The first time I was in Copenhagen was in September 2017. After meeting a Danish girl a few months before that, she visiting me in the Netherlands and us falling in love it was time for me to visit her. I was amazed how the city felt so calm and serene, even though there lived more people than for example Amsterdam. A few years passed and several visits followed, Denmark and specifically Copenhagen started becoming a second home to me. In August 2018 my girlfriend decided to move out and live with me in the Netherlands for a year. After that we spent a few months separated again, until I took a chance and moved in December 2019. We moved into our own place, in my former second home, Copenhagen.
While visiting Denmark and Copenhagen so many times, and now also living here for a few months, I have learned much about the Danish culture and picked up on different Danish-isms.
First impressions of the city
Copenhagen can be split up into several districts, all with their own distinct identity and style, whether it’s the old and historic city center, the multicultural Nørrebro or the hip Vesterbro. The individual districts all have their own vibe and it seems like every district is its own small town. Copenhagen is a collection of small towns disguised as a big city.
The city feels very airy and not congested, what you might expect from such an urban city. I was surprised by the immensely big bike culture in Denmark, this combined with great opportunities of public transport in Copenhagen makes for a very easy way to get around the city. Whether you are a tourist or a local, there is always an opportunity to move around the city, and when the weather is good enough you can also walk everywhere!
A country is nothing without its citizens though, so what are the Danes like? There are a lot of myths and prejudices about Danes and their country. Are the Danes really that cold and aloof? Not in my experience. You might have heard of the term hygge, an untranslatable word which is a sort of feeling of cosiness, warmness and happiness, and Danes will do anything to achieve this feeling. There is plenty of hospitality to be found in Copenhagen while enjoying a delicious wienerbrød (danish pastry) or fadøl (draft beer) you can connect with the locals talking about the weather, bike etiquette and once again the weather.
The only thing someone might need adjusting to is the Danish humor. Danish humor is typically very sarcastic, dry and even dark at times. This might cause some confusion sometimes, but don’t worry. Danes are not afraid to joke about themselves and this shows in the slogans and advertisements of certain brands.
All the things mentioned before are typically Danish, but there are things you will not necessarily notice the first time around, but will become clear after visiting Denmark multiple times or when you actually live here. Something I started noticing was the thankfulness of the day to day life. In Denmark it might come across as rude to not thank for things like a meal or for a nice day with someone, so to be safe, make sure to thank for everything 😉
All in all, Copenhagen is a great city with much to offer. Whether you are looking for a lively place where there is always something to do, or you want to clear your mind and have a peaceful day in the park. The Danes will welcome you with open arms and once you get to know them better.
My friends and I work daily to bring some of our favorite local spot to your attention. I hope that you’ll find and enjoy some of the places that we have collected. I you are going to Copenhagen or are in Copenhagen, I hope that you have a wonderful time. Please reach out to us if you need some help or have questions about our lovely city.
Find all of our favorite spots on our app – City Hearts.
– you’ll love it.