Last Week in Denmark (08.10 - 15.10) Episode 39 Year 3
New reforms - the school system and the social benefits
Invitation to “United in Diversity” Cafe, a project made by AMIS and Last Week in Denmark, financed by Europa-Nævnet. Nine events around Denmark between the 3th of November and the 9th of December. EU Citizenship rights and opportunities, entertainment, networking, food and drinks, meetup for subscribers. Free access.
Aarhus, 3th November, 17:00 -19:00, Dokk1
Vejle, 4th November, 11:00 - 13:00
Odense, 10th November, 17:00 - 19:00
Copenhagen, 11th November, 15:00 - 17:00 (The European-Ukrainian Hub)
Thisted, 17th November, 19:00 - 21:00
Aalborg, 18th November, 15:00 - 17:00
Billund and Esbjerg, still to be decided
Skive, 9th December, 11:00 - 13:00
Help needed for the above-mentioned events! We need a photographer in Odense and Copenhagen (the budget is 1000 DKK per event); We need an artistic moment (live music; comedian; dancers; etc.) of max 30 min in all the above locations (the budget is 1000 DKK per event); We also need a local food startup that wants to provide a buffet or finger food (the budget is 3000 DKK per event). If you want to apply for any of the above, please write to email@example.com (Sophie). P.S. - Volunteers are also welcome for the event implementation.
Status for the referral campaign: 500 new subscribers in the first campaign week. 27,500 subscribers to go until we reach our goal. So far, the top 5 across all the leaderboards are: Toshali (51 subscribers); Tilla Bezdan (32 subscribers); Makhin A. (29 subscribers); Karli Winters (23 subscribers) and Can Deger (23 subscribers). At the end of the competition, the top 3, will receive a Dell XPS 13 9370 (first place), Microsoft Surface Pro 6 (second place) and HP Elite Monitor (third place) provided by our sponsor, Bloomtree Technologies. Don’t forget that you can also get a significant discount from Bloomtreeit.dk depending on the number of subscribers you bring in (from 5% off at 2 subscribers to 30% off at 50 subscribers) and cool LWID merchandise. The competition ends on the 29th of October.
How do I join the competition?
Press the blue button “Refer a friend”. It will take you to the “Leaderboard” page, where you can find a link in the middle of the page.
Press “Copy Link” and share it with your friends, co-workers, neighbors, community groups, etc.
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Donation: The referral campaign sponsor, Bloomtree Technologies, made a significant donation of IT equipment towards our office in Aalborg. Thanks to their contribution, we were able to set up five working stations for volunteers. Read more about them here.
Danish Politics HQ
New Laws and Regulations
New conditions added to social benefits (kontanthjælp) from 2025: From the 1st of January 2025, people receiving kontanthjælp will be subject to a work obligation, which means that the municipality can send you to work for the benefit of society and you cannot refuse (well you can, but then you lose the social benefits). The government says that 22,000 people will be affected by the work obligation.
There is an exemption for people who fulfill two conditions: they have lived in Denmark for nine out of the last 10 years, and they have had full time work for at least two and a half years in the past 10 years.
According to Liberal Alliance, the proposal is just “symbol politics” as it will cost 170 million DKKandl bring only 300 full-time people to the labor market.
Reformed social benefits system from July 2025: A majority in the Parliament agreed to reform the kontanthjælp system. The system has been simplified, as there will be three different social benefits rates(minimum at 6,553 DKK; basic at 6,955 DKK and high at 12,064 DKK). For example, the people that will have a work obligation will qualify only for the minimum rate. Also, the 225-hour rule (the minimum number of hours of work before you can receive social benefits) and danskbonus will be abolished.
To get the high rate, you need to either be over 30 years old or over 25 years old with at least 2 years and a half of employment. As an international, to get the high rate you also need to have lived nine years out of the last ten in Denmark and had employment for at least two years and a half.
In addition to the three rates, there are some extras: if you have children, you get 2,687 DKK per child; young people under 24 years old without children will get 1000 DKK; young people under 24 years old with children will get 2,500 DKK; single parents on the minimum or the basic rate will get 1,581 DKK.
The minimum rate replaces the SHO-benefits (selvforsørgelses- og hjemrejseydelse og overgangsydelse).
The housing support (boligstøtte) will be a maximum of 350 DKK per month. A free time bonus for children from families receiving social benefits will be introduced (fritidstillæg), amounting 450 DKK per month. The cost of prescribed medicine for people under 18 years old from social benefits families will be fully covered by the state.
If you are on the minimum or basic rates, you will be able to earn up to 5000 DKK without receiving fewer social benefits. If you are on the high rate, you will be able to earn up to 2500 DKK without receiving fewer social benefits.
There are 38,600 children in families receiving social benefits. 33% of people on social benefits have a “non-western” background. 40% of women from a “non-western” background are on social benefits. In the eyes of the government, “non-western” describes people from outside European Union, United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Danish Citizenship, Integration and Immigration Laws
Religious preachers from outside the European Union have a hard time entering Denmark: Since the “Preachers Act” has been implemented as a reaction to a documentary made in 2016 that shown an imam from the Grimhøjmoskeen in Aarhus speaking in favour of the stoning of women and the violent upbringing of children, it has become extremely difficult for religious workers to enter Denmark. A British Catholic priest decided to leave the Faroe Islands as a result.
To get the idea; you must apply for a work permit if you want to visit and say a prayer in a church or organization in Denmark as a guest.
Law proposals and ideas
35 proposals to reform the public school system:
A new subject on the school timetable called “Education and jobs” during which the students will do an internship;
30 minutes less per week of schooling - 190 hours in total from kindergarten to 9th grade;
Twice as many “electives” and a broader choice of practical electives like needlework, food science, coding and robotics;
History becomes an “elective” subject and only Danish and Mathematics remain as mandatory subjects;
More freedom to the teachers and school leaders - 90% of the requirements will be removed;
More influence for the parents on the “skolebestyrelsen” (school board) to decide on f.ex. if there should be 45 minutes of mandatory sports per day or if there should be homework support at school.
8th and 9th graders should get the option to spend 2 days per week doing an internship at a company instead of going to school. They could also choose to go 2 days per week at a vocational school where they can learn a trade.
2.6 billion DKK investment in better laboratories, workshops, and other rooms where practical electives can be held.
The school boards should be extended to include representatives of local businesses or local associations.
A higher diesel tax from 2025: The government proposed to increase the diesel tax with 50 øre per liter. At the same time, the equalization tax (udligningsafgiften) that diesel car owners pay will be lowered. So it will be cheaper to have a car, but more expensive to fill the tank. The idea is still at the proposal level, and we don’t know when it will have an agreement in place.
The political arena
Social democrat mayors from coastal areas want forced expropriation of farmers from lowland cultivated areas: Oxygen depletion in the Danish coastal waters concerns the mayors of the coastal municipalities. One of the main reasons for oxygen depletion is the emissions of nitrogen from the cultivation of lowlands (bogs, streams, wet meadows, wetlands). 171,000 hectares of lowlands are drained and cultivated. The government aims to reduce the cultivated area of lowlands to 71,000 hectares by 2030. At the moment, it is voluntary for farmers to give up farming on lowlands. However, according to the social democrat mayors, the volunteering process will take too long, as only 187 hectares have been reclaimed so far, and forced expropriation should be implemented.
Due to the war between Israel and Hamas, the government is pausing development aid for Palestine: In 2023, Denmark planned to spend 235.5 million DKK on development and humanitarian aid in Palestine. So far, 115 million DKK have been spent on humanitarian aid (emergency and basic services) and 25.8 million DKK for Danish NGOs that implement development projects. The 72 million DKK meant for development projects will be paused. The right-wing parties (Venstre - Liberals, Liberal Alliance, Konservative, DF, DD and NB) want to stop aid to Palestine.
Danish Economy HQ
40,000 DKK more for yearly household expenses for an average family with two adults and two children, compared to January 2022. Household expenses (groceries, petrol, electricity, heating) got more expensive for an average family in the last year and a half, according to a report made by Nordea Bank. Home owners with mortgage loans are also spending more on interest rates (f.ex. a homeowner with a F3 mortgage loan of 2 million DKK pays 31,080 DKK more in interest rates).
Inflation is at the lowest level in 32 months: An incredible 0.9% inflation rate was registered in September. However, to see an increase in purchasing power (as in to get more value for the same money) we need deflation. For that we need the inflation rate to fall under 0%.
Denmark’s GDP will increase by 1.7% in 2023: Despite all the crises we have faced in the past couple of years, there is economic growth in Denmark. Mainly, thanks to the pharma industry (without them, there would be a recession in Denmark). While most of the companies are suffering because people are spending less (to keep inflation in check), the pharma industry thrives by selling abroad.
As a consequence of the economic growth, there should be an extra nine billion DKK in the national treasury as financial leeway. The leeway is the tax revenue minus the public expenditure. The Ministry of Finance initial assessment was at 55 billion DKK financial leeway. The Economic Council revised the number to 64 billion DKK. The biggest question on everyone’s mind is now, how will those money be spent?
The Danish economy is expected to slowdown in the following years: 1.3% economic growth in 2024; 0.6% in 2025 and 1.1% in 2030.
A shorter working week of 34.5 hours is not sustainable, according to the leading economists in Denmark: The Economic Council put it very bluntly, if we want to work less, we need to either pay higher taxes or get less welfare. While we severely lack qualified workforce, the trend is that more people are aiming to get part-time work. On the long term, the public finances will be severely affected by people working less hours.
Gas prices are rising again: Even if the European gas stocks are filled to the brim right now, it doesn't take much to create nervousness in the European gas markets. This can be seen in the gas price, which has risen by 25 percent, among other things, as a consequence of Israel closing the Tamar gas field in connection with the armed conflict in Gaza and southern Israel. The closure means that Egypt receives less gas from Israel and that the Egyptians can therefore export less liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe.
Daily Life in Denmark HQ
A new flagday in Denmark: 15th October has been added to the list of “flagdays” in Denmark. Why? It is the birthday of Prince Christian and in connection with his 18th birthday, this day has been declared an official flag day. What does it mean? Flags on buses and in front or on top of state buildings. You can see the entire list of flag days here.
The end of red meat in schools and daycare institutions in Copenhagen: The local authorities decided to ban red meat in school and daycare institution cantines from August 2024. Red meat is beef, veal and lamb.
Copenhagen Municipality joins the European Declaration of Rights for Homeless Persons: The Homeless Bill of Rights outlines 11 fundamental rights - the right to housing, access to decent emergency accommodation, the right to use public space and move freely within it, equal treatment, postal adress, basic sanitary facilities, emergency services, vote, data protection, privacy and the right to carry out practices necessary for survival within the law.
Healthcare with Punitha Kumar
The government has announced a 500 million DKK boost annually for psychiatry from next year. In a DR report, Minister of Health Sophie Løhde said the increment will be used to hire more professional help and provide better and faster access to treatment. Some of the key takeaways on how the money will be spent include:
Municipalities need to provide an accessible service for children and young people with mental health problems. Treatment waiting times need to be significantly reduced.
The current waiting time for children with autism for receiving treatment in Nordjylland is 78 weeks.
Allocate more resources for follow-up treatments to prevent children and young people from relapsing after they have completed their treatment.
Create a 24/7 psychiatric emergency hotline.
Men’s mental health matters, the Danish Health Authority says. In conjunction with World Mental Health Day which falls on Oct 10, the authorities have rolled out a new mental health campaign, En Af Os (One of Us), targeted at men. Unit head Niels Sandø said, “It is important to take care of mental problems or mental illnesses and not deal with it alone. We know that more women than men, for example, have anxiety and depression, but at the same time there are more men who have come into contact with psychiatric emergency rooms. This suggests that a man’s mental problems are not detected in time, before they develop into serious mental disorders, while at the same time the risk of exclusion is high.” Among other things, the campaign advocates on seeking help, developing better listening skills and creating a safe space for both men and their loved ones. If you wish to read more, visit https://sst.dk/da/en-af-os
More first-time mothers are experiencing uterine ruptures and severe stretch marks during delivery, the Danish database for births (DKF) has revealed in a DR report. Last year, 5.4% of first-time mothers who underwent vaginal delivery suffered uterine ruptures as well as anal sphincter injuries. In 2021 and 2020, the figures were 4.9% and 4.6% respectively. DKF is steadfast in its goal of maintaining these figures below the 5% threshold, emphasizing the urgent need to enhance the quality of childbirth experiences in Denmark. Midwife and DKF member Lene Friis Eskildsen said that besides the stretch marks, new mothers are also grappling with enduring challenges related to toilet visits and intercourse. However, she reassured that the number of women facing long-term problems remains relatively small, with comprehensive post-labor care in place, including reparative surgeries and thorough follow-up care. Though she said there was no clear explanation for the increasing severity of stretch marks and ruptures, Lene suggested that it could be linked to the delivery of larger and heavier babies, as well as the rising body mass index (BMI) among pregnant women.
32 new energy parks (areas with solar cells or wind turbines): You can check them out on this map to see if you will be neighbors with a future energy park. Denmark wants to multiply four times the renewable energy produced on land until 2030 and to do that, they plan to build a lot of new energy parks (more than 150). There will be compensation for neighbors of energy parks.
A 46 km of insect corridor on the side of E45 between Vejle and Aarhus: The transport minister announced a unique biodiversity project. The requirement is that it must be a continuous corridor for insects – narrow in some places, but nowhere broken. This means clearing trees, bushes, scrub and undergrowth (the thick "mat" of withered grass that takes light and space from the flowering herbs), placement of dead trees along the roads (insect hotels) and space for vegetation where insects thrive best.
This section is curated by Cicek Eris. If you have events you want us to include here please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can check out her newsletter about cultural events in Denmark here.
Copenhagen, 19th Oct, 18:00-20:00: Are you new in Denmark? Then this event is for you, which can make your first steps in Denmark a bit easier where you will learn about Danish culture. There will also be time for networking.
Aarhus, 21st Oct, 10:00–12:00: “Fun Day” events which are held every month aim to bring parents and children together and socialize. Each month’s Fun Day theme is different, and this month’s event is Halloween themed minigolf.
Aarhus, 25th Oct, 10:00-12:00: “Families in Aarhus” is an initiative for families to meet up, socialize, and network while the children can play – This event is for children of all ages (and their parents) and is the perfect opportunity to build local connections.
International media about Denmark HQ
30-year-old American teacher moved to Denmark—now pays $2,100/month to live in a luxury apartment and is “much happier“ (CNBC)
Denmark, Netherlands, US spearhead creation of future Ukraine air force (Reuters)
Stock Games 2023 with Andreea Bianca Pascalau Buza
The SAS saga continues..
You might think that now that the SAS shares are worthless (they will be delisted during Q2 2024), people would just sell, take the loss and save some of their money through tax deductions. While that may be true to some people, it seems like SAS is very popular among the “risk-takers”. Only in the past week (9-13 Oct) it grew by 136%. It’s still nowhere near the value it had before the drop though.
Birkenstock went public
Starting Wednesday 11/10 you can buy shares in Birkenstock, as the company went public on the New York Stock Exchange. After being launched at a price of $46, it dropped over the course of the week, closing at $36.38 on Friday.
It is often recommended not to buy shares in a company that just went public as the price often drops.
Are you an international parent in Denmark? Or maybe planning to be? I have good news for you :) I just published a long guide on moneylikealocal.dk about all the basics you should know to set your child up for financial success in Denmark. The guide includes topics like Børneopsparing, forældrekøb, gift rules, taxes and more. You can download the guide here (it requires a newsletter subscription, but if that’s not your cup of tea, you can unsubscribe when you get the first newsletter).
Whether you’re a parent or not, if you’d like to learn more about investments, home ownership, loans, money saving tips and more, follow my Instagram account @moneylikealocal.dk