Copenhagen’s growth boosted by foreigners and Jutlanders

While more and more flock to the nation’s capital, other numbers show that nationwide Denmark is gaining international students

Copenhagen remains an attractive city for both Danes and foreigners to settle in according to new figures released by Politiken Research.

The city is growing by about 10,000 people every year and of these 5,000 are foreigners primarily from the US, Poland, Germany and Sweden.

Copenhagen’s population of young people aged 15 to 29 is on the rise in particular and grew by around 11,000 people last year. Some 3,500 of these are migrants from provincial cities in Jutland such as Horsens and Aarhus.

The city’s growth can also be attributed to a rising birth rate that is twice its death rate.

But it’s not only the capital that is proving attractive. The number of international students moving to universities across Denmark has tripled in the past decade according to the latest figures from the Education Ministry.

With many of the students choosing Copenhagen, Mayor Frank Jensen (Socialdemokraterne) said that the city’s efforts to make itself an attractive destination have succeeded.

“It shows that the focus that Copenhagen has had over the past decade to attract more international students has worked,” Jensen told metroXpress newspaper. “We need international students and business people to help create growth and jobs in Denmark.”

Mads Rørvig, a spokesperson for opposition party Venstre, agreed with Jensen.

“I think it’s great news because in order for us to become smarter we need input from abroad,” Rørvig told metroXpress.

According to the Goodwill Ambassador Corps, a Copenhagen advocacy group, students choose Denmark because of its welfare state, bicycling culture, focus on renewable energy and an education style that focuses on problem solving and group collaboration.

Nikolaj Lubanski from Copenhagen Capacity argued, however, that more needed to be done to retain students once they completed their studies.

“It’s interesting that they choose to complete their entire education here, but it’s also necessary to ensure that they are integrated in the labour market so that they can stay here after they are finished and contribute to society,” he said.

Jensen, speaking to Politiken, added that Copenhagen needed to speed up the construction of new housing in order to cater to the city’s growing population.

“If we don’t introduce special initiatives to ensure everyone can be a part of Copenhagen, the city may suffer the same fate as Paris and London, where only the rich can afford to live in the city centre,” Jensen said.

Despite housing 18,000 foreign students last year, Copenhagen could do far more to attract students to the city. In a study of 98 cities with populations over 250,000 published last May, Copenhagen was ranked only 39th best at attracting foreign students.

To increase the numbers, a new international student city was proposed last year that would house 5,000 students in new modern facilities in the Ørestad district. Despite some political support, the developers still need to secure 800 million kroner before the project can begin.

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