This time last year, I returned from Copenhagen in complete awe of the locals and the way they do things. Throughout my trip, I kept a list of all the things the Danes seemed to do better than anyone else. Here’s what I found:
- Carbon neutral cities. Copenhagen has a desire to become completely carbon neutral by 2025, and I bet it’s going to make it. Unusual for a country that relies on heating, it has managed to keep its impact on the environment right down and should be applauded for doing so
- Sandwiches. Only Denmark could come up with such a simple speciality. But they do them so well! Smorrebrod is typically a slice of bread topped with fish or meat with some kind of sauce. My favourite was a smoked herring with sour cream and dill. If I’m honest,I wouldn’t have even tried it if I was in any other country. But in Denmark, it was delicious, and the tastes have inspired us to try new combinations back home
- Transport. The trains were luxurious with comfortable seats and headphone sockets to listen to music (and that was just in standard class!) Even the metro wasn’t bad, with wide trains that felt spacious even as the carriage filled up. Give me that over the tube any day!
- Carlsberg. This might seem obvious as Carlsberg is a Danish beer, and no-one else can do Danish beer, right? But drinking Carlsberg in England is not a very pleasant experience. There’s something weird about it, the taste, the texture, the colour, even the name Carlsberg Export suggests something is wrong. However, as soon as we tried it in Denmark, we were hooked. No wonder the Danes hate to see it leave
- Languages. Everyone under the age of 70 speaks English, perfectly. It’s compulsory to learn in school from the age of 6. You’ll meet Danish kids that can speak better English than you can! I even met one lady who said her grandson was typing in English before he could even speak Danish!
- Space. I may have lucky with the timing of our trip, but in some places it felt like we had the city to ourselves. Copenhagen’s squares are big, sprawling places with enough space to walk, dance, handstand, whatever you want to do without fear of bumping in to anyone
- Architecture. Danish architecture is underrated, but you can’t move for beautiful buildings in Copenhagen. There’s a definite Danish style with large red brick façades decorated with green copper trim and topped with tall spires and towers. In fact, every time I put my camera away I got it straight back out again as there was something else beautiful to look at
- Cycle lanes. There are as many cycle lanes in Copenhagen as there are pavements. At least that’s how it feels. Cycle lanes even have their own traffic lights, meaning it’s an incredibly safe, energy efficient and healthy way to travel
- Tourism. The Copenhagen Card is an absolute bargain, and well worth the money in a country that is renowned for being expensive. It can get you entry into all of the city’s museums as well as certain tours, metro journeys and regional trains in the Greater Copenhagen area. It even gets you discount in a number of cafes and shops, and on other tours as well. It’s definitely worth getting one
- Pastry. How could I ignore the humble Danish pastry? It is, without doubt, one of my favourite foods (especially at breakfast time). The Danish are modest enough to call them Viennese pastries as they’re a Danish adaption of an Austrian version of a Danish recipe! Come on, Denmark, take the credit because they’re delicious
It’s not all praise, I’m afraid Denmark. There’s one thing that deserves Denmark’s “must try harder” sticker.
- Airport seating. After being delayed in Copenhagen airport for 3.5 hours, we were desperate for somewhere to sit down but we couldn’t find any seats! Businessmen taunted us from their cosy lounges as we wandered aimlessly, only finding a group of 20 or so seats to accommodate 200 or so people that wanted to sit down. Luckily, we were some of the very first people to spot the seats so made ourselves at home to while away the time
Do you agree with these 10 things? Where do you think these things are done even better than in Denmark?