Back from the summerhouse, returning to their daily schedule – The Post

Back from the summerhouse, returning to their daily schedule

The last ten days has seen multitudes of Danes return from that most Scandinavian of institutions: the summerhouse

This summerhouse sleeps 204: four people in the bedrooms and 200 mice in the thatched roof (photo: archieves)
August 8th, 2015 1:00 pm| by Pia Marsh

By the first week of August, most Danish families will have returned from month-long stays at their summerhouses in preparation to go back to work and school.
But in many cases, their summer retreats are right on their doorstep!

According to figures from Danmarks Statistik, 8 percent of holiday home homeowners in Denmark live less than 5 km away from their property (most commonly kolonihaver – the trusty allotment shed), with only 62 percent living more than 40 km away.

Relaxing, reconnecting
Given its rural agricultural past and how Denmark has one of the highest numbers of paid vacation days worldwide, it’s no surprise to observe how summerhouses have become a core part of Danish culture – Danes just love them.

“Summerhouses represent an affordable option for people to enjoy their holidays and weekends. Often, the properties are passed down through family and become something of a family tradition,” Erik Slentø from Danmarks Statistik told the Weekly Post.

“The accessibility of the summerhouse plays a huge part in its popularity. Most holiday homes are easy to use, even on weekends, as the properties are usually no more than a few hours’ drive away.”
A tidy investment

Recently they have proved to be a good investment. According to property portal Boligsiden.dk, prices are at their highest level since August 2011. The June figures were fully 4.1 percent higher than the same month in 2014.

Some 61 percent of the summerhouses that were put up for sale during the first half of 2015 have been sold. During the same period last year, that figure was at 52 percent.

Bypassing the law
It’s not just the Danes cashing in. Although a 1973 Danish law forbids foreigners from buying Danish summerhouses, many foreigners can apply for an exemption to buy one.

“If you have been on a long holiday or have taken many vacations in Denmark, it means a lot when you are seeking a waiver,” Karina Søndergaard, a lawyer in north Jutland who specialises in the practice, told DR.

“It’s hard to say what the minimum is to get permission, but a good rule of thumb is if you have been to Denmark regularly over a period of about 10 years.”
Over the past 10 years, the Justice Ministry has granted 1,058 waivers to foreigners. Some 250 waivers were given out last year alone.

Mostly neighbours
And before you ask, it’s not the Germans leading the charge, but the Norwegians. Last year, 188 applied for dispensation, followed by 27 Germans, 23 Swedes and 13 other nationalities.

However, the Germans reign supreme when it comes to rentals, which set an all-time record this summer. They accounted for 68 percent of the market, and Danes just 18 percent.

The Danes love their summerhouses ... almost as much as candles (photo: pixabay)
The Danes love their summerhouses … almost as much as candles (photo: pixabay)

Summerhouses and Kolonihaver


Summerhouses

– There are around 179,000 second homes in Denmark, ranging from summerhouses in the country, to allotment sheds (kolonihaver) in the suburbs of the cities.

– According to Eathoria, the average summerhouse has 3.5 rooms (approximately six beds), a living area of 67 sqm and a value of 14,252 kroner per sqm.

– Approximately 44 percent of holiday homes are situated in Jutland, 16 percent on Fyn and other islands, and the remaining 40 percent are built on Zealand.

– Some 93 percent are less than 2.5 km from the coastline.

Kolonihaver

– Originally, most allotments were constructed on the fortifications protecting the town and could be torn down in the event of an enemy attack

– The first ever lease was agreed in 1884 – for seven years on 100,770 sqm from Aalborg Municipality. They were then sub-letted as 85 gardens.

– The idea spread across the country, and since 1908, Kolonihaveforbundet has protected the rights of the tenants, which ensures there are no middlemen between the landowner and local allotment association.

– In 2001, there were 62,150 kolonihaver in the country, of which half are located in the Copenhagen area. Some 7,000 were state-owned.