On Location: Copenhagen

Together, they help explain why the country is the most advanced in the world in terms of sustainability and livability. And ever since the G20 world leaders met in Copenhagen last year for the United Nations’ COP15 Summit, to establish new climate goals to replace Kyoto’s mandate, the capital city has assumed the mantle of world’s greenest meeting place.

“When groups come to Copenhagen, they’re going to get a green meeting whether they want it or not,” asserts Ulrika Mårtensson, my liaison with the city’s DMO, Wonderful Copenhagen. She says this while we take our first sip of Globe Ale bottled at the Nørrebro Bryghus restaurant/brewery, housed inside a retrofitted old metal foundry seating 160. Like many things in Copenhagen, Globe Ale is carbon neutral. It’s organic and produced sustainably through carbon offsets, just like the food, meaning no harm was done to the planet during the making of our lunch.


Mårtensson orders the smørrebrød—a signature Danish dish consisting of thin rye bread served open face, typically topped with fresh herring, smoked salmon, Swedish moose or any number of other local foodstuffs. This to me sums up Denmark: smart, sustainable, healthy, well designed and beautiful to look at.

Just like the day before at Restaurant Julian in the National Museum of Denmark, where Ulrika ordered the smørrebrød with juniper smoked Greenland halibut and Fanø Island ham. I try the Christiansø pickled herring and Hallegård sausages from Bornholm. These dishes are designed to celebrate what people were eating during the historic periods exhibited in the galleries. Julian caters meals up to 450 in the museum, and Ulrika recommends booking a choir to sing from the balconies.

More smart, sustainable lunching at BioM in the quaint Fredericiagade neighborhood. It’s an impossibly cool “eco-eatery where life is experienced as a combination of interdependent relationships between plants and animals,” says the menu. This is Copenhagen’s poster child restaurant for farm-to-fork food.

“We’re so lucky that our guests have an opinion that they’re not just cattle,” says owner Brian Johansen, as he grabs a chair constructed from recycled plastic bottles. His goal is to honor the “lambs who have drunk out of the nearby Halkær stream” and his patrons by serving only local and organic fine-dining. The risotto with bacon and mushrooms will floor you. The lemon sole and steamed whole trout explode with freshness. Capacity here is only 40 pax, but Johansen has catered groups up to 2,500 offsite.

Anja Hartung Sfyria then rides up on her bike. Over 36% of locals ride bikes to work or school, but the goal is 50% by 2015. The marketing manager for business tourism with Wonderful Copenhagen is here to discuss EnergyTours, created by a consortium of industries including the Danish Wind Industry Association. Denmark has the world’s largest offshore wind farm, and it manufactures over 90% of offshore wind farms worldwide.

EnergyTours are ways for visiting groups to go behind the scenes to learn about the most modern global advances in high-tech renewable energy.