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Danish Christmas Traditions

If you are new to Denmark and planning on spending Christmas with the Danes, take a moment to reflect on this quick overview of some of the best known Danish Christmas traditions.

Advent Wreath

Danish Christmas begins with the advent wreath. The wreath has four candles and one candle is lit every Sunday of December leading up to Christmas Eve.

Calendar Candle

Another tradition is the calendar candle. This candle is marked with 24 lines, normally decorated with Christmas motives. The candle is lit every day from the 1st of December until the 24th of December. The candle is blown out before it burns down into the next day.

Present Calendars

Advent calendars, or Christmas calendars, take many forms in Denmark. Mostly they are aimed at children but adults can also join in the fun!

Most children in Denmark get a gift calendar consisting of 24 small presents, one for each day until the 24th of December. Each gift is individually bought and wrapped by their parents.

There is also a Christmas calendar television series for children and adults alike. Each year, the two big television channels produce a special new Christmas series divided into 24 episodes to entertain children. This year Tuborg is also making an online version, but this one is not for kids!

Christmas ‘Lunch’

Workplaces in Denmark always host an annual Christmas Lunch (meaning party) and guess what the main ingredients are – meat and snaps. Snaps are small shots of a strong alcoholic beverage that are consumed at holidays. Red and vinegar-infused cabbage represent the vegetable part of the Christmas Lunch.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve dinner is all about tradition. Duck or Pork are on the menu, as well as boiled potatoes, caramelized potatoes, brown gravy sauce and pickled red cabbage. It’s a heavy, old-fashioned meal that will leave you sleepy but satisfied. Vegetarians and vegans will have to bring their own dish.

For dessert, the famous Danish invention but somehow French-named: Ris à l’Amande. It’s a cold, creamy rice pudding made with vanilla and almond slivers, topped with hot cherry sauce. The game with Ris à l’Amande is that one whole almond is added to the bowl of pudding and you have to keep eating the pudding until someone finds the almond. The winner gets a prize!

Walking around the Christmas tree

After dinner and before opening the Christmas presents, you have to join hands and sing Christmas hymns while walking around the tree. To trigger an adrenaline rush, the tree is decorated with actual lighted candles. A little terrifying for newbies like me, but it’s fun!

Presents after dinner

Slowly, the presents are unwrapped. It’s a whole tradition in slow motion, a ritual. One package at a time is carefully chosen from underneath the Christmas tree and given to the right receiver to open, until all presents are unwrapped and Christmas is over for another year.

So take some inspiration from the above traditions and bring a little Denmark into your Christmas!

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Danish Christmas is all about family, food, and tradition. It’s always fascinating to learn about the traditions surrounding major holidays when you have just moved to a new country. So here is a sneak peek into celebrating the month of December like a Dane.

Christmas is celebrated throughout December and traditionally until St. Knut’s Day on January 13. Long lunches or dinners are held by workplaces, friends and family.

Julestue, a combination of the Danish words for Christmas and living room, is a full day get-together at home with friends and family, usually enjoying some Danish favourites such as æbleskiver, gløgg, and making Christmas ornaments. It’s the most hyggelig thing you will ever experience!

Typical Danish decorations that both kids and adults can make are Julehjerter (Christmas Hearts), Julestjerner (Christmas Stars) and other julepynt (Christmas decoration). They’re made from folded paper and the main colours are usually white, green, red, gold and silver. The Yule-heart, which is paper woven into the shape of a heart, is a symbol of Christmas in Denmark. It was first described by the Danish writer Han Christian Andersen in 1867 in his story The Fir Tree.

There are many sweets to enjoy this season, and for those who have a sweet tooth, like I do, you will LOVE the famous Danish æbleskiver. The name literally means apple slices in Danish, but they rarely contain any apple. Æbleskiver are light and fluffy fried dough balls that you can dip in jam and powdered sugar. They are fried in a special pan where you pour in the batter. If you don’t know how to bake you can buy them frozen from any supermarket and they are just as good! Æbleskiver are served with gløgg, a typical Christmas drink of warm spiced wine with almonds, raisins and cinnamon.

All that’s left is to light some candles and surround yourself with good company to experience hygge at its finest!


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Charlie’s Roof goes to France

Next week (beginning March 12th) myself (Alison) and Elke, are going to Cannes for MIPIM.

MIPIM is a large international real estate conference, where we will have the opportunity to meet many investors, landlords and real estate agents and to broaden our network even more. This will enable us to offer our wonderful clients even more housing options and off market deals.

This week away from the office, will also allow us to do more than just network: once in a while it is a good thing to “unplug” and look at things from a different perspective.
Since our re-branding and name change a few months ago, a lot of things have changed in the company – and this week away will give us the opportunity to reflect.

Do you have any input for Charlie’s Roof? Are there any services missing? Things we should consider in our business plan? We would love to hear from you and get your input on how the best possible rental & relocation service in Denmark is established.

We will be out of office from March 12th – March 16th, but reachable through e-mails and phones as usual.

We are looking forward to showing you all of the photos from our trip to France!

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Our Little Slice of Copenhagen

On the 1st of September we made one of our boldest changes yet, and moved into a lovely little office on Bredgade, right in the heart of Copenhagen. This has had so many positive impacts on us: it made us more accessible for visits from clients, gave us the flexibility to visit apartments and arrange meetings at short notice and put us a stone’s throw from some of Copenhagen’s most beautiful attractions. This last point has not gone unappreciated by the Charlie’s Roof team; follow us on Facebook and you will see our frequent posts about the beauty of our home city!

Today marks an extra special day in our appreciation of our location, as we were able to see a fantastic tradition up close. Every new ambassador to Denmark is invited to a reception with the Queen at Amalienborg (just around the corner from our office), which they arrive at by horse-drawn carriage. They begin at Kastellet and travel through the city to Amalienborg, accompanied by the wonderfully named Gardehusarregimentets Hesteskadron! This squadron is part of one of only two remaining cavalry regiments of the Danish Army and they were an incredible sight to behold, with very dramatic, old-fashioned formal uniforms. Events such as this feel very rare in our modern world and it was an honour to be a small part of it. The short walk back to the office was also much appreciated in this cold weather!

On your next visit to the Queen be sure to drop by the Charlie’s Roof office for a cup of coffee and a chat. We are open every day from 10 until 2 at Bredgade 51.

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Aarhus is growing, and it’s growing fast!

Aarhus has always been a city in a constant development, but it’s only recently that the development has also started to affect the very centre of Aarhus. It all began with Ceresbyen. A city within the city, comprised of office buildings, apartments to let, and apartments to buy. Ceresbyen is rapidly approaching its final state, and so far it looks like the brand new area of Aarhus is already being enjoyed by its very diverse population. Inhabitants range from young student singles and couples, to elderly retired “Aarhusianerer” who just wants to be at the centre of everything happening in the city of smiles.

All of Ceresbyen in one picture –

Along with Ceresbyen The Island of Aarhus or Aarhus Ø has also seen a rapid growth in its creation. There is almost no space left for architectural wonders, which can now be seen towering along the beautiful Aarhus harbour waters. The Island is home to the most controversial and innovative architectural designs ever seen in Aarhus. This is also why many new comers, as well as Aarhus born people, are moving to this ever growing part of Aarhus. The designs to watch include “The Iceberg”, and “Aarhus Lighthouse” as well as several others.

The lighthouse towering on it’s own little separate part of The Island of Aarhus –

Last but not least, the old “Latinerkvarter” is also experiencing a lot of changes, this both in terms of renovations, but also brand new projects such as “Latinergården”. Situated right in between the lovely restaurant and café occupied streets of Mejlgade and the busy hub of Klostertorvet, the new housing project is arguably the best place to live in Aarhus. With the life of Aarhus inner city literally buzzing right outside your bedroom window, and the busy minds of Aarhus university just a 2 min bike ride away from your underground cycle parking, what more could you ask for. Oh yeah, I almost forgot the… water, beaches and lush Danish forests, which can be found just 3-5 min away. All in all, I wouldn’t mind living there, and I don’t think any other person who knows Aarhus would either.

Latinergården in the heart of Aarhus –

I chose to settle down in Ceresbyen, while the wait for the new apartments closer to city centre, where just too long for me to handle. However, now that I have been living here for quite some time, I do not regret my decision one bit. Ceresbyen is full of life, especially in terms of young students having fun, socializing and occasionally partying in the courtyard. I couldn’t imagine a better environment for someone to experience, who has never been to Aarhus, and I cannot wait until the entire site is finalized.

There are even more projects being build e.g. “Nabolaget” right next to Aarhus BSS, as this blog post is being written, and it just comes to show that Aarhus is a city which needs to be taking seriously as a key player in terms of making Denmark relevant to internationals. Aarhus is the city of smiles, and that is honestly not just a saying… you try and join our lovely city, and I’m sure that you will be adding yet another smile to the city.

There are still apartments available in many of the locations above, so if you have been intrigued by this blog post, then you might not be far away from being part of one of these evolving communities.

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Building a New Website – a Guide for Dummies

It’s been four weeks since Charlie’s Roof was born: the name, the brand, the website, the webshop; it was all launched on one hectic day in October. A daunting challenge for even the most experienced of entrepreneurs or branding specialists, neither of which we are! However, what we lack in IT and marketing knowledge, we make up for in heart, commitment, drive and love for what we do, so we somehow made it through the last few months and out the other side unscathed (well, relatively).

We love our new name and the brand that comes with – and we have had lots of good feedback from clients and industry contacts alike. No more confusion between us and some of our colleagues in housing! Now we stand alone … which comes with some pressure to deliver stand-out service. But as ever, we are up to the challenge. The change to the name and website also incorporated some change to our services, in structure and in content. The goal hasn’t changed though: we aim to help as many people as possible find and settle into their new home in Denmark. The new structure aims to make it easier for our clients to choose the services applicable to them, without having to pay for services they won’t use.

We are so happy with our new website as it was definitely time for a change in that department. As is not uncommon, the work required to make a new website from scratch was drastically underestimated by all of us (except our fearless developer, Frank Wiwe, whose warnings we foolishly ignored). But let’s focus on the positives, which are that we are 99% of the way there to the finished product, just a few final touches left! We hope you love it, and we are very open to feedback if there are things you think are great, or could be better.

Celebrating our new website launch!


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Charlie’s Roof in Aarhus

Charlie’s Roof has a new guy in Aarhus and this is something that we are very excited about. Aarhus has always been a city of interest for internationals – and this year Aarhus University had a record high number of international applicants to the university. 3.676 EU citizens alone registered to enrol at Aarhus University. We at Charlie’s Roof, would of course be delighted to help as many internationals as possible find accommodation in Aarhus and the surrounding areas. The story goes that students in Aarhus sometimes have to live in tents in parks and on balconies (!) in August/September when studies are commencing. We have a great desire to make life easier for these people, and hopefully we can help ease their move to Denmark.

The rest of Jutland also has many interesting workplaces for internationals, such as Vestas, Arla, Lego, Bestseller and Danfoss – and our aim is to help as many as these new employees settle down painlessly in Denmark. So if you know anyone who needs help find their feet and a roof over their head in Jutland, please refer them to us. We are ready to help!

Daniel Nissen Lauritsen – our guy in Aarhus – has years of experience on the housing market. He has spent time living in London, so he knows the challenges of living away from your birth country and fitting into a new society, with new people, rules and norms. If you ask him, the best decision he ever made in his life was to move to another country, and thereby experience a new culture, which ultimately made him feel like he was living a different life. Almost like a fresh start, that didn’t reset his life back in Denmark, but instead provided him with brand new opportunities while living in London.

“I moved to London at a young age. I was 18, and I was concerned with the fact that people might not want to take me seriously. We all have our prejudices about other cities, countries and continents, and before I got on the plane I thought to myself; how will I ever get a job that both interests me, motivates me, and drives me? My second questions was more along the lines of; where am I supposed to live? Isn’t London crazy expensive? Should I maybe just stay for a shorter period of time, so that I do not have to worry about this? Luckily all of those questions were answered right when I met my Danish roommates at the Hostel, where I began my journey. My 6-month trip, turned into a year, and when the time had arrived for me to go back home and begin my studies at university, I did not want to leave.”

– Daniel Nissen Lauritsen, Housing Manager Aarhus


Charlie’s Roof welcomes Daniel and all of our future Aarhus and Jutland based clients. For the rest of 2017 Daniel has decided that he wants to help as many internationals move to Denmark, so that they can hopefully have the same experience as he did upon leaving Denmark for another country. Charlie’s Roof Aarhus will do this by giving all new clients looking for accommodation in Jutland a 20% discount on your success fee.

We are so excited to hear from all of you, whether you are explorers, students, professors, expats, lost or whatever you are! At Charlie’s Roof we are here to guide you through the ever intimidating Danish housing market.

Welcome to the family!


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Malmø – worth a visit!

If you’re looking for a nice destination for a short city break, Malmø is a great choice.

Only 30 minutes from central Copenhagen and for less than 200 DKK return on the train, Malmø is a beautiful city with lots of things to see and do. There is the beautiful old city with its cobbled streets and timbered houses, in which you can find lovely bars and restaurants. Also the architecture in many of the new buildings is impressive: take a look at the Turning Torso for example.

The shopping opportunities are absolutely fantastic (and cheaper than in Denmark!). They have shops for absolutely everything: for example if you are into hard rock you MUST go to ‘Shock’. This store has typical rock outfits, accessories and shoes. And even if you’re not into that kind of stuff, the store itself with its music and extreme atmosphere is worth a visit. See:

You can also take a ‘pedalo trip’ on the lake that runs through Malmø and go for a trip to Folkets Park which is free and offers many fun activities for kids and adults. You can picnic here, bathe in the summer and ice skate in the winter. There are also cafés, a terrarium, flea markets and much more. Take a look here: .

In terms of gastronomy Malmø also has a lot to offer, and prices in restaurants and cafés are generally lower than in Copenhagen (except for alcohol). There are so many cosy coffee shops in Malmø, and they all have excellent WiFi and cinnamon rolls (a typical Swedish cake). Some of the best are:

A slightly different café where they also sell music (it’s basically a music store which also has a café) is: A great atmosphere and again, just slightly different than what you find in Copenhagen.

For vegetarians and vegans, there are also many options, such as:

They are all super cosy, very affordable and with great food.

Things you absolutely have to do in Malmø:

  • Buy cheap candy (‘godis’). Candy in Sweden is half the price of candy in Denmark, due to the lack of fees/charges on sugar in Sweden.
  • Have a cinnamon roll at a bakery store (Kanelbulla!)
  • Walk around the old city and small town square (Lilla Torg). It is extremely ‘hygge’!
  • Go shopping in the city centre. You can really get some bargains here, compared to shopping in Denmark.

The trip alone, over Øresundsbroen, is worth a lot – especially for kids. So! We recommend taking a trip over the bridge for a weekend, next time you feel like getting away for a bit.


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The birth of Charlie’s Roof

I started Charlie’s Roof (formerly called Copenhagen Housing) in February 2016. For those of you interested in how and why I did that, read on …

The first seed was planted:

After working at the Danish Technical University (DTU) for a number of years, helping professors, PhD students and guests to get a roof over their heads, I had experienced first hand how expensive and impersonal some relocation agencies in Copenhagen seemed. Once in a while we did not have enough manpower in the DTU housing department to help all of the DTU guests with their house-hunt – and in these cases we hired external housing agents. This was always very expensive for the university and the individual could never afford to buy the help themselves. I thought that someone should be able to do this job better and cheaper. This was the first seed of the idea for Charlie’s Roof.

The seed blossoms:

The seed grew quickly when I had my daughter Alberte, who is now 5 years old. When coming back from maternity leave I could not juggle family life and working at the university – a workplace that I indeed appreciated very much! – especially because my husband works long hours and is away from home a lot. So I made a hard decision to quit my job and say goodbye to my fantastic DTU colleagues to start my own little adventure. Living out a dream in a flexible environment where working from home all week if necessary is OK: this adventure resulted in Charlie’s Roof.

Why this road in life?

For me it’s not about apartments and houses: it’s about people. And for everyone, getting a roof over your head is at the core of being happy. And it may sound cheesy but I really like to make people happy. Having a home is at the very bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and not having a home can create stress and depression. I have seen many sad people over the years, desperate to find an apartment or a room – and the best feeling in the world, is when I or one of my colleagues can help them. By total coincidence I am a trained Real Estate Agent (long story short, something about a student job that evolved into serious business and working in London with an investment realtor) – and this actually enables me to help these people. I have the network (which I have now shared with my colleagues as well), the education, the knowledge and the experience in how to handle the market and the landlords. So I can actually perform a job that I love, by helping people out. How fantastic is that! 

What is so special about Charlie’s Roof?

We treat every client like our friend. We are honest and we try to help as many people as possible, also students and low-income house-hunters. We have absolutely no preferences based on religion, nationality, political views or income: we do our best to help everyone who comes to us, with absolute devotion to the client. We would love to do the work we do for free, because for us it is a passion. Unfortunately, that is not possible, having our own rents to pay and families to support, but we do, and always will, keep the cost to our clients at an absolute minimum.


If you have any questions about me, the company or you would like to know more about our services, please feel free to contact us on We are here for you!

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The story behind the Offer List

The Offer List (which used to be called the Budget and Shared Accommodation Service) has been my baby since I started with Copenhagen Housing. When I first met with Charlotte and we discussed the needs of the company, it was clear that we needed to find a way of helping room seekers, those looking to share an apartment with friends and those looking for budget accommodation in Copenhagen. When Charlotte started the company, she already knew from her previous experience that it would be far more difficult to find suitable properties for these clients than for ‘regular’ clients (singles, couples and families with higher budgets). Therefore, it wasn’t possible to charge them a start-up fee, the same as for her other clients, because she wasn’t certain that she would be able to find them what they were looking for. But nonetheless, sometimes perfect offers cheap apartments, rooms, or apartments suitable for sharing would come to her via her contacts, and she would not have any clients for them. This seemed like a total waste! So something needed to be done about it…

When fate brought me and Charlotte together in September 2016, one of the first things I did was start working on the Offer List. This was a way of accumulating clients looking for these kinds of housing so that when the offers came from contacts, we had a dedicated list of interested clients. By just charging a small registration fee to cover the administration involved in registering clients and maintaining the service, the service is accessible to as many people as possible, something which we really value at Charlie’s Roof. We keep the success fees for this service as low as possible for the same reason. And as with all of our services, if you don’t find an apartment through us, you don’t pay.

I am always working on developing and advancing the Offer List. I’ve sussed out the usual suspects for cheap apartments and the most sharing-friendly landlords and I’m always trying my best to find more. It’s still a work-in-progress but we hope in time to be able to help all of our Offer List clients find the perfect place for them. And now that Elke is working on the Offer List with me as well, we can achieve that goal even faster.