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Copenhagen offers a twist on new venues and event spaces

The Danes have a reputation for being cheerful. Denmark came second in the World Happiness Report 2019 which ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be.

What’s less well known is the wry sense of humour. At the Nordic Expo Meetings & Events  2019, held at the Bella Center, creative strategist Lars AP opened the event with an engaging debate entitled F***ing good. How does the world’s most happy also become the world’s f***ing cleverest people?

Lars goes on to debunk the myth of jovial Dane, asking you to trying queuing on a Monday afternoon or driving in to Copenhagen City centre at rush hour. The cyclists are pretty fierce too, swerving around you, rather than stopping.

The Nordic Expo Meetings & Events is a whistle-stop tour to experience Danish design that we all know and love. A smorgasbord of hotels, venues, food as well as event and meeting concepts. An exemplar of Danish design is the Skt Petri hotel in the Latin quarter of Copenhagen, which was on show at the event.

The Skt Petri, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, is located in a heritage-listed landmark from 1928 designed by Danish architect Vilhelm Lauritzen. The hotel artwork includes sculptures and prints by major contemporary Danish names, including Bjørn Nørgaard, Tal R, Adam Saks, while the interior design was created by the award-winning Norwegian design studio Anemone Wille Våge.

The Danish oblique way of looking at life is also apparent in the meetings and event space. There’s a run-down area called Kødbyen, which is the meatpacking district. This is the location of one of their most unusual venues, the  Øksnehallen, just 100 metres from Copenhagen Central Station. The exhibition hall has a capacity to hold more than 3,500 people in an area of 5,000 square metres.

Going against the current trend for all things vegan, the meatpacking district is the place to find the best restaurants, where carnivores can go the whole hog and chow down on every variety of meat.

The meat theme extends into hotels, as in the recently opened Scandic Kødbyen, which has carpets designed to take on the marbling effect in prosciutto. The coat hangers are in the shape of meat hooks and there are delicate porcelain figures of cows on shelves around the reception area.

As Kit Lykketoft, director of conventions at Wonderful Copenhagen told me, there’s ever more competition in the market. “We do see growing competition within M&I. This is what I’m starting to see. There are more choices for clients so we need to do something special.”