We wondered about what things to bring from home, when we first considered relocating to Denmark
Denmark may be a modern and very diverse country, but not all things from home can be found here and other things are quite expensive, so consider stocking up. Below is a list of what we think are important to remember. You are welcome to contribute other things, that you think we should include on this list. You may also get some good ideas from our getting started guide.
1. Clothes: Denmark is often cold and rainy (not always, but during the winter you might think so), so bring warm clothes.
The Danes have learned to dress in layers and you should learn that trick as well. Sweaters, gloves, wool hats and such should be included. Also good rain gear. We have found that a good lightweight windbreaker is also very handy.
Also, get some good walking shoes, since in Denmark you will do more walking than driving, especially if you live in the city.
2. Toys: If you have children, you may wish to bring your own games, since games are not sold with English instructions. Many expats have told me that games was one of the most important things to bring from home.
Of course, you may wish to buy some Danish games and learn how to play them. Ludo is popular and does not require any Danish reading skills, except for learning how to play.
3. Kitchen: You will want to bring your own measuring cups since everything in Denmark is metric, and trying to convert your recipes can be frustrating. You will also need metric cups for any Danish recipes, but they can be obtained over here.
4. Medicine: It is a good idea to bring as much of your own medicine as allowed by customs, since many drugs are not sold over-the-counter: things like aspirin, asthma inhalers, cold medicine, allergy pills, eye drops, etc.
Some of these can be purchased without going to the pharmacy (apotek),
but they are usually generic and not quite as effective as those from
home. Now the rules are changing a bit, but never hurts to stock up on a few necessities. Plus medicines are expensive. Of course, once you are registered you can get some discounts - see more about prescriptions here.
5. Food: This may seem silly, but we miss PEANUT BUTTER -- good peanut butter. So, we routinely stock up on JIF or Skippy when we are home. Some stores are now selling Skippy. Yeah!
If you have a particular food item you really can't live without, consider packing a small supply. You can find some American and British products in grocery stores and also in a few specialty shops, but this isn't always the case, and sometimes the quality is not the same.
Other things to bring from home that expats have reported not finding are spices and herbs. If you are fond of your native cooking and need special ingredients for making your dishes: STOCK UP. Always make sure you are allowed to bring the item with you before packing / buying.
P.S. Please make sure that is okay to bring the food in. Meat and eggs are not allowed, so check the customs website and make sure you are not bringing in something illegal. See more below.
6. Books: On a personal note we are avid readers and finding books to read in English is not always easy. When you do find them, they are very EXPENSIVE. Often 3 time the price you find them in the US or UK. Due to the weight, it may not be cost effective to ship a large crate of books, but if you already have a container, than a small supply of books won't make a big difference in costs.
Other options are to search auction sites like QXL,
DBA, GulogGratis in Denmark for english books and also use sites such as eBay
and Amazon in the UK. Of course - ebooks can be purchased online, but kids books are still nice to have on hand for your children.
More information on this in the Shopping section.
7. One of the most important things to bring from home with you is documents. Passports, school transcripts including diplomas and academic records that pertain to your job, marriage certificates, medical records including vaccination and dental records for everyone in your family, birth certificates, social security card, green card, proof of citizenship, naturalization documents, insurance policies, employment records, proof of residency usually in form of utility bills (make sure your name is on the bill) and finally if you have one - living will, testament, etc.. Always make copies of everything in case something is lost. In some cases it is wise to have some documents certified by a notary.
8. Another thing to consider bringing is an international driving certificate so that you can drive with your foreign licence. You will need to get it exchanged if you are planning on staying, but if you are going to be driving in the first few days in Denmark, you will need it.
Now I know that this is a short list of things to bring from home, but consider the costs first. Also if you intend to travel home once or twice a year, you can always stock up on smaller items or get friends, family to send care packages.
Finally, when deciding what things to bring from home, you will have to weigh the cost of shipping things over versus buying new items.
When you are planning your move, you will find out that there are just as many things to bring from home as there are things you do not want to bring. This list could stretch a long way
depending on your circumstances, but I will just cover a few of them and let you make your own decisions based on those topics.
I do not want to tell anyone that they can not bring something, if it is their desire to have it with them. We all need things from home to comfort us, when we become expats. Often, it will boil down to cost of transporting it over and it's usefullness.
The number one
thing, which most expats want to bring along with them is their car. Due
to the large duty and taxes on cars in Denmark, it does not seem like a
good investment. You can read more about that at bringing your car to Denmark.
We love our electronics: Tvs, Game Consoles, Coffee Makers, etc., but are they worth transporting to Denmark. Many electrical devices will not work in Denmark without either converters or transformers. This is one of those things to bring from home NOT! Converters are a pain and not worth the effort. Leave this stuff behind.
In Denmark appliances run on 220v/ 50Hz and the plug is a 2 round plug. The TV format is PAL. You can use plug adaptors and convertors. If you decide to use convertors, check out prices at home and abroad before arriving. Convertors in Denmark are very expensive compared to buying in the US or Britain.
Tip: Even though things are more expensive in Denmark, remember you have to pay for the shipping of items, which also costs. There are many ways to buy things second hand from other expats that are leaving. You can also check out QXL, Craigs List, Listica or KRAKS. They all have used items for sale.
On our first relocation we debated about bringing our furniture - had a wonderful living room suite and office furniture that I just loved, but was it worth the cost?
For us the answer was a resounding NO, since the shipping was just too much. Also due to the size of the furniture at home and the size of our first apartment, we would have been stacking the furniture instead of using it.
Many expats do not realize it until it is too late, that the room sizes in Denmark are very small and large pieces will just not fit. At least check out the size of your new home before deciding to ship it.
There are lots of furniture stores in Denmark that sell everything from flat pack to designer names.
Also are you only in Denmark for a short stay and will need to ship it all home again? Think about it. Things to bring from home will also have to go back home or maybe just leave them there for when you return home again. Can you live without it for awhile?
4. Personal items:
There are so many things that could be listed here, but again the choice is based on your circumstances, but this may be a good time to think about what you really want to keep or maybe sell or store.
A good rule of thumb is that if you have not used the item in the past year, you probably do not need it. Sell it or give it away or store it if you are planning on returning.
On a personal note, we sold 90% of our stuff before we relocated. We just did not realize how much stuff we had accumulated over the years. When we started to pack, we would find items that we didn't even realize we owned anymore and that means less things to bring from home.
By putting them up for sale at garage sales, ebay and other markets, we were able to pay for our move and have money left over to buy new here.
We did not have to worry about packing it, shipping it, unpacking it, paying duty on any of it and worrying about if it would fit, work or be useful. Of course, that was our view point and yours may well be totally different.
5. Illegal Stuff:
Denmark has some strange rules about what things to bring from home that are legal and it may surprise you. A big controversy is over knives and people are being jailed for carrying hobby knives, that they use for work, in their cars or out in public.
So what should you not bring. Knives, guns, swords, any sort of weapon, illegal drugs, fireworks, explosives, endangered plants and animals meat and poultry are the most obvious.
There are also certain limits on alcohol and smokes, etc. Your are allowed:
no more than 200 cigarettes
1 liter of alcohol or 2 liters of fortified wine
2 liters of table wine
10 liters of motor oil
50 gm of perfume
If you bring more than that, you will have to pay taxes on it.
Special rules apply to food items like meat, cheese, eggs, milk, etc. If you really need to bring in food, contact the Agriculture department at www.foedevarestyrelsen.dk for more details.
You can always contact the tax office at www.skat.dk and email them any specific questions you may have on items that wish to be brought over. Better to know than get hit with a fine or an arrest.
If you have questions about customs, custome duty and regulations you can also contact Dansk Told.
For more inspiration you can check out things to bring from home moving to Denmark guide.
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