When can you send your child to childcare?
Each municipality (‘kommune’) guarantees a place in a daycare for every child who needs one from the age of 26 weeks, although the amount of time it takes to be placed varies from municipality to municipality.
Two step daycare system in Denmark
Daycare for children in Denmark consists of two levels: for babies and toddlers from 0 to 2 years and for small children from 3 to 6 years (children switch from one level to the next in the month they turn 3 years of age).
For the younger group, children can be placed in either a ‘vuggestue’ (a state-run nursery) or in a ‘dagpleje,’ which is a state-certified private home arrangement where one adult cares for up to four children. Children from 3 to 6 years are cared for in a kindergarten (‘børnehave’) or daycare institution for that age group. There are also daycare institutions (‘daginstitutioner’) which are combined daycare institutions that house both ‘vugguestue’ and ‘børnehaven.’
If you wish to place your child in care, you are responsible for registering your child with the placement service at your municipality. Depending on the demand and supply for places, as well as personal preference, your child will then be assigned a place. Every effort will be made to give you a place at the top of your preference list (if you have a preference – it is a good idea to ask around your neighborhood for some recommendations.) Generally your location will be taken into account in order to find a place close to home.
Besides public daycare options, there are also private ones. See your individual municipality for the offerings in your area.
Food in daycare
Some daycares provide food for an additional fee; others require the parents to bring snacks and lunch with the child each day. Be sure to check which arrangement the daycare provider has when you visit.
Prices of daycare
The cost of daycare varies across the different municipalities in ‘Nordjylland’. Care is heavily subsidized by the state but parents are required to bear some of the cost. If your annual family income is under a certain amount you may qualify for further subsidies. Find more information about prices of daycare in Aalborg here; in Aalborg a sibling discount of 50% is offered to families with more than one child in care.
If you choose to place your child in a private daycare – whether vuggestue, dagpleje, or børnehave – the state will subsidize part of the cost.
Please note that state-provided childcare is free for everyone in July (when most Danes take holiday), no matter where in Denmark you live.
School is compulsory in Denmark through the 9th grade or 16 years of age. Children start school in the calendar year they turn 6 (so a child whose birthday is in January starts in August along with the child who will turn 6 in December of the same year. You must contact your municipality’s Board of Education if you would like your child to start earlier or later in school). The first year is called ‘børnehave klasse’ or ‘0 klasse,’ also known as ‘pre-school class.’
Some children opt to go to 10th grade, while others choose to go straight to academic-track high school (‘gymnasium’), trade high school (‘handelsskole’), technical gymnasium (‘HTX’), or technical high school (‘teknisk skole’). Others select to take a year out after 9th grade and attend what is called ‘efterskole,’ which is a specialized boarding school where children can explore special interests before deciding which type of school to attend next. Most children finish their schooling at 18 or 19 years of age. Depending on one’s grades/marks in high school (the first three kinds listed above), one can then proceed to an institution of higher education.
The majority of Danish children attend ‘folkeskole,’ which are public institutions of primary and lower secondary education run by the municipalities. However, many attend private schools for which their parents pay a fee. (Please note, however, that even private education in Denmark is subsidized by the government.) It is important to understand your options and a good place to start is here, the Danish Ministry of Education’s webpages in English. Ask your municipality’s education department for information regarding private schools in your area.
There is only one international school in Nordjylland. Skipper Clement Skolen, which houses both a Danish private school and an international division, is located in Aalborg and offers education in English according to the Cambridge International Examinations curriculum through the 11th grade.
There is also an International Baccalaureate program with classes taught in English at Hasseris Gymnasium in Aalborg. Find out more here.
In Denmark after-school care is provided in all primary and secondary schools for children up to and including 3rd grade. The official name for this is ‘skolefritidsordning’ or SFO (although in Aalborg, it is called ‘DUS’.) There are further offerings for older children, including ‘stage 2 SFO’ for children in 4th and 5th classes and after-school clubs; hours and fees for these vary according to municipality.
Life in Denmark does a very good job of explaining the child and youth allowance here (scroll down to ‘Child Benefits’):
‘If you are a foreigner and work in Denmark, you may apply for child benefits if you:
- Share custody of the child
- Can document that you are related to the child
- Are a citizen in an EU country, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland or Lichtenstein, if your child does not live in Denmark.
Additionally, during the last 10 years you must have had an address or employment in Denmark for:
- 6 months in order to have earned 25 percent of the total benefit
- 1 year in order to have earned 50 percent of the total benefit
- 5 years in order to have earned 75 percent of the total benefit
- 2 years in order to have earned the total benefit.’
If you are working in Denmark and are from EU/EØS or you are Swiss, you can apply for Børne og ungeydelser (child support) here.
Remember to include your working contract, your child’s CPR number and birth certificate.
You can read more about the rules here.
The child and youth allowance is tax-free. Please note that the rates change each year.
To contact the authorities about child benefits – call “Udbetaling Danmark” by phone +45 70 12 80 62 or by e-mail.
Acknowledging the importance of children’s health and well-being, the Danish municipalities offer visitor’ system to parents of children from birth through 9th grade. You are assigned to your a ‘health health visitor (‘sundhedsplejerske’) according to where you live. This person visits the home during the child’s first year of life, if requested, and is available for telephone consultations and later visits until the child is 16.
You can find more information about sundhedsplejerske in the Nordjylland kommunes here: