Many of the Danish resorts depend on the rental of summerhouses to accommodate national and foreign tourists who can rent them, usually on a weekly basis, at prices (for a family) well below those of hotels.
But Scandinavians often spend a considerable amount of time in their summerhouses which are often the venue for family reunions or simply weekends away from the office.
In recent years, the popularity and thus the cost of summerhouses has increased appreciably, particularly in Denmark’s coastal resorts. While under Danish law, owners are not normally permitted to use these houses as permanent homes, an exception is made for pensioners.
In some attractive areas of Norway there is “residence duty” (Norwegian:boplikt), meaning that an owner of a house must use it as their main home and spend most of their overnight stays there. Other areas of Norway are defined as “summer house areas”, where it is forbidden to live permanently. This is because there are quality requirements for permanent homes that do not apply to cottages.
Sweden has no ban against using summer houses all of the year, or against using a normal house in summer only. This has made Swedish summer houses popular for Danes, Norwegians and Germans. But in some very attractive coastal areas prices are so high that residents can’t afford a house, making some traditional coastal villages very silent in winter.