A Chat With Mikael Colville-Andersen (Copenhagenize)

This Thursday we’re bringing together Europe’s leading city, design and culture bloggers at Blogging the City in Amsterdam. Ahead of the one-day festival, we publish short interviews with some of the speakers. Today: Mikael Colville-Andersen! Mobility expert Colville-Andersen is Denmark’s bicycle ambassador. His blog Copenhagenize highlights bicycle culture in Copenhagen, and placed the Danish capital on the map as a prominent green metropolis and one of the world’s most bicycle-friendly cities.

1. What puts your city on the map?
“There is a lot of hype about Copenhagen these days. It’s really the hottest city on the planet. There is focus on the liveable city and our bicycle culture. All good, but sometimes the hype gets out of hand and politicians lose sight of the goals.”

2. A topic that really needs to be more discussed in the European urban world is “…”, because “…”?
“Restablishing the bicycle as transport in our cities because we know that automobiles are killing our cities and ourselves. Generally, the goal is liveable cities but the bicycle is the most effective tool in our urban toolbox to achieve the goal.”

3. As a blogger, how does Amsterdam inspire you?
“Amsterdam is fantastic. The people are brilliant and amazingly friendly. It really is a last bastion of relaxed rationality in the world. I will never understand why the city is never in the top 20 list from Monocle of the world’s most liveable cities. It baffles me.”

4. Some people paint the town red. What would you paint?
“I would paint big-ass signs saying, ‘Park your car, you selfish bastard. Take a bike or public transport.'”

5. What city do you consider the world’s bicycle capital and why?
“Both Amsterdam and Copenhagen. They are equals but they are different, too. Amsterdam is compact while Copenhagen is more spread out with long, straight stretches. So even though there are the same number of cyclists, you feel there are more in Amsterdam. I love riding in Amsterdam. You have eye contact with so many people on bikes all day. In Copenhagen, however, urban planners can see how their own city would look with extensive bicycle infrastructure, so it tends to inspire more. Amsterdam is Fantasyland. Copenhagen is Tomorrowland.”

Want to attend Blogging the City? Please RSVP! The afternoon program is sold out, but there’s still spots available for the night program (8-11 PM).