The big easy: The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index continues to rank the business climate in Denmark as the best in Europe. Particular potential for growth can be found in the healthcare market, driven by ramped-up government budgets, attractive investment projects and a sweeping increase in demand. Read our latest blog to find out what we can learn from this forward-thinking Scandinavian nation.


Located between the Scandinavian peninsula and Central Europe, Denmark belongs to the Kingdom of Denmark, which also comprises the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Together, they form an intercontinental state, with land borders with Germany and, via Greenland, even Canada. A small, yet densely populated country, Denmark has strong business ties with the UK, which ranks among the top ten of its export markets.

In terms of the nation’s overall health, Denmark is doing quite well: A substantial 71% of Danes report being in good health, a figure slightly below the UK’s 80%. Nevertheless, one in three Danes over the age of 16 suffers from at least one chronic condition. Obesity presents a particular challenge for the Danish society, and it is associated with considerable long-term complications. Other behavioral risk factors include tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption. Although the percentage of smokers has decreased considerably over the past two decades, it is still higher than in other Nordic countries. One in three Danes drinks alcohol regularly, marking the highest percentage within the European Union (EU). Yet this figure is still lower than the UK, where one in two individuals engages in regular drinking.

Like the UK, Denmark has experienced a demographic shift towards an aging population over the last 20 years. In 2023, one in five Danes was over 65 years old, and this ratio is expected to rise to one in four by 2050, driven primarily by the gains in life expectancy, which has now reached 81.6 years on average. This sustained increase is attributed to a significant reduction in mortality rates from common conditions such as cancer as well as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, which still remain the main causes of death. Malignant diseases, in particular lung cancer and colon cancer, are responsible for more than a quarter of all deaths.

Mental illness is also becoming more and more relevant in Denmark, with efforts being intensified to reduce stigmatization and raise awareness of mental health and well-being. The most common diagnoses include anxiety and depression.

Health market

The Danish healthcare system offers universal care with free and equal access to comprehensive services, including for mental health. Similar to the UK, the system is mainly financed by taxes (84%). Some areas of care a subject to co-payment, such as dental and eye care, physiotherapy and medication, but at relatively low levels. A growing trend can be observed among the Danish to take out private insurance to ensure supplementary or even complete coverage.

The healthcare system is organized semi-centrally: The state has a general regulatory and supervisory role in general healthcare and care for the elderly, while the five regions are primarily responsible for hospitals, general practitioners (GPs) and psychiatric care. The 98 municipalities are in charge of several primary healthcare services, at-home care, prevention and rehabilitation. Government spending on the healthcare system amounts to around 9.5% of GDP, which is significantly lower than in the UK, which spends 12.7%.

The central regulatory authority for the healthcare market in Denmark is the Indenrigs- og Sundhedsministeriet, the Ministry of the Interior and Health. The Danish hospital sector is highly developed and offers specialized care centers. The first point of call for patients, however, are the GPs, who act as gatekeepers and refer patients to suitable specialists if necessary. Digital health registers have been implemented to inform and facilitate research and decision-making for treatments.


Like many Western countries, Denmark is also undergoing a demographic shift as well as other societal transformations, resulting in an increasing demand for healthcare services and products. Simultaneously, the care sector is facing considerable structural and economic challenges due to the growing need for skilled professionals and a shrinking workforce. These developments require the county to prioritize prevention and find efficient and cost-effective approaches, including digital and automated solutions.

And it is precisely in this area that Denmark is leading the way. The population generally embraces digital health services and trust the government to handle their personal data responsibly. Keeping digital records of diagnoses, treatments, hospital stays and referrals has long been part of everyday life in the Danish healthcare system, and this information is stored centrally in, the Danish e-health portal. The platform allows patients to view their data, make doctor’s appointments and also access other useful information, such as waiting lists and quality rankings for hospitals. This networked structure is intended to make information more accessible to everybody involved in the treatment journey and to empower patients in managing their own health.

The digitalization of the healthcare system also significantly reduces documentation needs, bringing about numerous benefits, not least in view of the impending shortage of healthcare professionals. Digital records ensure clinicians have prompt and complete access to patient data, e.g. regarding drug allergies or previous surgeries, and they diminish the likelihood manual errors, increasing patient safety. The government also plans to use artificial intelligence more widely to enable faster diagnoses. Telehealth and remote care solutions are being promoted in order to reduce the burden on all care services, and the goal is to care for the elderly at home for as long as possible, which can also include drone deliveries of medical supplies if necessary.

Denmark is also using a budget of € 33 million (£ 28 million) from the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility to stock key medicines and medical products to further support the healthcare sector. The EU provides these funds to help member states emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis and strengthen their resilience for the future. In the coming years, demand for healthcare products is also expected to increase because of the government’s reform plans, which include new hospital buildings and modernization of equipment. Since Denmark only has a relatively small medical technology industry, it imports a lot of products from other countries, mainly medical devices, consumables and durable medical equipment. Demand in this area has risen continuously over the last ten years, and the import value of medicines has even doubled.

Legal and regulatory conditions

Medicinal products must meet very strict requirements in terms of quality, safety and efficacy in order to be granted marketing approval in Denmark. The Danish Medicines Agency, the Lægemiddelstyrelsen, assesses applications by pharmaceutical companies to find out whether a new drug can be made available to the general public. This agency also approves the scientific studies that are carried out prior to the regulatory filings for a new drug.

In mid-2021, the government also established a special committee called the Danish Health Technology Council (Behandlingsrådet). The responsibility of this committee is to carry out assessments of medical devices, such as X-ray machines or mobile health apps, and to make a recommendation based on their findings regarding costs and effectiveness whether the device should be incorporated into the public healthcare system, prioritizing innovative and efficient technologies.

EU-wide and international health market

In the EU, the distribution and use of medical devices, e.g. blood pressure monitors, walking aids or inhalers, is only permitted when the device bears a CE marking. For this, the device must meet the general requirements and pass the prescribed conformity assessment procedure. The general safety and performance requirements are defined in the relevant EU regulations, including the Medical Device Regulation (MDR) and the In Vitro Diagnostics Regulation (IVDR).

For medicines, such as statins and antidepressants, manufacturers can choose between two options: file for approval at national level – in Denmark via the Lægemiddelstyrelsen – or take advantage of the centralized procedure offered by EMA, the European Medicines Agency. The second pathway allows manufacturers to obtain marketing authorization for the entire European Economic Area (EU, Iceland and Norway) with just one application, offering considerable cost and time savings.


Internationalization plays a decisive role for the Danish healthcare market. Translations and localizations support the correct and effective use of medical devices, pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements, as well as general health and lifestyle products throughout their entire life cycle. Research findings are disseminated more rapidly across the globe, thus informing the training and further education of healthcare professionals. This, in turn, increases the overall quality of medical care and facilitates access to health products and services. Translations are also an indispensable part of everyday life for collaborations between business partners and institutions, promoting the exchange of information and best practices and fostering a trusting relationship.

The translated text must always be tailored to the specific purpose and target group. Regulatory authorities, for example, have different requirements for documents in the approval process than medical laypeople, such as patients and family members. For mobile health apps, for example, symptom descriptions must contain commonly used and understandable language rather than overly scientific terminology. Users must be able to correctly follow step-by-step instructions provided in digital fitness coaches to ensure effectiveness and prevent injuries.

Expert translators know exactly when medical and scientific terminology is called for and when it is preferable to use lay terms instead. Not only have they completed thorough training and acquired specialist knowledge, they also offer a high degree of linguistic and cultural sensitivity and can also offer advice for adapting the text to the target market and audience.

The most important language in the Danish healthcare market is the country’s official language, Danish. Many healthcare professionals also speak English (86%) which is also used frequently for medical literature and research findings. Swedish and French, too, remain important languages for the market. People in the border regions also speak various minority languages. In South Jutland, for example, which used to belong to Prussia, German is spoken by the local German minority. Other minority languages include Faroese and Greenlandic, and dialects such as Bornholmsk are also deeply rooted in certain parts of the country. Relevant immigrant languages include Turkish and various Eastern European languages.


Denmark’s flexible labor market model as well as the targeted promotion of high-tech companies and research position the country as an attractive investment location for UK companies, particularly in biotech and pharma. Opportunities also arise in the field of digital solutions and telehealth, with the trend towards private supplementary insurance further boosting market growth.

In the sensitive health market, translations must meet complex requirements. High quality translations produced by specialist linguists can overcome both linguistic and cultural barriers and establish a solid basis of trust. With a professional language service provider by your side, you make sure you avoid exposing your organization to potential safety and liability risks, while also leveraging their expert advice to develop content and communication materials that align with your goals – creating a key competitive advantage.



autor_eurotext_100Author: Eurotext Editorial Team

We explain how internationalization works, provide tips for your translation projects and outline some of the technology and processes used. We also report on current e-commerce developments and cover a range of language-related topics.