Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Denmark - Child care

Here you can get information on who is entitled to a place in day-care facilities, child care options, costs, subsidies, and how to register/apply for public day-care facilities.

What am I entitled to?

In Denmark, the guaranteed day-care availability ensures that all children from 26 weeks until school age are entitled to be enrolled in a day care facility. If you wish to enrol your child at the age of 26 weeks the local authority has 4 weeks to offer a place.

The local authority determines the deadlines and guidelines for application.

You may make a request for a particular place, which the local authority will try to accommodate. You can apply for child care for your child from the age of about 6-10 in an after-school activity/after-school play scheme.

Leisure and youth clubs offer activities for older children, but are not child care schemes.

What conditions do I need to meet?

Be aware of the following in relation to your child's entitlement to a place in a day-care facility from the age of 26 weeks until school age:

  • Your child and you as a parent must be legal resident in Denmark. Danish residency is, among other things, assessed on the basis of how long you have been resident in Denmark, whether you and your child have an address in the population register, and whether you and your child intend to be permanent residents in Denmark.
  • If you are a citizen of an EU/EEA country and work in Denmark, you are entitled to the same social benefits as Danish citizens. This means that your child is entitled to a place in a day-care facility within your local authority area.
  • If you live in Germany or Sweden, for example, but work in Denmark (i.e. you are a cross-border worker), your child is entitled to a place in and a subsidy towards a day-care facility in the local authority area where you work. The local authority area where you work is regarded as your local authority area of residence. If you work in more than one local authority area, you may choose in which local authority area you wish your child to have child care.
  • You cannot use subsidies for private child care (from Denmark) in EU countries other than Denmark. This also applies if you are an EU citizen and work in Denmark, but are resident in another EU country.
  • You have to register your child for an after-school play scheme at borger.dk and enrol your child to school.

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

As a citizen of an EU/EEA country who works in Denmark, you are entitled to the same social benefits as Danish citizens. Your child is therefore entitled to child care in a day-care facility every weekday, from the age of 26 weeks until he or she reaches school age (child care guarantee). Note that day-care facilities are closed at weekends, on public holidays, on Constitution Day, Christmas Eve and any additional closing days.

If the local authority is unable to fulfil this child care guarantee, you are entitled to have either:

  • expenditure on a day-care place in another local authority area covered; or
  • expenditure on a place in a privately-run child care facility covered; or
  • a grant paid to you to mind your own child.

Can my child be looked after in another local authority area?

If it is more practical to have your child minded in another local authority area, there may also be provision for this. However, this requires your neighbouring local authority not to have a closed waiting list for children who live outside the local authority area. Note that your own contribution may perhaps become higher, as it depends on the level of service. If you move, your child is entitled to stay in the same day-care institution. Get more information on child care in other local authority areas.

As a parent you also have the option of setting up a child care facility yourself. You can read more about setting up private day-care, an independent institution, private institution or a private child care scheme.

What are the costs of day-care facilities?

Note that it is the local council that decides:

  • the price for having your child in day-care;
  • when your child has to be placed on a waiting list;
  • if you are placed at the end of the queue as someone who has moved from another local authority.

Your child is entitled to a place no later than 3 months after you have applied for it. However, the following rules apply:

Breakdown of costs for a place in day-care institution:

Local authority's minimum contribution

Parent's maximum own contribution

Children below school age

75%

25%

Children above school age (typical place in after-school play scheme)

70%

30%

Note that the local authority pays the subsidy to the day-care facility where your child has a place and therefore not directly to you as a parent. This also applies if you wish your child to have a place in an approved private institution. You have to contact the institution, which itself also sets the parent's own contribution for the place.

Can I receive a subsidy for parental payment/own contribution?

Please note that it may be possible for your own contribution to be reduced by obtaining what is known as an economic subsidy from the local authority.

The local authority takes this decision based on household income. The subsidy is calculated on the basis of the combined household income if both parents live together with the child. The subsidy is calculated on the basis of the income of the parent where the child has its registered address (also when parents have shared custody of the child).

Combined household income

Proportion of economic subsidy (2020)

up to DKK 181,501

100% economic subsidy

between DKK 181,501 and 185,524

95% economic subsidy

between DKK 185,525 and 563,799

The economic subsidy is reduced by 1 percentage point for each DKK 3,852 rise in income

DKK 563,800 or more

0% economic subsidy

Please note that the above income limits are raised by DKK 7,000 for each child living at home below the age of 18 years and by a further DKK 63,506 if you are a single parent who is entitled to a subsidised place. Read also about the treatment-related and social-educational economic subsidy.

If there is more than one child in the household in a day care etc., you can additionally receive a sibling subsidy (including an after-school play scheme/after-school activity). This means you have to pay the full amount for the most expensive institution place, but only 50% for the other places. Biological siblings, adoptive siblings and children in step-families who live together are regarded as siblings in this context. Get more information on subsidies for day-care facilities and parental payment.

At Borger.dk you can read more about the individual facilities and find various forms to apply for and register your children for various child care schemes. Read about:

You can also appeal against a decision on child care.

In addition, the Ministry of Children and Education offers information on day-care facilities and on after-school activity/after-school play scheme and leisure and youth clubs.

Jargon busters

  • Borger.dk is your portal to the public sector. Here you can get more information about child and youth benefit.
  • SFO is an abbreviation for skolefritidsordning (after-school activity scheme) and comes under primary and lower secondary school (folkeskole), while an after-school centre is a child care provision which comes under local authority day-care. Both institutions are aimed at children aged approximately 6 to 10.

Forms you may need to fill in

At borger.dk you can find an overview of child care and apply for a subsidised place and various subsidies.

Know your rights

At the links below you can get information about your legal rights. They do not refer to European Commission websites and therefore do not represent the views of the Commission:

European Commission publication and website:

Who do you need to contact?

Børne- og Undervisningsministeriet (Ministry of Children and Education)
Frederiksholms Kanal 21
1220 København K
DENMARK
Tel. +45 33925000
Email address: uvm@uvm.dk

Get more information about day-care and other relevant information at borger.dk. You can also obtain assistance with self-service at borger.dk by phoning 1881 or +45 70101881.

If it is not possible for you to use the online self-service facility, you can obtain assistance from the local authority area's Citizen Service. Find your municipality's Citizen Service.

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