How much does a se­mes­ter in Den­mark cost?

I knew going in that a semester abroad in Copenhagen would not be cheap. Denmark is an expensive country for students. In this post, I share with you what my Erasmus semester cost me - and how I managed to save some cash here and there!

Danish krones: One crown is currently equivalent to 13 euro cents. Accordingly, one usually carries big banknotes around. Photo: private

My time in Copenhagen - and the funds in my bank account - are slowly but surely coming to an end. Eating out, visiting museums or just meeting up for a coffee have become a real luxury for me here. A week's shopping costs me almost twice as much as in Berlin, which is partly due to the fact that few supermarkets sell cheap own brands. If I cook something fresh myself, I quickly end up spending over 20 euros. However, that's still cheaper than going out to eat. At a restaurant, I pay around 30 euros for a meal with a drink - although of course that depends on where I go.

Coffee is where most of my money goes. A cappuccino in a café usually sets you back between 40 and 45 crowns, which is the equivalent of five to six euros. The only comparatively cheap places are the canteen and cafés on the university campus, where you can get coffee for as little as 1.30 euros.

Visits to museums in Denmark - like the Glyptoteket, pictured here - can be quite expensive. But if you wait for the right moment, you can save a lot. Photo: private

Rent in Copenhagen isn’t cheap either. For a small room in a shared flat it’s around 600 to 800 euros. I pay 730 euros for my eight square metre room in the district of Frederiksberg (admittedly one of the city’s more expensive residential areas). However, that seems to put me well below the average, as many of my friends pay over 1,000 euros for their dorm rooms.

How I prepared for my stay abroad

I worked in a bakery in Berlin for a year before my semester abroad and was therefore able to put some money aside. If you are planning to look for a mini-job in Denmark, you should definitely get a Danish bank account, as many employers here require this. You will also need a CPR number (Danish national insurance number), which you can apply for at the residents' registration office.

If you study in Denmark, you will receive an Erasmus grant of 600 euros per month. I also applied for an additional monthly grant of 250 euros, which is available for working students, for example. It is definitely helpful to find out about these Erasmus top-ups or BAföG abroad in good time.

In front of Studenterhuset, a top address for students in Copenhagen's city centre. Photo: private

Tips that have helped me save money

Over time, I have found ways to save a little money as a student in Copenhagen. Basically, it's good to know that there are lots of discounts and special offers for students. In September, for example, many museums were free for young people between the ages of 18 and 27. I made good use of this week and went to the Glyptoteket, a large art museum, among other places. Museum admission in Copenhagen is normally between 15 and 20 euros, so it's well worth waiting for special offers like this.

In addition, many cafés and restaurants give students up to 20 per cent discount. This includes Studenterhuset, a café right in the city centre, where you can get coffee for just three euros. The Studenterhuset organises many free events such as karaoke evenings or quiz nights and also offers cheap drinks. As alcohol in particular is very expensive in Denmark, I often go to Friday bars with my fellow students. These are parties organised at various faculties at the university and take place directly on campus. There, drinks are very cheap.

Another place where I often spend my free time is the Folkehuset Absalon. They offer sports and painting classes, for example, for just a few euros. I particularly like the communal dinners there for the equivalent of six euros. Here, internationals and locals meet and sit together at a long table for a meal.

One final recommendation and the bottom line

And last but not least, a tip for housing: the Housing Foundation, which I mentioned in my first blog post. On their website, you can find relatively cheap dorm rooms from around 400 euros. Unfortunately, I didn't have any luck there because the rooms are booked very quickly. But many of my friends found a place there. It's also worth applying directly on the dorms’ websites. In most cases, only a short letter of motivation is required.

All in all, for me, the semester in Copenhagen was worth every cent. In the end, it's not so much the material things that I will take home with me, but rather the good friendships that I made here. For that alone, I would recommend a semester abroad to anyone!

(Published 11 December 2023)