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Summer house: Danish way of a holiday

Summerhouse at Pøt Strand. Foto: Novasol Dansommer

Summer house: Danish way of a holiday

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SUMMER HOUSE - The winter is almost finished and it's the perfect time to begin preparing your summer vocation. What do you think about a typically Danish holiday experience? The Danes spend their holidays mostly abroad on a beach in warm countries, or at summer houses in Denmark. And not just in June, July or August. But what do we know about them?

Wikipedia says that "summer house" or "summerhouse" has traditionally referred to a building or shelter used for relaxation in warm weather. Summer houses are a core part of the Danish culture - Danes just love them. These cottages represent an affordable option for people to enjoy their holidays, as a venue for family reunions and spending time together or simply weekends away from "civilization" and crowded cities.

As usual summer houses in Denmark are located close to sandy beaches, a few with sea view, but can also be in attractive areas of the countryside. According to "Danmarks Statistik", there are approximately 223 000 summer houses in Denmark (in 2016). Of these about 40,000 are available for rent.

A little bit of history

The end of the 19th century. Many Copenhageners started to send their families out of the city during the summer holiday to their residences on the coast north of Copenhagen. The trend was not limited to the capital of Denmark. It also took place in other parts of the country, creating for example the seaside resort of Skagen (the Danish Royal Family have a summer residence located in Skagen) at the north part of Jutland.

In Jutland along the North Sea coastline, are created summer towns such as Løkken, Blokhus and Lønstrup. Large summer house areas were also created south of Aarhus and eastern Funen. Many of the larger Danish islands such as Samsø, Fanø, Anholt, Falster and Bornholm have summer house areas as well.

We should mention that near Horsens there are some summer house areas as well as near Juelsminde - a spectacular Danish town, named Port of the Year in 2012. The Danes and tourists love this romantic town for its memorable maritime atmosphere and delightful, sandy beaches with the cleanest water in Denmark. That's why so many people come to spend their holidays here.

The big summer house building boom came during the 1960's and 70's, when Danish economy was growing and many wanted a second residence close to the sea to spend the holidays in. It was a great opportunity for the municipalities along the coastline to create new jobs and encourage tourism.

During this time, many of the summer houses built were quite simple wooden ones (only 40-50 m2), with two small bedrooms, a living area combined with a kitchen and a bathroom. The trend since the 1980's has been for larger and more comfortable houses. Houses are increasingly equipped with designer furniture, bigger kitchens with dishwashers and large bathrooms.

Today Danish summer houses will have four to six beds, but you will also find larger holiday cottages, especially along Denmark's west coast, that can accommodate up to 12 people.

Danish summer house style

Danish summer houses have a unique style. The classic "sommerhus" is usually a one-story building made of black wood (sometimes with straw roof in the west coast), with white windows, surrounded by a small garden area with bushes and trees, children's playground. And some of them have a flagpole as well.

The interior is very cozy and minimalistic. Some of summer houses are very stylish and modern, and some of them could have plushy couches, fluffy pillows, carpets and curtains (sometimes Danes call them "mormor sommerhuse", that means "grandmother houses").

Furniture will often be white or of light wood, and color schemes range from romantic pastels to nautical-themed blue and navy tones.

Many summer houses have wood-burning stoves or fireplaces, because evenings and nights can be chilly. They could have spa facilities, swimming pools or billiard tables as well.

And of course, a terrace! The place where the family can relax all together, grill and have a talk and fun.

Rules. Always rules

Danish summer houses today are more popular than ever before. And not just among the Danes. More and more foreigners (especially Norwegians, Swedes and Germans) want to buy Danish summer cottages. But it's not so easy.

The law preventing foreigners from buying holiday homes in Denmark has been in place since 1973, when Denmark joined the then European Community. Exceptions to the rule allows foreigners to apply for an exemption if they have a special connection to Denmark (for example if they have been on holidays here for several years or have Danish family or other cultural ties to Denmark).

But it's not all surprises. While under Danish law, owners are not normally permitted to use these houses as permanent homes, an exception is made for pensioners. The other surprise is that you can't cut the grass or have party during the lunch time. So, before you rent or buy a Danish summer house, it is better to know more about the rules in this area.

Renting a summer house in Denmark

Most summer houses in Denmark are privately owned and you can also rent them through a tourist office or agency. You normally rent holiday cottages for a week (from Saturday until Saturday). Danish holiday homes are always fully equipped with kitchen utensils, crockery, pillows and duvets.

- For a modern, furnished house with shower and toilet, hot and cold water, refrigerator, washing machine and two to three bedrooms with room for four to six people, you can expect to pay around 3.000 kr for a week in the low season. Prices are very slightly depending on region, location, season and the type of summer house, says Lene Rusholt, recruiter of Novasol-dansommer in Juelsminde.

- You can also rent luxury summer house. For example, prices for the summer house in the very popular area Pøt Stranden (15 km from Horsens) with top-of-the-range facilities such as jacuzzi, billiard and extra beds will start from around 9.000 kr in the high season, explaines Lene Rusholt.

In addition to the rent, you pay for electricity. And if you do not feel inclined to set to work with duster and mop at the end of the holiday, there is a bill for thorough cleaning of the property.

- We would like to make people's holiday comfortable and unforgettable. And we truly believe that if the holiday is perfect for the child, so it is perfect for the mother, and of course for the father. Happy people and happy society - what could be better, says Lene Rusholt.