q Guerrilla guides: loitering on street corners and soliciting lost tourists - The Copenhagen Post

Guerrilla guides: loitering on street corners and soliciting lost tourists

The Facebook movement that aims to show the world that there’s more to Denmark than just border control

 

Since June of this year, there has been a covert social movement sweeping Copenhagen. It comes quickly without warning, solves problems faster than the speed of light, and then disappears before your very eyes. Welcome to the world of Guerrilla Guiding Copenhagen.

The concept is simple. Map-savvy Danes roam the streets in search of lost tourists on the streets of Copenhagen. Once located, they ask them if they need help or directions and, after helping them, take a picture and upload it onto the groupÂ’s Facebook page.

The non-profit organisation was founded by Anton Greiffenberg, the senior account manager at MSL Copenhagen. “I and my colleagues were on our way to a concert, and I stopped to help a lost Japanese couple,” he recalled. “My colleagues were in some way impressed; they’d never thought of stopping. So we started talking about how to create an inspiring community to guide others and suddenly we came up with the name and concept of Guerrilla Guiding Copenhagen.”

Greiffenberg regards Guerrilla Guiding as more than just a Facebook page about helping tourists, hoping it will become an inspirational movement that will help alter foreignersÂ’ perceptions of Danes and Denmark as a closed, unfriendly society that treats strangers with mistrust and distance.

Guerrilla Guiding sees the page as a practical and effective way to help change those thoughts, one tourist at a time. By helping strangers on the street and embracing openness and friendliness, Guerilla Guiding hopes to show the world that Danes are about more than just border control.

“Every Dane grows up in a social security system where no-one gets left behind,” continued Greiffenberg. “We care for the poor, sick, children and immigrants, so why, if we keep the idea of helping others in mind, are we not better at caring about obviously lost tourists and strangers to our capital?”

Since its inception earlier this year, Guerrilla Guiding now has 600 likes on Facebook.

Whilst it’s hard to know how many lost tourists Guerrilla Guiders has helped, Greiffenberg estimates it’s quite a significant amount, “Right from the start we had a goal of helping 1,000 people before the end of the year. Since starting in June, I believe we’ve helped between 600 and 700 up until today.”

Guerrilla Guiding not only helps tourists with directions, but their Facebook page also provides a social space for people to connect and share their experiences of Copenhagen. One only has to read the comments to see the goodwill and happiness generated out of the movement.

Guerrilla Guiding hopes to grow over the coming years and, as Greiffenberg explained, it has the potential to become something big.
“I seriously believe Guerrilla Guiding as a social media has a growth potential in 2012 as a somewhat next generation way of guiding and inspiring people – not only tourists but Danes in general.”

With winter is just around the corner – navigating the labyrinth that is Copenhagen gets even harder in the snow – Guerrilla Guiding is always on the lookout for more guides.

“It’s easy to become a Guerrilla Guide – just go out and help someone who seems lost,” said Greiffenberg. “If you want to become part of our community as well, where you can share your best tips and inspire others, just go to the Facebook page, like it and upload your guide experience. It’s really that simple.”

Leonardo da Vinci once said: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” and if Guerrilla Guiding is anything to go by, he was probably right.

Learn more about the group and getting involved on the Facebook page.

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