Copenhagen, capital of the happiest country on earth.
Wow, this should be an amazing place to be, as well as probably also being the center of the designer goods universe, it is the home to some dear friends of ours from the UK – and a visit to them in their beautiful Copenhagen home is always a joy!
If you are thinking of heading to Copenhagen, then here are ten things you need to know, courtesy of CNN
1. The Danes are the happiest people on the planet.
According to the UN’s 2013 World Happiness Report, Denmark, with a score of 7.6, beats every other country on a global happiness scale from zero to 10.
The United States, by contrast, isn’t especially happy. It came in in 17th place, between Mexico and Ireland. But don’t despair if you think Danish despair has been lost. There’s always Hamlet — and Kierkegaard (see below).
I can guess this is true as our friends who live here think it is amazing! (as do thir mates, above!)
2. A lot of Copenhageners cycle — fast
Ever tried commuting to work by bike in a frenetic city such as London, New York or Beijing? Do it and you realize cyclists are still second-class citizens in many cities. The situation is reversed in Copenhagen, where half of the people pedal to work.
Cycling is one of the best ways to explore the city, and you can take bikes on trains. Public transport is efficient. It takes 15 minutes to travel from the airport to the city center by metro, and trains run 24 hours a day.
Copenhageners are also law-abiding.
Even at 3 a.m. on an icy cold night, with no traffic in sight, they’ll wait for the green light at pedestrian crossings.
3. Copenhagen is glittering with Michelin stars
It’s still hard to get a table at Noma, the “new Nordic” restaurant that’s been named the World’s Best Restaurant three times.
This small city boasts 15 Michelin stars, and several Noma chefs have gone on to set up their own outfits with equally stimulating menus. Copenhageners tend not to dine late, meaning not a lot of places keep late hours.
or you can eat round at Geeta’s, my old school mate….
4. “Hygge” is highly desirable
This Danish word (pronounced “hooga”) loosely translates as “coziness.” It’s a warm, sociable feeling that comes to the fore in autumn and winter and that, for Danes, is one of the highest states to which humans can aspire. Wool sweaters (preferably organic), hats with earflaps, blazing log fires, strong ales in old wood-paneled bars and candles galore, even at breakfast, all conjure “hygge.”
5. Home is where the Danish designer goods are
Copenhagen is rich with design-led stores selling trendy lights, ingenious kitchenware, cheerful home furnishings and exquisite glass and ceramics.
6. Copenhagen is extra-green
The Danish capital has electric buses, recycling-crazy citizens, clean harbors and shops selling clothes made from organic bamboo. A full 64% of the city’s hotel rooms are certified as eco-friendly.
Three-quarters of the food served in public institutions is organic.
Copenhagen was the 2014 European Green Capital, an award that recognized cities with consistently high environmental standards.
This is only the beginning: By 2025, Copenhagen plans to be the world’s first carbon-neutral capital.
7. Tivoli will suck you in
Opened in 1843, Tivoli is the world’s second-oldest amusement park and a much-loved attraction in this family-friendly city.
Set inside mature gardens with a lake and playgrounds, it’s a schmaltzy but happy place with roller coaster rides, pantomime shows, treat stalls, amusement arcades and more than 40 places to eat and drink.
Tivoli is open in summer from April 10 until September 21, then again for Halloween (October 11-27) and Christmas (November 15-December 31), when it sparkles with 2 million fairy lights.
Children under 8 get in free
8. The Danes are clever clogs
The Danes invented lots of things we didn’t know needed inventing.
Like the pedal bin, created by Holger Nielsen in 1939 for his wife’s hairdressing salon.
You can pick one up at the family’s Vipp flagship store (Ny Østergade 34) — your trash will thank you.
They also largely invented existentialist angst — the flip side of all that happiness.
Professionally gloomy philosopher Søren Kierkegaard was born here in 1813 and the city is busy celebrating with a host of bicentennial exhibitions and events.
Finally, of course, Lego. A marvelous Danish idea — until you step on one with your bare feet.
9. Denmark doesn’t have the euro
It’s a surprise to many, but Denmark isn’t on the euro, but the krone (crown).
Bank notes bear more pictures of bridges and historic finds than famous people — typical of a nation that values construction and craftsmanship over ego.
Tipping is minimal. Restaurant bills normally include a service charge and taxi drivers don’t expect a tip, although it’s customary to round up the amount.
10. Christmas and New Year’s is a great time to go
The holidays are when Copenhagen is in full festive mood — and of course it’s all done very tastefully.
The Danes prefer white lights on their Christmas trees, rather than gaudy colors, and the Christmas markets, which start in mid-November, aren’t as tacky or commercial as elsewhere.
Alongside the expected designer candle holders and licorice candies (a national obsession), you’ll find stalls selling wholesome gifts such as Inuit jewelry, high-tech kitchen utensils and sensible wooden toys.
Thanks for reading, and thanks CNN for the tips – my own pictures from various trips!