December 19, 2012 by Matt
In the same way that your own name will jump out at you from a page of text, I’m now very much in tune to mentions of Copenhagen in any international media. I’ve always been unnecessarily proud of my hometowns (I still bristle at the regular flow of insults that travel in Birmingham’s direction, my childhood hometown), so it’s lucky for me that the Danish capital generally has nice things written about it, at least in these times of Scandinavia being very much in vogue.
One of my regular reads, Monocle magazine, has consistently put Copenhagen in its lists of liveable cities (#3 in 2012 and 2011, #2 in 2010), and the much publicised United Nations poll of the happiest people on the planet has been putting Danes at #1 for sometime now (if you do click that UN link, the poll results are on page 30 of the PDF). So it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to hear that Copenhagen has been voted the tenth friendliest city in the world by users of TripAdvisor. In the sister poll of unfriendliest cities, London was #2. Both are reported on here by the Huffington Post.
Of course, all good polls and lists should be taken with a pinch of salt – especially for my first guest writer, Katie, who according to the poll has just moved to the 7th unfriendliest city in the world, Zurich, surely proof that it’s all nonsense! But this was still pleasing for me because in my experience Danes don’t actually have a positive reputation for friendliness. For instance, there is no Danish word for ‘please’. But I’ve cooked up a theory, which is that Danes, like other Scandinavians, will happily dispense with what they see as unnecessary politeness towards strangers, but if you have even the slightest reason to talk to one, then you’ll rarely be treated with rudeness. At least, no more than anywhere else in the world.