Get Inspired About a Sustainable Future in Copenhagen

Copenhagen has the reputation of being expensive – which it is – but maybe this is the true cost of having a sustainable society. With concern for the planet being a staple of Danish living, here are some places to get a modern and inspired taste for a sustainable future in Copenhagen

From smoothly effective public transport systems to the bustle of bicycles crowding bike lanes, Copenhagen setting its sights on becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral capital city. Small businesses dominate many streets selling products focused on reusability, quality and the ethics of fairness. This is a city where organic certification is valued and materials which support our lives are made to last. It feels as though there is an understanding that a race to the bottom leads to few winners and that local communities can be supported through high-standards in sourcing, production and consumption.

Central to the Danish lifestyle appears to be a consideration of the impact our actions have on ourselves, others and our environment. Value systems such a hhugye and llyke embrace contentment and happiness – feelings that are difficult to attain in societies fixated on flux and now-ness.

While a weekend in Copenhagen will drain your card a little more than other city breaks, this condensed city will also inspire you to continue your progress in transitioning to more satisfying ways of living. It will fill you to bursting with the most astounding selection of pastries, making it easy to see some of the reasons why Denmark is the happiest country on earth.

Vegan sweet goods and pastries

It slipped my mind that Denmark is famed for its baking. Perhaps being vegan we are so used to pastries being butter based, memories of a Danish swirl have long since dissipated. But these treats/daily essentials have been veganified in content Copenhagen. At Kaf you can delight in a strawberry cream croissant while waiting for the custard-lined dagmartarte and cheesecake to arrive. Or nibble on a cremlinse while the smell of brunch drafts from the kitchen.

A SAMPLE OF THE OFFERINGS AT KAF

A little later (but not too late if you want to pick from the finest almost-all-vegan selection) try Landbageriet for the traditional Nordic experience in bread and bread-like sweets. Or, with their focus on water preservation and far-reaching compassion for the planet, Nicecream is a must when nothing less than rich ice-cream will suffice. Even at €10 for two scoops wedged between two oat cookies, you would happily pay the same again for more.

MADE FOR YOU AND THE PLANET, NICECREAM

Reused and quality clothing

There is certainly no shortage of style in Copenhagen. Similar to other Scandinavian cities, the looks tend to veer from extravagant to functionally chic with a twist of colour; Big pink socks or a statement hat, for example. Something to brighten up those gloomy wet days.

If you are looking to rehome a garment made to last, the area surrounding Kaf in Nørrebro has a number of second-hand shops with bunches of character. BauBau has a timeless selection, while Second Wardrobe By Martine has a famously fine lineup. Nearby select shop Be Awear carry a multitude of sustainable clothes and lifestyle products and you can spot the colourful selection of organic sweatshirts that Colorful Standard have to offer around town. If you are more to the left on the swanky scale, why not treat yourself at the discounted Acne Archive or go a little cooky in Han Kjøbenhavn (just stay well clear of the leather and wool).

Design in the home and the city

Danish-designed goods have long been a staple in our kitchen and living spaces. Perhaps without us even realising, they have been assisting our coffee and sitting habits for many a year. At the Design Museum Danmark you can absorb the history of the products that helped shape our taste preferences for contemporary simplicity such as Komplot Design‘s NOBODY chair. The postmodern take on material sourcing on display – with products made from form-moulded natural fibers, recycled paper, bio-composites and bamboo – shows that the future is not about stacking high and selling cheap.

A HISTORY OF THE DANISH CHAIR AND A LOOK TO THE FUTURE OF URBAN LIVING AT DESIGN MUSEUM DANMARK

Part of the permanent exhibition showcases the advancements in city planning that have been realised in creating a new city outside of Copenhagen centred on biodiversity, super-sustainability and a sharing economy. The city of Vinge will develop over the next thirty years aiming to house some 20,000 residents concentrated around the main train station which opened last year.

If you are looking to take back a little inspiration for your own sustainable utopia, the gift shop has a beautifully-stocked book collection on everything jolly and Danish.

Plastic-free and sustainable living

Plastic-free and sustainable are synonymous – single-use plastics are not the way of the future and in Copenhagen there are plentiful opportunites to support businesses showing an alternative for the future. Traveling is a time when you may let your ethics laps. When items such as disposable toiletries and water bottles sneak their way back into your life. That’s why staying at one of the Guldsmeden eco-hotels helped to avoid leaving a pile of rubbish behind after our stay. The hotel was equipped with everything you need to stay fresh: bamboo toothbrushes, toothpaste tablets – which you will take home and continue to purchase, thank you – and a refillable water bottle to take with you and hydrate you while you are out and about the city.

While you are out and indeed about, it won’t require you go out of your way in Jægersborggade to show support to gågrøn!. Here there is a stacked selection of durable metal water bottles and kitchen wear alongside new up and coming essentials from Keep Leaf: infinite-use sealable bags for storing food and waste-free lunches.

WHILE YOU ARE THERE: Across the street at Plantepølsen there is a devourable lineup of vegan hot dogs, so cross the street you must.

Not too far from this Danish delight of a street you can find Spidsroden selling all manner of vegan goods and plastics-free beautifying commodities. It was here I was able to finally pick up a compostable sponge for scrubbing dishes and a little square of ylang-ylang soap for my hair. They also have a cafe and a toilet – an essential when you are out all day guzzling water and supporting local efforts for a sustainable city.


An honorable mention must go to MAIDENITALY, the first authentic vegan Italien restaurant I have had the pleasure of experiencing. The pizza selection was mighty and marvelous, the cheese board is worth every kroner and the hosts could not have been more welcoming. And don’t leave without at least one helping of tiramisu, obviously.

MADENITALY, AUTHENITCALLY VEGAN ITALIEN

For more places to eat and support while on your next European trip, have a look at the recommendations for Berlin, Germany including smoked carrots and Vietnamese hot pot: 🇩🇪

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