Our Students on What Makes Copenhagen One of the Most Livable Cities

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CIEE Copenhagen

Every year countless surveys and rankings try to determine what the most livable city in world is – in other words, where is the water and air cleanest? Where is the sense of community strongest? Is there adequate food and shelter, and does the city offer hospitable settings for its inhabitants to grow and evolve?

The results of these surveys often differ depending on what parameter they mostly base their ranking on, but we here in Copenhagen are happy to say that our home consistently ranks among the livable cities in the world, be it the Economist Intelligence Unit’s “Global Livability Ranking” (2nd place), Monocle’s “Quality of Life Survey” (1st place), “Mercer Quality of Living Survey” (8th place) and Deutsche Bank’s Livability Survey (3rd place).

We can throw numbers at you all day if you want, but in our opinion, we thought it might be better if we asked some of you students what makes Copenhagen such a livable city, and we found that their responses fell mainly under three different categories: Biking, Walking and Public Transport, Safety and City Design.

Biking, Walking and Public Transport

One of the main reasons our students find Copenhagen such a livable city is the infrastructure, whether it be the biking paths or the easy to use public transit.

Erika K., University of Pittsburgh

Personally, the fact that EVERY street can and/or will accommodate bikers is so so helpful. Not to mention the fact that it’s flat. I really think the biking infrastructure, decent public transport, and work culture is what makes it so livable.

Kami S., University of Colorado-Boulder

I loved being able to walk/bike everywhere! And Copenhagen had the friendliest people.

Ryan M., Arizona State University

The main reason why I fell in love with the city is because of the way you can live in it so easily.

The first thing that I enjoyed everyday was walking everywhere. I’m used to walking everywhere at my home university but being able to walk to get groceries, meals, any necessities, or any event you need to get it was just a joy everyday. 

My second thing I loved was the biking culture. Being able to make a 40 min walk a 15 min bike ride was great. The city is designed to bike everywhere and it’s just so easy. If I ever move there, I’m getting a bike first thing.

My third was public transport. I mainly used the metro and trains to get around and it made life easy. Being able to take the train from one city to the next or having a 24/7 metro to get around the city made being a college student great. Going out at night or just coming back from a friend’s house late at night or just in general was easy. Even getting to the airport via metro was good. Now rush hour still sucks on them because they are crowded, but nothing that isn’t manageable.

Eva L., Oberlin College

The city design! It’s walkable OR bikeable OR there’s great public transit.

Jane M., Chadwick School

The walkable (and bikeable) city as well as the good transportation!


Safety was also something our students felt contributed to the nice atmosphere of the city while they were here.

Kenna D., University of Colorado-Boulder

I loved living in Copenhagen, because it felt safe as a woman.

City Design

Public transport is of course also a big part of our city infrastructure, but our students also find other things about our city design very livable.

Katie V., University of St Thomas-Saint Paul

Copenhagen was amazing, because it was a city truly designed for people, not cars.

Sloan H., University of Iowa

I loved living in Copenhagen because it is built for people, not cars, and it has something to do for everyone.

Ryan M., Arizona State University

I also loved the 20-minute city design. We talked about this in the Scandinavian happiness class I took block 1 and it really shows in the city. The 20 min city basically means that everything is 20 min away from you via public transit or walk/ bike. From parks to school to work, everything was there. For me personally most things were within a 10 min walk. 

My final thing that made it so livable is the nature and look of the city. I never knew that having nature built into the city was such an important thing to make a city livable. From the parks that were everywhere or the canals that you could swim in, it made the city so interactive and community based. 

Those were the words from our past students on what makes Copenhagen so livable. We hope you learned something about our lovely city and want to perhaps come see and experience it one day for yourself. We will always be here to welcome you! Vi ses!