The city is the financial nucleus of Denmark, home to the Copenhagen Stock Exchange, with a rapidly developing economy in the technology and service sectors. The capital also leads the country in terms of education, attracting some 1,500 international students every year and home to such prestigious higher institutions as the Technical University of Denmark, Copenhagen Business School and the University of Copenhagen.
Copenhagen continually ranks in international surveys for happiness and quality of life. The Danish capital is one of Europe’s strongest economies, safest cities and greenest urban centers where depravation is hard to come by and even the harbor is squeaky clean enough for a dip. The student population is more than catered to by the multiplicity of cultural institutions, educational resources and social spots – the city yields the highest number of bars per capita in the world! All things considered, it comes as no surprise that the city’s universities attract 94,000 students per year. Granted, Copenhagen also ranks among one of the most expensive cities to live, however the money put into the system one more than gets out in the form of livability, public facilities, social safety and general quality of life.
Things to do in Copenhagen
One of Copenhagen’s most famous sites is Amalienborg Palace – the four mansions are the official residence of the Danish royals where members of the Royal Life Guard congregate daily for the Changing of the Guard. Another historical seat of Danish politics is Christiansborg Palace, the only building in the world to house the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government under one roof. Although there is a fee, budget-conscious students can take in views from the tower for free – on clear days, you can see across the water to Sweden.
The Little Mermaid Statue is to Copenhagen what Mannekin Pis is to Brussels – it may be small, but it has earned iconic status. The mermaid is an unimposing bronze resurrection of Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of the same name, and has become Copenhagen’s most famous resident. Take a stroll along the water to Marmorkirken – the distinctive copper green dome of Frederik’s Church forms the focal point of the Frederiksstaden district, boasting the largest span in Scandinavia at 31 meters.
Art and culture
With exhibitions ranging from the Vikings to the Middle Ages to the Renaissance and modern Danish history, Denmark’s National Museum should pique the interest of any inquisitive student. For the artistically inclined, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is a stunning red brick temple adorned with neoclassical pillars, mosaic floors and vast tiled galleries featuring a collection of sculptures from the ancient cultures, paintings of the French impressionists and Danish Golden Age paintings. Admission is free on Tuesdays, something for the economical student to keep in mind!
Places of interest
Freetown Christiania unfailingly draws intrigued visitors. In 1971, squatters declared an anarchist district that today lives on in this alternative society. The residents build their own houses, run host of independent establishments and sell hash (a practice that tolerated but not legal). Another area worth seeing is Nyhavn – with its brightly colorful houses and mesh of tall ship masts, this Scandinavian scene is picture-perfect. Grab a beer and relax outside the former residence of beloved Danish author Hans Christian Andersen.