COVID19 in Denmark

COVID19 has shocked the world and has changed the lives of millions all around the globe. From those directly affected by the virus, their families, those that suffer from the devastating economical consequences, to those that have seen their daily lives changed because of social distancing/lockdown measures. Everyone has been affected by this weird and sad situation. Denmark is a great place to be during this crisis but it is not immune to this evil virus. In this post, I will try to guide you through the Danish response, the Danish situation, and my personal experience as a foreigner in Denmark during the course of this pandemic.

The first case of COVID19 in Denmark was confirmed on 27 February 2020, more or less at the time when the virus started to spread to most European countries. Even though the first days of March saw a big and fast rise in cases the current numbers are very promising. Only around 10,000 cases have been confirmed and 514 patients have lost their lives to the virus. That stands for 89 deaths/Million inhabitants and even if it's not a small number it is still very far away from the devastating figures coming out of the USA, France, Spain, Italy, UK, or Belgium. Forecasts say that Danish Economy will "only" lose 6 % of the 2020 GDP while other countries like Spain, Italy, Greece, UK, France, Ireland, Lithuania, or Hungary will be close to losing 10 % of its own GDP.  So how has Denmark been able to control the pandemic while protecting its economy and without limiting freedom as much as in other countries?

One of the possible reasons behind Denmark's success might be the early response of the authorities. On March 13th, the day after the first confirmed death, Danish Primer Minister Mette Frederiksen called for a national "lockdown". Schools, universities, libraries, bars, restaurants, shops, and many others were forced to close, non-essential workers were sent home and public gatherings over 10 people were forbidden. This response was fast and came around the same time as Spain's first measures. Universities closed around the same date in Madrid even if the death toll was already over 500. I can compare the situation to the one in Spain because I have been following the events because of my family and friends back there. Spain's lockdown has been tough, people have not been allowed out of their homes for almost 50 days with very few exceptions. This has not been the case in Denmark. We have been able to go to the streets, forests, lakes, and beaches without any problem during the course of the whole pandemic. Of course, most people have been staying home most of the time because there was little to do besides riding your bike around and watching beautiful sunsets. But talking to my family and friends back home and having been able to walk around every day has made me feel very privileged. Probably the early response has allowed Denmark to flatten the famous curve with less restrictive measures.

Denmark's political leaders and public authorities have been focusing more on social distancing and hygiene measures rather than on "Stay Home" messages. "Hold Afstand" (Hold Distance) has been the motto of the pandemic. The truth is that people have been quite responsible in that sense and this has probably helped Denmark control the spread of the disease without a total national lockdown. Something that I learned about Danish society during these months is the trust that citizens have in their government and institutions. The current government party Socialdemokratiet rose 10 points in the polls because of the fast response and around 80 % of Danes are satisfied with how Frederiksen has managed the crisis. As some of you know I am really into politics and when I moved to Denmark I decided to follow Danish politics too. Of course, I don't follow it with the same passion as in the case of Catalan and Spanish politics but I am learning more and more every day. As far as I understand, the Danish political agenda is not as polarised as the one in Spain and this has led to more dialogue and agreement amongst the different parties across the whole political spectrum. Denmark has green, social-democrat, liberal, conservative, communist, and populist parties like all other European nations but they seem to be more down to negotiating than in other places. Just yesterday, all political parties reached an agreement on the second and third phases of the reopening of the country in Marienborg, the official residence of the Danish Prime Minister.

The first phase of the reopening was announced during Easter and it included the opening of kindergartens,  primary schools, small shops, hairdressers, outdoor sports, and others. The second reopening is more extensive and will include the reopening of bars, restaurants, malls, and middle schools. It won't be until June that the 10 people ban will be lifted and that other measures will be taken. Borders to non-residents were closed at the beginning of the pandemic and this is something that looks like it will take a longer time to change. Some right-wing parties have been calling to lift these measures for some specific countries like Norway and Germany in order to save the "touristic summer season" but it might take some time before we see Nyhavn full of tourists again. The same goes for the reopening of higher education institutions like DTU. We will do our exams online and summer courses have been canceled or will be online too. Probably, we will go back to normal classes in September even if I expect many hygienic and social distancing measures on the campus.

On a personal level, I have been following DTU's courses online and have used my free time to start learning Danish, to read books, watch TV series and discover the natural spots of Copenhagen with my bike. I feel very fortunate. Especially now as I have been able to go back to work at the tennis club. Not working has not been dramatic as the Danish state has been paying me the loan that I used to earn before the crisis. I hope that this will be over soon when a cure or a vaccine is developed and that all countries can recover from this terrible health and economic crisis. I am a little bit worried about how and when I will be able to go back home to visit my family during the summer as the situation there is still horrible but that is nothing in comparison with what people have gone through these past months. I really wish you and your family are doing as good as possible. Take care.

Vi pas på hinanden

Now Denmark opens again

Hand sanitizer in the tennis court

Everything will be OK again

Closed bar at DTU

Enjoying some freedom with my flatmates

Desertic inner city Copenhagen

Mette Frederiksen adressing the nation 

Danmark closes now


  1. I like very much this post!!!! Very interesting! !!! I’m looking forward to visiting you there!! My lovely danish


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