Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
On day 3, the final day we had in Copenhagen, we decided to head to Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. This is an art museum housing many of the private collections of Carlsberg of beer fame. There’s a huge section of Scandanavian (particularly Danish) art at the fore of the building, particularly sculptures like Rodins, as they’re obviously trying to push more of the local things. It took us quite a while to find the “international” section which is sort of down a poorly marked hall and then up a flight of stairs, but once you got there, there was a fantastic selection of Picassos, Renoirs, Monets and others.
Once you get up to the top of the building, there’s a great view of Tivoli as well.
As I was sitting at a cafe in the morning sipping a delicious coffee, I reflected Copenhagen was a really great city that I think can teach Americans a lot.
They’re some of the happiest people in the world (statistically), and it came across as that almost everywhere I went. I can’t think of any other place I’ve been where just about everybody I encountered seemed as happy. I believe our “H.C. Andersen tour guide” explained “why” very well (loosely quoted):
Many people ask me why Danes are so happy, and I really don’t think it’s so difficult. We know that having a fulfilling occupation is one of the most important aspects of being happy, so we make sure that everybody is educated [for free] and can stay educated so that they never feel like they’re falling behind. We don’t work overtime to try to gain money because we recognize that happiness doesn’t come from material things but from the shared experiences you have with your friends and loved ones, so that’s where we spend our time. Everybody knows this is the best way for people to spend time so we don’t expect unreasonable things of our employees: lower your expectations a bit and you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised more often than not. With all of this, don’t pay anybody too much or too little. Jealousy and want makes people upset and causes them to commit crimes, so we have heavy taxes to make sure everybody is taken care of and treated fairly and doesn’t feel “cheated” by fat cats.
Everything he said truly seemed accurate while I was there. And with the recent battles of the “1% vs 99%” here in the US and increasing frustration between “non-techies” and “techies” in SF (which seems to me to be a proxy for really what amounts to the same thing), it really rang out as something with quite a bit merit. I’ve heard people say “yes but if you’re a socialist welfare state like that, nobody is inspired to do their best work to advance in their respective company” which is something I used to believe in a lot more. But in seeing Copenhagen, I think really misses the point. That is, just because you aren’t doing everything you can to “climb the corporate ladder” doesn’t mean you’re doing poor work or taking advantage of welfare. People inherently want/like to do good work, so if you educate them in a field they like, they will do that and they’ll be happy perhaps even without that Lamborghini. In fact, maybe they’ll be perfectly happy on a bike.
All of the photos I’ve taken from Copenhagen along with descriptions can be found by clicking here. Bear in mind there are multiple pages of albums and photos, so look for the “next” and “previous” links on each page. Once you’ve navigated to a particular photo, you can click the photo (or change the size drop-down) to view it in its full size.