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Mary Poppins touches down in the city to save the day
If you’ve ever lived in Paris, London or New York, you’ll probably know that nanny agencies are an established phenomenon, essential to the lives of many families across the world. In Stockholm, the first agency was launched in 2009 and has already achieved considerable success. And if it is up to Nora Moltke, Copenhagen will have its first serious nanny agency this year. She used to work as a nanny for one of London’s high-standard agencies, and now she has imported the concept to Copenhagen and named it NannyCPH.
“There are kids everywhere in Copenhagen,” Moltke explains.
“Playing, learning, smiling, crying. In cafés, in stores, on the Metro and on bikes. Unlike in London, Budapest and Paris – where I have lived before – children are a natural, visible and audible part of Copenhagen life.”
Moltke is originally from Hungary, but last year she moved to Copenhagen from London with her Danish husband. Today she lives next to Kongens Have and is expecting her first child in October.
“I can’t imagine a better place to have a baby,” she says. “Only one thing has surprised me: how hard it is to find qualified help to take care of your child. If you don’t have your family living close by, and you don’t want an au pair living in your home, your options are limited.”
Moltke is quick to recognise that Denmark has a unique and positive culture when it comes to childcare.
“Copenhagen has wonderful kindergartens, pre-schools and nurseries,” she observes.
“But modern life doesn’t always respect the opening hours and boundaries of our traditional institutions. Many parents are forced to entrust their children with well meaning amateurs who lack the childcare qualifications and skills needed. This is not possible.”
Moltke explains how her nannies have been systematically interviewed and carefully handpicked for their previous experience as nannies, teachers or nurses.
“It should be easy to entrust your kids with someone qualified, caring, and reliable,” she contends.”
I only hire nannies I would entrust my own child with.” Moltke is currently designing a training programme together with child psychologist Christine Vinum, Jordemoderhuset and the Danish Red Cross.
But are the Danes ready for a nanny agency? “Copenhagen is slowly changing into a more international city, and the Danes are gradually opening up to new ideas,” says Moltke.
“But I realise that making time for your kids means a lot more to Danish parents than it does to parents in other places I have lived. In Copenhagen the world really revolves around our children. We put their happiness before everything else. But sometimes I think we can forget how much our kids need happy parents – parents who haven’t lost spontaneity in their lives, romance in their relationships, or given up stimulating challenges in their worklives.”
Moltke realises it will take some getting used to. “Taxes are high in Denmark and paying for housekeeping, handy work and childcare has traditionally fallen outside the system,” she said.
“This means that the nanny and babysitter professions haven’t developed like in other countries. Because as long it resides on the wrong side of the law, it can’t be discussed as openly here. And the black market prices are making it hard for anyone like me to start a constructive business.”
Moltke predicts that business is going to start slow in terms of attracting Danish clients, but is confident in the long-run. “Already, before the website was launched, we were getting calls and started working for international families who are used to relying on nannies as part of their family life,” she reveals.
“But we can’t wait to get started for real.”
NannyCPH has just launched a new website at www.nannycph.dk, and has been open for business since September 1.