Cross-Border Shopping

Going across the border to shop has a long history along the Danish-German border here in Southern Denmark. These days where the Danish kroner is fixed to the Euro there is not a big currency difference for goods but different policies make some product have very different prices depending on which side of the border you step into a shop.

@andedk on Twitter: “2700 kr fattigere #Tyskland”

The way the Danish government tries to school the people in how they should consume is in large part done through taxes, which has the added bonus that money flows into the state coffers. Whether a tax is introduced to make money or to try and change behaviour is not always clear. However one thing is certain. If a thing people crave is cheaper south of the border you will get Danes driving for hours to save money.

Apart from regular VAT, where Denmark comes out at the top second in EU at 25%, Denmark has also special taxes on things like:

  • Tobacco
  • Alcohol
  • Ice Cream
  • Chocolate
  • Candy
  • Fat
  • Energy used in air conditioner
  • Green tax on trucks
  • Getting rid of trash

In 2011 Danes spent 6.6 billion kroner in cross border shopping and 47% of all Danes had shopped abroad in that year. In 2011 the primary items for shopping were alcohol (38%) and soft drinks (31%). The new “fat tax” introduced at the end of 2011 has meant that most of the people driving across the border to shop now also shop for regular groceries (56%). In fact every 4th beer produced in Denmark is sold in Germany, primarily to Danes, which means 181 million liters of beers travel back and forth over the border every year.

Here’s a list and map of the biggest chains of border shops across the border in Germany.

What items you shop for when you go across the border and which stores do you go to?

Photo of a shopping trip by

4 thoughts on “Cross-Border Shopping

  1. Csaba

    Hungary took over Denmark´s position on the list of countries with the highest VAT. 27%. Somehow I´m not that happy about our new record. 🙂

      1. Kliment Trendafilov

        Michael, do you mind letting me know what are those place where Danes usually go to do their cross-boarder shopping in Flensburg, for example?


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