Life in a Digital Denmark

Mikael Colville-Andersen
11 min readMay 23, 2020
One of many bike counters in Copenhagen, sending data to the City.

It’s no secret that everyone’s life is digital in some way or another, but what is it like to live in one of the world’s most digital countries? Life in Denmark has gradually transitioned into a digital society and on a scale that is still rare in most other places. It is deep-rooted in daily life for everyone in this country.

Indeed, Denmark consistently ranks at the top of the list of Europe’s most digital nations and, in 2018, it took first place in the world in The International Digital Economy and Society Index. The index ranks countries based on five main parameters: connectivity, digital skills, citizen use of internet, business technology integration and digital public services.

I did something strange today, which led me to write this article. I actually remembered to check my mailbox down at the entrance to my apartment building. It was, as expected, empty. Just remembering to check it is hard because it’s been many years since I’ve had any regular flow of letters. It’s almost an event if I discover something in there, although it’s usually just things like royalty statements from my foreign publishers, a christmas card from one of my nieces — the only one I get each year — or birth notices from Dutch friends. It’s apparently a thing for the Dutch to send out cards to announce new offspring. Cute. There is hardly ever any Danish content in there.

Here’s a rundown of my personal life and how digital it has become.

Post Danmark cargo bikes — back when there was a Post Danmark

Postal Service

We’ve been at this digitalization thing for a while, when I think about it. I wrote this post on my Facebook on May 22, 2014:

Okay, this is weird and a little spooky. I got this thing today. It was some pieces of paper with words printed on them. They were placed in an envelope and it was sealed. My FULL name was on it and… this is where it gets spooky… whoever made it KNOWS MY ADDRESS. Not my email or Instagram or twitter or snapchat or whatever, but my PHYSICAL address.

What’s more is that a man I don’t know walked straight into the office and HANDED it to me. Like he knew me or something. He was wearing a uniform, too. His

Mikael Colville-Andersen

Urban designer, author and host of the global documentary series about urbanism, The Life-Sized City. Impatient Idealist.