, we have gathered some information about the use of languages in Denmark.
A lot of information you receive from the Danish authorities will be in Danish. Over the years, more information is available in English. It is always possible to get information in English by phone or one of your Danish colleagues will be happy to help you out.
The University of Copenhagen has a policy of Danish/English parallel language use. All information on the UCPH website is in both English and Danish. Your contract will be in English and any administrative help is available in English. In addition to English, the people working for International Staff Mobility speak several languages, so if you are lucky they can even help you in your own language.
At your department
The use of language can vary from one department to another. However, most departments have an international workforce and in your daily
If you are considering a long-term career at
To be social in another language can be challenging for many people, regardless of the level of co-workers language skills. This also applies
As mentioned earlier most Danes speak English and you can easily attend parties and other social events without knowing any Danish. That being said, it can be a challenge to mingle with Danes without knowing any Danish.
It is our experience that many Danes will switch to
As a foreigner with an official Danish address (folkeregisteradresse), you are offered publicly funded Danish lessons. Danish education at recognized language schools are free from 1st July 2020 onwards. You have to pay a fully refundable deposit of DKK 2,000 per person, when you sign up for Danish language lessons.
Official Danish language schools in and around Copenhagen:
Please be aware of the voucher system regarding free Danish lessons, read more below.
Many other private language schools also offer Danish language lessons, but for those lessons you have to pay fees. As opposed to the recognized schools as exemplified above, the private language schools do not require you have a CPR number in order to sign up for lessons. Moreover, there is no voucher scheme (read more below) or deposit required at the private schools. Please be aware that if you sign up for Danish lessons at some of the private language schools, you will not receive an official licensed diploma, when you finish a module at one of these language schools. If you wish to learn Danish at a private language school that is not recognized at a local municipality in Denmark, please contact them directly.
Danish courses at University of Copenhagen./ Centre for Internationalisation and Parallel Language Use (CIP)
CIP at UCPH offers tailor-made Danish courses for both individuals and groups within all levels of Danish. These courses come with a fee.
If you take Danish language classes at a recognized language school as mentioned above, the lessons are free, but please be aware of the voucher system.
New citizens in Denmark will receive a letter from the municipality where they take residence in their electronic mailbox (e-Boks) – the so-called referral letter. As soon as possible and no later than one month after receiving the referral letter, you should contact the language school where you wish to begin your Danish lessons, regardless of when you plan to start. The voucher system commences automatically after that amount of time.
The voucher holds up to six units, each corresponding to one module of Danish language courses, if classes are attended according to schedule.
It is essential that you familiarize yourself thoroughly with all aspects of the voucher system, in order to understand the consequences of the choices you make. If you want to postpone the start of your Danish language lessons or take a break, the voucher system might still spend your units. In particular, remember to inform your language school if you intend to take breaks in the middle of a module or in between modules.
Note: before 1st July 2020, Danish language classes at recognized schools were not free. Therefore, you may still come across outdated information about fees for publicly funded Danish lessons.