January 7, 2015
For journalist Nana Hagel, Copenhagen is a big love and sometimes also a big frustration. The city’s size, caught between a drowsy small town and a vibrant city, has made her run away to New York and Paris, but it always gets her to come back as well. “Where else in the world do you get that cozy small town feeling without having to compromise on cultural offerings?” she asks.
What I like the most about Copenhagen is also what I sometimes do my best to escape from: the very foreseeable size of the city, the feeling that everyone knows everyone, the fact that most days could indeed be a Sunday in many parts of town. The sentiment I sometimes get of a merchant’s town that suddenly caught the attention of the world and went big city on all of us.
But Copenhagen is home to me. It always has been and it always will be. And just as importantly, it is the base from where I explore the rest of the world. It is its set of extremely high standards and very well developed ideas of what a good city life is, that I always bring with me wherever I go. Because no matter what other city I visit, I always return with the same feeling: that Copenhagen is indeed a very special place and that we who live here should consider ourselves very fortunate. It’s already becoming such a cliché, but they’re right, you know. Monocle, The New York Times, The Guardian, all the travel writers, who go here one sunny summer day and praise the city to the skies. Because where else in the world do you get that cozy small town feeling without having to compromise on cultural offerings? Copenhagen is home to the best restaurant in the world, it’s the capital of the happiest nation in the world and it has been voted the most liveable city in the world. Why? Because here, you don’t have to compromise. At least that’s my opinion. You can have it all: a clean harbor to jump into during the summertime, a large number of green public places and parks, architectural pearls and a restaurant and shopping scene very much alive and happening. And if you have researched just a little about Copenhagen, you already know this. Because we Copenhageners are proud of our little city, and we are not about to let it go unnoticed.
In a way, it is my job to sell Copenhagen. On a freelance basis, I do guides and stories on the city for different travel magazines and websites. And sometimes I catch myself wondering if I’m too eagerly putting my city on a pedestal. But in reality, I don’t believe that I am. Because all the things that sometimes bug me a little are the same things that make the city so special. Indeed, it is a tiny city. But that just means that I can hop on a bike and literally be anywhere within fifteen minutes. And yes, a lot of people here do know each other (or at least know of each other) and sometimes it does get a little claustrophobic. But I think that’s the same in all other cities and in all fields of interest. And sometimes, the vibe does get a little too relaxed and chilled. But I guess that’s also the beauty of our little town turned big city. You can always find a quiet spot, an empty street or a huge greenhouse with an adjacent park and have it all to yourself. And still have a big city life waiting for you to explore it. That’s pretty great and that is what makes Copenhagen worthy of all the praise.