Affordable housing: Denmark's cooperative (andelsboliger) approach

Oct 28, 2022 9:01 am


This week's episode of What The Denmark is all about affordable housing.

Often when we/ policymakers talk about how to make housing more affordable for "ordinary people" it is premised on increasing the supply (i.e. "build more houses").

What's interesting about the andelsboliger system in Denmark is that is a fundamentally different way of thinking about home ownership...

Co-operative housing

With roots in the 1800s, it is an approach whereby people come together to collectively own a common asset (in this case a property, such as an apartment block) and then collectively reap the benefits.

Having a co-operative approach means that rather than one landlord who has all of the power/ resources, it is distributed amongst the members, who also elect a board of representatives to make group decisions.

An interesting side effect of this is that the residents (basically) can decide how expensive or cheap their apartments are when it comes to sell.

The andelsboliger system is premised on being affordable, and so historically, residents have kept the price low compared to the "open market". Now though, there is beginning to be pressure from some residents to want to sell their properties for a higher price, and thus undermine the "affordable" principle on which the system was built.

Outline of the episode

We discuss:

  • The historical precedent of the cooperative movement, and how it was applied to housing
  • How cooperative housing offers the ability to share resources with neighbours
  • The technicalities of how the system works, and why prices can remain low

And ultimately how sustainable the system is, with its tension between self-interest for the owners of andelsboliger and the desire to maintain a system that is fair for future generations.



Our guests

We were joined by:

Thank you both for a great conversation!

A message from our sponors...

As mentioned last week, What The Denmark now has a sponsor (see more details here)!

This episode is sponsored by the State of Denmark's "Talent to Denmark" campaign. 

Denmark is actively looking to attract international talent to move to the country and by partnering with us, they are able to share opportunities to an audience that might not otherwise hear about them.

If you're interested to learn more about jobs in (one of) the happiest countries in the world, head to

Where to listen

As always, you can listen to this episode on affordable housing (+ all previous episodes) on:

Whilst there, a rating/ review would be much appreciated (if you can spare the time)

That's all for now!

As always, you can get in touch via the contact us page on our website if you have ideas for the show, or by replying to this email.

Happy Tuesday Friday,


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