We take a visual approach to highlight why Copenhagen is such a rich, vibrant and economically prosperous city.

Copenhagen, the City of Spires, is one of Europe’s most beautiful and coolest cities. Denmark’s compact capital is also a city of contrasts; in a matter of minutes you can venture from Amalienborg Palace, home to the Royal Family, to the frankly hard to categorise ‘free town’ of Christiania.

One thing that isn’t hard to categorise, however, is Copenhagen’s status as a city positioned to thrive in the knowledge economy. Its talent, culture and connectivity make it one of the best places to live and work in Europe, and also of the region’s most attractive office markets, as we explained in a previous article.

The following five charts explain why Copenhagen is one of our favoured locations.

On the right track: A city for cycling

Copenhagen has more bikes than people and five times as many as cars. Its 250 miles of cycle lanes almost make commuting an enjoyable activity. The city is also a frontrunner in terms of sustainable living, with an ambition to become carbon neutral by 2025, 25 years ahead of Washington DC, the US capital.

Figure 1: Copenhagen cycle lanes
Copenhagen cycle lanes
Source: ‘Bicycle culture mythbusting - the complete guide’, Copenhagenize.com, November 3, 2015

Knowledge is power: A talent and R&D hub

Access to talent and creative people is a cornerstone of modern business. Copenhagen has 150,000 undergraduate students; 10,000 PhD students and creative businesses employ 70 per cent more people than the European average. The infrastructure surrounding science parks facilitates the creation and growth of innovative companies, attracting highly talented individuals who feed into the wider knowledge economy.

Figure 2: Universities and science parks
Universities and science parks
Source: Aviva Investors, March 2021

Smile please: A happy hotspot

There are many reasons why Danish people are so happy. Free medical care, free access to high-quality education, and a lack of crime and corruption all play their part. Copenhagen is the driving force of a truly progressive country, with residents in the capital ranking fifth on the worldwide index of happiness. Given that happy employees are said to be more productive, what business (or country) wouldn’t want a truly happy workforce?

Figure 3: Happiness Index
Happiness Index
Source: Helliwell, John F., Richard Layard, Jeffrey Sachs, and Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, ‘World happiness report 2020’, Sustainable Development Solutions Network, 2020

Trust in us: An easy place to do business

Knowing you are competing on a level playing field and having confidence in the rule of law have a big influence on where companies choose to locate and capital allocators invest. Denmark’s ranking as the joint least corrupt country in the world (along with New Zealand) is another factor in its favour.

Figure 4: Corruption Perceptions Index 2020
Corruption Perceptions Index 2020
Source: ‘Corruption Perceptions Index 2020’, Transparency International, 2020

Make a connection: Ease of access

Connectivity is key attribute of any thriving city. Well-developed road and public transport networks offer Greater Copenhagen’s 1.3 million inhabitants easy access to the city centre. For those venturing further afield, or visitors coming in, the city’s transport infrastructure is equally well connected. 

Figure 5: Drivetimes from central Copenhagen
Drivetimes from central Copenhagen
Source: Aviva Investors, March 2021

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