There are many cities often described as “laid-back” that don’t totally warrant it. Copenhagen warrants it.
The description, though, does not suggest laziness. Copenhagen, in fact, is an incredibly active and fit capital. Last summer, it hosted a raucous Pride Week followed a few days later by an Iron Man competition. In the city of around 600,000, the average age is 33.
Indeed, Københavners—as its inhabitants are known—are a cheerful and active bunch. A certain coolness is the overall vibe of the city, a feature that some say stems from the Danish Law of Jante, or a sense of modest egalitarianism. Danes resent ostentatiousness. Combine that with hygge, the cherished Danish virtue of coziness, and you have a society that is friendly and welcoming but not too over the top. In other words, a fitting place for a traveler.
Copenhagen occupies two islands on the Øresund strait, across from Sweden (a bridge leads to the much-less-interesting Malmö.). Founded by Viking fishermen in the 10th century, it did not become Denmark’s capital until five centuries later. Under the Danish monarchy, the city was transformed into the preeminent cultural and economic center of Scandinavia, a position it arguably maintains today.
Since World War II, the Danish economy has extended into high-end services, pharmaceuticals and green energy, to impressive results. At some US$68,000, Denmark’s GNI per capita is the seventh highest in the world and Danes enjoy a high quality of life. Their capital is one of the most financially dynamic in northern Europe. Yet the city strikes a fine balance between pursuing its modern, capitalist aspirations and maintaining its old-world charms.
Hotel D’Angleterre is Copenhagen’s premier historic hotel, a regal, white-walled beauty dating back to 1755. Affectionately called “The White Lady on Kongens Nytorv”—the name for the wide, bustling square it overlooks—the hotel was extensively renovated in 2013. Well-equipped with modern amenities and some ninety rooms, D’Angleterre retains its Old French-inspired aesthetic. Elsewhere along Kongens Nytorv, considered the heart of the city, is the Royal Theatre as well as ample shopping, dining, and a stop on Copenhagen’s incredibly efficient metro. The spa and large indoor pool are both splendid.
For a more modern abode, book a room at Nimb, a fairy-tale-esque five-star boutique hotel in Tivoli Gardens, a pleasant amusement park first opened in 1843. Tivoli owns the hotel, which has a private entry into the magnificent park. The spacious, very hygge rooms are chicly decorated with Danish art. There is a superb rooftop terrace bar and pool, which often has live music. Visit the Asian-inspired spa and its steam room for an urban oasis.
EAT & DRINK
Copenhagen’s wonderfully varied culinary scene, which boasts 15 Michelin-starred restaurants, owes its dynamism to noma. The New Nordic superstar, which opened in 2003, has been rated as the best restaurant in the world (it recently announced it would close for regular service in 2024). Numerous noma-trained chefs have since opened their own eateries—the tastiest burger in the city can be found at POPL, whose founder is a noma veteran; Hart Bakery, one of Copenhagen’s most coveted bakeries, was opened by Richard Hart, formerly of both noma and Tartine.
But the noma buzz also infused pride and dynamism into Copenhagen’s dining scene more generally. One standout is Cofoco, a local favorite. The cozy basement spot serves up Mediterranean-inspired Nordic food like shrimp with foamy lobster bisque, pumpkin and yogurt. It’s a great place for a long, chatty meal over bountiful vin.
Restaurant Møntergade, located on the hip and buzzing Møntergade street, is a homey, chic spot with killer Nordic plates. The smoked eel is fantastic. Top-notch Italian pasta can be found at Undici, a casual, light-hearted place with picturesque positioning at the intersection of two cute canals.
Marchal, the signature restaurant on the ground floor of Hotel D’Angleterre, is well-worth a meal. The Michelin-starred spot transforms Nordic delicacies into scrumptious, inventive plates with a French touch. Try the venison with beets, blackberries, pear and pepper sauce. The Nimb Brasserie, inside the Nimb Hotel, is also French and fantastic.
Lovely libations abound in Copenhagen, a city fond of boozy celebration. One stand-out is RUDO, a vermouth bar opened by former noma sous chef and restaurateur, Christian Puglisi. Fiskebaren, a popular seafood restaurant in the Meatpacking District founded by a former noma sommelier, has an excellent wine selection. For beer, pop into one of trendy microbrewery Mikkeller’s many locations. Bright, inventive cocktails can be found at Ruby, which occupies a townhouse dating to 1740.
One Copenhagen attraction that cannot be missed is the surprisingly charming Tivoli Gardens. To call it an amusement park perhaps cheapens its appeal—the modestl -sized place is less Six Flags than it is Golden Gate Park. Lovely, verdant grounds are interspersed with rollercoasters, a large performance stage and the most beautiful antique merry-go-round you’ve ever seen. Good restaurants abound, too.
With its bright shophouses, pretty canals, grand buildings, and ancient streets, Copenhagen is an architectural wonder. In 2023, Copenhagen becomes a UNESCO World Capital of Architecture, which means a slate of citywide events. Anytime of the year, though, whether during the idyllic summers or the punishing winters, the best way to take in Copenhagen is on a boat tour. Hey Captain, located on the sunny and buzzing Ofelia Square, provides great guided trips, with comfortable, uncrowded boats and bottled craft beer.
Museum-lovers will find much to admire in Copenhagen. One not to be missed is the Glyptoteket, an art museum in central Copenhagen with a fantastic winter garden and lots of sculptures. The National Gallery of Denmark, also known as SMK, is also well-worth a visit too, featuring mountains of glorious Danish and international works from the past seven centuries (Matisse is on display through February.) Stroll through the nearby King’s Garden, a sprawling and serene park, on the way there.
Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’
Prepare yourself for the year of the peach
Pantone has released its 2024 Colour of the Year — and it’s warm and fuzzy.
Peach Fuzz has been named as the colour to sum up the year ahead, chosen to imbue a sense of “kindness and tenderness, communicating a message of caring and sharing, community and collaboration” said vice president of the Pantone Color Institute, Laurie Pressman.
“A warm and cosy shade highlighting our desire for togetherness with others or for enjoying a moment of stillness and the feeling of sanctuary this creates, PANTONE 13-1023 Peach Fuzz presents a fresh approach to a new softness,” she said.
The choice of a soft pastel will come as little surprise to those who follow the Pantone releases, which are often a reflection of world affairs and community mood. Typically, when economies are buoyant and international security is assured, colours tend to the bolder spectrum. Given the ongoing war in Ukraine, the Israeli-Gaza conflict and talk of recession in many countries, the choice of a softer, more reassuring colour is predictable.
“At a time of turmoil in many aspects of our lives, our need for nurturing, empathy and compassion grows ever stronger as does our imaginings of a more peaceful future,” she said. “We are reminded that a vital part of living a full life is having the good health, stamina, and strength to enjoy it.”
The colour also reflects a desire to turn inward and exercise self care in an increasingly frenetic world.
“As we navigate the present and build toward a new world, we are reevaluating what is important,” she said. “Reframing how we want to live, we are expressing ourselves with greater intentionality and consideration.
“Recalibrating our priorities to align with our internal values, we are focusing on health and wellbeing, both mental and physical, and cherishing what’s special — the warmth and comfort of spending time with friends and family, or simply taking a moment of time to ourselves.”
Each year since 2000, Pantone has released a colour of the year as a trendsetting tool for marketers and branding agents. It is widely taken up in the fashion and interior design industries, influencing collections across the spectrum.
Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’