I would be a Dane

If given the opportunity, I would be a Dane…or at least half Dane. Copenhagen, Denmark has been one of my favorite cities ever visited, not only because of the beautiful architecture and lovely people, but because the city and I have compatible personalities.

I would be a Dane, because women wear sneakers as fashion statements. People look presentable and well dressed, but in a neighborhood-casual type of way. A pair of jeans, short-sleeved shirt, Converse sneakers and pashmina scarf provide both comfort and class in this city. My stiletto-loving friend, Rachel, would disagree, but I love this type of practical attire.

Copenhagen radiates a big city vibe mixed with a small town feel. The locals don’t generally display outgoing friendliness, but they are extremely helpful and accommodating when approached. The city is crowded, but people respect space. Tourism is evident in Copenhagen, but shop and restaurant owners do not aggressively push for business. For the most part, people keep to themselves, but maintain a kind and pleasant demeanor.

Everywhere we visited appeared well maintained. The beaches were clean, the roads well-paved and the metros reliable. The use of computer systems kept places like the airport, train stations and Tivoli Gardens running efficiently. For lack of better words, the city really seemed to have its shit together.

The city’s architecture has a comforting embrace. The beautiful buildings stand just tall enough to feel powerful, but rest short enough to not feel overwhelming. The colorful buildings and waterfront views kept me feeling cheerful on the rainy Copenhagen days. While it gets cold in the winter, the abundance of ethnic food would keep me warm. So would the homemade bread and Carlsberg beer.

If I were a Dane, I would shop at H&M and Zara several times a week and likely find something to buy during each visit. This would be bad for my bank account, but I would save money on gas by biking everywhere in the city. Of course, I would take the day off of shopping on Sundays. Stores in Copenhagen close on this day.

I would be a Dane because I appreciate sustainable lifestyles. Danes pay high taxes, but they receive free health care, free education and paid maternity and paternity leave from work. They even receive stipends while working toward university-level degrees. The government-maintained bike paths save money on gas and keep both the people an environment healthy.

Airport security stopped me for an additional bag check on the way out of Copenhagen. The guards needed to inspect the bottles of sand I had collected throughout my journey. Before walking through the metal detector, one guard motioned for me to leave on my shoes. “Nahh,” he said. “It’s okay!” He said the same thing when I attempted to separate my computer into its own plastic bin.

“Denmark sand?” another guard asked as he removed the sand from my tote bag. He admired the bottle, smiled and waved us through.

As we began to walk away, another guard yelled something after us. We could not understand his Danish, so we stopped and looked at him confused. “Bye!” he yelled in a loud, cheerful voice. He waved at us, smiling happily as we walked away.

It was the friendliest group of airport security guards I had ever encountered. I would have no problem flying in and out of this airport for the rest of my life.

Besides, the airport also has an H&M.

8 replies »

  1. All true. A wonderful place–we were just there in June. Next trip, take some time and go to Bornholm. A completely different Denmark, but equally cool.

  2. I would like to say that this is all very very true. I’d like to add that Copenhagen is not allowed to erect taller buildings, because they wish to maintain the “skyline” as it is. In addition, Danes love foreigners who want to visit their country, but some are not keen on them staying, but I think that is changing – fortunately. /halfdane,halfamerican.

  3. My tourist train pass expired about 1/2 day before I stopped riding the trains. I had noticed that no one EVER asked for a ticket, so I just figured I’d ride, anyway. Sure enough, that same afternoon, hours after my pass expired, a conductor came through the train asking for tickets. I guess they only do spot checks. I gave him mine, he looked at, grinned, gave me a quick salute, and said, “Enjoy your stay.” I tried to show my pass to the guard at Tivoli Gardens, and he just smiled and waved me through with bothering to look. And Tivoli, itself, was so relaxed and pleasant to visit.

    Thanks for reviving a few memories.

  4. BTW, my daughter liked the place so much that I think she would quickly marry any Dane who asked her. She’d love to live there.

  5. We made it out of the city on two different days – once to visit Malmo, Sweden just 35 minutes from Copenhagen and another to drive along a beach road called Strandvejen. We stopped at several harbors and small towns along Strandvejen, which offered another beautiful alternative to Copenhagen. I will add Bornholm to the list for my next trip! I will be back…I may have to be like JSOBrien’s daughter and search for a Danish husband.

  6. My great-grandmother was 100% Dane. Maybe that makes me eligible to escape in case Romney wins… Inspiring story.