København has been on my list of cities to visit for a while. Recently my friend Chris's girlfriend started her PhD in that city and moved there. He had invited me to visit them there, and that it what I have done in this trip.
As the city is known for its cycling infrastructure, I have done this trip with the bike in mind; similarly to the trip to Utrecht & Holland.
Over the days I went to various places, sometimes with Chris and sometimes by myself.
One afternoon I met with Chris in a park, we enjoyed the sunny yet cold weather. From there we walked to Christiania, which is somewhat of an autonomous district. Even though marijuana is forbidden in Denmark, it is a solid gray area in Christiana. You could smell it on every corner. People were sitting at the water and happily smoked and shared. From what one reads on the internet the police does not control too tightly there and sometimes they were even chased out. Sounds a bit like the Rote Flora in Hamburg and Rigaer Straße in Berlin.
Chris bought a cup of beer and we sat down in a table bench combination where two other people were already sitting. Eventually we got into a conversation and it was tremendously interesting to talk to genuine locals. They live some 10 km north of the city center and told us about a great park with old forts that I found very interesting. We also talked about the nature of Christiania and marijuana in Denmark. They were very friendly and kind, which seems to be typical for the Danish. Eventually we all got hungry and parted ways to get some food.
On the second last day I went to look at the center of the city by foot. There is a pedestrian mall. I found the city hall:
Also I found the congress building, which had some special event going on that day:
There were a lot of construction sites going on in the city, also around the government buildings. Their construction barriers consist of plastic poles and wooden bars. They look like toys, though:
Cost of living
A Danish PhD position makes around 20000 DKK/month after taxes, that is 2680 EUR/month. In Germany with a full TV-L E13 salary one would earn 2280 EUR/month. Turns out that PhD students get a full salary in København and not just 50 % at universities and 75 % at research centers like the one in Jülich.
While making lunch I learned that the single room apartment costs 800 EUR/month in rent, though that includes heating, water and electricity. This puts the seemingly high salary for a PhD student into perspective. Lunch at the cafeteria costs around 5 EUR/day, that is much more than the 2.50 EUR/day that I usually pay in Bonn. To be fair the apartment building was just a year old and very modern. It did not have a doorbell for each flat but a digital bell that seems a notification to the phone of the tenant. On the display you could scroll through the names of the inhabitants and call one up.
A while ago I read a funny German article about Netto and Netto. They is the German Netto Marken-Discount and the Danish Netto with a dog in the logo. Both have yellow as their primary color, both are supermarkets. From the article the Danish one is even more chaotic than the German one. Right across the hostel there is one of them and I decided to enter it.
I was not disappointed. There was stuff scattered across the shelves, stuff on the floor and no stringent ordering in the shelves either. At checkout there was only one lane open and the cashier, a very young high school student, had some problem with a payment. He had already signaled in the store that help is needed at the checkout. When I arrived there, there were five impatient customers just waiting for this issue to get resolved. It took another three minutes and then finally I got to pay. Unfortunately I did not understand the Danish ranting of the customers.
From the amount of electric cars that can be seen in the streets one can infer that there are serious tax deductions on them. This is a parking lot with chargers, and there were many premium electric cars there usually:
Although København might be best bike city of them all, I did not feel really amazed by it. I assume that this happened because I already got to see serious bike cities like Utrecht, Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Compared to them København is just another bike city which does a very good job at it. If I had the trips in a different order perhaps this city would have impressed me the most.