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The Business Traveller: A business travel guide to Copenhagen

  • TN-CyclistsWonderfulCopenhagen
  • 14 May 2014

Copenhagen is the planet's most liveable city and one of the best places in the world to do business. Find out why in our monthly guide to business cities by business travel expert Mark Frary.

Each month our resident business travel expert Mark Frary writes the Heathrow Express travel guide to a major city. This month: Copenhagen

Business travel buzz

Believe it or not, Denmark is the best country to do business in Europe. The World Bank puts this down to a well-educated population, excellent spoken English, flexible employment regulations and the ability to set up a company in 24 hours. All this despite the fact that corporate tax and VAT – at 25% – are higher than the European average.

At the country's business heart is the city of Copenhagen, which rose to prominence as a port in the Middle Ages thanks to its beautiful natural harbour. These days the port is less important but it is home to the global shipping conglomerate Maersk. Pharma giant Novo Nordisk is also based here.

Clean tech is a fast-growing sector of the city's economy: more than 25,000 employees work in 6,000 green sector companies based in the region, including wind turbine manufacturer Vestas.

Since the mid-1990s, Copenhagen's business centre has been the district of Ørestad, close to Copenhagen Airport and the 8km long Øresund Bridge which links to neighbouring Sweden. Ørestad is known for its ground-breaing architecture and some 12,000 people work there.

The Oresund Bridge, ©Wonderful Copenhagen, Morten Bjarnhof

The Oresund Bridge, ©Wonderful Copenhagen, Morten Bjarnhof

The Bella Center, Scandinavia's largest conference and exhibition centre, is here too. The city, which international design magazine Monocle named the city the world's most liveable in 2013, will be the focus of attention in May when it hosts the Eurovision Song Contest in the former B&W shipyards on Refshaleøen.

The Bella Center, ©Wonderful Copenhagen, WoCo

Image: The Bella Center, ©Wonderful Copenhagen, WoCo

Express Essentials

Copenhagen is linked to Heathrow by six daily flights with both British Airways and SAS, with a flight time of just under two hours. Kastrup airport is well connected and there are metro services on line M2 to Nørreport in central Copenhagen in just 15 minutes.

The Copenhagen Metro, ©Wonderful Copenhagen

Image: The Copenhagen Metro, ©Wonderful Copenhagen

Train services also operate to Copenhagen Central station – more convenient if you are going to western Copenhagen. A 24-hour city pass for public transport costs 80 DKK (around £9) and it is a fast, reliable and clean network. You will also see plenty of bikes – 55% of residents use them to get to work and school.

Cyclists in Copenhagen, ©Wonderful Copenhagen

Image: Cyclists in Copenhagen, ©Wonderful Copenhagen

Culture shot

If you love Danish TV drama then you'll love Copenhagen. The first series of The Bridge opened on the Øresund Bridge while the Christiansborg Palace is the main setting for political thriller Borgen.

Christiansborg Castle, ©Wonderful Copenhagen, Morten Jerichau

Image: Christiansborg Castle, ©Wonderful Copenhagen, Morten Jerichau

You should not leave Copenhagen without visiting the 19th century Tivoli Amusement Park and gardens in the centre of the city. It is a great escape from the pressures of business and is open all summer, at Halloween and Christmas. A ride on the 1930s wooden rollercoaster is a must.

Tivoli Gardens, ©Wonderful Copenhagen

Image: Tivoli Gardens, ©Wonderful Copenhagen

The black book

Copenhagen's Wakeup Hotels tap into the design on a budget trend. The property at Carsten Niebuhrs Gade is ideal if you have a meeting at the Tivoli Congress Center, which is walkable. Standard rooms start at 400 DKK (around £45 a night). The Hotel d'Angleterre in Indre By is Copenhagen's best-known historic hotel and oozes European high-end style.

Hotel Angleterre, ©Wonderful Copenhagen

Image: Hotel Angleterre, ©Wonderful Copenhagen

One of the world's most feted restaurants, Noma is here – the centre of the new wave of Nordic restaurants, it was recently restored to its customary position as ‘best restaurant in the world’.

Restaurant Noma, ©Wonderful Copenhagen, Mads Damgaad

Image: Restaurant Noma, ©Wonderful Copenhagen, Mads Damgaad

But there are other great places to eat in the city too. The neighbourhoods of Vesterbro and Nørrebro are popular with locals in the know, particularly the Meat Packing District (Kødbyen) in Vesterbro. Try the sour-dough pizzas and brilliant atmosphere at Mother at Høkerboderne 9 and the modern European food at Pâte Pâte in the unusual setting of a former liver paté factory. For something decidedly more upscale, try the Michelin-starred Fiskebaren.

Fiskebar, ©Wonderful Copenhagen

mage: Fiskebar, ©Wonderful Copenhagen

Paludan Bogcafe at Fiolstraede 10-12 is one of many coffee shops with free Wi-Fi, but stands out with walls filled with bookshelves making it feel like a cosy library. Another central option with awesome coffee is the busy Coffee Collective at Torvehallerne. Torvehallerne, open from mid-morning to early evening every day, is Copenhagen's biggest food market and has a buzzy atmosphere – a good place to grab some top quality food on the go.

If you need a present to take home, head for the Illums Bolighus store at 10 Amagertorv which stocks all manner of cool Danish-designed homewares and clothing.

Business insiders

Want to get an insider view of Copenhagen? Here is my selection of Copenhagen's influencers:

Read more #SMART stuff

Author: Mark Frary

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