So I'm moving to Copenhagen...
July 16, 2015 1:02 AM   Subscribe

I'm starting a one-year position at the University of Copenhagen shortly. I'm a Canadian currently living in Germany, and I have a few questions.

I have two main questions (and an ancillary third).

1. How much should I expect to spend on a one-bedroom (furnished) flat, ideally somewhere with a good walkable neighbourhood around it?

2. I will be arriving on the 16th of August. One option is just to book an AirBnB for the first two weeks and use that time to try find a more permanent place. Is this feasible? Would I likely in those two weeks be able to find something for the first of September, or is that a less-than-ideal idea?

3. If it's a terrible idea, what are some good places to look online for housing? Bear in mind that I probably won't be able to visit Copenhagen before I actually arrive, so I'm going to have to pick the first place I live in sight unseen.

Finally, any suggestions/descriptions of different neighbourhoods? Anything I should know?
posted by vernondalhart to Travel & Transportation around Copenhagen, Denmark (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
1. Here is a link to a search for 2 room flats in Copenhagen (København). In Denmark a 1 bedroom flat is a "2 room flat," (Danish:2V/2Vær/2Værelse). 2 room flats in Copenhagen

2. Feasible but not easy. You will be looking at the same time as all the new students starting their academic year.

3. The above linked site and this one. I don't think it's a good idea at all, every year at this time the scammers come out to rip off naive first year uni students. Every September the newspapers here have stories about students being scammed when trying to rent flats.

The University of Copenhagen will have a department or office that will be able to help you find accomodation, find out how to get in touch with them and contact them asap.

The most popular neighbourhoods are Christianshavn, Vesterbro, Nørrebro and Østerbro.
Christianshavn - Canals, expensive.
Vesterbro - known as "hipster heaven" by Copenhageners.
Nørrebro - "gritty," many immigrants.
Østerbro - foreign embassies, large apartments, money.
posted by DelusionsofGrandeur at 3:27 AM on July 16, 2015

Facebook groups:

You can post in english and people will reply to you in english. Everybody speaks english.
There are scammers in those fb groups as well.

til salg = for sale
leje = rent
møbleret = furnished
umøbleret = unfurnished
køkken = kitchen
bad = bath (nearly always a shower)
posted by DelusionsofGrandeur at 4:17 AM on July 16, 2015

You need to get the university to help you right away. It is almost impossible to get an apartment in Copenhagen with such short notice, and I'm certain the university will help.
Do you know any of your future colleagues? You might get them to share a FB-post. Most people I know who were searching have found apartments that way.

Which part of the university are you going to? A good way to choose a neighborhood would be to think of transportation time. Humanities are on Amager - close to Vesterbro, Christianshavn, Islands Brygge, Amagerbro, Ørestad, STEM between Nørrebro and Østerbro, Social Sciences in the City, close to Nørrebro.

I think that from an international point of view, all of Copenhagen is nice and safe and quiet. Exceptions are the part of the inner city (inside the ramparts) close to Frederiksborggade and Rådhuspladsen (where the suburban youth come in to get drunk and pick fights). Vesterbro (hipster-paradise, as DelusionsofGrandeur says), and Nørrebro, which is the densest area in Denmark, and thus a bit more lively than the others.
posted by mumimor at 4:51 AM on July 16, 2015

I'm an ex-Nørrebro dweller now living in Glasgow and I am laughing hysterically at the description of Nørrebro as being 'gritty'. It's absolutely fine and lovely.

As Mumimor said, you may want to consider where you'll be working and definitely get the University to help you out with accommodation.

However, public transport is fantastic in Copenhagen (metro, trains and busses) so you could look further afield than just the inner 'bro' neighbourhoods. Valby, Frederiksberg, Tårnby and Vanløse are also viable neighbourhoods. You may not be ten minutes away from work, but you'll be 25 minutes away from work.

There's also the ever-present option of biking to work but unless you're a seasoned cyclist, biking in rush hour Copenhagen can get intense as Danes On Bikes show little mercy for inexperienced cyclists.

So, bear transport in mind when you look for a place to stay.
posted by kariebookish at 5:48 AM on July 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

You need to get the university to help you right away. It is almost impossible to get an apartment in Copenhagen with such short notice,

Yes, this, finding housing in Copenhagen is downright scary. But the University is hiring people foreigners regularly so they must have some system in place. Because two weeks is probably enough time to find a medium-term place to stay while you keep looking, but is dreamland material for finding an actual apartment to live in.

My husband and a good friend of ours both (independently) moved to Copenhagen in the last six months. They also both work for companies hiring regularly so had a lot of experienced people helping them out and providing horror stories. My husband was really really lucky and found somewhere in about ten days, something everyone we talk to can not believe. He managed this because it's an unfurnished house out in the far-ish suburbs with a three year lease, he was literally online looking as it was advertised, and he couldn't move in for six weeks. He found it here: Housing Denmark, and were very happy with them (no open homes!). For the first eight weeks he was renting a furnished apartment for 80 euros a night, the cheapest he could find at the time even with extensive searching. I can't find the link to where he found that place, but I can ask him if you end up needing something like that, let me know.

My friend was less flexible needing somewhere furnished and somewhat closer in, it took her three months to find somewhere permanent and they had to wait 3-4 more weeks to move in. I don't know who they're renting from now but they looked everywhere, every agency, every advertisement. This facebook page has a good list. In the meantime they were in a very reasonable medium-term furnished place which is unfortunately no longer taking tenants.

Both my husband and my friend pay 14000 kroner per month warm rent but they have bigger places than you would need. Also the deposits they had to pay are frighteningly large (€7500 for my husband) - something you may need to be aware of. But for only one year it seems like there must be some other option besides long-term leases with huge deposits, particularly since furnished apartments aren't all that common, so the University really should be the first people you talk to.

Bear in mind that I probably won't be able to visit Copenhagen before I actually arrive, so I'm going to have to pick the first place I live in sight unseen.

The market is so tight that any landlord can set up an open home, not advertise it very well, and rent the place to someone in person with cash in literally five minutes. So be very suspicious of anyone offering to rent online or at a distance. It can't help but be a scam because there is just no market for real landlords to do that. You really need to be there in person, and to turn up early for every open home ready to rent immediately because you might only be given a few minutes to look around.

Finally, any suggestions/descriptions of different neighbourhoods? Anything I should know?

Copenhagen's public transport is awesome. To help get a feel for travel times etc for different suburbs use the Rejseplanen website and phone app. The trip planner is so good and everything seems to run on time. That website was the most useful piece of information my husband was given on arriving in Copenhagen. He lives 12 kms from the center of town and it takes about 40 minutes to get in, so there are more options than just an expensive inner city apartment - look around.
posted by shelleycat at 8:21 AM on July 16, 2015

Oh, my comments about renting online vs in person are based on longer term renting. My husband did rent two short term places at the start online. But in both cases he turned up in person at the place, signed the forms and paid everything in cash as he picked up the keys from the office overseeing the apartments. So like any holiday rental or air bnb or whatever - you make a reservation online but do the rest in person.

Whereas renting an apartment long term is definitely an in-person only thing once you get there.
posted by shelleycat at 8:28 AM on July 16, 2015

14000 kr per month seems very, very expensive. Most of my Copenhagen friends pay around 5000-6500 kroner per month for a one-bedroom flat within the first two transport zones.
posted by kariebookish at 11:18 AM on July 16, 2015

Which is why I mentioned that it's for more space, in this case either a two bedroom house or a big two bedroom furnished apartment (furnished is more expensive apparently). Also it includes some utilities ('warm rent' by the German terminology). But the large deposit is still some big multiple of each months rent and therefore a significant chunk of money even if the overall rent is smaller, so is worth considering when looking for a place.
posted by shelleycat at 11:36 AM on July 16, 2015

Hopefully you've already worked this out, since it seems you've already arrived (Sorry I've been traveling myself..).

But of course not just public transit but also very easy biking makes it simple to live farther out in Copenhagen. Myself, I live about 30min bike north of where I work (I'm in Søborg, so not actually Copenhagen). I really enjoy the 30 min ride in.

I should also say that almost everyone I know who comes into Copenhagen from abroad has found their place through people they knew moving out. One exception is the prior tenant in my current place, who found it by a long and laborious search. Another is one who had signed up for one of the apartment search websites, had no luck answering ads, but one day got contacted by a landlord and that seems to have worked out fine.

Housing is not simple here, and being flexible about location is quite helpful. But it's a lovely city and I expect you'll enjoy your time here otherwise!
posted by nat at 1:41 PM on August 22, 2015

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