Well, Northern Economist is in Northern Europe on the way to a conference in Stockholm later this week. It is a lovely Sunday afternoon here with families out strolling enjoying the mild September weather in a major European city – Copenhagen to be precise. The number of people out today in Copenhagen has been augmented by the holding of a Every Step Counts walk for the environment and the paths along the canals are packed with walkers as well as tourists.
What is also interesting about the canals is scenes like the one below:
Numerous boats are out with groups of people sitting around a table enjoying snacks and the passing scenery as they boat along. Notice anything interesting about this picture? Well, it turns out that Copenhagen seems to be a lot like Vegas when it comes to open carry alcohol. Not only can you walk the streets while enjoying a beer but you can drive a boat while partaking in wine and beer also.
It is very important to drink responsibly but I do not think that responsible drinking is incompatible with drinking in public. You certainly could not get away with drinking and boating in Canada but one wonders how it is that Denmark - and indeed much of Europe - can handle this but we in Canada cannot despite our socially liberal pretensions. The canals in Copenhagen are quite crowded and yet here we have groups of people enjoying picnic lunches and wine while boating along. I won’t even get into a discussion of why Denmark has tons of people on bikes and yet no one seems to be wearing a helmet.
Perhaps Danes and Europeans in general are more mature and able to take more personal responsibility when it comes to personal safety? It is certainly something I will think about some more over the next few days. However, in the absence of truly innovative change we in Canada will just have to bear with things the way we are.