Today was our third full day in Copenhagen, and it was an incredibly exciting and fun one! We started off the day quite early when we visited the Danish Foreign Ministry and received a briefing from a Senior Advisor in the European Policy Department. He gave us some insight on where the European Union stands currently and how Denmark fits into the EU and its issues.
He addressed issues such as migration and the refugee crisis and how Schengen policies affect that, as well as Grexit and Brexit. Something really interesting he mentioned was in regards to borders closing due to the sudden and severe influx of refugees. He said that even two years ago, the idea of closing borders was “unthinkable.” I thought this was really fascinating to think about, especially in terms of how quickly things can change. It made me think of the domino effect that one action can have, and how those actions can illicit change so rapidly in a manner that was previously thought of as impossible.
Sort of going off of that, we also discussed the implications of Brexit on the EU and on Denmark. He mentioned that a possible Brexit won’t affect Denmark too heavily in terms of trade and economic policies, but that it will significantly impact the European Union as a whole. On the other hand, he mentioned that if Britain chooses to remain, there will be a final certainty about the UK’s position and commitment to the EU. It’s crazy to think that the British Referendum is only eight days away; we’ve spent so long discussing it and what could or couldn’t happen depending on what is decided, and now the decision is so close. I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens on the 23rd.
After the briefing, we headed back to the hotel to change quickly and then head out for some lunch at the Torvehallerne Market, which was beautiful in today’s weather. The inside of the market was also packed full of stores and places to eat, and some of us were looking for something traditionally Danish, so we got fish cakes, rye bread, and remoulade from a fish stand.
After a great lunch, we went to the top of the Parliament building, called Christiansborg Palace, for a gorgeous 360 degree view of the entire city.
While we made our way to the top, we also worked through some interesting riddles that someone brought up. It was a lot of fun trying to figure them out (and very satisfying once we finally did), and I think that just goes to show not only how intelligent and inquisitive everyone on this program is, but also how quickly everyone has become good friends.
After taking some pictures of the view, we headed over to a canal tour, which was really informative and enjoyable. Our guide talked about Danish architecture and different buildings that were around us, and we also got a glance at the famous Little Mermaid statue.
Overall it was a fantastic day, balanced with both work (during our site visit in the morning) and play (for the rest of the day). I’m loving Copenhagen so far, and I’m excited to see what the rest of the Scandinavian trip has in store for us!