Our ‘my city’ series puts a new perspective on some of our favourite places, as we catch up with creative residents, asking them to divulge their best kept secrets. From their favourite cheap eats, to their go-to coffee spot, there are plenty of hints and tips on how to stay like a local.
We’re heading to Copenhagen where we catch up with a girl whose finger is firmly fixed on the design pulse, Herle Jarlgaard Hansen, CEO and Founder of Copenhagen’s go-to designer’s market, FINDERSKEEPERS.
Where do you go for the best coffee in Copenhagen?
I have to confess I don’t really drink coffee (which is something all of my friends tell me off for!). However, if I were to drink it, I would have to say The Coffee Collective in Jægersborgsgade. It’s the only place I know where all of my coffee-loving friends get a coffee-gasm by just thinking about their selection. For me though, it’s all about sipping a hot ginger-lemonade from the pavement seats of Café Navnløs in Vesterbro, and watching the people walk by.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve done in Copenhagen, and why?
My friends and I went through a stage of getting a bit tipsy and going skinny dipping. We used to ride our bicycles to the Opera at Holmen, drink wine and just sit watching the canals. It usually ended in a naked swim! From what I remember, it was a pretty sheltered spot so no one could see us. Well, hopefully…
If a friend’s visiting and you want to impress them, which is your go-to restaurant?
My favorite restaurant is Manfreds in Jægersborggade, Nørrebro – it’s small and cosy and they serve excellent food at an affordable price. Their daily specials are available to take away too. The food is rustic and simple, and they use fresh, organic products. My guilty pleasure is their tartare – it’s the best I have ever had (I think I’m addicted). I’m not the only one who loves this place – so if you want to go, be sure to reserve a table!
And your favourite cheap eat?
For cheap eats I like to drop by the food markets and buy a selection of small dishes, so that I can sample a variety of different foods. Kødbyens Mad og Marked is my favourite – it’s located in Kødbyen (meatpacking district) in Vesterbro and is open every weekend over summer. The food is so delicious and really cheap and the atmosphere is super laid back; you can spend a whole day there. You can even get a little tipsy – they serve wonderful wines and beer.
Can you reveal your best kept Copenhagen secret?
One of the most popular places to swim and sunbathe in Copenhagen is Islands Brygge. It’s mostly full of people posing and flexing by the pool, which is not really my scene – I prefer the quieter, less crowded places. I hope I’m not going to spoil it for myself by letting you in on this, but if you ride your bicycle as if you’re heading for Islands Brygge, keep on going and you hit Nokken – a super beautiful and relatively unknown area with small summerhouses and swimming spots. The best time to come is in the summer, so that you can sunbathe and read a book, but if you’re here in the winter it’s a good place for a walk.
Tell us something that only a resident of the city would know?
Footwork! It’s an organised night in Nørrebro that takes place every four months. Cheap drinks, the best music and space for all your friends, with no VIP list. You can be exactly who you are and everyone is welcome. I’ve been there four times and it’s the best party in Copenhagen!
What’s the best thing to do in Copenhagen for free?
In the summer months you can visit Nemoland at Christiania. Every Sunday there are free concerts where both large and small Danish artists play. It is always super nice to be out there and has become a really great Sunday tradition for me and my friends in the summer.
Are there any tourist traps that should be avoided?
I would personally stay away from the expensive restaurants and draft beer in Nyhavn and visit some of the really good restaurants around the rest of Copenhagen instead. I often think there is a tendency for tourists to stay only in the centre of Copenhagen. I would definitely recommend experiencing the atmosphere in Vesterbro and Nørrebro – these places are the true Copenhagen! And, the statue of the Little Mermaid is really overrated (I’m sorry!).
Are there any local customs or traditions that visitors to the city should be aware of?
It’s not something that we are proud of, but we Danes drink a lot. We use alcohol as a social fuel and as soon as we get a few drinks, we are a lot easier to talk to! In Copenhagen it is also legal to drink in public, unlike many other countries. In the summer, the streets of Copenhagen turn into a party mayhem during the Distortion street festival. All traffic is rerouted from the neighbourhood that hosts the festival, to make room for the DJs, live music and all the dancing people.
Describe your perfect day in Copenhagen.
My perfect day would be a warm and sunny Saturday during the summer, and I would spend it with my friends. I would definitely start my day with breakfast from Grød in Jægersborggade – my favourite dish is their porridge with apples, almonds and salty caramel sauce, with a chai latte. Afterwards, I would take my bicycle and ride down to Torvehallerne, which are two large food courts in the centre of Copenhagen. I would fill my shopping bag with ready-made lunch from the fish shop, salads from Palæo and pizzas from Gorm’s.
Then we would head to Islands Brygge to rent a Goboat and see Copenhagen from the water (Goboat is a place where everyone can rent their own boat and sail around Copenhagen, it uses solar power and you don’t need a license or a captain). We would dock the boat in Christianshavn and have lunch while watching all the amazing houseboats and sailboats go by. In the evening, we’d have dinner at Scarpetta in Rantzausgade (my favorite Italian restaurant) and then we’d head for Byhaven by the music venue Pumpehuset. It is a cosy courtyard with trees, benches, coloured lights and the greatest atmosphere. Here I would enjoy a free outdoor concert, drink cocktails and party with my friends until the sun came up.
Where do you go when you need to get away from it all?
I travel as much as I can, and it’s very important for me to get away from Copenhagen sometimes. When I take a break and distance myself from my everyday life I can charge my batteries and return home with brand new energy. I don’t have a specific place I turn to – I prefer to visit new places each time I go travelling. My ambition is to visit a new country or place every year for the rest of my life. I just visited Cuba with my boyfriend, that was so amazing and yet so surreal at the same time. Next on my travel wishlist is Japan, New Orleans or Sri Lanka.
Where would you go to get your fix of Copenhagen’s cultural and creative scene?
I am extremely fortunate in that I work with a lot of up-and-coming designers and creative entrepreneurs everyday. All of them exhibit and sell at our FINDERSKEEPERS design market in Copenhagen three times a year. This is without a doubt my biggest design fix through the year! Otherwise I love hanging out in Charlottenborg; being inspired by the contemporary art, exhibitions and the variety of creative and inspiring events you can find there.
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