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Nordic tastemakers

My Nordics, as told by Dorte Bagge

An insider’s guide to the Nordics with Dorte Bagge

The Lobby has quickly established itself as a standout event within the hospitality industry, known for fostering intimate connections and meaningful discussions. Held annually in Copenhagen, this exclusive gathering limits attendance to 250, creating a unique community atmosphere. Behind this innovative event is Dorte Bagge, a passionate hospitality design consultant who has worked with renowned Danish brands such as Fritz Hansen, Bang & Olufsen, Louis Poulsen, Kvadrat and Fredsted Studio. Born and based in Aarhus, Bagge’s journey through the world of design and hospitality has been driven by her dedication to creating long-lasting friendships, meaningful and surprising experiences – and her deep love for the industry.

Here, Bagge shares her favourite spots across the Nordic region, revealing hidden gems and personal recommendations that showcase the true essence of the Nordics.

Portrait photography courtesy of Klaus Nedergaard
Salling Rooftop Aarhus Denmark

“I actually like [Aarhus] because it has a lot of hidden gems, design, culture and music.”

In the Nordics, my favourite country is …

Denmark. I think it’s so easy to get from one place to another. There is so much beautiful nature. We have the beaches, we have all the forests, and you never live far away from it. I’m really thankful that I can live in a country where we have all of this.

For a dose of urban pulse, I head to …

Aarhus, as it is Denmark’s smallest big city. You can get around the city centre easily. From my home, it’s ten minutes to the seaside and five minutes to the forest. I actually like the city because it has a lot of hidden gems, design, culture and music. Architecturally, there has been a lot of new buildings, much like in Gothenburg, with the port side being rebuilt with a lot of nice architecture. So, I think it’s a very cool city.

Aarhus Copenhagen

“Next, you’re seated at a communal table with people you don’t know.”

For the perfect close-to-nature experience, I visit …

… the beech forest areas around Aarhus. Something very special happens around the first of May when the beech trees start leafing out. Walking through these beech forests when they are a pure, bright green is a unique experience. The pure green lasts for about a week before the leaves start getting darker.

For a memorable getaway, I check myself into …

… a small hotel in Christianshavn, Copenhagen, called Kanalhuset. It’s on the water and was created by Lennart Lajboschitz, the founder of the Flying Tiger chain of stores. He sold Flying Tiger and wanted to create communities where people can talk and be together. He bought a church and turned it into a community centre with over 100 different events every week, from wine tastings to ceramics classes, for people regardless of their financial status. Kanalhuset follows a similar concept. Every evening, there’s a joint dinner. They don’t allow guests to book a private table. Instead, you get your drinks and food from the bar, encouraging interaction. Next, you’re seated at a communal table with people you don’t know. They also host various events at the hotel to help guests meet each other. It feels like coming back to your grandma’s, even when you don’t know anyone.

“[Nögen prepares] food using ingredients that are close to their expiration date, reusing items that would otherwise be discarded.”

For a great meal, I go to …

… a restaurant in Aarhus called Nögen. I eat less meat than I did earlier, and this place has become my favourite. They prepare food using ingredients that are close to their expiration date, reusing items that would otherwise be discarded. It’s a sustainable approach to dining and the restaurant is very informal. You just show up, and I think the food is excellent.

For a fun night out, I head to …

… listen to concerts and the best time is often at the small, young venues like Radar and Aarhus Volume. These places have an urban atmosphere and offer fantastic experiences with a smaller audience. Recently, I heard Dillistoned and Astronaut there – both established and really great live performers. The audience is young, and I might be one of the older ones, but I love it. I always find new inspiration, also for The Lobby.

O-Overgaden Aarhus Denmark art hall review
O-Overgaden Aarhus Denmark art hall review

“Recently, I went to the art institution for experimental contemporary art, O-Overgaden to experience the exhibition of Apolonia Sokol.”

For a dose of retail therapy, I shop at …

… Jægergårdsgade, an Aarhus street that has many nice small shops, like Birk Interiør, as well as cafés and restaurants.

For a dose of culture, I head to …

… an art exhibition. Recently, I went to the art institution for experimental contemporary art, O—Overgaden to experience the exhibition of Apolonia Sokol. We are lucky to host her at The Lobby this year. It was an amazing exhibition in a fantastic space. As a contrast, I also love hanging out at ARoS in Aarhus or going to the beautiful Louisiana Museum of Modern Art just north of Copenhagen.

“… it is still possible to find smaller fishing villages like Lønstrup, which I love to dive into.”

For a hidden gem, I recommend …

… Carter in Aarhus. It’s an awesome café and store with a great young vibe. I love to hang out there for a coffee or a glass of wine with a friend.

For me, a quintessential Nordic experience is …

… enjoying the coastline. In the Nordics, we are lucky to have so much coastline. I love the North Sea in Denmark, and it is still possible to find smaller fishing villages like Lønstrup, which I love to dive into. I enjoy hanging out in the small cafés or shopping around.

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