Copenhagen combines business and pleasure with aplomb
The Danish capital combines business and pleasure with aplomb. Is Copenhagen’s progressive attitude at the heart of its success?
Ahigh-heeled cyclist in a crisp suit passes me on the street, making a hands-free call as she pedals. It’s just after 3pm on a Friday, and the concrete promenades lining Copenhagen’s three rectangular lakes – commonly mistaken for a single river – are baking in the unexpected spring heat. At the nearby harbour, a powerboat carrying businesspeople guns down the satiny stretch of water towards Sweden. On days like this, “bridging” is also a thing in the Danish capital, where a denim-clad crowd perches along the walls of Dronning Louises Bridge, sipping cans of pilsner and socialising until sunrise.
You can’t possibly have made it through 2016 without hearing the word hygge (pronounced hue-gah). Just in case, it’s the Danish ideal of appreciating life’s simple pleasures: family, friends, nature, soothing environments, a feeling of “a cosy togetherness”. As a nation, Danes make time in their daily lives to appreciate the small but important things. It seems the rest of the world needs a manual to implement this – The Little Book of Hygge: the Danish Way to Live Well was a bestselling book in 2016. And, consistently stealing the top spots of “most liveable” and “happiest” in city rankings, Copenhagen is certainly getting something right.
The enviable Danish lifestyle could be a trump card when it comes to attracting overseas talent. “I don’t think this factor should be underestimated,” says Claus Lonborg, CEO of Copenhagen Capacity, which supports foreign companies, investors and talent seeking opportunities in Greater Copenhagen.
“If you want to attract young talent, you need to offer a cool place to live, with the right framework for developing a business. Today, young people want to know: ‘What’s it like living in Copenhagen? Where can I hang out?’ They spend [more]time communicating about these things [than] about the actual job and company they’d be working for.”
“If you want to attract young talent, you need to offer a cool place to live, with the right framework for developing a business”
The prototype “floating island” in Copenhagen’s harbour by Australian architect Marshall Blecher and Magnus Maarbjerg of Danish design studio Fokstrot