Copenhagen and The End

We visited the very impressive company Maersk in Copenhagen. There, we had the privilege of listening to Jonas Linnebjerg, head of Marketing Management Consulting, Frederik Dage, consultant in Management Consulting, and Thomas Lassen about Strategy Development. All three men were extremely passionate and knowledgeable about the company, and put their full culture on display for us to see. Maersk is a huge company with 80,000 employees and 800 offices in 130 countries. They have activities in logistics, transport and energy sectors. They have been the largest container ship and supply vessel operator in the world since 1996.

In terms of the company culture, we learned about the original owner and founder Moiler Maersk. They say he worked until he passed away, always with a smile on his face. He would take the stairs all the way to the ninth floor, enabling his employees to avoid the elevators and join him. It is clear that his authentic values are still present, including family values. However, after his passing, the company culture shifted as the new generation came to be. Moilers daughter made changes when she joined the board. The old conglomerate structure changed after her father’s death. Thomas Lassen said they have a focus on revenue. Their new leadership broke up the old conglomerate and moved towards working together optimally. They want to bring business units together again. Some specific shifts they want to make in their culture include going from complex to simple, from fragmented to integral, and from product centric to customer centric. They believe that vertical integration as a critical enabler of improved customer experience and industry efficiency, and are working towards making their customers feel part of the company family. Maersk values constant care, looking towards the future and adaption, and entrepeneurialship.

Lastly but certainly the most exciting visit was to Mikkeller Brewing Company. Not only did we get a taste for what Copenhagen has to offer, but we got to experience the culture of a company we can relate to. They are a simple start up with simple roots. Their founder originally sold beer without a license, and sure enough, it got popular. They have stuck to their initial vision of creating boundary pushing beer that makes consumers think something thought-provoking. They stick to their method of creating 450 unique beers a year, as one united brand/family.

This culture of a “family” is shown through the fact that each person in the office has access to their social media pages. This way, the customer is always engaging with someone real that can share feelings and opinions. They see this as a way to cultivate their identity. We find it so interesting that they have spent $0 on traditional advertisement, and just a few thousand on social media advertising. They pride themselves on being a small brand with a big awareness.

Extending their culture to their bars, they maintain a different aesthetic in all of their locations. However, they really play-up the family aspect by having a communal lunch in the office everyday around their long rectangle table. Additionally, there is a fully stocked bar and beers on tap right when you enter, creating a social environment for people to catch up and cultivate relationships. Different from American company culture, they are very much so into “turning off” when they leave the office and not taking their work home with them. They believe it gives them the ability to be creative and re-set their values and time. They want their employees to be healthier and mentally clear.

Lastly, they give each employee a staff card that gets them discounts at all of their bards and 5 cases of beer a month on the company orders. If that isn’t employee love, we don’t know what is.


All in all, we discovered a big difference between work-life balance in Scandinavia as opposed to the United States. The concept of “Jantelov” that we discussed in our first post was ever present in the companies we visited. Scandinavian companies emphasize flat leadership, a more casual environment, and mental health breaks. We are so grateful for the opportunity to learn from these industry professionals firsthand, and highly recommend the trip for anyone interested! 🙂