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Exhibiting in Denmark: A fairytale

If someone were to ask who the Queen of Denmark is, I’m not sure many people would even realize it is a monarchy. However, ask where The Little Mermaid originated, and Denmark is on the list. Denmark was the home to fairytale author Hans Christian Andersen, and Copenhagen is the home to the infamous Little Mermaid statue. Metallica band member Lars Ulrich also is a Danish native.


The show floor in Denmark, unlike in the U.S., is not a garbage can where people clean up after you.

What you may not realize about Denmark, aside from its fairytales, is that it has historically been one of the world’s most socially progressive countries. In 1989, Denmark was the first country in the world to enact a law that gave same-sex couples nearly all the same benefits as married couples. They also lead the world in use of wind energy. Wind turbines generate approximately 16 – 19 percent of all Danish energy. They also derive 3.1 percent of their GDP through renewable energy technology and ironically, they rank 32 in the world as exporters of crude oil, due to their location on the North Sea.

If you’re heading to Denmark for a tradeshow, your destination is most likely the Bella Center in Copenhagen. The Bella Center is the largest exhibition space in Scandinavia and has 121,800 square meters (1.31 million square feet) of space and can accommodate 20,000 people. Attached to the Bella Center is the Bella Sky Hotel, which is the largest hotel in Scandinavia and was designed by Danish architects. It is incredibly modern, and from my experience, is a wonderfully comfortable hotel. Think high-end Ikea.

Transportation within Copenhagen is very simple and safe. Taxis are metered and usually lower-end versions of luxury cars like Mercedes and BMW. There is also a metro, which is currently under expansion, and an extensive bus system. Most taxis will take credit cards/debit cards, but only if there is a pin number associated with them. AMEX is the only credit card that works in most stores without a pin. If you take a taxi to the Bella Center from the airport expect about a $20 ride or approximately 125 Danish Krone. Into the city center it is closer to $40-$50 or 225-280 Krone. Most metro pay stations only accept cash.

As mentioned above, the currency for Denmark is the Danish Krone. Although Denmark is part of the European Union, it rejected the adoption of the Euro in September of 2000. It does, however, follow the guidelines set by the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union and meets the convergence criteria to adopt the Euro. One USD buys approximately 5.7 Krone and one Euro buys approximately 7.45 Krone.

Once you arrive and walk onto the floor for install, expect a very similar set up to a show in Germany and other parts of Europe. Expect a bit of on-site construction and very strict installation hours. They often make announcements letting you know when to start cleaning up for the day. Overall, things run very efficiently and working with the contractors for AV, booth cleaning, etc. is relatively easy.

As one would imagine, due to the extensive wind turbine use, Denmark is a rather green country. Removal of your build waste is strictly monitored. You are required to pay waste removal fees as well as pack your own garbage and possibly take it with you if you are over your ordered waste amount. The show floor, unlike in the U.S., is not a garbage can where people clean up after you.

Drayage hasn’t hit Denmark yet, but as with other countries in the area, it may not be that far off. Don’t be surprised if one year you don’t pay drayage and the next you have to.

Field’s is a large, three-story mall that is located next to the Bella Convention Center. It is approximately a 10-minute walk. There is a store if you need to pick up coffee or snacks for your stand, much like a Super Wal-Mart, as well as multiple electronic stores.

Having water, coffee and a few snacks on hand is a good idea. Like other parts of Europe, it is common to offer attendees a drink or small piece of candy while they are in the stand.

If you have a bit of time before you leave, do take advantage of seeing a few sights. Naturally, the Little Mermaid statue is a highlight along with Tivoli and hopping on a canal boat trip at Gammel Strand. This used to be where the old fishmarket was too, but now it is just home to one lonely fish fishmonger. Not far from there is the Christiansborg Castle, which houses the Danish Parliament, Folketinget, and the Royal State Apartments. Finally, the original Legoland is also a must-see, as Denmark is the birthplace of one of the world’s most cherished toys.

As a final tip, remember, Denmark has a higher latitude, so in the winter, nights are longer, and in the summer, the days are longer.

In case you ever appear on Jeopardy or happen to run into her majesty on your trip, the reigning queen is Queen Margrethe II.

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