The story

A recent study on global wellbeing showed the Danes to be the happiest people on the planet and with about a fifth of them living in their capital it stands to reason that Copenhagen must be a little bit special.

So what are they so happy about? Well, lifestyle magazine Monocle recently named Copenhagen as being the world's most livable city, highlighting the quality of its infrastructure, transport system and contemporary buildings.

It's true that the city is well planned and well managed; it boasts a new metro system, the main arteries in the centre are pedestrianized and the other streets are filled with cyclists rather than exhaust fumes.

But Copenhagen is not some soulless exercise in sterile urban planning. There are the winding medieval streets of Indre By and the Latin Quarter, the picture-postcard houses of Nyhavn, the canals of Christanshavn, and the palaces and parks of Fredericksstaden and Rosenborg. The city is, simply, charming.

If you spend some time in Copenhagen you'll quickly come to understand the Danish concept of "hygge", a word with multiple meanings that is best translated as something between "cozy" and "relaxed". But if that suggests a city of bygone cuteness it doesn't take into account the sleek modernism of Danish design. Read full article »

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