Staying Safe in Copenhagen

Staying Safe in Copenhagen

Copenhagen is a relatively safe city and is safer on many levels than other European or American cities. However, it is still a city, and you must take precautions for your own safety and security. Further, in a new culture, it is more challenging to correctly assess risks and read situations than at home.

Abiding Local Laws

During your time in Denmark, be aware that local laws and penalties apply to you. If you break local laws in Denmark,  on study tour, or in any country you visit during your DIS term, your passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. More information for U.S. citizens can be found here.

Tips for Staying Safe in Copenhagen


  • Learn about the culture and political environment in Denmark and any country you will visit. Explore the perceptions of Americans and people of diverse backgrounds. This situational awareness will help you to reduce your risk exposure
  • Familiarize yourself with bike etiquette and rules by finding the Cycling Handbook on this page 
  • Make copies of your credit cards, passport, and other important documents. Keep these in a safe place to expedite cancellation and replacement in the event they are lost or stolen
  • Avoid public or political demonstrations
  • Drink responsibly and do not use illegal substances
    • Marijuana available in Europe is typically different from the U.S. with higher levels of TCH and no regulations for the users’ safety. As a result, DIS students have recently had very serious reactions to marijuana use, including drug induced psychosis and hospitalization.
    • IMPORTANT: Illegal drug use may lead to immediate dismissal from the program and the country.
  • Save the DIS Copenhagen After-hours Health and Safety Emergency Phone Number in your phone. This number can be contacted 24/7 during your time with DIS, including while on Study Tour or independent travel.
  • In the case of an emergency, call 112 to contact local police
  • Check your privacy settings on social media and consider what you publicize, as the information can be used for nefarious purposes

In the Moment

  • Be aware of the people and circumstances around you and report any suspicious behavior to DIS staff or the police
  • Be careful about divulging information about yourself and your classmates to strangers. This includes information about where you live
  • Avoid drawing unnecessary attention to yourself through dress or action
  • Do not leave your bags or valuables unattended and do not transport/assist with a package or suitcase for anyone
  • If you experience any type of sexual violence, including relationship violence, while on the DIS program, please know that you have options and support available to you. More information can be found within the Sexual Violence page.

In General

  • Follow the advice of local authorities, DIS, and the U.S. Department of State
  • Trust your instincts. If a situation feels unsafe, speak up or remove yourself. Your safety is more important than hurting someone’s feelings!

Bias Incidents

Although we hope that you have not experienced a bias-related incident or discrimination, we do know that bias situations can occur within our community and in Copenhagen.

DIS takes bias incidents and discrimination very seriously, so we developed a tool for you to inform us about bias-related incidents involving you or another DIS student, whether at DIS or in the public. With this information, DIS can properly understand, address inappropriate and unwelcome behavior, and take the opportunity to educate our community.

View more information here:

We welcome any questions or feedback that you may have about this resource. Please email if you have any suggestions.

How to Prevent Pick-Pocketing

Copenhagen has a low crime rate compared to many other cities, but petty crime such as pickpocketing and bag snatching continues to increase, especially in tourist areas and during the summer months. Prevent pick-pocketing by:

  • Staying alert in crowded places, on the pedestrian street, metros, trains and busses and tourist attractions
  • Choosing a bag that can close with a zipper and avoid putting valuables in a back pack, which you cannot keep an eye on
  • Reacting if someone bumps into you – check your belongings and write down a description of the person if something is missing
  • Carrying only what you really need. Ask yourself if all the valuables you are carrying are necessary. If not, leave your things in a safe location

Minimize the Risk of Bicycle Theft

  • Always lock your bike, and make sure you can lock it to a stationary object (pole, bike rack, etc)
  • Avoid leaving your bike at major transportation stations (Nørreport, Central Station, Vesterport, etc.)
  • Consider parking your bike in the Vestergade 10 courtyard bike parking area
  • If your bike has a wheel lock, use a secondary external lock

Keep Your Home in Copenhagen Safe

Remember to secure your residence! It does not happen often, but occasionally DIS students experience a break-in.

Tips to Minimize the Risk of a Break-in:

  • Always lock your door! In DIS housing facilities, this includes locking your door when you’re heading to the common room or to do laundry. Note: If you leave your door open/unlocked or wedged open and you are burgled, the insurance company is highly unlikely to replace your items.
  • Do not leave valuables sitting out in the open, including your computer. Hide valuables in a closet or somewhere that is not easily accessible
  • Close & lock your windows: opening windows is a common practice in Denmark to air out your room, but while you are out, they should be closed. This is particularly important if you live on the ground or first floor.
  • Never leave a spare key outside your room or apartment. If you need to give a key to a roommate or visitor, arrange for them to pick up at DIS, from a neighbor, or another secure source

When Traveling:

  • Make it look like someone is home. Leave your lights, curtains, and room as they are when you are not traveling
  • Do not announce travel on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites. Even if your privacy settings are very controlled, wait to post travel updates and photos until you have returned

Note: If you leave the door unlocked, any theft incident will not be considered a result of a break-in and your DIS insurance will not cover any loss.