I was told before I left for my visit to Copenhagen that I would love it, "it's just so efficient" a friend gushed. For a normal person "efficient" isn't the optimal word you would want to describe your vacation, but for me it sounded like utopia. These Danes are not only more efficient than us, they are so much cooler. Even the nerds are 6ft tall, blond, strikingly beautiful, and much too cool to: give directions, greet me in a shop/restaurant, or basically acknowledge my existence at all. Trust me, it's true. Anyway, here are just a few more reasons why Copenhagen is cooler than all of us:
Bikes for everyone: Ever heard of traffic jams that consist solely of cyclists? This is a daily occurrence in Copenhagen where there are more bikes than people. Hardly anyone drives or even owns a vehicle. 36% of people there bike to work with a projection of that figure being raised to 50% by 2015. Copenhagen is arguably the most bike friendly city in the world.
[ view from the Laundromat Cafe...yes, it's a laundromat AND cafe, see how efficient they are? ]
Non-profit coffee: Retro is a cute and cozy coffee shop that donates all of it's proceeds to third world countries in need. It is entirely run by volunteers – which might explain why it was closed in the middle of the afternoon on a Tuesday when I tried to visit...hmm.
[ beloved Nyhavn ]
Everything considered: Design thinking pops up everywhere in Copenhagen, it's a very user-friendly place and that's no accident. There are people in place that make this city tick. I was fortunate enough to visit a few places that really brought this to my attention, one such place was Mind Lab. Mind Lab is a cross-ministerial innovation unit that helps society run smoother through innovation. The fact that the government is involved blows my mind. Check out the neat things they are doing here.
[ chalk board of design thinking at Dansk Design Centre ]
To our health: When the Danes cheers, they say Skol (skull in Danish) because apparently in the old days, they used to drink alcohol out of the skulls of their enemies. Mmm brains!
Kid friendly: I have never seen so many children, I swear. It's like, the hottest new accessory (next to capes). I suppose it's easy to have children in Copenhagen, no one bats an eye at the huge prams on the bus and in the coffee shops and I don't think I saw or heard any child throw a fit or cry...eerie. Even the local diner has not one, not two, but FIVE beautifully designed (and not cheap) Tripp Trapp child booster seats by Norweigan company Stokke. Good design = well behaved kids...I'm going to prove this one day.
[ free-range kids at Louisina Museum of Modern Art ]
Fat Tax: We've all heard of sugar taxes but Denmark is the first country to implement a fat tax. Everything with 2.3 percent saturated fat per total weight is subject to a new price hike. Well, how could they look down their noses at us with a big belly in the way? Makes sense.
And if the fat tax doesn't work: I have it on sketchy authority that the Danish government pays for liposuction! Jeez, we get it, you're THIN! Can anyone corroborate this?
[ you see that? sandwiches are $20! I'm lucky I came back alive! ]
Smarter than your average plebe: Danish students don't have to pay for higher education in fact, they are the ones getting paid by the government (through higher taxes) to go and better themselves. The average person spends at minimum 15 years in school. So they're smarter than you too. I rest my case.