Cover art for podcast How to Live in Denmark

How to Live in Denmark

118 EpisodesProduced by Kay Xander MellishWebsite

Life as an international in Denmark, one of the world's most homogenous countries, isn't always easy. In Denmark’s longest-running English-language podcast, Kay Xander Mellish, an American who has lived in Denmark for more than a decade, offers tips for enjoying your time in “the world’s happiest co… read more


The Danish art of taking time off

When I first began working in Denmark, people used to start saying around April or May, “So – are you taking three or four?”

What they meant was, are you taking three or four weeks off for your summer vacation?

 Now, in the United States, where I come from, even taking two weeks off is extravagant. You always have the feeling that if you’re gone too long, there may not be a job waiting for you when you get back.

In Denmark, a long summer vacation is legally required. If you have a full-time job, you get six weeks annual vacation, and you are legally required to take three of those six weeks sometime between May 1 and September 30.

Even if you’re unemployed, you get paid time off from looking for a job so you can enjoy time off in the summer. And there’s been a lot of controversy this year about whether the newly arrived refugees in Denmark should also get paid vacation from their required Danish language lessons.

Many Danes consider vacation to be a human right. Any discussion of poverty in Denmark is likely to include an interview with a person on the minimum kontanthjælp sincerely complaining about his inability to afford a vacation abroad. If you get sick during your vacation, you can even request more time off to compensate.

That’s the social welfare state – I hope you all enjoy paying taxes to support it.

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