More impressions of Copenhagen

After a few weeks in Copenhagen, here are some more impressions:

  • When I first arrived, I could not find an equivalent of Target or Myer. Every supermarket has the same layout and the same bunch of stuff. I spent ages trying (and failing!) to find scouer and air freshener. But recently, I found one candidate that is kinda like Target: Føtex.
  • CPR is paramount. Getting it the first time around requires you to have at least a month contract on accommodation. Without it, you cannot do anything else. However, once you get it, it was easy (and possible) to do a lot of things, including lodging your change-of-address in advance.
  • Accommodation is definitely very difficult. I had a chat with several people, and they all got their first accommodation via friends of friends. I also found that even if you move 20 minutes away by train, they are still extremely expensive!
  • Water doesn’t taste good at all due to the incredibly high mineral content.
  • Contract is dependent on your past experience, so will take some time to process. More about this in my future post.
  • Science is well supported in Denmark. There are plenty of incentives for foreigners to come and do science here. For example, there is a ridiculously good tax scheme for researchers where instead of the usual 40-55% rate, you are taxed at 26% (plus 8% “labour market contribution). The caveat is, there is no possibility of a tax deduction.
  • There is also a new scheme where if you are only in Denmark for a short period of time, you can ask for your pension (superannuation) to be paid as part of your salary. If you are on the researcher tax scheme, this means the salary top-up will also be taxed at 26(+8)%. The alternative is to get the pension back when you leave the country, which will incur the full 40-55% tax.

 

First impressions of Copenhagen

After walking 16.5 km around Copenhagen, here are my first impressions, in no particular order:

  • Immigration was a breeze; there were no arrival and customs forms to fill in
  • Copenhagen is beautiful; the buildings are not very tall
  • Some restaurants will give you an English menu once you start talking to them
  • There is no clicker at the traffic intersections
  • Bikes, bikes, more bikes, and bike shops
  • Swans will encourage you to feed them if you approach them
  • A police car has a different siren sound compared to an ambulance
  • Just before the traffic light turns green, both red and yellow lights light up
  • There are a lot of churches
  • Some roads are very quiet because there are only bus and bicycle lanes
  • There are a lot of green copper statues
  • Lifts have doors that swing open, which may be made out of wood
  • I’m not feeling jet lagged (yet); although I am getting tired, perhaps due to the long walk
  • My colleagues are a nice bunch
  • Finding accommodation in/around Copenhagen is very difficult; it might be easier (but not necessarily cheaper, once transport is taken into account) to find a place to stay in Sweden, and then commute to work
  • The buskers are great; If you are in Copenhagen, make sure you find Peter Jones