Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, was founded by Vikings in the 10th Century and became the capital of the country in the 15th century. After several periods of up- and downturns throughout the centuries, the city has established itself as one of the major cities in Northern Europe since WWII. It is both the cultural and economic center of Denmark, and attracts businesses and artists from all around Scandinavia. Located on the eastern side of the island Zealand, Copenhagen is connected to the Swedish city Malmö via bridge across the Øresund strait. Today, the city has more than 1.3 million inhabitants when including the suburbs, with around 650,000 of these living in the Copenhagen Municipality.
Copenhagen is characterized by a fairly young population. In fact, 158,000 of the inhabitants in the municipality are between 20 and 29 years of age. Moreover, there are also more women than men residing in the capital. Its economy is solid and unemployment rates are low, and as a consequence, Copenhagen is also one of the most expensive cities worldwide. As a result of the high prices, nearly one in four of the city's population lives at risk of poverty. Despite this, the Danish capital is considered to have a high quality of life, and is ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the world.
Transport: Bicycles and metro
One of the main reasons for Copenhagen's high level of quality of life is the city's transportation system. For instance, next to Amsterdam, Copenhagen is considered to be one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the world. It has a substantial bicycle system with lanes, signal systems, and speed limits. In fact, the number of bicycles in the city outnumbers the number of inhabitants. Next to bicycles, a high number of Copenhageners move around via the city's metro system, which boasts four lines. The extensive bicycle system and metro lines are convenient for the high number of people commuting in the Danish capital. For passengers arriving from further away, Copenhagen offers both the largest airport in the Nordic countries, a railway station, and a harbor that is important both for passengers and cargo.
Crime and law enforcement
Next to the transportation system and green areas, low crime rates is another factor explaining the high quality of life in the Danish capital. After peaking in 2016, the number of reported crimes in Copenhagen decreased, a trend strengthened by the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, Copenhagen was ranked as the safest city in the world in 2021. That does not mean, however, that there are no crimes in the city. A total of 87,000 criminal offences were reported in 2022, and a majority of these were property crimes.
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Einar H. Dyvik
Research expert covering Nordics and global data for society, economy, and politics