Live, Work & Travel in Denmark
A small, prosperous EU member nation, Denmark would present few problems for travellers seeking work there if it weren't for a reluctance to hire non Danish speakers and competition from eastern Europeans able and willing to work for lower wages. With no stand out attractions, or the weather, for a mass tourism industry (the Little Mermaid doesn't count) and the excellent language skills of the locals, working travellers may be able to find work here but there is no obvious single industry to concentrate on.
Teaching & TEFL in Denmark
Many Danes speak flawless English and both demand for native English speakers and salaries aren't high. Quinn's has more information on teaching careers while ESL Base is the place to find schools in Denmark. A few vacancies are listed here too. Americans can apply for awards for teaching assistant positions through Fulbright but otherwise non EU nationals will find Denmark a difficult place to work.
Au Pair & Nanny Jobs
Aside from the odd requirement that one of the parents must be a Danish citizen (more on au pair visa requirements for Denmark can be found here) on the surface au pairing in Denmark looks a fairly sweet gig for young girls looking to work abroad for the first time. However as Rachel Dent explains in The Truth Behind Au Pairs in Denmark au pairing in Denmark is a controversial and political issue.
Of the almost 2000 au pairs working in Denmark with a residence permit 83 per cent of come from the Philippines according to 2013 statistics with many exploited as low wage workers. Attitudes and treatment towards all au pairs has been skewed as a result with the au pair ideal of an equal exchange increasingly abused. According to Rachel she found herself working almost 10-hour days:
“I was waking up at 6:15 every morning to ensure that the children’s breakfast was ready for them on time. Then, I would have to clean up the kitchen, but in no way was I allowed to start cleaning until everyone in the family had already left the house. I found that very strange that they didn’t want to see me do the cleaning. While the parents were at work and the children were at school I was asked to vacuum and mop all floors, do the laundry, clean the bathrooms and children’s rooms, iron, make school lunches and afternoon snacks, and not to forget to clean my own room each day. This took me until about 5:00 in the afternoon when everyone would come home and I would start to prepare the dinner. Afterwards I would clean up the kitchen and my day was over around 7:00 in the evening. I spent no time interacting with the children and instead spent my days as an in-house maid. For all of this work I was to be paid $600 a month. That equals out to about $3 an hour. The minimum wage in Denmark, for even a maid, is $20 an hour.”
Other Ways to Work in Denmark
Around 25 people from other EU countries supplement the local labour force picking strawberries and peas in Denmark. Work starts in June for five to eight weeks. A tent and camping equipment is needed and payment is according to the amount of fruit picked. As a bonus, here is The Definitive Guide to Strawberry Picking in Scandinavia.
Low Cost Options for Volunteering
From local NGOs to work exchanges we track down and list a number of opportunities for free or cheap volunteer work in Denmark on another website in our small group.
Other Ways to Travel or Stay for Free
Stay for free in return for caring for local residents' homes or pets. Join Trusted Housesitters to live rent free as a house sitter (Americans may prefer this link).You can get a free $25 Airbnb credit from us here.
More Resources from our Sites
More Working in Denmark Resources
Work in Denmark - A page of resources from the official site of Denmark.
How To Find a Job in Denmark as a Foreigner - A selection of resources for searching for employment opportunities as a foreigner in Denmark.
Find Your Dream Job in Denmark - Thousands of jobs from The Local.
Working in DK - Advice and job search.
Articles on Living, Working & Travelling in Denmark
Articles on other websites and blogs:
Finding a Job in Denmark as a Foreigner: Some Tips From My Experience - Kay Xander Mellish says if you’re a foreigner, finding a job in Denmark is not easy, but it can be done.
The Truth Behind Au Pairs in Denmark - Rachel Dent find Danish families are bad employers for au pairs.
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