Fam­i­lies feel the lure of colour­ful Copen­hagen

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

here, and the chil­dren have so much more free­dom.”

The whole­some Scan­di­na­vian lifestyle is lur­ing a grow­ing num­ber of Bri­tish fam­i­lies and young pro­fes­sion­als to Copen­hagen. Re­search by the re­lo­ca­tions com­pany MoveHub.com shows a 580 per cent in­crease in peo­ple re­lo­cat­ing to the Dan­ish cap­i­tal in 2017, drawn per­haps by pop­u­lar im­ages of hygge, the cosi­ness trend that took off a few years ago.

Those who al­ready live in Copen­hagen, how­ever, in­sist that it is a rather dif­fer­ent con­cept to the roar­ing fires, sheep­skin rugs and min­i­mal­ist fur­ni­ture por­trayed in the Bri­tish me­dia.

This misses the point, says Kate Ray­den, who moved to Copen­hagen

last year to study po­lit­i­cal sci­ence at Copen­hagen Univer­sity, and works part-time as a copy­writer. “It seems forced and com­mer­cialised in the UK, whereas here it is more of a state of mind,” she says. “It’s about cre­at­ing a cosy at­mos­phere and en­joy­ing good com­pany. It’s not so much about phys­i­cal stuff.” Peo­ple are more laid-back in Copen­hagen, she adds. They cy­cle to work, tak­ing time to en­joy their sur­round­ings. The city is clean with plenty of parks and trails along the coast­line. The Walk­ers live in the sub­urb of Gentofte, 20 min­utes from the city cen­tre, where there are large vil­las sur­rounded by their own gar­dens. Also pop­u­lar with fam­i­lies are the sub­urbs of Char­lot­ten­lund and Hellerup, which has a renowned in­ter­na­tional school, and the su­per chic Øster­bro, which is within walk­ing dis­tance of the cen­tre. Young pro­fes­sion­als, mean­while, tend to live in dis­tricts such as on­ce­seedy Vester­bro, with its hip­ster cof­fee shops, a vi­brant nightlife and the fa­mous Mother pizze­ria. They also flock to the even edgier Nør­re­bro, with its art gal­leries, base­ment bars and week­end mar­kets.

Walker’s hus­band Ed is a lawyer, but un­like in the UK, his work­ing day ends at 4pm, which means that the Walk­ers are able to spend more time to­gether as a fam­ily.

They also en­joy won­der­ful hol­i­days: trips to is­lands off the coast and ski­ing each win­ter in Nor­way. On their first sum­mer in Copen­hagen, they fol­lowed the lead of their new Dan­ish friends and drove down into Europe for three weeks. “When we re­turned my hus­band’s boss urged him to take four weeks next time,” Walker says. “Ev­ery­thing shuts down here in July so they want you to take a long hol­i­day then.”

Walker was also sur­prised to find that child­care is much cheaper in Den­mark. “I could af­ford to send my lit­tle one to kinder­garten, which gave me more time to my­self,” she says. “I joined a run­ning club and Cross­fit, which would never have hap­pened in Bri­tain.”

Liv­ing in Copen­hagen is not cheaper than in Bri­tain. Eat­ing out is ex­pen­sive and taxes are high – the av­er­age Dan­ish ci­ti­zen pays around 40 per cent per­sonal in­come tax. “But wages are higher,” Ray­den ar­gues. “And ed­u­ca­tion and health­care are free, plus public trans­port is heav­ily sub­sidised.”

When it comes to ac­com­mo­da­tion, how­ever, you get more space for your money than in Lon­don. Ac­cord­ing to estate agent Mads Bruun of RealMæ­glerne, a large two-be­d­room flat with a bal­cony in Vester­bro will cost around £1,200 per month to rent and £300,000 to buy. Mean­while, a fourbed­room house with a gar­den in Hellerup costs from £4,000 per month to rent and from £700,000 up to £4mil­lion to buy. Bruun finds that around half of his clients re­lo­cat­ing to the city for two years or more de­cide to buy rather than rent. The city also of­fers co-op­er­a­tive hous­ing schemes, a cross be­tween rent­ing and home own­er­ship, where you buy a property and pay a monthly fee to a res­i­dents’ as­so­ci­a­tion. Spa­cious co-op apart­ments are avail­able from £250,000.

Nei­ther Walker nor Ray­den are tempted by the idea of mov­ing back to the UK. “It would feel like go­ing back to nor­mal – this way of life is so much more fun,” Walker says.

Nordic cul­ture washes off on you, says Ray­den; once you’ve em­braced it there is no look­ing back. “I def­i­nitely wear more black than I used to; Danes have re­ally mas­tered the laid-back yet stylish bal­ance.”

The Dan­ish have a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing re­served, but Walker has found the re­verse to be true. There is one thing, though, that all Bri­tons mov­ing to Copen­hagen should bear in mind: “There isn’t a word for please in Dan­ish, so they don’t use it very of­ten in English,” she ex­plains. “For Bri­tons this might seem rude, but you soon get used to it.”

The Walker fam­ily, who moved to Copen­hagen

The Ny­havn canal, main; a three-be­d­room flat with views of Skovshoved har­bour, £660,000 with RealMæ­glerne

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