David Francois, the legend of Copenhagen

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A cold winter day I was in Kafa-x—a wonderful place to do activism in Copenhagen—, having dinner when a sweet short haired person, holding croissants and cakes on a plate, was talking to the crowd, asking whom would have joined him to go to bring those croissants to the people in street.
This scene was one of the most beautiful, interesting, and kind actions I have ever witnessed.
I didn´t go with him, neither I have seen anyone else going with him that night. I was so surprised by his act that I was speechless.
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He was a lonely, legendary hero on a bicycle, with croissant and love as the strongest weapons. His flag was the rainbow flag, which included all colors and all the elements.
This action of bringing some snacks and humanity to those who are in the most vulnerable situation is what I have chosen to dedicate my life to:
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He inspired hundreds and hundreds of people—if not thousands—his energy can be felt by all of us and we will never believe that he doesn´t exist anymore, I don´t believe it now and I will hardly change my mind in the future.
Alone, he went to talk to sellers in markets around Copenhagen explaining to them that there is something wrong in throwing away food while there are many that could get great benefit from it.
His reasoning was the philosophy of the abundance: if we share resources, we have fewer people hungry, the fewer people are hungry and the less they are keen to commit crimes.
He managed to get agreements for the donation of tons and tons of food.
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Without his agreements, Foodsharing Copenhagen, would not even have been the same right now.
Lately, he was busy with a project based on creating low impact community accommodations in rural Denmark.
His personal life amalgamated entirely with his philanthropic projects.
He had thousands and one great ideas and hundreds of eco-social-revolutionary projects:
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A BOOK TO UNDERSTAND
One of the books that opened my mind about everything behind life:

Shocking discovery: no shelters for the homeless in Copenhagen!

We all agree that Denmark has one of the best welfare system of the world, right?
Well, I can say that about homelessness, the Danes are still far from perfection. Why?
Read to know!

Pax is not the only one sleeping rough in Copenhagen, as I always wandered around, I have many friends sleeping rough and sometimes, I am a bit homeless myself, that’s why the issue of shelters is quite close to my heart.
I decided to see how easy it is, for a homeless, to find shelter in Copenhagen, the world’s capital of “support to less lucky people”. It took me months to gather some information about shelters here, I have contacted all the people I knew, institutions, organizations, and churches. I have also checked the list of shelters on the dedicated website CopenHelp.
The most shelters just allow people with a cpr number—a registration number you get when you register your domicile in Denmark—or from specific categories: old and sick people, pregnant women, heavy drug users, etc…

I’ve contacted many shelters, just few answered, I post you some of the answers below.

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Kofoes Kælder
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They just help people aged between 18-29.
“We are a contact place for young homeless people in Copenhagen between the ages of 18-29. We can help you get in touch with proper authorities for solving dole money problems, getting on waiting lists for shelters, medical help, give you directions to other places that have specialised in helping non Danish citizens etc….if you are not a Danish citizen we can also help you get in touch the Copenhagen homeless unit to discuss your travel home and help you with getting id papers and so on for your travels. You are very welcome to come in for a cup of coffee and we can see how we can help you the best way possible”

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Kirkens Korshaer
(Stengade 40, 2200 København N)
I send them an email asking if is possible to have shelter on 10/01/2017.
“we offer adults vulnerable citizens shelter. However, I have to know a little more of your background story before we can offer you a room for the night. You are always welcome to contact us at Hillerødgade 62 9 PM for a clarification of your situation.Natcaféen has 30 spaces intended for adult men and women who do not currently be accommodated in a residential facility.It is possible to bring your dog. The café is housed in the inn’s cafeteria and is open all year. It is free to spend the night in the cafe. Natcaféen operated acc. Service Law § 110”
Once I went to visit them, I had no place to sleep myself and I asked if it was possible to sleep there without danish documents, they told me just old and sick people, selected by them, can get inside.

Grace
(Baggesensgade 9, 2200 København N)
I have heard this to be the best shelter of Copenhagen, where they are really open and kind to anyone, regardless their documents.
Once I arrived there on a Friday night, the door was closed and nobody answered me at the phone.

Other shelters
I wanted to check out also Natcafeen Sundholm (Sundholmsvej 36) &
Nødherberget (Hørhusvej 5), but I didn’t have the chance to get there.

 

 

Conclusion

I always had a computer, good skills to search and communicate, I have friends and family that supports me, in addition, I have some financial resources, and fortuitously, I also have EU citizenship; nevertheless, after arduous and complex researches, I have no clue about where a homeless can go to sleep in Copenhagen.
I don’t even imagine how hard it is for someone that sleeps in the streets, with heavy physical, psychological, social, and economical problems, to find a place where to go.
If you are a homeless in need of care, you wont get much support when you don’t match the criteria of the shelter.
If you are not local or between 29-50yo, you risk to get not support at all.

 

What do you think when you see a person sleeping in the street?
Do you think it’s fair to leave people sleeping under bridges?
Let me know in the comments.

 

Foodsharing Copenhagen – The story

Food waste is an issue that we can’t just ignore.
It’s not just a pity to throw away food, but it it’s an act of ignorance, egoism, and self-destruction.

We often forget that huge resources are used  to produce food: from production to the consumer, almost the half of it gets thrown away.
We should remember that there are people which can’t afford even to buy enough food; in Copenhagen, there is a graffiti stating: “someone’s trash, is someone’s else treasure”.

I had the chance to volunteer with and discuss with some of the activists which started Foodsharing Copenhagen

To fight food waste, a movement called Foodsharing started first in Germany, where it is now well-established.
Since about one year it started in Denmark, where it conquered Copenhagen.
Foodsharing Copenhagen was, in the beginning, a really small project, a grassroots initiative.

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Foodsharing sign at the start, searching for volunteers in the streets

 

Thanks to the help of many volunteers, among which there was the great people of Floating City and the legendary Francois—who arranged many agreements with food donors—, it became a well structured non-profit movement with almost 10.000 followers on their Facebook page.

 

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By the way, if you don’t know what Foodsharing is, well, it’s simple: there are weekly events where people can share their food or take food that they need.

 

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Visit the Foodsharing Copenhagen website or the Facebook group for more info.

Life in Denmark. Bicycles, Recycling and Free Food in Copenhagen.

A totally broken small boat, black and white, behind which you can see some typical Danish style buildings in the outskirt of Copenhagen.

WHY I LOVE THE NORTHERN COUNTRIES

In the Northern European countries, I find all that I was fighting for when I was in Southern Europe.
Here I am so happy that I feel a bit like a “looser”, I have the sensation that by being in this place, getting all the benefits of locals whom actually won those battles which I just left at midway, it’s a kind of easy escape for me.
Of course there are things here to improve too, still, the institutions are honest and trustworthy.

But from the other hand, I feel that by spending so much of my life at these latitudes, I am linked to the lands and people, which is so far and different from where I was born,  aware of belonging much more here than anywhere else.

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Copenhagen – Malmø

United but divided.
Sweden and Denmark spent big efforts to build the Øresund bridge, to create a metropolitan area that would be extended from Copenhagen to Malmo.
It happened that Sweden claimed to host much more refugees than Denmark and decided to have a border control between the bridge from Copenhagen to Malmo.

The most worrying and upsetting thing is that in Copenhagen the control personnel,  before boarding the train to Malmo, takes a picture of your ID without even telling you anything about it.
That’s a big abuse against privacy. Not even in intercontinental border controls they take pictures of documents without a specific reason or without communicating it in advance.

Harmonious contrasts

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Business, but social.
København: “trading-harbour”, this is the translation of the name of the most continental capital of Scandinavia.
Even though we could easily say that Copenhagen is the capital of trading, business, design, and development, at the same time there is such a big social and human oriented movement, a real avant-garde, that you feel at home, no matter where you come from, or at least I speak for myself.
I feel warm, with like minded people and in a welcoming environment, even if I always disliked business and trade… but here commerce, it’s fair. At any rate fairer than anywhere else.
The first aspect that many companies and startups often take into account, in Copenhagen, it’s the social and environmental commitment.

POLITICS IN DENMARK, WHY IS IT SO SUCCESSFUL?

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In the most shops you will find a small cornerd dedicated to Danish Patriottism, flags and danish symbols in small format to use at the airport, during a danish birthday or many other occasion. Not sure is nationalism, for me is just funny.

Because political issues are made easy to understand by politicians.
Because everyone participates to political topics in the ordinary day life.
Because people gets involved and loves to share their thoughts in a constructive way.

LIBRARIES vs SHOPPING CENTERS

You can judge the quality of the administration of a country not just from the welfare measures, but from his libraries too.
In many countries there is this habit of hanging out in shopping centers, wasting time, money, brain, products and polluting.
Here libraries are a richer, more enjoyable place to be.

ART vs TECH PEOPLE
We are keen to think that creative people is fun and laugh all the time while persons in science and religion are always serious and sad. Actually, often the opposite happens. People that does ‘serious’ jobs are quite open to jokes and fun, maybe especially because they want to get out their serious environment.

PUBLIC BIKES SHORT PERIOD RENTAL TOO EXPENSIVE

Public Bike sharing is something that should be tourist friendly–they are the ones that need a bike for short and don’t want to buy one–.
The average tourist stays in Copenhagen for two/three days, paying 25kr/hour is really expensive, it’s equal to about 3,5 euros.
The monthly subscription is quite interesting: 70kr/month and the first half hour is free.

You should make the one-day subscription for maximum 10kr a day and weekly 30kr without having to pay extra if you use the bike for less than 30 minutes each time.

In Paris, Seville, London, and many other cities you pay about two euros/day with the first 30 min free.

CYCLING INFRASTRICUTRE
Impressive, but I can still list stuff to improve:
– Narrow bike lanes
– Bus stops on the bike lanes
– Cars going on the bicycle Lane to turn right
– Too long waiting for traffic lights
– Not all the city is cyclable
Yes, I lived nearby Holland.

LIVING IN CHRISTIANIA
Hunting for accommodation in Copenhagen is quite a mission impossible.
After long hours of online research and many emails, I find something, in Christiania!
It’s a big room in a factory building which has been transformed into an apartment. It’s a historical, cultural, living example of Copenhagen Lifestyle and changing urbanisation habits.

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The same happens to many buildings in Christiania years ago, when a bunch of artistic, creative, good-hearted, revolutionary people, started to occupy buildings, creating the current “free-town”.
It’s typical for many alternative areas of Copenhagen, I have been lucky to have a true feeling of Christiania-like accommodation.

ONE HOUSE, TWO HOUSES, THREE HOUSES
Most accommodations in Copenhagen are like this: Plants, white framed windows, white furniture as bee’s nest. In every house.

20170201_140920.jpgANIMAL’S RIGHTS AND SOCIAL

Animals rights and human rights are strongly linked, not just because we as human are ‘social animals’ with the same needs of animals, but also cause you can evaluate the quality of a government by the animal welfare. I am not surprised to see that in Denmark, regardless a quite carnist society, there is strong fermentation for animal rights.

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PEOPLE’S KITCHEN COPENHAGEN
Free collaborative dinner, organized by no profit associations of volunteers

MONDAYS
18:30Folkets Hus, Outdoors (Vegetarian)
Stengade 50, 2200 Kbh. NV.
“There is a box for donations, the proposal is 20 kr. You eat outside, so wear clothes on cold months. The food is rarely dumpster-dived. Vegetarian.
Ragnhildgade 1, 2100 Copenhagen
Is an asylum and refugee political café with hosted in The Candy Factory.

\TUESDAYS

18:00 – Kraftwerkts Folgekokken
Valgårdsvej 2, 2500 Valby  (Right next to Toftegårds Plads).
“Bus 4a and 1a run straight to the door, and otherwise, it takes about 5 min to walk from Valby station. Would you like to help plan and cook the kitchen? Send an email to kwfolkekoekken@gmail.com.

19:00 – Kafa-X
Korsgade 19, kælderen, 2200 Kbh. N.
“20 kr. Come at 16:00 and help with the food and get a free meal. You can also take the dishes out.  The food does not come from the trash, but they get discarded vegetables from the greengrocer. Vegan.”

 

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WEDNESDAYS
17:30-20:00 Støberiet
Blågårds Plads 3, 2200 Nørrebro – tlf.: 35 35 77 70.25
“25 kr. For vegetarian. I do not know if it’s vegan-friendly option.”

19:00Café Bumzen 
Baldersgade 20-22, 2200 Kbh. N.
“There is no payment required, but the payment proposal is 20 kr. They also want a hand with the food. It may well be cold in there, take an extra shirt or two in the winter months! Some of the food is dumpsterdived. Vegan.”

THURSDAYS
19:00
Ungeren
Dortheavej 61, 2400 Kbh. NV.
“Go at 15:00 and help if you want to have a free meal. Otherwise about 20 kr. (Sometimes 25 kr.) The most luxurious folk kitchen in Copenhagen.  Sign up for Dortheave’s Folkekoek on Facebook and get to know the menu in advance. The ingridients are not from dumpsters. Sometimes you can buy a cake for dessert. Vegan.”

19:00 – Christiania, by Loppe-bygningen (there is a sign)
“20 kr / wash the dishes after eating and you can freely make use of the remaining bread. Vegetarian, but vegans are taken into account.”

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FRIDAY
18:30Cafe N,
Blågårdsgade 17, 2200 København N.
“25 kr. Non dumpsterdived food. Vegan.”

19:00The Candy Factory (Bolsjefabrikken)
Lærkevej 11, 2400 København NV.
“You can come and help make the food from 16-17. Both vegetarian and vegan.”

SATURDAY
12:00-16:00 – Foodsharing Copenhagen (indoors)
Grønttorvet 64, 2500 København
“Check the calendar on facebook to be sure of the date/time. Foodsharing Copenhagen invites you once again to share rescued / donated food in a fair matter! You are invited to come by between 12pm and 4pm and pick up food for yourself, your friends, neighbors and family! It is getting cold outside, therefore we are moving inside for this special event and next to our regular food distribution, we want you to have a good time as well, so feel free to stay for some hot drinks and a hyggeligt atmosphere. =) PLEASE BRING also the food that you would throw away at home to prevent your own food waste!”

SUNDAY
12:00Folkets Hus, Stengade 50, 2200 Kbh. N.
“Brunch! 25 kr. Check the website for dates. Vegetarian but with a fair vegan selection. The ingredients for the food can be from the bins.”

14:00Kageorgie (First Sunday of every month)
Ungeren, Dortheavej 61, 2400 Kbh. NV.,
“Donation Based. I was there the first time they made it and it was insane! There were so many cakes! Sumptuous. Vegan.”

Ragnhildgade 1, 2100 Copenhagen
Is an asylum and refugee political café with hosted in The Candy Factory.


So, have you been in Copenhagen?
Do you know any other social, non-profit, places where to eat?
Wanna tell me your opinion about this design city?

Write a comment!