Rich in Denmark
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Denmark is a rich country, but does it have rich people? It does, but Denmark’s wealthy tend to keep a low profile, due to the informal Jante Law in Denmark that prohibits too much showing off. 

That said, spring and summer is great time to see Danish rich people in their natural habitat. That’s when they put the roof down on their expensive German cars and drive through the medieval old towns, drink rosé chilled in silver buckets at fancy outdoor cafés, or sail through the harbor on their personal boats of various sizes. In the summer, Denmark’s rich come out to play. 

There are two types of wealth in Denmark, old wealth and new wealth. Old wealth is the leftovers of Denmark’s nobility, Dukes and Counts and Barons, even though noble privileges were officially abolished in 1849. Many of these families still own their old castles and country houses, some of which have been turned into hotels or fancy restaurants. You can stay there for a weekend with your sweetheart, very romantic.

And then there’s new wealth. Denmark’s richest man owns Bestseller, a fast fashion chain that owns names like Vero Moda and Jack & Jones. The heirs to LEGO, which is less than 100 years old, are also quite well off, and so are the heirs to the Ecco shoe fortune.

Finance types and entrepreneurs also figure on the list of richest people in Denmark. Every year, one of the local newspapers publishes a list of Denmark’s top taxpayers – the people and companies who have paid the most taxes. In 2020, the top individual was a successful hedge fund guy who somehow ended up paying more taxes than Danske Bank, Denmark's largest bank.  In 2021, the list featured a man who got rich selling COVID quick tests. 

While there are small wealthy neighborhoods in Odense and Aarhus, most of Denmark’s rich live in the Whisky Belt, which is the area along the coast north of Copenhagen. It’s called the whisky belt because back in the day, whisky was the most expensive alcoholic drink. Poor people drank beer and schnapps.


This is the 122th episode of the "How to Live in Denmark podcast", and originally ran in 2023.

Get all of Kay Xander Mellish's books about Denmark at Book Kay for a talk to your group or organization at

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