What’s wonderful about Copenhagen? Dorte…

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November 18, 2013 by Matt

So I’m going to bend the rules a little here. This series of posts is intended for expats to share what they enjoy about living in Copenhagen, and after bona fide expats Chris, Cecelia, Stuart and Emily it’s the turn of Dorte, my wife. 

The reason this is technically not playing by my own rules is because Dorte is of course Danish. So not exactly an expat. But hear me out – I met Dorte in London and she lived there for 18 years in total, which equated to most of her adult working life, and we always joked that we were both foreigners in Denmark when we moved here. So I think Dorte qualifies – she’s moved somewhere that’s quite alien to her in lots of ways, and is discovering Copenhagen afresh after many years away. Take it away, skat…

Dorte, my wifeI am…Dorte, a Dane who spent almost 20 years abroad, before returning to the mothership.

And I moved here in…February 2012. I picked this time to start my new (and first Danish) job as I figured winter would almost be over and it would be a soft start returning to Scandi-land. It then ended up being ice and snow until April, so it was baptism by snow and snow and snow…

Because…my husband Matt, owner of this blog, and I decided to get off the hamster wheel in London. We loved and still love London, but it was stressful and we were ready to re-address our priorities and spend more time with each other. Even though we were both nervous about moving here for different reasons, we figured it would be alright in the end if we held each other’s hand. I don’t think I would ever have moved back if it wasn’t for Matt embracing Denmark so enthusiastically.

Best thing about living here is…the short distances, friends around the corner, the ease of access to nature – be it a walk in the park or a swim in the harbour, the cycling, the organic food wave and of course the pastries

If you move here, you should…get a bike (obvs!), rent a summerhouse one summer, learn how to make rugbrød, make local friends, get an Aarstiderne organic vegetable box delivered to your door.

Living here is different because…attitudes to life and priorities are different. Money is still important and it’s everything for some Danes, but isn’t everything for many others – instead, free time is what counts. Having an opinion is important too, more important than memorising facts and figures (which makes Danes pretty rubbish at pub quizzes!). Sure, it does take time to get to know the Danes (for me too!), but persevere, the Danes are awesome!

And if I moved away, I’d miss…a home which is central but yet spacious enough to house friends for dinner and friends from abroad spending the weekend with us. Being able to get to most places by bike in my every day life. And swimming in the harbour, which is probably my favourite thing in Cph.

If you’re just visiting, make sure you…I know it’s a cliche, but hire a bike, do it! Cph is compact enough to walk, but taking it in on a bike is unbeatable (unless it’s –20 degrees and hurricane-like, which is pretty often as Cph is a coastal town and I often forget!). Eat cake! My favourite is the Pippi Longstocking stall at Torvehallerne or Tante T on Vesterbro. If you want posh cake, go to La Glace and get the Sportscake (don’t worry, it’s loaded with calories!). Try one of the many great Danish chefs’ restaurants which aren’t Noma! Marvel at the bridge building expertise as you ride across the sea to Sweden or Fyn.

In three words, Copenhagen is…calmness, freedom & love

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