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Contributing to the fabric of society

Text: Monika Pedersen

Pictures: iStock

Volunteering or ‘frivilligt arbejde’ is an integral aspect of Danish life. It has deep roots in the country’s democratic values and history. Moreover, it is seen as a way to contribute to the fabric of society. Volunteer work is done for free and does not involve any monetary rewards. Many associations include sports & activity clubs, community cafés, senior citizen homes, and crisis centres. According to a recent survey by ‘The National Volunteer Centre of Denmark’, one million hours a day are collectively given to such activities. Amazing!

Why volunteer?

Denmark is a small country of many tightly knit communities, so volunteering is a way to integrate and make new connections. It could help you step into a job or learn the language. However, you need to be realistic and find an organisation where internationals not savvy with the Danish language are welcome to ensure a positive partnership.

Municipalities or ’Kommunes’ also rely on volunteer work as it benefits an area by enriching its community and increasing its residential desirability.

Volunteering is enjoyed by those who give their time, and I can vouch that my experience at a charity shop or ‘Genbrugs butik’ was really satisfying. And for those who reap the benefits, it makes a big difference in their lives, as it provides access to services or opportunities that could not have otherwise been realised.


There are some rules regarding volunteering if you are not a Danish citizen. An excellent site to check out the regulations is, as it has an English translation.

How to get started?

Decide on an area of interest in which you would like to channel your energies. Consider how much time you can frequently allocate, for you need to be reliable. Check out possibilities online, and your ‘Kommune’ can advise you. Make contact and find a match. I hope you enjoy the experience.

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