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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice


4.Early Childhood Education and Care


Last update: 24 June 2024

Place guarantee to ECEC

Every child in Denmark has a guaranteed legal right to a place in an ECEC setting. According to the Act on Day Care Facilities, the municipalities are obliged to ensure ECEC provisions for all children between the age of 26 weeks and the start of primary school. All children have equal access to day care. The participation rate is among the highest in the EU although it is not compulsory to participate. In 2017, the participation rate was 72 % for children under the age of three and 97.5 % for children aged three and over (Statistics Denmark 2019).

If a municipality is not able to provide the guaranteed ECEC provision, the municipality has to either cover the parents’ expenses for private day care, cover the expenses for an ECEC setting in another municipality or provide parents with a subsidy so that they can take care of the child themselves.

The Act on Day Care Facilities also states that ECEC is compulsory for certain groups of children. This concerns children from the age of one living in marginalised residential areas according to the list of marginalised residential areas.


Fees are charged for a place in an ECEC setting. According to the Act on Day Care Facilities, the fees charged cannot exceed 25 % of the gross operational expenses including lunch. The fee is paid by the parents as a monthly fixed amount. The public funding therefore comprises at least 75 % of the expenses and is covered by the municipalities. All municipal, independent and subcontracted ECEC settings follow these principles stated in the Act on Day Care Facilities. For more information on ECEC funding please visit chapter 3.1.