Future Landscapes
Design, Visualization & Photography

Copenhagen +|-

The happiest nation on earth: is it too good to be true? Spoiler: yes. An architecture student’s experiences with those crazy Danishes in Copenhagen while studying at the Kunstakademiets Arkitektskole.

oh cph/oh berlin


You would not believe your ears over here recently. Things have been uttered along the lines of 'yeah, I would move back to Copenhagen if I had the chance.' Or even pretty much exactly those lines.


I think we need to start a big blackboard of pluses and minuses for CPH and Berlin. Right now it would look something like this:

Copenhagen +/-


Good design everywhere, including inane things. People actually care about design... Germany feels sterile and ghetto in comparison.

Small, comfortable sized city, never worry about catching the wrong train (this is a particular sore point with me in Berlin right now as I caught the S45 instead of the S42 and ended up halfway to the airport, tacking on an extra 45 minutes to my already long night....)

Netto open on Sundays! So you can actually get groceries and vitals of life.

Interesting firms to work at. We were all like 'blah, Danish design sucks!' when we lived there, but compared to the deadeningly boring architecture in Germany.... Denmark looks like a paradise.

Awesome biking city and super easy to get around.

Never saw an apartment I didn't like...

Loads of cheap second hand housewares shops

Bacon, walnut bread, FRIDAY SLIK (= cheapish bulk candy on Friday)

Lots of middle eastern corner stores and produce stands with good selection of fresh olives, feta, grains... friendly and often open late / on weekends and holidays.

Everyone speaks English

When the weather is nice, everyone goes outside. People are so super aware that the weather is shite, that when the sun does shine it's like a mass exodus from work/school into the park to hang out.

Lots of long weekends cause of outdated religious holidays like HIMMELFARTSDAG. I love that word.

Green cycle path!

Way awesome restaurants...

Reserved seats at the cinema, also all the cinemas are amazingly beautiful. Also, they don't dub films.

Little tiny things like: eating kanelstang and drinking grossly overpriced coffee on the canal in Christianshavn. Biking in rush hour over Dronning Louises Bro and stopping to hang out on the bridge. Seeing the lakes every day. Bells at 8am and 6pm promptly, every single day. Laughing in derision at the incredibly strange fashion choices of Danishes. The Copenhagen left hand bicycle turn.

Long summer nights

Gløgg in the winter

Great and interesting urban spaces

Lots of cool dance companies and dance shows.

Most museums have a free day


No jobs in Architecture, even for Danishes. 57% unemployment for the creative sector. DO NOT GO TO DENMARK IF YOU WANT A JOB. There are already like 1 million architecture grads competing for work, and the Danish ones at least have the benefit of being fully supported by the state and can afford to go to networking events. It is not better then the states. It is not better than Spain. Just don't go.

Sameness on a level like you have never experienced. It is like people have been indoctrinated since childhood to think/behave/dress exactly the same.

Intolerance of people who do not think/behave/dress exactly the same as them. Sure, they are tolerant of some things, but only the things which they have all been indoctrinated to be tolerant of. It doesn't count as real tolerance when it has been indoctrinated into you as a piece of your national identity rather than a choice you actively make when you encounter something different from yourself.

The existence and wide-spread admiration of Bjarke Ingels and others of his ilk. *eyetwitch*

Expensive second hand bikes. Like, $500, minimum.

Apartments and living costs are super high. Average cost of a 60m square one bedroom apartment is between $1300 and $1500/month (dkk 6500 - 8000)

Groceries are like 40 times overpriced--I can't stress this enough-- and I curse the selection of produce most of the year. Whatever you spend on groceries right now, triple it and you will come close to the cost of groceries in DK.

Danish is a horrible language. Second only to Dutch in terms of its ability to drive you to the brinks of mental collapse just by hearing it day in and day out.

The weather is shite approximately 98% of the time and that can really, really suck. Strong wind and lots of temperature changes mean you will get migraines more often. Not to mention the winter depression... Average daylight hours in December? 0.6. ZERO POINT SIX. That is just barely over half an hour of sunlight each day. Think you can handle that? You might think so, but I'm here to tell you that you can't.

Lots of occasions to encounter mindlessly drunken Danishes and hear them partying on the street, doesn't seem to matter what day of the week it is, someone is being loud and obnoxious.

No trees on the streets - this means that sound carries quite far and you get to hear partying in high definition as it echoes off the surrounding stone paving.

eating at restaurants is totally out of a normal person's price range

Openly racist overtures, use of the N-word in jokes is considered normal.

Not open to foreigners making a home in Denmark unless they want to completely eradicate their former way of life and even then not so much.

Too many tall blonde people who wear funny clothes and think that 'smug' equals 'happy'

Taxes like woah. 25% sales tax on top of the already high price of goods and services. Then there's the average of 40-50% income tax in case you ever get a job. Kiss your money goodbye - you don't get to reap the benefits of paying into unemployment or pension unless you pay into the system for 35 years or so.

Fricken cold and rainy summers

Tuborg and Carlsberg are possibly the worse beers in existence.

Barbarian inhabitants that litter on everything and puke everywhere, 4 nights a week.

Nothing I'd really want to see at the museums. Like, no art to speak of except at Louisiana and it costs big money to go there.

No bathtubs and bathrooms feel like they were designed for dangerous criminals as an implement of torture.

Berlin +/-


People don't feel the need to deposit garbage everywhere they stop to hang out

CHEAP AS HECK GROCERIES. You will never experience cheap groceries like this in a western European country, ever again. Also, there are lots of good grocery store options that actually resemble supermarkets and not Antarctic outposts.

Cheap rent (as of early 2012… but this is quickly getting out of hand as poor creative types like myself pour into the city having heard tales of affordable rents…)

Beautiful hidden gems in the form of little neighbourhoods, parks, cafes, and shops.

Super cheap fast food, Sudanese falafel.

Coffee is a normal price that normal people can afford because it is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

10 euro haircuts

Lots of good public transit options, very affordable

Loads of trees in the city! Lots of nice, natural parks that haven't been over-designed.

Much better weather then CPH

Really delicious cookies

Bathrooms normal sized or better; the widespread existence of bathtubs in most apartments.

Wine for 1.99

Mediocre looking population makes me feel way attractive

Lots of culture and history, not just at museums. You can learn a lot about the city by visiting the memorials and monuments dotted around the city and region, most of them free.

Super easy access to beautiful lakes, awesome train system.


Berliners have a raging hate-on for English-speaking tourists, and the funny thing is that well over 80% of tourists in Berlin come from other parts of Germany. You will see 'don't forget to leave' spray-painted all over the place in the more popular tourist zones. Really they should spray-paint it in German instead. Also, fuck them. Who do they think keeps their city in business, their unemployed asses?

People still puke on the street and there are less city workers to pick up garbage so it still looks dirty most of the time

Nothing open on Sunday... except maybe church

City is too damn big and there are loads of terrible apartments with carpet in the bathroom and coal-heating

Not known for their excellent restaurants.

Hardly anyone will admit to speaking or understanding English making bureaucracy and daily interactions suck hardcore

Very few 'real' bike paths, plus the city is so big that biking somewhere can take an hour or more. Too many goddamned cobblestones.

We're not sure that Germans have feelings or passions about anything except vehemently telling you to never take photos of anything.

Terrible traditional cuisine. We're talking boiled potatoes and sauerkraut every single day.

People seem aloof and distant even to those of us who enjoy being somewhat aloof and distant.

Too many unemployed hipsters hanging about the coffeeshops.

The architects and urban planners are stuck in an era where they had absolute authority and minimal modernism was at the height of its influence. We don't live in those times anymore and need some more open minded design in Germany.

Some Berliners are stubbornly holding onto a Berlin that no longer exists: unchanging and relatively unknown; we can't keep the city a relic of the 90's.

Super conservative design taste will drive creative people crazy and dash their hopes for having a perceivable impact on anything.

No feeling of a coherent city centre due to the city being split in two by the Berlin Wall for so long.

Dubbed films (it's rare and tough to find cinemas that play movies in the original language...)

Thinly veiled racism over most other nationalities.

No effort whatsoever to assist people at the foreigner's office, or even put up informative signs in other languages (I'm not just talking English, there are loads of Turkish and Russian speaking people here too).

Apartments sometimes come with no kitchen / cabinets. Like... what is the point.

Finding an apartment is getting harder and harder. You have to be super lucky to find something in a good area that is still reasonably priced, and if you do, there will be at least 65 other people applying for the same apartment.