Copenhagen is Openhagen


Copenhagen is spelled København in Danish.  (Note: They are NOT Dutch).  Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark, and its name means “Merchants Harbor.” The kingdom of Denmark was once large geographically, since it ruled Sweden, Norway, Estonia, St. Thomas, founded Normandy in France, and claimed parts of England and Ireland.  Today, it continues to rule Greenland and the Faroe Islands; and, despite its diminished size, it also continues to bear great influence on the world at large.

Denmark continues to appear in the Top 10 highest Quality of Life locations (see  Which begs the questions: Is the life/work you’re living one of high quality?  This is where corporations can shape its culture according to the same criteria and metrics used in these studies, to determine which cultures thrive, despite possibly having few resources.  The QOL Metrics used are the following:

  1. Political and Social Environment (Corporate Translation: Inclusion)
  2. Economic Environment (Corporate Translation: Transparent Meritocracy)
  3. Socio-Cultural Environment (Corporate Translation: Diversity)
  4. Medical and Health Considerations (Corporate Translation: Plenary Health Benefits)
  5. School and Education (Corporate Translation: Continuing Adult Education/Tuition Reimbursement)
  6. Public Services and Transportation (Corporate Examples: Campus bicycles, support for carpooling)
  7. Recreation (Corporate Examples: Happy Hour, Company Picnic, Teambuilding)
  8. Consumer Goods (Corporate Examples: Heavily subsidized or included perks company products/services)
  9. Housing (Corporate Examples: Heavily subsidized or included perk residences)
  10. Natural Environment (Corporate Examples: Virtual work and/or open space to incorporate nature, such as trees, plants, waterfalls/fountains, gardens)

Based on my latest visit to Denmark, one can see examples of the above practiced, and I offer just three specific examples below.

  1. Political and Social Environment. True Freedom of Speech without fear of reprise or retaliation is respected here to challenge Critical Thinking.  So much so, that from the Danes’ point of view, Americans are somewhat Hierarchical, because bosses ask for input/feedback and don’t seem to like what they hear (A Few Good Men clickable, Jack Nicholson); whereas, the Danes feel fairly comfortable telling even their bosses’ boss, “Keep working on it.  You’re on the right track.”  This social norm led to the newspaper Jyllands-Posten to print a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed, yet Danes continue to receive Muslims into their country, despite death threats made against the cartoonist, and the killings of innocent Danes – in country and abroad.

For the upcoming election for Prime Minister, candidate John Erik Wagner poses in the nude (with the exception of his cowboy hat and gun holster), with full exposure to his male member.  (This following photo has been edited as a courtesy to the American Puritanical heritage)


  1. Socio-Cultural Environment. The Danes have adapted to learning English as a way to stay internationally competitive. To have a “seat at the table,” Danes have no qualms about switching languages to communicate needs.  When I asked, “Bliver I ikke vrede når fremmede menneske taler til jer på Engelsk?” (Aren’t you angry when people/foreigners speak to you in English?), they would simply offer me a quizzical look as if to say, “Why would we?” and answer, “No.”  Meanwhile, countless Americans believe that those who come to the USA should already speak fluent English upon arrival; and, furthermore, suspect that when others speak another language, they are talking about you.  There is little to no mutual reciprocity made of learning a colleagues’ language in the USA.  The “Melting Pot” blends one way.
  1. Public Services and Transportation. 62% of Copenhageners use bicycles to commute – even the Queen cycles. Metro, bus, and train are abundant; and, retirees and children under 12 ride for free.  This eliminates the hiring question: Do you have reliable transportation?  Incidentally, Tesla (battery-energized) vehicles are competitive, since there is a 180% tax on gas-driven vehicles.

While Bill (a.k.a. William Shakespeare) aptly wrote, “Something is rotten in the state Denmark,” perhaps it is the attitude of those who do not practice sufficient Critical Thinking…those who judge without questioning the grounded logic for which philosopher Søren Kierkegård and so many other Danes have contributed to the world.

What thrives within your organization?


Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Danish-government certified Global Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners.  We increase retention.  Visit

© Rossina Gil, 2015


About Rossina

Thought Partner & Corporate Primatologist

Posted on June 19, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: