What I Learnt from My Recent Trip to Copenhagen

What We All Can Learn...

Recently I visited the country of Copenhagen. I was only there for 4 days, but that was certainly enough to see why Copenhagen is said to be one of the happiest places to live.

When I first arrived the first thing I did was hire a bike. Why? Because in Copenhagen riding a bike is the chosen mode of transport. Knowing this when I went out there, it was still surprising to see how little cars were on the roads and instead the vast amount of bikes being ridden and parked up everywhere. Copenhagen is a relatively small city, but as I drive to work every day, biking around everywhere was a challenge. Although my legs ached and it was tiring, I actually did feel great and not only are you getting fit, not being stuck in traffic and not paying for petrol or taxis was a major plus.

When we pulled up to my friend’s apartment there were no bike racks or anything, but turns out it is not a known custom to need to lock your bike up. Crime in Copenhagen is considerably lower than in London, with it having a crime index of around 20 compared to London’s 47 and whilst it is hard to pinpoint the exact reason as to this, many experts believe this is due to the fact that their poverty level is low. When speaking to a local student in a coffee shop, she informed us that in Copenhagen their schooling is all paid for and in fact they actually get paid to be in University. She won't have that 27,000-pound minimum debt that my friends and I all already have. Everyone in Copenhagen gets an equal chance no matter what their class or background, money is not an issue, given they get the grades of course. Giving children the equal chance to get a good education and allow them to not worry about money whilst considering University, seems to be having a very positive effect on poverty out in Copenhagen, with the average person earning 39,000 Euros, equivalent to around 34,000 pounds, compared to 27,000 in England. This in turn could be the reason as to why their crime rates are so low, as less people are needing to turn to crime in desperation.

One downside I saw to Copenhagen was that they pay much higher taxes. However, on speaking to the locals I discovered that they actually didn’t mind at all and praised how the Government used their taxes to do good. Their taxes get put on valuable things such as education, meaning every child gets the education they deserve and parents don’t and won’t have to worry about ensuring this. The taxes also allow Danish people to have more holiday time to take off and a longer parental leave, as well as free healthcare for everyone, meaning the Danes have a lot less overall to worry about in general. These taxes are also put towards free city events such as also allowing the city to have events such as Stella Polaris which I was lucky enough to get to go to as it was on whilst I was there. Thousands of people flocked to the park to chill out and listen to music and looking around I could see that people were happy and enjoying themselves.

Copenhagen is a very environmental and clean place and with help from the before mentioned taxes this is all possible. Considerably less people own cars due to the high tax rates, so pollution is significantly lower than other cities, such as London. In Copenhagen they have a scheme where collecting cans and bottles and recycling them can actually save you money. On some cans and some bottles there is an extra charge ranging from 1 to 3 DKK and in order to get this money back you can deposit the used cans and bottles into machines all over the city that will give you the money in exchange. This is a great scheme to get people to recycle more and means that young children and homeless people also have a great way to make extra money by collecting them.

During my short trip to Copenhagen I noticed all of these positive attributes that the city holds, some of which would be great to see implicated in England if possible. Copenhagen is said to be one of the happiest places to live and I'm glad I got to see why.

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