Danish Summer House Rules

How to Find a House to Hygge in when you visit Denmark

Want to know how the Danes do summer? Simple. Seek out a summer house. And find your own hygge. That communal sense of slowing down and focusing on being together in a comfortable place with your family or friends. You’ll be grateful once you find it. But know that there are rules about how to hygge in a Danish sommerhus. But what if you don’t know the rules? Don’t worry. I’m here to help. And give you some tips on how to find one.

The Danish summer house is simple. And cozy. Not lavish or large. A cottage. A home. Near the sea. Clean and concise. Like the Danes. And dare I say it – darn hyggeligt. You may have heard this Danish word hygge. Lots and lots of posts and books and articles have been written about it, how the Danes have it, how it makes them happy. How you need it in your life. How to get it in your life. Danes also love that hygge is untranslatable. Somehow that makes it theirs alone. And while I appreciate that much of the Danish language feels untranslatable, I don’t believe this is true. You too can feel hygge. You don’t have to be Danish. And a sommerhus is a wonderful place to try.”

Summer House Hygge, Oregon Girl Around the World

Get outside the city

Come to Copenhagen she said. In fact, I say it all the time. But don’t stay here for your entire visit to Denmark. There is so much more to this country than the capital. And much of it is along the coast. Did you know that there is no place in Denmark that is more than 52 kilometers from the water? And there are so many charming villages and towns to see along the seaside. Heading for a break near the water is a very Danish respite. And most likely it happens in a summer house. A Danish sommerhus. 


DANISH SUMMER HOUSE RULE #1:

Find a place to unplug near nature.


WHERE TO SUMMER HOUSE IN DENMARK

The “Danish Riviera” stretches across the northern part of Sjælland from Helsingør to charming towns and beautiful sandy beaches starting in Hornbæk, Gilleleje, Tisvildeleje, and Liseleje. Or roll through Roskilde and head out towards Odsherred and Rørvig.

On the north west coast of Jutland, summer house communities began developing around stunning Skagen at the top of Denmark as well towns like Løkken and Blokhus along the North Sea coastline. Or further south try the island of Fanø.

Don’t forget Funen in the middle and the archipelago of islands that litter its southern shore. Look to Æro and Helnæs.

But the best place, I now believe, is Bornholm. An island off the coast of southern Sweden, Bornholm is a beautiful Danish microcosm of cozy. There are so many opportunities to discover summer house hygge here.


DANISH SUMMER HOUSE RULE #2:

Bring people together.


Summer house Agencies

Every local tourist board has links to summer houses for rent in their region. But the following booking sites have the largest selections across the country and can help you find that special place to bring your people together and create those hygge memories.

Dansommer.com

Dansommer has one of the largest online collections of summer houses in Denmark. Here you can search for houses based on your specific needs, wants and desires. I love that you can filter for homes that are energy efficient and by their distance to the water.

Novasol.com

Sister company to Dansommer, sharing many offices and resources across the country. Both companies are part of the larger Wyndham Vacation Properties.

SolOgStrand.com

Sol og Strand, or “sun and beach” in English, is a Denmark specific summer house agency and prides themselves in knowing and helping with not only the vacation rental, but activities and sight near your rental. They have 5800 rental properties and strive for quality over quantity.

Dancenter.com

With 10,000 houses, Dancenter has the largest collection of homes to let online.


DANISH SUMMER HOUSE RULE #3:

Make it comfy.


BRING YOUR OWN SHEETS:

The easiest way to get comfy is carrying along your own linens. It is standard for Danish summer houses to provide the duvets and pillows, but you will need to bring your own covers, sheets and towels.

Visiting Denmark from somewhere else? Don’t have space in your hand luggage for all that? Don’t worry, you can rent a linen package from the different rental agencies.

Linen Package usually includes:
Duvet/pillow case, sheet for 1 person, 1 towel, 1 big bathing towel, 1 kitchen towel and 1 cloth. Costs around 100 DKK per person.

Doesn’t seem as cozy to borrow sheets? You can get comfy by bringing casual clothes to curl up in with your closest friends.


DANISH SUMMER HOUSE RULE #4:

Share good food.


FOOD AND DRINK

Find the local fish shop or smokehouse for local delicacies. Support the nearby farm stand and buy some new potatoes or fresh rhubarb and strawberries. Pick ripe red currants, known as ribs in these parts. Cooking together and eating definitely together ups your hygge factor.

And don’t fret, all Danish summer houses will have dishes, utensils, cookware, and glasses for your use. Basic appliances like coffee maker, toaster and sometimes microwave may be available. If it is important for your holiday stay, make sure to clarify before booking. Any and all food and drink will be yours to bring or buy along the way.


DANISH SUMMER HOUSE RULE #5

Turn down the lights.


ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION IS EXTRA

It is normal and expected that you will be responsible for paying for how much electricity you use during your stay. (And sometimes water.) When you pick up your keys, you will receive a sheet to denote the starting meter measure when you arrive at the house. You can ask ahead what average consumption prices are for each specific house before renting.

Since you are paying for it, use less of it. Unplug and turn down. It’s greener AND more hyggeligt. Light some candles. Make a fire if there is a wood stove or a fire pit. Roasting marshmallows together or as the Danes do, cooking bread on a stick is a great way to create hygge.


DANISH SUMMER HOUSE RULE #6

Everyone pitches in.


CLEANING AT THE END

In Denmark, you take your shoes off when inside. Doing so will help when it’s time to clean at the end. Summer houses need to be left in tip top shape and the cleaning is your responsibility unless you book a final clean service with the rental agency. This can be booked before hand or at the time of arrival. Final cleaning fees vary depending on house size, but can add up to 1200 DKK on the total price. ($180 USD, €160)

Care to clean it yourself and save some kroner? Bring your own vinegar and baking soda or purchase at the local market. And make sure everyone pitches in. Hygge is about equality. There are no tall poppies here in Denmark and tasks should be shared. An egalitarian “many hands make light work,” ensures everyone contributes for the good of the group.


DANISH SUMMER HOUSE RULE #7

Be present.


Hygge makes you happy

Slow down. Get comfortable. Be casual. No drama. Play games. Eat food. Be together. Turn off the phone. Set aside some time each day to come together and consciously be together. Find when it best suits your peeps. This is your place to feel peace. With each other. With yourself. This is hygge.  

MORE SUMMER HOUSE TIPS:
IMPORTANT TO NOTE:
  • Normal Danish summer house rentals run one week from Saturday to Saturday.
  • Check in time is between 14:00-19:00. After hours arrivals need to be arranged ahead.
  • Keys are normally picked up at a central location, not the house itself.
  • Consumption of electricity is paid at the end.
  • Check out time is 10:00.
  • Peak rental time is during Danish school holidays between weeks 26-31 (late June to early August).
  • Renting a summer house off-peak is cheaper and can be even cozier.
FACTS ABOUT DANISH SUMMER HOUSES
  • 55% of all foreign tourist stays in Denmark are in a summer house.
  • There are over 200,000 summer homes in Denmark. About 40,000 of them are available for rent.
  • 90% of all Danish summer home rentals are members of the Danish Association of Holiday House Letters.
  • Since 1973, when Denmark joined the European Union, foreigners have not been allowed to buy a Danish summer house.
  • If you have special connections to Denmark or a specific house, you can apply for a limited number of exceptions to the above rule each year.
  • Denmark saw a huge summer house building boom in the late 1960’s and 1970’s when the Danish economy was growing.
  • All of the building prompted a law in 1977 that forbids building on the sea front and requires a 3 kilometer set back from the beach, making it difficult to find a water front property to rent.
  • You are not allowed to live year-round in a summer house unless you are a pensioner (retiree).

Live like a local. Seek out a sommerhus.

For more about hygge – check out Meik Wiking’s A Little Book of Hygge | Danish Secrets to Happy Living.

Find your own house to hygge in. Simple rules and tools for renting and relaxing in a Danish summer house when visiting Denmark.

Oregon Girl Around the World

Making Macarons in Copenhagen with a Terrible French Pastry Class

Day out in the Danish Capital

LEARN TO MAKE MACARONS

I adore French macarons. Those pretty, crunchy, chewy ganache filled little round cookies that people line sidewalks in Paris to procure. If you love Ladurée but live in Copenhagen, you are in luck. You can learn to make them yourself. From a French pastry master. Frédéric Terrible has been creating and cooking delightful French desserts in the Danish capital for over twenty years. He runs the Terrible French Pastry School in Frederiksberg.

TERRIBLE FRENCH PASTRY SCHOOL

I recently spent a not-terrible-at-all afternoon learning tips and tricks about the tasty treats with a group of friends. Frédéric has a lovely light filled space on a quiet street off Gammel Kongevej and can host your group outing easily. Birthday party? Bachelorette party? Team-building? Oui oui! Don’t have a group? No problem. Regularly scheduled classes allow for individual participation as well.

Think macarons are hard work? Not under the master’s close supervision. Frédéric breaks down the process and gives you all the tools to succeed. We used an Italian meringue recipe in this class, as it is more lenient and easier for us newbies to work with than the traditional French version, Frédéric explained. We worked in teams of two to boil the sugar to just the right temperature and then carefully add it to the whipping egg whites for our meringues. This glossy white mixture was then added to an almond flour base and blended by hand to the perfect consistency. Not too little, not too much.

After watching the technique demonstrated for us, we piped in pairs, filling our trays in a variety of colored batters. Once in the oven, we watched and we waited for the cookies to rise. Do they have a “foot” asks Frédéric? Yes? Oui! Then adjust the temp and time for a break. As the cookies finished baking, we enjoyed coffee, tea and (of course) macarons in a separate party room set up for our group.

Once cooled, we popped the pieces off the paper and got them ready for filling. Today we took a condensed version of the class and did not make the ganache centers ourselves. Frédéric had already prepared a variety of flavors for us to fill. He quickly shared his process and preference for all-natural ingredients. We used salted caramel, raspberry, coffee, chocolate and of course – licorice – this class IS in Denmark. Once full, they get five minutes in the freezer to set the cookies for travel.  We get to pack a mixed box to take home.

FRENCH PASTRY CLASS DEETS:

Terrible French Pastry School
Grundtvigsvej 10 A – 1864 Frederiksberg C

2.5 Hour Class
300 DKK includes ingredients, instruction, coffee/tea and pastries
Minimum of 8 participants

NOTE: The condensed macaron class is called Bachelorette Party on the website.

Other pastry class options, as well as the full macaron lesson including the ganache filling, can be found at Frederic’s site online. He offers classes for children, but suggests that they work best for ages 8 and older.

 

Untold Morsels

Day Out in Denmark Finding Giants

An Open-Air Sculpture Hunt for Giants
SUSTAINABLE SUMMER FUN OUTSIDE COPENHAGEN

Looking for a fabulous way to spend a day exploring the countryside around Copenhagen? Let’s go looking for giants! Danish artist Thomas Dambo has hidden 6 Forgotten Giants in green spaces southwest of the city.

Most are hidden within one to two kilometers from a train station making it possible to ride your bicycle to your treasure hunt. We rented an electric car and carpooled with friends for the day as we wanted to bring along our portable grill, pølsers and picnic provisions.

With littles in tow, we found that targeting three giants made for a perfect half-day outing. We had plenty of time to seek and to find and play along the way. We stopped mid-hunt to grill hot dogs and roast marshmallows and play football. With children ranging in ages from 5 to 11, our day out tracking down these friendly beasts took us about 4-5 hours with a planned picnic in the middle.

Don’t have a car? Just visiting Copenhagen? Rent a bicycle and follow the map below. You can take your bike right on the S-trains. This route starts at Copenhagen’s Central Station but can start anywhere and jump in at any stop.

MAP KEY:
RED = S-tog or S-trains
BLUE = Bicycle routes between
GREEN = The 6 Forgotten Giants

#1 Sovende Louis | Sleeping Louis | Rødovre

Closest to Copenhagen, Sleepy Louis lounges lazily waiting for you to wake him. He is the only giant that you can crawl right inside. But beware – he might wake at any moment!

TRAIN: Take B-line towards Høje Tåstrup
STOP: Brøndbyøster Station
DISTANCE TO GIANT: 1.4 km
PARKING: Take first left after Absalon Camping, park at left end of lot.

TIP: Follow the paved path past fitness station. Look for a trail up towards your left after the bend.

I have a big bunch of siblings, but we are hidden from people. They call us The Forgotten Giants. My sister Trine sits in Avedøre. In the field behind the hill where there are sheep and cows.”
#2 Bakke top Trine | Hilltop Trine | Quark Naturcenter in Hvidovre

Hilltop Trine is huge. She leans against a hillock in Hvidovre with an outstretched hand waiting to hold you. Her size makes your littles look Lilleputian by contrast. This is a perfect place for a picnic if it pleases your people. A fire pit for roasting pølsers or marshmallows is available. Enjoy at nearby picnic tables or play in the shelters. Bring your own supplies.

BIKE: There is no direct train connection to Hilltop Trine. Take the easy flat bike ride, nearly a straight between the 2 giants.
DISTANCE BETWEEN GIANTS: 5.3 km
PARKING: From Byvej turn right into Filmbyen. Park on the left before fences, walk down path along the field to the Naturcenter.

TIP: Trine hides on the back of the hill behind the chicken coops. To reserve the shelters and get a key for the toilets – reserve ahead with Quark Naturcenter. (As of 21st June, all slots for the summer are booked.)

#3 OSCAR UNDER BROEN | Oscar under the Bridge | Ishøj Strand

Say goodbye to Trine and get on your bike towards the Avedøre Station. Hop on the A-line train here towards Sølrod Strand and pop off at Ishøj. Oscar hides under the bridge near the beach. Carefully climb down and find him hanging out by the water. Cool off in the surf at the beach or grab an ice cream or ice coffee at Ka’nalu Café right at Ishøj Strandpark.

TRAIN: Take A-line towards Sølrod Strand Station
STOP: Get on Avedøre Station, get off Ishøj Station.
DISTANCE FROM GIANT: 1.8 km
PARKING: If driving, park car at Ishøj Strand.

TIP: Walk towards playground and café and continue down the path until the first bridge. Take a right and look under.

Want to really go for it and catch all 6 in one day? You can do it! It is about 5 km from Oscar to the Vallensbæk Mose where you can find Lille Tilde and Thomas on the Mountain. See more about these magical giants and meet Teddy Friendly here on our first day out.

Found some yourself? Who is your favorite? I think I love Trine and Tilde the best. Cheers from Copenhagen, Erin

Day out In Denmark Finding Giants | Oregon Girl Around the World

Oregon Girl Around the World