Following my series on Quality of Living/Cost of Living/Taxation, I was planning on writing a couple of posts on the Danish economy. Upon reflection, I decided I would instead describe my flat and elaborate on Copenhagen apartments and interior design in general.
Similar to continental Europe, buildings in Copenhagen are typically 6 stories in height and rarely have elevators. Needless to say, you get lots of exercise living on the 5th…uh, 6th floor. In contrast to North America, the ground floor is considered Floor 0. I live on the 2nd floor, which would be considered the 3rd in North America.
Although unobservable from the street, a quick zoom in on Copenhagen with Google Earth will demonstrate that building complexes are typically designed in a square with a large central courtyard. These can range from basic storage areas for bikes and strollers to more elaborate affairs with picnic tables, BBQ pits and sandboxes for the kids. Everything is communal so don’t be surprised to find unlocked bikes and strollers lying around. I viewed one apartment on Nyhavn (luxurious!) and the courtyard had a small soccer/football field in it! Also, it is not suprising to see people airing out their duvets in the courtyards during the weekend.
The courtyard of my current apartment fits into the storage area category. However, this is not such a big deal as my new apartment is situated extremely close to “The Lakes” and Fælledparken in Østerbro. General consensus from Danish colleagues is that I got extremely lucky given the combination of size, features, location and price.
The apartment is 93 sq meters (~1,000 sq feet) although from what I understand, this is somewhat of a misnomer as sq meters is based on the outside dimensions of buildings here in Denmark. Thus, I suspect the real size is closer to 900 sq feet. Regardless, it is more than ample for my needs with a sizeable kitchen, living room, master bedroom, dining room/bedroom and TWO large bathrooms. I emphasized the latter as two bathrooms (1.5 by North American standards) is extremely rare in Copenhagen. For those looking for a bathtub, forget about it. This too is extremely rare in Copenhagen and even if you get one, it is quite possible it will not resemble anything like you would expect in North America.
The kitchen is equipped with a large dishwasher, fridge, stove (referred to as a “cooker” in Denmark) and washer/dryer. The latter two are so small as to be cute! The oven is only marginally larger than a large toaster oven in North America while the washer/dryer can handle fleece sheets from my queen-sized bed and nothing more! Washing machines use extremely small amounts of water but take exponentially longer than North American washers. Note that I am not complaining as it is extremely convenient to have a washer/dryer in the kitchen!
Denmark is world-renowned in the area of interior design and faucet fixtures are just one area where Danes are light-years ahead of North America. That being said, it is not always readily apparent how to use them! I have half a mind not to inform my father the first time he tries to turn on the hot water in the shower. I’m sure he’d come out sputtering (yes, I have a sadistic streak, especially when it comes to my father). I’m equally sure I could leave him for 15 minutes and he still wouldn’t have figured it out…
As for amenities, the number is too high to count. This includes a bakery, green grocer, gourmet shop, butcher, several restaurants and design shops all within 100 meters (300 feet). Expand the perimeter to 300 meters and it includes an electronic store, grocery store, dollar store, high end design shops and numerous cafés. Public transportation is also within 300 meters (900 ft) as are bicycle paths heading to every corner of the city. The closest train station is also within a 10-12 minute walk. Needless to say, I am very happy with the location!