Why is Copenhagen so Happy ?
Copenhagen seems to be a very cosmopolitan city with a real mix of ethnicities who all seem to get along together harmoniously, there is also a real mix of historic buildings alongside cutting edge modern architectural marvels from some of the biggest names in world architecture coupled with a city structure designed to encourage such healthy activities as bicycling and all situated close to the water. There are a number of swimming areas built into the waterways around the city which would be great places to go and cool off in the summer, although some hardy Scandinavian souls still use them in the winter…
The mix of old and new architecture can be seen at the Royal Danish Library with its 1999 Black Diamond addition juxtaposed against the historic classical style of the original building along the Copenhagen waterfront.
The historic streets and waterways of Copenhagen are truly beautiful places to explore, wandering aimlessly just breathing in the atmosphere and seeing what interesting little nooks and crannies you can uncover and of course there are the neat little cafes and bars that you will stumble upon as well.
One interesting place to visit while in Copenhagen is Freetown Christiania which is a self proclaimed autonomous district that is essentially outside of the European Union. Christiania is a comfortable walk from the central city area and is famous for its formalised cannabis trade. While selling drugs is illegal in Denmark, it is generally overlooked inside Christiania where there is a free market for cannabis, much like a regular flea market just for grass. It is a sight to behold, officially called “The Green Light District” it consists of a collection of typical market stalls around 2m x 2m, except that the exteriors are covered in camoflague nets with small holes for means of transacting the deal and many of the sellers will be wearing some sort of facial mask, whether a balaclava, ski mask, cowboy style handkerchief and even one stall holder with a “Scream” style mask to help obscure their identities. Unfortunately photography is prohibited in this area and if you dare try and take an illicit snap you will be yelled at as we witnessed on our way through. Anyway being the clean cut tourists we are we didn’t sample any of the goods available in Christiania however we did inhale deeply a few times….
Christiania is also a commune covering some 30 odd heactares and is home to around 900 residents, so we went for a walk around the streets and took in the ecclectic architecture of the area. This is a true hippy village with all manner of jerry built structures and colourful grafitti on most available surfaces.
So to answer my question, even though it is easy enough to access drugs and get happy artificially, the real reasons the residents of Copenhagen are so happy is that it is such a nice city to live in, where bicycling is popular, the air is fresh and everyone is accepting of the multi cultural melting pot that Denmark has become.