English and German speaking expats can survive in Denmark without any knowledge of Danish. While this may be true, there is no better way to make the most of your stay in Denmark than to learn the language. If the wide choice of private language courses doesn’t fit your budget, then the best option for you might be the free language course (or Forberedende Voksenundervisning in Dutch) offered by Denmark’s Ministry for Refugee, Immigration and Integration Affairs.
You are entitled to free Danish classes if you are over 18 years old, have a valid residence permit or certificate of registration in Denmark and a social security number (CPR number). Even though the free Danish course is primarily aimed at adult expats to enable them to get employment, foreign students who are not working can also enrol in a course - but there may be a fee. The amount of the fee is established separately by each municipality and may range from DKK 30 to DKK 70 per lesson if the local council doesn’t grant a full subsidy for the course.
The free Danish language programme is divided into three modules (Danish course 1, 2, and 3), with a duration of two to six months each. The language courses vary from provider to provider and are tailored to the schedule, learning preferences and Danish level of the students. Specially planned courses are also available, such as for foreign employees, students etc. Classes may be held during the daytime, in the evenings and at weekends. Despite the organizational flexibility of the course, students have to respect strict rules in order to get their final approval. They are expected to attend the classes regularly and do the homework.
After signing-up, students have to complete a test that will place them in the most appropriate class to give the best value and most effective learning possibilities. Tuition should begin no later than one month after application. After each module there is an examination (prøver). Module 3 also includes the higher education examination (studieprøven). If you decide to attend the examination as an individual student (without attending the course), you will have to pay a fee of about DKK 1.500 (200€). Students are entitled to language tuition until they have passed this final test. However, this must take place within a three-year period.
Courses are usually held in language centres (sprogcenter) or other educational institutions all over the country, since all municipalities in Denmark are obliged to offer free Danish classes to foreigners. Ask your local citizens’ advice service to find a course close to where you live or click here for a complete list of the free language course providers in Denmark. The Danish immigration service also offers a free online Danish course if you want to learn the language before your arrival.