Go get some ‘hygge’ in Copenhagen

We are at peak ‘hygge’ season and nobody does ‘hygge’ better than the Danes. Here are a few of my favourite places in Copenhagen to shop, eat and visit.

 

Shopping

Every area of Copenhagen has it’s own specialty shops, so it’s almost impossible to choose just a few. But I tend to always visit these ones even during short stops in Copenhagen.

 

Intense interiors

This amazing interior universe was long just by appointment and for people in the know. But now they have opened a temporary pop-up in the centre of Copenhagen. You can also stay at The Apartment Residence, which is a mind-blowing experience. When in the centre of the city, visit Beau Marché or the grande dame of design Illum’s Bolighus.

hygge

My favourite department store

Forget about boring, old-fashioned department stores. Magasin has everything from fashion to food and foreigners get 10% off.

 

Danish fashion galore

For a concentrated fix of fashion, go shopping in the streets of Pilestræde, Grønnegade and Ny Østergade. Visit Ganni or Stine Goya for unique Danish design. Don’t forget that the Danish jewellery scene is fantastic too. My favourite shop is Dulong at Silkegade.

 

Where to eat like the Danes

Copenhagen is a mecca for healthy food, but also for bread and the world-famous kanelsnurrer (cinnamon buns) from Meyers Spisehus. Also a great place for lunch or dinner. For a quick and healthy brunch or lunch, I like Raw42 and Glo Food.

 

But why be healthy, right? If you’d like the ultimate hygge treat, then head to Nimb for Afternoon Tea in their big lounge with fireplace. The service is fantastic and the treats are unforgettable. Another beautiful place for a cake and coffee is the tiny, jewellery box of a tea salon called Winterspring. Their cakes and ice creams are so tasty and the place is so sweet and beautiful.

 

Also in Tivoli, you will find the beautiful restaurant Gemyse, where they’ve taken vegetarian to a whole new level. Book a table in the greenhouse.

 

For lively and popular restaurants, book a table with any of the Madklubben restaurants that look appetising to you. Or at Restaurant Llama, which also offers fantastic cocktails. I also LOVE the Sticks’n’Sushi restaurants, which are great if you travel with children.

 

To continue the night after dinner, head to K-Bar or Ruby, both are world-class cocktail bars with a great atmosphere.

 

Forget about The Little Mermaid

She is smaller than you think and looks a bit sad and cold. So spend your time on lots of other things instead. For example…:

Visit the art museum Statens Museum for Kunst. They have changing exhibitions and a wonderful shop and café. Take the train to Louisana for another art and design experience.

 

Rent bikes and discover the main neighbourhoods of Copenhagen; Christianshavn, Frederiksberg, Vesterbro, Nørrebro and Østerbro. Everywhere, you’ll find unique little shops and cafés. Or do like the Danes, get a to-go-coffee at Emmerys and walk around the main lakes to look at people and discuss your life.

 

Remember that Copenhagen is all about the hygge, the fashion, the food and the friendliness. Everybody speaks English and are ordinarily happy to help. Enjoy your visit.

 

Useful vocabulary

Tak – Thank you

Hej – Hello

Hej, hej – bye bye

Vi ses – see you later

Må jeg bede om en kanelsnurre – Can I have a cinnamon bun please

 

Transportation

The Metro is clean, friendly and efficient. Take it from the airport (get a ticket for three zones) or between stops in the centre (Kgs. Nytorv), Frederiksberg and Christianshavn. The buses are also easy to spot, but the best way of transportation is a bike…

 

Creating a Sustainable Business Meet the experts

At The Library, we are in awe of the work being done by Ilana Taub and Michael Minch-Dixon from Bolder Impact. In 2013, they co-created SNACT: A sustainable snack brand that has saved over 250 tonnes (and counting) of food from going to waste. Years later, Ilana and Michael found their way back to Brussels, set up Bolder Impact – helping companies be the solution to environmental issues – and joined us at The Library.

In October, we are organizing a series of workshop lunches at all three Libraries, where you can meet Ilana and Michael and find out more about how to create a sustainable business and tackle the climate crisis.

Ilana and Michael, you have dedicated your careers to help the rest of us make climate friendly choices. Were you always passionate about this cause?

 

Michael: Maybe not always but it goes back a very long way. I’ve always enjoyed being outdoors and remember fondly my uncle taking me to the Irish countryside. Then, when I was studied Economics at university, I started to think about the economics of climate change and seeing how profoundly climate change would not only impact our environment but also our economies. Both in negative sense and in an opportunistic one – if we are to manage climate change, it will require fundamental changes in our economy and I found that quite an exciting prospect. So I focused my thesis on that and never looked back. I did an MSC in Environmental Technology after my undergraduate, set up a sustainability strategy consultancy and then later went on to work for Vestas, one of the largest wind turbine manufacturers in the world.

 

Ilana: My journey isn’t exactly the same but there are a lot of similarities. It was my last year at Edinburgh University that really started determining this trajectory, though I should point out that from a young age, I’ve always loved and cared for the natural world and studied environmental sciences at school. I also have very fond memories of being in nature (but in Finland, not Ireland). My first job after university was working here in Brussels for (what was at the time) Dexia Asset Management where I analysed hundreds of companies across different sectors on their environmental and social performance. I found it very interesting but not “hands on” enough so I went to do the same MSC (in Environmental Technology) Mike had done a few years before. Knowing what we know about the state of the world, we both can’t imagine doing anything else… The nature of what we do will of course change but it will always involve working in sustainability.

 

You sold SNACT and set up shop as consultants. What made you make that change?

 

Ilana: A few different things came together at the right time to lead us to that decision. We’d spent 5 years working on SNACT and whilst we loved what we were doing, we felt it was time for a change. We sort of fell into the world of FMCG and developing a snack brand by accident – we saw an issue, food waste, and wanted to do something about it but we were very naïve about what it would take, and certainly about what running a food business in the UK would entail! The world of food retail is extremely competitive, it’s a really tough space to break into. We wanted to start a family and we decided a change of pace in our life would be a good thing, at least temporarily.

 

Michael: We found a lot of people came to us for advice as entrepreneurs and we’ve always been keen to help others. It made sense that once we had sold SNACT, we would build on our own business experience and expertise in sustainability to work with other businesses and continue having impact in the issues we care about. We’ll definitely start another venture in the future. It’s the sustainability challenge that excites us. Once we got SNACT up and running, we spent our days running a food business and that’s not as exciting as thinking about new ways of dealing with the issues we’re facing.

 

You are one of many entrepreneur couples at The Library (including Robert and me), what are your tips for couples working together?

 

Ilana: When we ran SNACT together, we were pretty strict about making sure our evenings and weekends were not spent talking about (and working on) the business. It’s hard, as start-ups tend to consume most of your time but we needed to make sure we had non-SNACT time to stay sane. Otherwise… The obvious stuff: Communicate and be kind.

 

Michael: Just do it. It’s a shame more couples don’t work together. We spend so much of our lives at work, it’s great to be able to share that with the person you love. And then what Ilana said!

 

Finally, you’ve been members of The Library for more or less six months. How is coworking affecting your work/life balance?

 

When you can structure your day however you want, it’s quite easy for your work to creep into every part of it. So having a space where you can go and work helps separate things a bit – especially with a young baby, it’s been very useful to have a place to truly focus.

 

Creating a Sustainable Business workshop & lunch

Thursday 3 October at 12:30

The Library Ixelles

 

Tuesday 8 October at 12:30

The Library Europe

 

Thursday 10 October at 12:30

The Library Ambiorix

 

The Creating a Sustainable Business workshops & lunches are in principle exclusively for Library members. If you are not a member, but would like to join, please email Anne-Sofie at asr@thelibrarygroup.be.

 

Stella talks to us about East African trade agreements

Stella recently joined us at The Library. She came to Belgium with a wealth of knowledge from her extensive career in East Africa. Uprooting and going to Belgium has been quite the adventure for her, but we are so happy to have Stella – our very own East African expert – with us at The Library. Here are a few of her insights.

Stella, you are a lawyer and a trade agreement specialist from East Africa. What can we learn in Europe from strategic partnerships in East Africa?

I believe Europe has a lot to benefit from strategic partnerships and collaborative efforts in Africa because of the innovation drive that is sweeping across the African continent. Africa’s long known development challenges like healthcare, infrastructure and education, are currently, the drivers and catalysts for innovation. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention.

Luckily, the exponential growth of technology has not left Africa behind. In the past 15 years, mobile phone-usage has exploded across Africa, bringing the complex and diverse continent closer by bridging communication barriers not only in Africa but also with loved one across the globe. This has increased the market for Internet and data suppliers in the continent, which poses as an opportunity for strategic partnerships with telecom companies present in Africa.

African youths are at the forefront of this innovation drive. Sub-Saharan Africa is witnessing ground-breaking innovations e-healthcare solutions and online education solutions backed by wide-spread used of smart-phones and computers connecting like-minded thinkers in strategic partnerships and collaborations to devise solutions to common development challenges across sub-Saharan Africa.

The pervasive usage of mobile phones also led to creation of mobile-money banking systems, which, drastically, revolutionised the banking system landscape especially for small-scale businesses and the informal sector- which dominants most economies in Africa – influencing changes in the way of doing business in the financial sector. The technology behind mobile money banking has been exported to the west. This trend, therefore, represents the coming of age of Africa as the technology creator rather than adopter.

 

Navigating the world’s biggest free trading area with Stella

In terms of trade, the coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement purports to create the biggest free trading area in the world. It creates a market of over 1.2 billion people, with a majority population below 30 years. This represents the future work force for the continent and the current and future consumers of goods and services.

Suffice to say that Africa is the future. These innovations and regional as well as continental trade groupings are shaping the business and investment landscape and the development aid received from the west to sub-Saharan Africa. The innovation drive is a big motivation for foreign direct investments in Sub-Saharan Africa, while investment aid is increasingly channelled toward creating enabling legal and regulatory environment for sustainable business development and growth.

With this growth trend, comes the need to make policy reviews and changes aimed at creating business friendly legal frameworks across the board. My expertise in regional trade, trade policy and foreign investment facilitation in East Africa, allows me to consult on sustainable development projects coming from Europe to Africa, essentially for private sector development and trade policy-related technical training for policy makers in Africa.

You just started at The Library, so it might be too soon to tell, but do you think coworking will have an impact on the launch of your business?

Since I have just launched my consultancy business in Europe, I found The Library co-working space an excellent environment to touch base in Europe. Its central location in Brussels, the heart of Europe, puts me in proximity to global development influencers and international policy makers. The Library brings me in contact with members is various professional fields from whom I hope to get insights on how to navigate the highly competitive business environment in Brussels, not to mention the power of networking in terms of referrals with their networks. The library also offers me an insight into the work culture in Europe but in less formal structure. It gives me room to adjust to my new environment in a less stressful way. Above all The Library in a special way has given me a space to keep my career goals alive while also looking after my child.

Read more about Stella here: www.nalwoga.com

Taking a walk with Stella of Stellar Walks

When I say that our members come from diverse industries, I am not kidding. Stella is not only from a super exotic place (Iceland), she also runs quite a unique concept and has made a success of it since arriving in Brussels almost two years ago. Stella organises walking tours of Brussels and will give you a whole new view of our city.

 

Exciting guided tour of the city centre of Brussels. It sheds light on the history of the city, interesting places and buildings.

She was super friendly, very clever and we just had the best experience. I would highly recommend this tour for everyone!’ Stella, this is one of your raving reviews on Tripadvisor. How are your tours different from other guided tours?

 I was repeatedly finding myself having the conversation “is there really something to do or see in Belgium?” with people who have never visited or only been here on short business trips. In my view, Brussels is one of the most misunderstood cities in Europe. In a way, I had become an advocate for the country and city because I simply love it myself. Since my mother language is Icelandic, I decided to emphasise that, offering Icelandic visitors a tour in their own language. We all know how much easier it is to listen and discuss topics in your own language, no matter how good you are in English. Also, when guiding your fellow countrymen, you have a better insight in what could interest them, make connections or compare to something from their own culture. It simply creates a relaxed atmosphere.

That is not to say that I only guide in Icelandic. I also speak Swedish and English so why not offer the tours in Swedish and English as well!

On top of that I tell stories from my own personal experience having lived one year in Bruges when I was a child, then in Brussels as a teenager around the turn of the century (It just sounds so funny to say it like that) and finally now again since the summer of 2017. All in all, a personal and Nordic approach to the history and culture of Belgium.

 

You told me once that you are a Wikipedia nerd, do you have any tips for remembering all these things about the city?

 Ahh, that´s a good one! The facts, stories and tales I have no problem remembering simply because I find them so interesting. I am not so good at remembering dates and in what year something happened, a challenge for a guide for sure!

This may sound silly or strange and it’s a bit hard to explain. I first try to connect it to something on a personal basis. I connect dates, months or even years to, for example, birthdays of family members. Then I add or subtract from that. Like if one my parents was born in 1961 and something happened in 1861, it’s simple to subtract a century or so! On top of that I have favorite numbers like 6 and 9, so if I see them, I have an “anchor” and can use my system with that. I know this sounds way more complicated than just remembering the year and the date, but it works for me!

 

You’ve been at The Library less than a month now. How is coworking effecting your work-life balance?

 It does create more of a distinction between the two, now that i am not only working from home. It really helps to leave the house and the distractions like the to-do list at home, and to concentrate only on what i’m doing for my business. On top of that it is very energising to meet others who are doing completely different things but still learning from them at the same time. It´s mind blowing to see the creativity, resourcefulness and entrepreneurship of others.

 

For more information about Stellar Walks or to book a tour, contact Stella directly.

www.stellarwalks.com

www.instagram.com/stellarwalks

www.facebook.com/stellarwalks

stellarwalks@gmail.com

+32 476 57 10 69

Join the workshop Introduction to Design Thinking

We are pleased to invite you to the Introduction to Design Thinking workshop at The Library Ixelles on 28 March at 18.00. During this fast paced mini workshop, Library member, Robert Vos, will take us through all the stages of a specific user journey ending up with solutions that will improve that experience. For those that provide a service or work in service delivery it’s an interesting way of getting introduced to some tools. For everyone else it is a way to spark creativity in a very structured way.

But first, let’s get to know Robert a bit better…

 

Robert, you are bringing design thinking to the public sector through The New School. How did you come up with the idea for this line of work?

I’ve been working in the public sector for the last eight years and the focus was always on service delivery. Because the business case is never the most important element in that sector, there’s a big risk of just deciding for users what the want and need instead of involving them in the process. After working in a government innovation lab, I realised that building a knowledge base on how to design services and products around and with users was a necessity. That’s when I starting working the idea of a school that does exactly that. 

How do you invite innovation into your life?

I get inspiration in many ways, not just through technology. I try to keep an open mind and stay curious because it helps me try new things and experiment. Whether it’s an app, a habit, 10 minutes of meditation or building a learning experience, it all involves the same mind set. I look at innovation as a work in progress.

 

Where do you get inspired for your business?

Basically from everything: Movies, stories, other businesses and nature. I’m a big reader and podcast lover. That combined with trying to look at global trends in my sector helps me come up with new ideas. I also buy a random magazine every month about a topic I know nothing about. Indie magazines are great for that. Diving into these unknown worlds helps me realise there’s so much more to do and learn.

 

What brought you to The Library and how is coworking working out for you?

I was looking for a workspace that had all the benefits of being a home without being at home with the distractions that come with it. Someone with my attention span needs a calm and welcoming space that contributes instead of distracts. And that’s exactly what The Library does. 

 

Do join the workshop, please email Helena at hc@thelibrarygroup.be to be registered to attend.

All you need is an audience…

All you need is an audience…

It was a beautiful summer evening, when I sat down with Marianne next to me, Peppe joining us from LA and a microphone between us.

I know Marianne from The Library, where she is a member in co-working and when she asked me to appear on her podcast series ‘Det kommer att bli bra’ (translated from Swedish: ‘Everything will be fine’), I was honoured and also wondered what I would have to say. Well, a lot it turned out. Incredible how much you can talk about yourself if people are willing to listen…

Anyway, we touch upon a lot of subjects within entrepreneurship, gender, womanhood, expatriation and much more. The first couple of minutes are in Swedish and then we switch to English. I hope you’ll like it.

You can read more about Marianne and Peppe on their homepages below

https://www.jeanetteohman.com/

http://www.grandnord.se/

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