So the 1952 song goes. This was my first visit to a Nordic country, and what a beautiful introduction to this part of the European continent. Cobbled streets, tall slim colourful houses and an abundance of bicycles gave a step back in time vibe yet this is a country at the forefront of future thinking.
Denmark is simply leaps and bounds ahead of the game. It is the World’s happiest nation, the most eco-friendly in terms of power production and boasts the highest gender equality rate to name but a few accolades. Their Royal family are also often seen out and about enjoying the city, and attending festivals; I actually saw Princess Mary attending a fashion event during my short trip.
In terms of electricity generation Denmark holds the world record with a whopping 42% of their electricity being provided through wind power. Each year the amount generated increases, enabling them to continually beat their own record. Having now visited Denmark this fact is not a surprise, it was permanently gusty throughout my stay. Not a destination for toupee wearers!
On the flip side there is a grittier, more interesting human edge to the city. Roads were randomly closed and covered with grass to host a party including a DJ and free beer. Skateboard competitions complete with camera crew whizzed past dangerously and one of the most beautiful city parks is actually a cemetery.
To understand more about Copenhagen and its inhabitants, I suggest you look towards the drawcard of the Little Mermaid statue. It has recently been voted the third most overrated and disappointing landmark in the world. For the record Manneken Pis in Brussels was first, which to be fair is definitely oversold. Danish locals are unimpressed and believe that there is more to see in their capital city than this statue and right they are. However being a tourist I just had to see the famous statue.
Continuing on with the Little Mermaid, she has had a rough time since being installed in 1913. Often being the victim of vandalism, and on occasion used as a vehicle for political statements. She has been decapitated twice, had an arm amputated and been blown up by explosives. She has also been dressed in a burka, and on numerous times been dowsed in different colours of paint. I wonder what Hans Christian Andersen would say…. Although apparently he was rather an interesting character himself.
And now for the more macabre but fascinating. The worlds’ best preserved human remains are courtesy of Danish peat bogs. I visited the body of Graubelle Man, who died in the late 3rd Century BC and was thrown into a peat bog. Yes, over two thousand years ago! He is however extraordinarily well preserved. His skin and hair have survived the passage of time and all his features are clearly visible as is the sacrificial wound of his slit throat. Scientists have even managed to take his fingerprints and analyse his stomach contents. Amazing is what I say.
I definitely need to visit more of this region. But firstly I need to save up, as it’s not a shoestring destination and secondly I need to invest in some warmer clothes!