The little-known Danish region offering international families ‘the good life’

If you’re dreaming of a new life away from the commotion of the city, the fast-growing Danish region of Lolland is a breath of fresh air. 

The little-known Danish region offering international families ‘the good life’
Photo: Lolland Kommune

Firstly, it’s an island with countless secluded sandy beaches that are just a short trip from any of its historic towns. Charming manor houses are a frequent sight in the countryside, much of which is farmland recognised for its high quality agricultural produce. 

So far, so good. But not much going on in a place like that, you think? Think again.

A major cross-border infrastructure project is bringing jobs to the region and will mark a huge step forward for Denmark’s links to central Europe. Lolland is seizing the opportunities this creates with a new regional growth strategy that includes the opening of Denmark’s first public international school, which offers bilingual teaching in English and Danish.

As two international parents relocating to Lolland tell us, it also boasts impressive family-friendly credentials. All of this only 90 minutes away from Copenhagen and within easy reach of German cities such as Hamburg and Lübeck.

A family-friendly place of new opportunities: find out more about living the good life in Lolland

Photo: Lolland Kommune

The career opportunities luring internationals

After three years in Copenhagen, Marjorie Plivard, a French mother-of-three, has just moved to Lolland with her partner Remi and their children. Both herself and Remi work on the Fehmarn Belt fixed rail-road link, a huge infrastructure project that includes an 18km under sea tunnel between Lolland and Puttgarden in Germany. Due to open in 2029, the tunnel will feature railway tracks and a four-lane motorway.

This summer, the family settled into a house in Maribo, a charming town where the new international school is located. 

“I understand there was already an international community here [before the Fehmarn Belt project] and I was a bit surprised by that,” says Marjorie, a Quality, Safety & Environment Manager, who has also previously lived in Chile, the UK and Russia. “Now, we’re excited to join this growing international network as new residents knowing that Lolland is becoming more and more international.” 

Clean energy is a big part of Lolland’s identity, and another important driver of opportunities for skilled international workers

Jalindar Aher moved to the area from India last year to work as an engineer for Vestas, the Danish wind turbine manufacturing giant. He had never even visited Denmark before but already likes the way of life. “It’s a better place than India for work-life balance, for sure,” he says.

Jalindar’s wife and two young sons recently moved over to join him, with the family now settling into a new home in Nakskov, Lolland’s largest town. Both Jalindar and Marjorie work solely in English and Lolland Municipality strives to provide key local information in English. 

A growing community of international people: find out more about working and living on Lolland

Jalindar Aher and his family at Hestehovedet Beach in Nakskov.

The outdoor life: freedom for all the family

If you want a better quality of life and you love scenic landscapes, the coast, and sustainable, local farm produce, Lolland should really be on your radar. Wherever you are on the island, you’re never far from the sea – along with the smaller neighbouring island of Falster, there are 600km of coastline to explore.

You’ll also find a wealth of exciting outdoor activities on your doorstep: kayaking, horseback riding, fishing, hiking, cycling, sailing, kite surfing and more.

Jalindar says the outdoor environment is an important factor in making the region an excellent place to raise a family. “Lolland is a good place to live,” says Jalindar. “The countryside looks amazing and there are lots of good farms offering local produce. In terms of getting around, there are also good connections to other places from Nakskov.”

Marjorie already has a lengthy list of places to go in the region for the kind of quality family time that can be hard to come by with city living. “We’re planning to go to the safari park with the kids, visit the smaller cities, and go to the little farm shops,” she says. “We want to cross over to see more of Germany as well – it’s less than one hour away by ferry.”

Perhaps more than anything, she’s looking forward to feeling secure enough to give her kids more freedom. “In Maribo, they’ll be able to do more by themselves,” she says. “It will be better for them to go to the swimming pool and do their activities. The after school care is also definitely cheaper than in Copenhagen.” In the Danish capital, she adds, her children faced a waiting list just to get swimming lessons.

A new international school

Both Marjorie and Jalindar say the opening of Lolland International School in MariboDenmark’s first international public school – is a major plus point for the region. The school opened in early August and will be inaugurated by Denmark’s Crown Princess Mary on August 24th.

“The main challenge for moving my family over was to find an international school,” says Jalindar. “It will be different from school in India and the kids are excited to start.”

The free bilingual school – with teaching in English and Danish – offers a “world-class Cambridge-certified education”, says Holger Schou Rasmussen, the Mayor of Lolland. It caters for both Danish and international families in the area.

Marjorie’s children have previously always gone to French schools, but she says the international school made it far easier to decide to leave Copenhagen. 

A new international talent hub

Between 2020 and 2029, the Fehmarn Belt project is expected to create the equivalent of 42,000 full-time jobs (through both direct and indirect demand for new roles), many of them in Lolland. The project provides attractive career prospects “including for international talent”, says Rasmussen. But there is also much more going on in the area.

In the coming years, we expect that the area will develop into a new international hub,” he adds. By this he means not only for Denmark but also “in relation to both Scandinavia and Central Europe”.

The Mayor promises those who come to make a new life that the local government, along with civic society and a strong community of volunteers, will seek to help them “quickly settle down and feel at home”. Newcomers can get support from a range of introductory and networking events, as well as a team of international ambassadors.

“We pride ourselves as a large community with a unique culture that stands together to help build the good life,” says Rasmussen. An increasing number of international families are embracing that vision by taking the leap to live the good life in Lolland. 

Looking for new career and life opportunities in a family-friendly location? Learn more about Lolland’s growing international community, its jobs market, and the support it offers newcomers

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Today in Denmark: A round-up of the latest news on Monday

Find out what's going on in Denmark today with The Local's short roundup of the news in less than five minutes.

Today in Denmark: A round-up of the latest news on Monday
Sunny weather is expected all week this week. Photo: Niclas Jessen/Visit Denmark

Denmark’s former PM names new party Moderaterne 

Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Denmark’s former prime minister, announced on Saturday that his new centre party would be called Moderaterne, the same name as the leading centre-right party in Sweden. 

In a speech held to mark Denmark’s Constitution Day on Saturday, Rasmussen said the new party would attempt to unite Danes with a variety of different backgrounds and political viewpoints. 

“Some prefer mackerel, and others prefer salmon. Some have long Danish pedigrees, others have only recently chosen to live in Denmark,” he said.

What they all have in common, he said, is their love for Denmark, which is “among the best countries in the world”. 

“How do we drive it forward? We are trying to find an answer to that. How do we pass it on to our children in better condition than we received it?” 

Rasmussen said the party would not launch fully until after November’s local elections, but was ready to contest a parliamentary election if the ruling Social Democrats decided to call an early vote, something he said he did not expect to happen. 

Sweden’s state epidemiologist warns Swedes to be careful in “high-infection” Denmark 

After the per capita number of new coronavirus infections in Denmark in recent days overtaking that of Sweden, Sweden’s state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has advised Swedes visiting their Nordic neighbour to be careful to maintain social distancing. 

“You need to keep [the infection rate] in mind if you go there, so that you really take with you the advice you have in Sweden to keep your distance, not stay with lots of other people, and not have the close contact that involves a risk,” he told the Expressen newspaper. 

He said Denmark’s higher infection rate was an obvious consequence of the country’s more rapid lifting of restrictions. 

“They chose to open up society relatively quickly even though they knew that there was a certain risk that the spread of infection would increase,” he said. “Because they had vaccinated the elderly and did not see that it would be that dangerous with a certain increased spread of infection.” 

Nils Strandberg Pedersen, former director for Denmark’s SSI infectious diseases agency called Tegnell’s comments “comical”. 

“It’s comical. It’s Swedish spin,” he told the BT tabloid. “Denmark has registered more infections because we test so much more than the Swedes. It’s not the same as having more people infected in the population.” 

More immigrants to Denmark are getting an education 

The education gap between first and second-generation immigrants to Denmark and people of Danish origin has fallen over the last decade, according to a story published in Politiken based on new figures from Denmark’s immigration ministry. 

An impressive 72 percent of 20 to 24-year-old first and second-generation female immigrants now completing further education of university education, compared to 58 percent in 2010.

Denmark records further 853 cases of coronavirus 

A further 853 people were diagnosed with coronavirus in the 24 hours running up to 2pm on Sunday, a rise on Saturday when 592 cases were detected, but still within the range of 600 to 1350 a day within which Denmark has been fluctuating since the start of May. 

Thorkild Sørensen, professor emeritus of epidemiology at the University of Copenhagen, told Ritzau that the sunny summer weather was allowing people to meet outside, and vaccinations were having an impact, allowing Denmark to open up without a surge in infections.

On Sunday morning, 138 people were being treated for coronavirus in Denmark’s hospitals, up four from Saturday, or whom 29 were in intensive care. 

Some 40.4 percent of the population has now received at least one dose of vaccine and 23.2 percent have received both doses. 

Sunny summer weather expected in Denmark this week 

Denmark is expected to have warm sunny weather with temperatures of 18C to 23C, with blue skies and little rain, Danish Meteorological Institute said on Monday. 

“This week looks really nice and summery, and it will be mostly dry weather most of the time,” Anja Bodholdt, a meteorologist at the institute told Ritzau on Monday.  “The only exception is Monday, when people in Jutland and Funen might wake up to scattered showers that move east during the day.” 

Danish property market show signs of cooling 

The number of houses being put on the market fell again in May, according to new figures released from Home, one of Denmark’s largest online estate agents. 

According to Bjørn Tangaa Sillemann, an analyst at Danske Bank, the figures suggest that momentum is seeping out of what has been a “scorching” market over the last year, although he said it was unlikely prices would actually fall. 
“Although demand seems to be declining, it is still high, and when interest declines, it can also make it less attractive to put your home up for sale than it has been recently,” he said.
At Home, 5.1 percent fewer houses were put on the market in May, while the number of apartments put on the market fell 9 percent, and the number of sales fell by 2.1 and 5.7 percent respectively.