A Creative's Journey from Cologne to Copenhagen

A New Chapter in Copenhagen: Embracing Change and Creativity

2024-04-24 in Culture

I packed my lives up on December 7, 2022, in Cologne, Germany, to set them up anew in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was not a mere relocation but a setting of the stage for an entirely new life to begin on a symbolic day for personal rebirth. But before moving, I pretty much sold everything: a mixture from the collections of my agency and my private belongings, stripping down to the essentials and embracing the minimalist ethos that Scandinavia is known for.

Moving to a new city on your birthday is not simply an interesting and unforgettable decision but rather a story; a story about the transformation of oneself and the courage to take a leap into the unknown. It's time to come to the dynamics and transformations happening in this lively and inspiring city during the year and a half.

Why was this move?

The decision to move to Copenhagen was made after a deep reflection session, one that followed the span of the global pandemic. I was broken for the first time in my entire life—mentally, physically, and emotionally. What I needed was not just a change of scenery, but rather a shift in rhythm and resetting of priorities in life. The feeling to reset life and find a fresh beginning was overpowering me and nudged me to think about leaving everything familiar behind.

This was all at once fearful and exhilarating: the chance of starting over in a new country, without the comforting presence of familiar things and networks. It wasn't just a new address physically, but there was a new way of being in the world waiting for me. It wasn't just changing one location for another; it was yet another step toward newness, restoration, and a way to find out afresh what fuels the drive within me.

But why Denmark, why Copenhagen?

"Why Denmark? Why Copenhagen?" is a question that keeps coming up. A perfectly legitimate question, and it becomes even more valid when asked by the Danes. It was not on my list at the beginning because, notwithstanding the great interest I have in living in Scandinavia, my primary choice was in the land of the Swedes. Everything started to pique my interest when I did a bit of deeper research regarding what Denmark, as a country, had to offer. The more I read about the well-structured societal systems in Denmark, the more intrigued I became.

I decided to pay a visit to Copenhagen in September 2022 for a week's exploratory trip. The very moment I reached there, I was in love. The charm of the city made a strong case, emanating from the strength of the infrastructure and the welcoming attitude of the people. A fact which is not usually missed by Emma, my very perceptive dog, as regards all new surroundings, visibly, she had adjusted well to the new surroundings since the moment we arrived. Such an instant comfort for her was quite reassuring that we were in the right place.

Walking around the city, to potentially see neighborhoods and then later visit them, experience local culture, sealed the deal for me. The buzz of life in the streets, old mixed with new in architecture, and continued commitment to sustainability and community in Copenhagen are captivating. That was the end of the week; I knew at this time that Copenhagen wasn't just a possibility for my new home but rather where I had to be.

Challenges and Successes

Moving countries can be no small feat. Moving from Cologne to Copenhagen involves more logistics than emotional adjustments. I started off by paring down my stuff, which was equal parts liberating and intimidating. Selling almost everything I owned meant that every item I kept carried significant personal value.

The only thing physical about my move to Copenhagen was coming here. Found an apartment at boligportal.dk and first days of December came to Copenhagen to take a key. My first shopping was as banal as important: a shower gel, a toothbrush, and toothpaste. The real challenge came in the transportation of my belongings.

So, I packed a rented car to the limit and left early from Cologne to Copenhagen. I arrived, undertook the immediate task to unload the car, and organize at least my new space to be sufficient to be livable. My mattress needed for a good rest was buried under two rows of boxes.

It was hence so warm from the local community, though one was so tired. I had my first meal in Denmark at a restaurant right there—the owners of that place soon became my friends. It was comforting to have such gestures during a period of immense change.

Life in Copenhagen

But after moving to Copenhagen, I find myself caught in a whirlwind of the city filled with creativity and inspiration. Copenhagen is not a place; it's a lifestyle. Its commitment to art, architecture, and community values is so close to my ideals and has relit my fire for creativity.

Art and Culture: It is certainly very much alive, and the art world here stretches from classical galleries right through to art that covers every inch of the town. It is this type of creativity in the atmosphere that has relit my inspiration for getting back to my creative side, seeking out new ways and new topics on which to turn. From museums and theaters to music halls, the fabric of the city's culture is really one of those places which simply never fails to keep your interest or to steer you towards the direction of new sources of inspiration.

Architecture and Design: Whether it's the fusion of historical buildings with the latest in modern design or cultivating a unique urban aesthetic, Copenhagen is full of architectural goodness.

Values and Lifestyles: The general philosophy of the Danes, 'hygge,' in one way or the other, is something that teaches comfort and contentment in life, along with strong belief in the ideas of sustainability and quality of life, which I really loved. These values have not only been shaped within the living space but also how I approach my personal and professional relationships.

Human connections: Though the process of making new friends and professional contacts was quite challenging, it has been quite a fulfilling experience. Most of the friends I have made are expatriates too, who have shared their experiences with me and supported me in different aspects.

This place is not just practical about its cycling and public transport culture; it has, in a way, made it a part of my daily life, thus helping me interact and make my connections with the city and its people better.

Besides that, even the administrative part of the move was very easy because of the efficient digital infrastructure within Denmark. Within one month, I was fully registered under a CPR number and had health services ready for me, in massive contrast to the clunky processes I had gone through in Germany. And this efficiency is what vouched for the well-organized Danish system that had drawn me there in the first place.

Professional Development

Copenhagen supports innovation and is a high-octane business environment, yet starting and growing a business here as an expat certainly has its set of challenges. The excitement since the first experience of getting Danish clients has been very thrilling, since it opened opportunities of exploring and integrating new technologies with art in ways that never crossed my mind. However, the journey has not been without its struggles.

The learning curve definitely begins when you start up in a new country. One often feels that it is just incredibly difficult to go through those different business regulations, decipher the local market dynamics, and really build up a network from scratch. However, the opportunity to grow and innovate is tremendous. This has been very supportive in slowly but surely making inroads in the Danish market—with help from the local business community.

Looking Forward

As I approach two years in Copenhagen, it doesn't quite feel like my journey is over. I have these experiences and lessons which really fuel my curiosity to learn more about this dynamic community and culture.

Language and Integration

First on my list of immediate goals is the improvement of my Danish language skills. Now that I have passed the A1 exam and I am working towards A2, mastering Danish is no longer just about communication; it is the key to successful integration into Danish society. This is the effort in studies, but much a serious move toward having Denmark as a real home.

Build a solid local network: I have come not quite far in this area, but building professional and personal networks in Copenhagen is important for business and social life. The more I involve myself with local people, the more I realize that opportunities lie there for myself in view of personal and business growth.

Creative Ventures: The inspiration I derive from Copenhagen's art and cultural scene translates into new creative projects. There would never be a time when I could more stand strong in my commitment to art and creativity, and I plan to channel that commitment into projects that fill me up and mean something to the greater community.

Sustainability and Lifestyle: It's because I've taken up the Danish commitment to sustainability that I now find myself seeking out ways in which these principles can be embodied more fully in daily life and business practice. It can be further added that such integration of local values not only makes my life richer but also makes it appealing to a wider range of potential clients and collaborators.

Anticipated Change of Season: I always look forward to a change in season, as that normally translates into a change in opportunities for various things.

However, the warmer months are always perceived most encouragingly, since the season is literally packed with outdoor activities, community events, and an energized atmosphere for the launch of new efforts.

My story continues to weave itself into the fabric of Copenhagen, so I cannot help but continue to be excited and hopeful. Difficulty is definitely woven into the fabric of the journey, but the rewards in personal, professional, and creative aspects are likewise deeply fulfilling.


The movement from Cologne to Copenhagen has been so transformational, full of rises and falls, discoveries, and growth. It is not just from a city to another, but rather into an entirely new dimension of life. Copenhagen gave me a new canvas, and I made sure I painted a fresh, vibrant life story there. The commitment to art, culture, and sustainability that the city has embraced has mirrored those values within me, which also has a great deal to do with my personal and professional development.

It has been exhausting to be an expat entrepreneur, but the fruits on the other end of the scales of resilience and community integration are priceless. Every new day in Copenhagen brings fresh lessons, inspiring moments, and endless connections that push me to new exploration, creation, and growth.

I certainly look forward and very positively anticipate what is ahead. I dare say it is not always going to be a smooth ride, but every stride of the way will be worth it.

Thanks for being part of this journey, and I wish my story will inspire you to take bold steps in your life wherever you feel the need to.