A few weeks ago my wife and I traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital. A modern city famous for bicycles, new Nordic cuisine, and world-class culture. Copenhagen is well known as one of the greatest design cities in the world and a very eco-friendly tourist destination, with plans to go completely carbon neutral by 2025.
The Danes are known for biking but we chose to explore the city on foot. The bike culture is no joke and we weren’t sure we’d keep up in the heavy bike traffic. The city is almost entirely flat making every area very walkable but more than 50% of Copenhageners commute daily by bike.
There are certainly no shortages of things to do in Copenhagen. Since English is widely spoken, with nearly 90% fluency rate in all of Denmark, there were limited barriers for communication. Combined with great public transportation options and a very well designed wayfinding system makes for getting around town extremely easy.
Aside from the Rococo Architecture of the old city (tourist area) of the city center, Copenhagen also has tons of modern bars and restaurants featuring the new Nordic cuisine and drinks with a style that we’re seeing become prevalent in modern States-based interior design.
My favorite place we visited was Vesterbro, a gritty area that used to be home to Copenhagen’s meatpacking businesses. In recent years the Meatpacking district has transformed into a creative hub with tons of nightlife and vivid atmosphere year-round. The area that reminds me of the vibe of Union Market and surrounding warehouse district, here in DC. In the meatpacking district, we visited War Pigs brewpub, a brewery opened by microbrewery Mikkeller in collaboration with Three Floyds (one of our favorite breweries back home in the midwest)
Copenhagen is well-known for its famous Museums, with over 80 museums and attractions within the city there’s no shortage of inspiration. Among all the exhibitions we toured our favorite was Copenhagen Contemporary and Designmuseum: The Danish Museum of Art & Design. Designmuseum has been open for over 125 years and features work from Dutch designers such as Arne Jacobsen and Jacob Jensen, among many others. My favorite exhibition celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus. The exhibition presents a comprehensive overview of design at the Bauhaus for the first time. The collection overall is a great in-depth look at life at the Bauhaus and serves as a great connection to modern design education as well as the power of design to influence radical change.
Skip The Little Mermaid bronze statue and be sure to hit up one of the many canal tours of the city. There’s no shortage of water and the view was amazing. We went with the Netto Boats (covered blue boats) which were included with the cost of the Copenhagen Card. A great way to save money by prepaying all museums and transportation throughout the city.
Interested in more about Copenhagen?
On the Grid is a great city guide by local creatives. The Copenhagen based agency Birds Flying High put together a nice collection of spots in one of the neighborhoods I visited, Vesterbro, among many others!
Want to learn more about Dutch design?
Designmuseum has a variety of events throughout the year as well as a rotating temporary exhibition on the Bauhaus. The show is up through the beginning of December in partnership with Vitra Design Museum and the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundeskunsthalle).