The name of Paris, Milan, London, and Berlin might be mentioned more frequently as the European city destinations by tourists, but on this blog post, there is a modern, yet classical capital of Scandinavia, Copenhagen, (please ignore when the Swedes protested about it), which has been coined as beautiful as the European cities above.
I have been living in Copenhagen for about 1.5 years and I want to introduce to you the 7 things I love about living in this city.
1. City of Cycles
Never before in my life I had seen a society where cyclist holds a cardinal rule on the street. Data from Copenhagen Bicycle Account 2012 showed that everyday, 1.2 million kilometers (789.000 mi) are cycled in Copenhagen, with 36% of all citizens commuting to work, school, or university by bicycle. In fact, more people commute by bicycle in greater Copenhagen, than cycle to work in the entire United States. With more than 390 kilometers designated bike lanes, one can cycle the entire city, and to the neighboring cities without even have to exit the lanes (except during the street crossing).
Please don’t imagine that cycling means lycra & ugly outfit, because cycling really doesn’t limit the Copenhageners to look chic.
To my perspective, cycling in Copenhagen has brought more benefits. It’s cheaper, faster, more environmentally friendly, healthier, and happier. Happier? Yes. When I cycle, I motion my body. And doing this every morning, makes me healthy which causes my body releases a happy hormone. Oh please count when I listen to my favorite music while biking.
2. International Working Environment
Living in the mainland Europe means that one has to pretty much able to speak the language, other than English. This situation is not excluding Copenhagen. However, though I think that being able to speak Danish will help one nail the job search, Copenhagen actually has a lot of global companies with international culture which set English as their working language; meaning they do not require the employees to speak Danish in order to work there.
This is the condition which enticed me to stay in Copenhagen rather than moving to other cities in Scandinavia. Since I moved here with no job, the international working environment in this city has given me opportunities to work where global culture is the standard.
3. A Safe City
Try to walk in downtown Copenhagen at 2 AM. I had done this, many times, especially during the weekends after the bar time. The city is relatively safe. I haven’t experienced a single threatening act by others, except for a middle eastern man who came after me asking for 10 kronor for transport (which I doubt if he was honest). Of course there are crimes out there; no city can escape from any form of crime, and yes, Copenhagen continuously fight the house break-in cases until today. However, compared to many other big cities I had lived before and as a woman, Copenhagen does a good job to provide security atmosphere, an important aspect for a city.
If I am not wrong, it’s because the city municipality tends to solve the problem by negotiation; meaning, all things in the society is decided through negotiation between the agreed parties. The latest news is Copenhagen finally ended the long tense conflict with the Freetown of Christiania through sets of purchase & rights agreement.
4. Open Space & Clean Air
Despite being a big city, Copenhagen has only around 1 million population. This has allowed many people to use and enjoy the spaces which the city has provided. From walking streets to public parks, from canal sides to the beach by the city, Copenhagen draws inspiration to its residence by giving them spaces and clean air to think, to socialize, and to be active as a community.
Just 5 minutes walk from my apartment, there lies a pond and a public park, where I can sit, relax, and watch group of ducks and swans family. I even still notice the same swan which used to be a baby swan before. I wonder if H.C. Andersen got inspired to write “The Ugly Duckling” from watching the ducks by the ponds.
This is something that money can’t buy if I live in Jakarta, the city where I was born and in which I describe as a gas chamber. Yes, one could be super rich in Jakarta, but has to struggle with 2++ hours daily traffic jams competing among 11 millions population, and the lack of safe and clean public spaces, but malls with their artificial and pocket-burning items. Totally something I won’t trade for Copenhagen.
5. Cultural, Classical, Copenhagen
The Danish royal kingdom has left precious legacies for Copenhagen: the castles and classical-look building around the city. You can bike to Amelienborg, where the kings and the queens live, simply to enjoy the scenery, and guard-changing time, or bike to Rosenborg castle by Nørreport to do picnic at the royal public garden where H.C. Andersen statue stands tall.
Just like many European cities, Copenhagen does not lose the charms of displaying its historical beauties which are mostly used as offices today.
Got question why there is no skyscraper in Copenhagen?
It’s because the municipality has set the rules that all new buildings have to look conform and integrate with the surrounding buildings. That’s why buildings in downtown Copenhagen are pretty much old and rarely taller than 6th floor. Many tall buildings, which can finally look outstanding among the crowds and infer the unique and modern signatures, are mostly concentrated in Øresund area, in the south of Copenhagen, where many companies are headquartered now.
6. Technology & Sustainability Coexistence
The public transportation is top of the notch in Copenhagen. They are designed to be both met the technological update and sustainability. The S-train, for example, has integrated the bike compartment for cyclists commuting between cities. Cyclists can also bring their bikes during non-peak time to the unmanned, fast, and smooth sound, metro. Even MAERSK, the shipping company, just held a show of its Triple-E model, the largest ship in the world, last summer. This ship has a very good technology to meet the efficiency, effectiveness, and security of world’s class standard, with the least energy requirement and in which most of the ship parts can be recycled as another ship materials or electrical goods.
Do you know that the rail lines in Copenhagen resemble a 5-fingers hand?
It was designed as such that there are open spaces available for parks, integrated public transports such as buses, and cycle lanes coexist for people doing their activities without having to be so far away from being able to catch the train to their homes.
7. City of Festivals
As a volunteer at CPH Volunteer, I am quiet update about series of events in Copenhagen. Every month, there is always arrangement going on, from exhibitions to shows to concerts. Sometimes I even wonder if one can really attend all local events in this city. To check more about events in Copenhagen, visit this link.
The more events going on in the city, the more chances I have to attend, meet new people, and expand my network. Besides, I am actually enjoying treating myself as a tourist in my city sometimes. It gives me a holiday & traveling sense by exploring more corners in my city.
There are still many more great things about living in Copenhagen, which I am sure will keep discovering as time goes by. To me, Copenhagen simply makes me smile.