DSC_8477In September 2012 my husband, two daughters and I arrived in Aalborg to begin our new life in Denmark. This is the fourth country my husband (German) and I (US citizen) have lived in together since we met in February 2002. We started out in the US (San Diego), followed by the UK (London), and then Switzerland (Lausanne), where our children were born. We’ve taken turns prompting the moves with our respective career opportunities. This time it was my husband’s – he received an offer from Aalborg University and, after he visited and we took a collective deep breath, we decided to go for it. Among other things, we were attracted by the work-life balance we’d heard so much about, the high quality of life the Danes enjoy, and the country’s reputation for having the happiest population in the world. (OK – we actually took that last one with a grain of salt but it certainly didn’t hinder our decision!)

In the run up to our move we searched for answers to myriad questions – which part of the city to live in? how does one import a car? how does the health care system work? – but found that we had to look in many different places to piece together those answers…if we found them at all. We also used Google Chrome to translate the information we found only in Danish, but those translations often left something to be desired. This gap inspired the blog: to provide information to those who are considering a move to Aalborg, those who have just moved here and are looking for useful information in English, and those who have been here for a while but still seek tips and advice. I post as often as I can about topics of interest, and endeavor to post weekly with events and activities in the Aalborg area. As of April 2016 I work for the EU Interreg North Sea Region Programme based in Viborg, so I have less time than I used to, but I believe in the usefulness of this blog so I will keep posting as long as I am able – albeit less frequently than I would like.

My background: I was born and raised in the United States. In addition to North America and Europe, I’ve traveled, studied, and worked in Japan, Ecuador and Colombia. The bulk of my professional experience is in the non-profit, quasi-governmental and higher education sectors. I hold master’s degrees in Latin American studies and public administration and a PhD in Public Administration. You can read more about my professional background on LinkedIn. (At the moment, I’m the only Sarah Holsen in Denmark with a profile on the site.)

I do my best to report on topics with complete accuracy but I make mistakes. If you find information in any of the blog posts that is not correct or outdated (or links that are broken) please let me know in the comments section of that page or get in touch with me through email at lifeinaalborg@gmail.com. Suggestions and comments are very welcome – I hope this helps those who read it! If you have a good idea for a post and would like to be a ‘guest blogger,’ please contact me. 🙂

Life in Aalborg also has a Facebook page, which you can find here. I post frequent updates on the page that I do not put on the blog, so please visit and ‘like’ the page to stay up-to-date!


24 thoughts on “About

    Kylene Bak said:
    December 28, 2013 at 6:58 am

    What a great resource you have created here. I am also American I have lived in Aalborg almost 10yrs to work here but the last 4 years I have been a stay at home Mom I met my husband here Kristian he is danish. After I had my daughter I created a network for International Moms since I started meeting so many. There is quite a large international community in Aalborg as you know. We also work thru our church with Aalborg International Friends you can find it on Facebook. Where we do activities for International students and people working here. Would be great to meet up maybe sometime. We live close to Karolinelund near the center of town. Hope you had a Merry Christmas and anticipate a Happy New Year.
    Best regards,
    Kylene Bak

      Louise said:
      April 8, 2014 at 11:29 am

      Hi Kylene, I live near the church where Aalborg international friends gather and have their activities. I always pass by and see sometimes people gathered for dinner it looks very cozy, but I’m kind of reluctant to join an event, since I dont know anyone and I’m afraid of sitting oddly there and not talking to anyone, I dont know what the age group, however I’m highly considering joining the game night this weekend.
      I was wondering if there are other facebook groups or other groups for international in Aalborg?
      It would be nice to meetup with people while I have tons of free time.
      Happy Easter and Take Care

        sarahinjylland responded:
        April 8, 2014 at 3:12 pm

        Hi Louise,
        Welcome to Aalborg! I will let Kylene know that you wrote and she can address your questions about her church and activities they do for international residents here. To answer your other question, there are several groups for internationals in Aalborg/Nord Jylland – at least three on Facebook alone. These are the names: Xpat Network North, Aalborg International Network, and International Network Aalborg. You will find me as a member on all three so if you need an invitation to join them, just send me a message via FB.

        Kylene Bak said:
        April 8, 2014 at 6:34 pm

        Hi Louise, It would be so great to see you at the game night this weekend. We have an english service every Sunday kl.17 and we eat a free dinner together afterwards every week. You are more than welcome to come we are a very friendly and welcoming group so I know you would not be sitting by yourself. You can find me on Facebook under Kylene Bak you can look me up there. Are you a member on Aalborg International Friends? It sounds like you are. There is really no exact age group but most of the people are either students or young adults or young families here. It would be so great to have you come and be apart. If you want to meet up before that would be great then you would at least know me before you come if you like.
        Hope to hear from you soon.

    sarahinjylland responded:
    December 28, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    Hi Kylene,
    Thanks for your comments! We also live near Karolinelund. It would, indeed, be nice to meet up. Could you email me at sarah_holsen (at) hotmail.com? We could meet in the new year…

    Alex said:
    January 14, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    Sarah, really love this blog. Such a good idea and so nicely written.

      sarahinjylland responded:
      January 15, 2014 at 5:23 am

      Thanks, Alex. I enjoy writing it!

    Alisa H. said:
    February 13, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    Hey there, brilliant blog. I’m American too and have been going to Aalborg Sprogcenter for just over two years. I’ve just started Studieprøven and I’m really enjoying it. A few of my classmates from modul 5 are in my class. I don’t know if you’ve had Will at the Sprogcenter, but he shared the post about the new language laws and I had to read. I am constantly looking for others in the same boat and I’m thrilled to have seen your blog. I’d like to meet you too sometime, though I do believe I’ve seen you at the Sprogcenter! I will send you an email and we can work something out. You’re very well-spoken; look forward to reading more posts!

    sarahinjylland responded:
    February 14, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Hi Alisa,
    Thanks so much for your comment. Please do send me an email. It’s always good to connect with others! 🙂

    Louise said:
    April 8, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Hi, I’m new here in Aalborg, its been 2 months, I came here because my husband (danish) is finishing his masters I really enjoy reading your posts especially the events sections, I find it hard sometimes to find things to do but now I feel like your blog saved me hehe.
    We’re applying for family reunification so meanwhile I can’t work/volunteer or study danish (process can take up to 6-7 months). I was wondering how others handle it. I haven’t met a lot of international people my age (25), most of them seem to be passing by or students too busy with their classes.
    it’s a bit frustrating having all this time and ebeing stressed about applications and possible delays (especially after I read about the nightmarish things some people had to go through).

    Anyways don’t wanna turn it into gloom and doom, spring is coming (kinda) so I just wanted to say thanks for the posts and happy Easter to all 🙂

      sarahinjylland responded:
      April 8, 2014 at 3:16 pm

      Hi Louise,
      I know how you feel about being in limbo. It took us (my daughters and me) a good 6 weeks to get our CPR numbers and I went a bit stir crazy while we waited. Depending on where you are from, it can take a lot less than 6-7 months; I hope this is the case for you. I know a woman close to your age who just arrived 2 months ago from the US. If you are interested, I could put you in touch. The good news is that the weather is on the upswing (really – there’s supposed to be a lot of sun later this week!) and summers here are wonderful. So you arrived at a good time. Please feel free to email if you would like. You’ll find my email address at the end of this post labeled ‘About’.

    Charlie healey uk said:
    May 14, 2014 at 12:13 am

    Hi Sarah,

    Your blog is doing so well, it’s really interesting. Just wanted to say well done and hope you are well. We will have to meet up for a coffee sometime soon, it’s been so long! Hope everything at the sprog skole is going well.

    All the best,

      sarahinjylland responded:
      May 14, 2014 at 5:20 am

      Thank you, Charlie. We have our Prøve i Dansk 3 exam next Tuesday (well, reading and writing parts). After that things will be less hectic. Let’s get together after that!

    Lubna said:
    December 25, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Hi Dear Sarah, I am doctor from pakistan . Please guide me how much time it will take for to prepare for Danish language examination. ( i have two kids, single parent). I know English very well but i dont know Danish at all.
    thanks Dr Lubna

      sarahinjylland responded:
      December 25, 2014 at 5:02 pm

      Dear Lubna,

      Are you already in Denmark? Do you want to become a certified doctor here? To answer your question I need to know which Danish language exam you mean. There are four levels of Danish at the Aalborg Sprogcenter (as explained in my post about learning Danish) but to become a doctor here you need to take even more Danish instruction. I don’t know the specifics – I would have to ask and could get back back to you. Please let me know.

    Fatima F. Kaser said:
    June 18, 2015 at 6:39 am

    Hi Sarah;
    Just joined this blog, sent a message via Facebook. I’m currently living in Huntington Beach, CA but I’ll be moving to Aalborg in July. I’m Venezuelan but my husband is from Delaware and we have lived in Amsterdam before when he worked for a Danish company. I have a daughter who will attend Hasseris, she is 15. I will love to be part of any International group that meets there. I belong to FAWCO/FAUSA because I was part of the American Women’s Club in Amsterdam.
    Looking forward to our new life in Aalborg.
    Sincerely, Fatima

      sarahinjylland responded:
      June 18, 2015 at 8:29 am

      Welcome (soon) Fatima. I will respond by Facebook. ☺

    Lene said:
    August 26, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    Hi Sarah

    I would like to draw your attention to our event in September called Meet the World – in Karolinelund, which I hope and think must be of interest to all expats in Aalborg. Not much information in English, yet, but take a look at our website and facebook page:


    Best regards,


      sarahinjylland responded:
      August 26, 2015 at 9:20 pm

      Hi Lene – Thanks for the info. I already have it on my list of events to promote. I will also be attending. Maybe I’ll see you there!

        Lene said:
        August 27, 2015 at 5:07 pm

        That is great news for us – both that you will promote the event AND that you will attend it yourself.
        See you on the 19th of September!

    faria said:
    December 27, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    Hallo to all, love your blog full of information. I am danish citizen lived in Aalborg my childhood. A very quite and peaceful, beautiful city for both families and young people. I have moved many times and this time is with my children. Very stressful. I lived in London 10 years, which was good,. Now i live in Egypt Cairo 4 years, but i really miss Denmark alot. I can speak the langugae, however my children are quite young and have little experience, all the know is english. Should I be worried. I would like to get information on how to get place to live as I am coming with my children to live in Aalborg June 2016. Is it hard to start life in Denmark. Plz advice me. Many thanks. Faria

    Fatima F Kaser said:
    December 28, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    Hello Faria;
    I’ve been in Aalborg for 5 months now, I’m originally from Venezuela and my husband is a USA citizen and I’ve 3 kids/older teenagers (24, 19 and 16) my children grew up living in the USA, The Netherlands and now in Denmark. They learned Dutch while living in Holland, and at home they spoke English and Spanish.
    Right now only my youngest one – my daugther – is here, she is learning Danish and on the IB program at Hasseris.
    Kids do learn master a new language, and keep the ones they have learned they still keep in their minds, somehow.
    There is a lot of help here for children to learn Danish and I would not be too nervous about returning with them to Aalborg.
    Like you said, Aalborg is a very quiet and nice place to live and the kids will adapt very quickly to the new language, even though they have not been exposed to it.
    Good luck and Sarah has also been a huge help to us when we arrived here.
    Best Regards;

    Lex said:
    June 17, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    Hej Sarah,

    I was so pleased to come across your blog this morning, as I was just accepted to Aalborg University’s graduate program in Development/International Relations, specializing in Latin American studies and I will be moving from Southern California (I think we have a lot in common : ). Your blog is a wealth of resources for the community, thank you!

    I am flying to Aalborg on August 25 and would love to request any references you may have for communal living spaces in Aalborg (I’m currently living in a warehouse with 15 people) and learn more about your profession and background. I am already in love with Denmark and very much look forward to learning Danish, getting to know the culture and studying my passion.


      sarahinjylland responded:
      June 17, 2016 at 4:15 pm

      Hi Lex – I just responded to you on my blog’s FB page. Let me know if you have any other questions! Happy to answer them…and congrats once again 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s