A social study of shops

I have written before about the number of independent shops you find in Copenhagen but as I cycle the streets of the city on a daily basis I have started to think about what the shops there are tell us about the population of Copenhagen. Everyday I cycle through three very different areas of the city – Østerbro, Nørrebro and Frederiksberg – yet I see a real pattern in the shops I pass.


So in every section of shops or parades as we used to call them in England there will almost certainly be one of the following – a cycle shop offering repairs, a hairdresser, a florist, a bakery, a place selling coffees (not always a coffee shop but often),pizza takeaway and a købmand (corner shop) often with fruit and veg outside . Close by you will easily find a small chain supermarket and a chemist. No matter the affluence of the area these components are always there. I often wonder how all these types of businesses manage to make a living with so many similar ones nearby but I guess people chose the closest one they like the look of.

So without seeing any people you can conclude that Copenhageners ride their bikes a lot, like their hair to look nice, scoff a lot of baked goods, surround themselves with pretty flowers, survive on caffeine and when they can’t be bothered to cook eat a pizza followed by some fresh fruit.  How true do you think this is?

If you live outside Copenhagen, what do the shops in your local area tell you about the locals?



  1. Apart from the hair and flowers, you’ve just described exactly how my OH seems to be living his new life in Copenhagen! In his part of Østerbro there are two cycle shops, three corner shops and six small supermarkets within a five minute walk of his flat, so he’s spoilt for choice at times.

  2. At our local shops we have a liquor store, a coffee shop, a newsagent, a fish and chip shop, a fast food shop, a mini supermarket, a pool shop, a bakery (not as good as the European ones though), a photo shop, a beauty salon, a hairdresser, a florist, a pizza shop and an Indian restaurant. So from that list I suppose you could say that Australians love to swim in their pools, whilst eating lots of junk food and drinking lots of alcohol 😉

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