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Coat of arms
Copenhagen is located in Denmark
Location in Denmark
Coordinates: 55°40′34″N 12°34′06″E / 55.67611°N 12.56833°E / 55.67611; 12.56833Coordinates: 55°40′34″N 12°34′06″E / 55.67611°N 12.56833°E / 55.67611; 12.56833
Country  Denmark
Region Hovedstaden
First mention 11th century
City Status 13th century
 - Mayor Frank Jensen (S)
 - Urban 455.61 km2 (175.9 sq mi)
Population (2009 and 2010)[2]
 - City 678,873 (01-01-2,010)
 Density 3,769/km2 (9,761.7/sq mi)
 Urban 1,167,569 (01-01-2,009)
 Metro 1,894,521 ((01-01-2,010) 34 closest municipalities)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)

Copenhagen (English pronunciation: /ˈkoʊpənˌheɪɡən/[3]); Danish: København (pronounced [kʰøb̥ənˈhaʊ̯ˀn]  ( listen)[4]) is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,167,569 (2009) and a metropolitan population of 1,875,179 (2009). Copenhagen is situated on the islands of Zealand and Amager.

First documented in the 11th century, Copenhagen became the capital of Denmark in the beginning of the 15th century and during the 17th century under the reign of Christian IV it became an important regional centre. With the completion of the transnational Oresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Oresund Region. Within this region, Copenhagen and the Swedish city of Malmö are in the process of growing into one common metropolitan area. With around 2.7 million inhabitants within a 50 km radius, Copenhagen is one of the most densely populated areas in Northern Europe. Copenhagen is the most visited city of the Nordic countries with 1.3 million international tourists in 2007.[5]

Copenhagen is a major regional centre of culture, business, media, and science, as indicated by several international surveys and rankings (see International rankings below). Life science, information technology and shipping are important sectors and research & development plays a major role in the city's economy. Its strategic location and excellent infrastructure with the largest airport in Scandinavia[6] located 14 minutes by train from the city centre, has made it a regional hub and a popular location for regional headquarters[7] as well as conventions.

Copenhagen has repeatedly been recognized as one of the cities with the best quality of life.[8][9][10] It is also considered one of the world's most environmentally friendly cities. The water in the inner harbour is so clean that it can be swum in, and 36% of all citizens commute to work by bicycle, every day cycling a total of 1.1 million km. Since the turn of the millennium, Copenhagen has seen a strong urban and cultural development and has been described as a boom town.[11] This is partly due to massive investments in cultural facilities as well as infrastructure and a new wave of successful designers, chefs and architects.[12]



From its humble origins as a fishing village, through its heyday as the glittering capital of the Danish Empire, to its current position as one of the world's premier design capitals, the stories and characters of Copenhagen's history can be discovered in its sumptuous palaces, copper-roofed town houses and atmospheric cobbled squares. From the Viking Age there was a fishing village by the name of "Havn" (harbour) at the site. Recent archeological finds indicate that by the 11th century, Copenhagen had already grown into a small town with a large estate, a church, a market, at least two wells and many smaller habitations spread over a fairly wide area.[13] Many historians believe that the town dates to the late Viking age, and was possibly founded by Sweyn I Forkbeard. From the middle of the 12th century it grew in importance, after coming into the possession of the Bishop Absalon, who fortified it in 1167, the year traditionally marking the foundation of Copenhagen. The excellent harbour encouraged Copenhagen's growth until it became an important centre of commerce.

The city's origin as a harbour and a place of commerce is reflected in its name. Its original designation, from which the contemporary Danish name is derived, was Køpmannæhafn, "merchants' harbour". The English name for the city is derived from its Low German name, Kopenhagen. The element hafnium is also named for Copenhagen, whose Latin name is Hafnia.[14]

It was repeatedly attacked by the Hanseatic League as the Germans took notice. In 1254, it received its charter as a city under Bishop Jakob Erlandsen. During 1658-59 it withstood a severe siege by the Swedes under Charles X and successfully repelled a major assault.

On 2 April 1801 a British fleet under the command of Admiral Sir Hyde Parker fought and defeated a Danish-Norwegian fleet anchored just off Copenhagen. Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson led the main attack.[15][16][17] He famously disobeyed Parker's order to withdraw, destroying many of the Dano-Norwegian ships before a truce was agreed.[15][18][19] Copenhagen is often considered to be Nelson's hardest fought battle, surpassing even the heavy fighting at Trafalgar.[15][18][20][21][22] It was during this battle that Lord Nelson famously "put the telescope to the blind eye" in order not to see Admiral Parker's signal to cease fire.[20]

Havnegade, Copenhagen, c. 1900

The Second Battle of Copenhagen (or the Bombardment of Copenhagen) (16 August – 5 September 1807) was a British preemptive attack on Copenhagen, targeting the civilian population in order to seize the Dano-Norwegian fleet.[18][20][23][24] The British landed 30,000 man and surrounded Copenhagen.[18][20] The attack continued for the next three days and resulted in the death of at least 2,000 civilians and destruction of most of the city.[18][20][23] The devastation was so great because Copenhagen relied on an old defence-line rendered virtually useless by the increase in shooting range available to the British.[23][25] Not until the 1850s were the ramparts of the city opened to allow new housing to be built around The Lakes (Danish: Søerne) which bordered the old defence system to the west.[23] This dramatic increase of space was long overdue, not only because the old ramparts were out of date as a defence system, but also because of bad sanitation in the old city. Before the opening, central Copenhagen was inhabited by approximately 125,000 people, peaking in the census of 1870 (140,000); today the figure is around 25,000. In 1901, Copenhagen expanded further, incorporating communities with 40,000 people, and in the process making Frederiksberg an enclave within Copenhagen.

During World War II, Copenhagen was occupied by German troops along with the rest of the country from 9 April 1940 until 4 May 1945. In August 1943, when the government's collaboration with the occupation forces collapsed, several ships were sunk in Copenhagen Harbour by the Royal Danish Navy to prevent them being used by the Germans. The city has grown greatly since the war, in the seventies using the so-called five-finger-plan of commuter train lines to surrounding towns and suburbs.

Since the summer of 2000, Copenhagen and Swedish city Malmö have been connected by a toll bridge/tunnel (Øresund Bridge), which allows both rail and road transit. As a result, Copenhagen has become the centre of a larger metropolitan area which spans both nations. The construction of the bridge has led to many changes to the public transport system and extensive redevelopment of Amager, south of the main city.



Copenhagen City Hall

Copenhagen is located on the eastern shore of the island of Zealand (Sjælland), partly on the island of Amager and on a number of natural and artificial islets in between the two. Copenhagen faces the Øresund to the east, the strait of water that separates Denmark from Sweden, and which connects the North Sea with the Baltic Sea. On the Swedish side of the sound directly across from Copenhagen, lies the towns of Malmö and Landskrona.

Copenhagen is also a part of the Øresund region, which consists of Zealand, Lolland-Falster and Bornholm in Denmark and Scania in Sweden.

Copenhagen Municipality

Copenhagen Municipality is an administrative unit which covers the central part of the actual city of Copenhagen. It is a fairly small part of the actual city which falls within the municipality both because it covers a confined area and because the enclave of Frederiksberg is an independent municipality. Since a reform in 2006-08, Copenhagen is divided into 10 official districts (Danish: Bydele).[26]

Official districts Other areas

The suffix -bro in the names Østerbro, Nørrebro, Vesterbro and Amagerbro should not be confused with the Danish word for bridge, which is also 'bro'. The term is thought to be an abbreviation or short form of the Danish word brolagt meaning paved referring to the roads paved with cobblestones leading to the city's former gates -

Greater Copenhagen

The conurbation of Copenhagen consists of several municipalities. After Copenhagen Municipality, the second largest is Frederiksberg Municipality which is an enclave inside Copenhagen Municipality. Both are contained in the larger Capital Region of Denmark, containing most of the Copenhagen metropolitan area.

Previously, the areas of Frederiksberg, Gentofte and Copenhagen municipalities have been used to define the city of Copenhagen. This definition is now obsolete. To meet statistical needs upon the latest municipal reform, which took place in the beginning of 2007, a definitory concept of Danish lands (Danish: Landsdele) have been introduced.. A land is basically a geographical and statistical definition, and the area is not considered to be an administrative unit. The land of Copenhagen City includes the municipalities of Copenhagen, Dragør, Frederiksberg and Tårnby, with a total population of 667,228 in the beginning of 2009.[27][28]

Copenhagen and Frederiksberg were two of the three last Danish municipalities not belonging to a county. On the 1st of January 2007, the municipalities lost their county privileges and became part of Copenhagen Capital Region.

Finger Plan

Suburban Copenhagen is planned according to the Finger Plan (Danish: Fingerplanen), initiated in 1947, dividing the suburbs into five fingers.[29] The S-train lines are built according to the Finger Plan, while green wedges and highways are built in between the fingers.


Copenhagen is in a warm-summer humid continental climate zone (Koppen climate classification: Dfb) with oceanic (Cfb) influences. As the city is in the path of Atlantic low-pressure systems, Copenhagen experiences unstable and changing weather patterns in all four seasons, as well as temperatures about 5 degrees higher than average for its latitude worldwide. (about 55 Degrees North). The main reason for this warmth is the Atlantic Gulf Stream, which pushes warm water from around the Sargasso towards the northwest, and the low-pressure systems follow with the oceanic stream.

Precipitation is moderate throughout the year, with a small peak during June to August. Snowfall occurs mainly from late December until early March, but snow cover seldom lasts for long. Rain during January and February is as common as snow, and the average temperatures for these two winter months is almost exactly on the freezing point.

During winter, the weather is dependent on which latitude the Atlantic low pressure centre takes. With a stable high pressure system around the Alps, the low pressure from the southwest makes way to southern Scandinavia and northern Germany. Temperatures then usually get above freezing, day and night. When a stable high pressure system sits in Denmark itself, or towards the northeast, such as Finland or Russia, the mild Atlantic winds from the southwest can be blocked. With this follows the northern or northeastern polar air, and the temperature drops rather fast to below freezing (rarely below -5 during the day and -12 during the night). If the European continent experiences cold due to the eastern Russian winds, which rarely occurs, it can "freeze from the south"[citation needed]. This was a phenomenon that took several centuries to understand.

Spring is comparable to continental Europe, but delayed about a week because of the cold surrounding water. On the other hand, in late autumn Copenhagen is kept milder due to the same factor, but reversed. In late November and December, water temperatures are generally higher than the air with wind-chill conditions. In the period from mid-October to February, one or two storms (or even hurricanes) occur. Storms in the summertime are very rare.

Summer is, like the other seasons, a mixture of southwestern mild, windy and rainy low pressure systems, and periods of stable high pressures. In summer, high pressure systems usually bring sunny and fairly warm weather. But these warm periods, which can occur anytime from late April until mid September, usually last no longer than ten days.[citation needed]

Climate data for Copenhagen
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 2
Average low °C (°F) -2
Precipitation mm (inches) 36
Source: World Weather Information Service[30] 2009-11-30

Annual average temperature +8.1


The city's appearance today is shaped by the key role it has played as a regional centre for centuries. Copenhagen has a multitude of districts, each representing its time and with its own distinctive character, making up a dense urban fabric. Other distinctive features of Copenhagen of today is the abundance of water, the high number of parks and the elaborate system of bicycle paths that line almost every major street.


The oldest section of Copenhagen's inner city is often referred to as "Middelalderbyen" (The Medieval City). However, the most distinctive district of Copenhagen is Frederiksstaden developed during the reign of Frederick V. It has Amalienborg Palace at its centre and is dominated by the dome of the Marble Church as well as a number of elegant 18th century mansions. Also part of the old inner city of Copenhagen is the small island of Slotsholmen with Christiansborg Palace and Christianshavn. Around the historical city centre lies a band of congenial residential bouroughs (Vesterbro, Inner Nørrebro, Inner Østerbro) dating mainly from late 19th century. They were built outside the old ramparts of the city when the city was finally allowed to expand beyond this barrier.

Sometimes referred to as "the City of Spires", Copenhagen is known for its horizontal skyline, only broken by spires at churches and castles. Most characteristic is the baroque spire of Church of Our Saviour with its spiralling and narrowing external stairs that visitors can climb to the very top of the spire. Other important spires are those of Christiansborg Palace, the City Hall and the former Church of St. Nikolaj that now houses a modern art venue. A bit lower are the renaissance spires of Rosenborg Castle and the "dragon spire" of Christian IV's former stock exchange, so named because it is shaped as the tails of four dragons twined together.

Recent years have seen a tremendous boom in modern architecture in Copenhagen[31] both when it comes to Danish architecture and works by international architects. For a few hundred years, virtually no foreign architects had worked in Copenhagen but since the turn of the millennium the city and its immediate sourroundings have seen buildings and projects from international star architects. In the same time, a number of Danish architects have achieved great success both in Copenhagen and abroad. Buildings in Copenhagen have won RIBA European Awards four years in a row ("Sampension" in 2005,[32] "Kilen" in 2006,[33] "Tietgenkollegiet" in 2007[34] and the Royal Playhouse in 2008[35]). At the 2008 World Architecture Festival in Barcelona, Bjarke Ingels Group won an award for the World's Best Residential Building 2008 for a house in Ørestad.[36] The Forum AID Award for Best building in Scandinavia went to Copenhagen buildings both in 2006[37] and 2008.[38] In 2008 British design magazine Monocle named Copenhagen the World's best design city 2008.[39]

The boom in urban development and modern architecture means that the above mentioned horizontal skyline has seen some changes. A political majority has decided to keep the historical centre free of highrises. But several areas will see or have already seen massive urban development. Ørestad is the area that until now has seen most of the development. Located near Copenhagen Airport, it currently boasts one of the largest malls in Scandinavia and a variety of office and residential buildings as well as an IT University and a high school. The two largest hotels in Scandinavia are currently under construction (ultimo 2008).

An ambitious regeneration project will create a new Carlsberg District at the historical premises of the Carlsberg Breweries that has terminated the production of beer in Copenhagen and moved it to Fredericia. The district will have a total of nine highrises and seeks to mix the old industrial buildings with modern architecture to create a dense, maze-like quarter with a focus on sustainability and an active urban life. A third major area of urban development also with a focus on sustanibility is Nordhavn. The Copenhagen tradition with urban development on artificial islands that was initiated with Christian IV's construction of Christianshavn has recently been continued with the creation of Havneholmen as well as a canal district at Sluseholmen in the South Harbour. A district in Copenhagen with a very different take on modern architecture is that of Christiania whose many creative and idiosyncratic buildings are exponents of an "architecture without architects".


University of Copenhagen Botanical Garden

Copenhagen is a green city with many big and small parks. King's Garden, the garden of Rosenborg Castle, is the oldest and most visited park in Copenhagen.[40] Its landscaping was commenced by Christian IV in 1606. Every year it sees more than 2,5 million visitors[41] and in the summer months it is packed with sunbathers, picknickers and ballplayers. It also serves as a sculpture garden with a permanent display of sculptures as well as temporary exhibits during summer.[40] Also located in the city centre are the Botanical Gardens particularly noted for their large complex of 19th century greenhouses donated by Carlsberg founder J. C. Jacobsen.[42] Fælledparken is with its 58 hectars the largest park in Copenhagen.[43] It is popular for sports and hosts a long array of annual events like a free opera concert at the opening of the opera season, other open-air concerts, carnival, Labour Day celebrations and Copenhagen Historic Grand Prix which is a race for antique cars. A historical green space in the northeastern part of the city is Kastellet which is a well-presserved renaissance citadel that now serves mainly as a park. Another popular park is the Frederiksberg Garden which is a 32 hectars romantic landscape park. It houses a large colony of very tame grey herons along with other waterfowls. The park also offers views of the elephants and the elephant house designed by world-famous British architect Norman Foster of the adjacent Copenhagen Zoo.

Characteristic of Copenhagen is that a number of cemeteries double as parks, though only for the more quiet activities such as sunbathing, reading and meditation.[44] Assistens Cemetery, the burial place of Hans Christian Andersen among others, is an important green space for the district of Inner Nørrebro and a Copenhagen institution. The lesser known Vestre Kirkegaard is with its 54 hectars the largest cemetery in Denmark[45] and offers a maze of dense groves, open lawns, winding paths, hedges, overgrown tombs, monuments, tree-lined avenues, lakes and other garden features.

It is official municipal policy in Copenhagen that all citizens by 2015 must be able to reach a park or beach on foot in less than 15 minutes.[46] In line with this policy, several new parks are under development in areas lacking green spaces.[47][48]


Copenhagen and the surrounding areas have 3 beaches with a total of approx. 8 km of sandy beaches within 30 minutes of bicycling from the city centre. This includes Amager Strandpark, which opened in 2005 and includes a 2 km long artificial island and a total of 4.6 km of beaches,[49] located just 15 minutes by bicycle or a few minutes by metro from the city centre.

The beaches are supplemented by a system of Harbour Baths along the Copenhagen waterfront. The first and most popular of these is located at Islands Brygge[50] and has won international acclaim for its design.[51]


Gråbrødretorv, central Copenhagen

Depending on the boundaries used, the population of Copenhagen differs. Statistics Denmark uses a measure of the contiguously built-up urban area of Copenhagen, this means the number of communities included in this statistical abstract has changed several times, in the abstracts latest edition with close to 1.2 million (1,153,615 (2008)) inhabitants. This number is not a strict result of the commonly used measuring methods of 200 meters of continuously build-up area, as there are exceptions to the general rule: The suburbs of Birkerød and Hørsholm are excluded, while all of Brøndby and parts of Ishøj and Greve are included.[citation needed] Statistics Denmark has never stated the geographical area of urban Copenhagen. However, we know it consists of Copenhagen Municipality, Frederiksberg and 16 of the 20 municipalities in the old counties Copenhagen and Roskilde, though 5 of them only partially.[52]

Statistics Denmark has worked out definitions of so-called lands (landsdele), a definition used to meet statistical needs on a lower level than regions. From this, the land of Copenhagen city (København by) is defined by the municipalities of Copenhagen, Dragør, Frederiksberg and Tårnby, with a total population of 667,228 in the beginning of 2009.[27][28] The surroundings of Copenhagen is defined by another land, Copenhagen suburban (Københavns omegn), which includes the municipalities of Albertslund, Ballerup, Brøndby, Gentofte, Gladsaxe, Glostrup, Herlev, Hvidovre, Høje-Taastrup, Ishøj, Lyngby-Taarbæk, Rødovre and Vallensbæk, and with a total population of 508,183 (January 1, 2009).[27][28] This gives a total population of 1,171,709 for these two lands together. The lands of Copenhagen city and Copenhagen suburban can together be used as a definition of the metropolitan area, although perhaps a somewhat narrow one.

From 1 January 2009 the population of the 34 municipalities closest to and including the municipality of Copenhagen is 1.875.179.[53] Land area: 2,923 km². (Capital Region - Bornholm + East Zealand + Stevns) .[54] Thus, the region comprises 6.8% of the land area of Denmark, but has 34% of Denmark's population. This gives a total of 667 inhabitants per km² or 1,660 per square mile for the region. This compares with a population density in the rest of the country of approximately 90 per km² or around 230 per square mile.

Based on a 10%-isoline (data from 2002) in which at least 10% commutes into central parts of the Copenhagen area, most of Zealand would be covered and this area has a population of about 2.3 million inhabitants.[55]

Since the opening of the Øresund Bridge in 2000, commuting between and integration of Greater Malmö and Copenhagen have increased rapidly, and a combined statistical metropolitan area has formed. This combined metropolitan area, which has a population of 2,488,551 (2009) is expected to be officially defined by the respective statistics divisions of Denmark and Sweden in the upcoming years.[citation needed]

A high-ranking civil servant of the Interior Ministry, Henning Strøm, who was involved in (i.e. known as "the Father of") a past municipal reform, which took effect on 1 April 1970, said on television, broadcast in connection with the recent Kommunalreformen ("The Municipal Reform" of 2007), that Copenhagen municipality would encompass an area with 1.5 million inhabitants, if the principles of the 1970 municipal reform were also applied on Copenhagen municipality.[56] In other words: in the rest of Denmark the city occupies only part of the municipality, but in Copenhagen the municipality of Copenhagen occupies only part of the city of Copenhagen.

Culture and recreation

Since the late 1990s, Copenhagen has undergone a transformation from a cozy Scandinavian capital to a cool metropolitan city of international scope in the league of cities like Barcelona and Amsterdam.[57] This is due to massive investments in infrastructure as well as culture and a wave of new successful Danish architects, designers and chefs.[9][31]


Copenhagen has a wide array of museums of International standard. The National Museum, Nationalmuseet, is Denmark's largest museum of Archaeology and cultural history, comprising the histories of Danish and foreign cultures alike. The National Gallery - "Statens Museum for Kunst" - is Denmark's national art museum and contains collections dating from 12th century and all the way up to present day artists. Among artists represented in the collections are Rubens, Rembrandt, Picasso, Braque, Léger, Matisse and Emil Nolde.

Another important Copenhagen art museum is the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek founded by second generation Carlsberg tycoon-philanthropist Carl Jacobsen and is built around his personal collections. Its main focus is classical Egyptian, Roman and Greek sculptures and other antiquities and a collection of Rodin sculptures that is the largest outside France[58] (Glypto-, from the Greek root glyphein, to carve and theke, a storing-place). Besides its sculpture collections, the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek also holds a comprehensive collection of paintings of impressionist and post-impressionist painters such as Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec as well as Danish Golden Age painters.

Louisiana is a museum of modern art situated on the coast just north of Copenhagen. It is located in the middle of a sculpture garden on a cliff overlooking Øresund. The museum is included in the Patricia Schultz book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. The Danish Museum of Art & Design is housed in the 18th century former Frederiks Hospital and displays Danish design as well as international design and crafts.

Other museums include:

Music and entertainment

The new Copenhagen Concert Hall opened in January 2009. It is designed by Jean Nouvel and has four halls with the main auditorium seating 1800 people. It serves as the home of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and along with the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles the most expensive concert hall ever built.[59] Another important venue for classical music is the Tivoli Concert Hall located in the historical Tivoli Gardens. The Copenhagen Opera House (in Danish usually called Operaen) that opened in 2005 and is designed by Henning Larsen, is the national opera house of Denmark and among the most modern opera houses in the world. The old Royal Danish Theatre dating from 1748 still works as a supplementary opera scene. The Royal Danish Theatre is also home to the Royal Danish Ballet. Founded in 1748 along with the theatre, it is one of the oldest ballet troups in Europe. It is home to the Bournonville style of ballet.

Copenhagen has a significant jazz scene that has existed for many years. It developed when a number of American jazz musicians such as Ben Webster, Thad Jones, Richard Boone, Ernie Wilkins, Kenny Drew, Ed Thigpen, Bob Rockwell, Dexter Gordon, and others such as rock guitarist Link Wray came to live in Copenhagen during the 1960s. Every year in early July Copenhagen's streets, squares and parks fill up with big and small jazz concerts during the Copenhagen Jazz Festival (see yearly events). The most important venue for rhythmical music in Copenhagen is Vega in Vesterbro district which has been chosen as "best concert venue in Europe" by international music magazine Live[60]

For free entertainment one can stroll along Strøget, especially between Nytorv and Højbro Plads, which in the late afternoon and evening is a bit like an impromptu three-ring circus with musicians, magicians, jugglers and other street performers.


Copenhagen has a wide variety of sport teams. The two major football teams are Brøndby IF and FC København. Brøndby IF plays at Brøndby Stadium in Brøndby and FC København plays at Parken in Østerbro, Copenhagen. Other teams are Fremad Amager, B93, AB, Frem, Lyngby, Hvidovre IF and FC Nordsjælland

Copenhagen also has three ice hockey teams: Rødovre Mighty Bulls, Herlev Hornets and Nordsjælland Cobras.

There are a lot of handball teams in Copenhagen. FC København owns both a women's and a men's team, which have the same name and logo. They were formerly known as FIF. Of other clubs playing in the "highest" leagues there are; Ajax Heroes, Ydun, and HIK (Hellerup).

Rugby union is also played in the Danish capital with teams such as CSR-Nanok, Copenhagen Scrum, Exiles, Froggies and Rugbyklubben Speed. The Danish Australian Football League, based in Copenhagen is the largest Australian rules football competition outside of the English speaking world.

In 2011 Copenhagen will host the UCI Road World Championships.

Amusement parks

Built in 1874 the Pantomime Theatre is the oldest building in the Tivoli Gardens

Copenhagen has the two oldest amusement parks in the World.[61] World-famous Tivoli Gardens is an amusement park and pleasure garden located right in the middle of Copenhagen between the City Hall Square and the Central Station. Among its rides are the oldest still operating roller coaster and the oldest ferris wheel in the World.[62] It also function as an open-air concert venue. It opened on August 15, 1843 making it the second oldest amusement park in the world. Dyrehavsbakken (in English "the Deer Garden Hill") is located in Klampenborg a little north of Copenhagen in a forested area known as dyrehaven. Having been made into an amusement park complete with rides, games and restaurants by Christian IV, it is the oldest surviving amusement park in the World.[61] Entrance is free.


As of 2009, Copenhagen has 13 Michelin star restaurants, making it the Scandinavian city with the most Michelin stars.[63] The city is increasingly recognized internationally as a gourmet destination.[64] Apart from the selection of high end restaurants, Copenhagen offers a great variety of Danish, international and ethnic restaurants. It is possible to find modest eateries serving open sandwiches ("smørrebrød") - the traditional and best known Danish lunch dish. however, most restaurants serve international dishes. Another local specialty, Danish pastry, can be sampled from any of numerous bakeries found in all parts of the city.

Copenhagen has long been associated with beer. Carlsberg beer has been brewed at the brewery's premises at the border between Vesterbro and Valby districts since 1847 and has long been almost synonymous with Danish beer production. However, recent years have seen an explosive growth in the number of microbreweries so that Denmark today has more than 100 breweries,[65] many of which are located in Copenhagen. Some like Nørrebro Bryghus also act as brewpubs where it is also possible to eat at the premises.


Many Danish media corroborations are located in Copenhagen. DR, the major Danish public service broadcasting corporation collected their activities in a new headquarters, DR byen, in 2006 and 2007. Similarly has Odense based TV2 collected its Copenhagen activities in a modern media house in the Teglholmen. [66] The two national daily newspapers Politiken and Berlingske Tidende and the two tabloids Ekstra Bladet and B.T. are based in Copenhagen. Other important media corporations include Aller Media which is the largest publisher of weekly and monthly magazines in Scandinavia, the Egmont media group and Gyldendal, the largest Danish publisher of books.

Copenhagen also has a sizable movie and television industry. Filmbyen, The Movie City, which is located in a former military camp in the suburg of Hvidovre and houses several movie companies and studio studios. Among the movie companies are Zentropa co-owned by Danish movie director Lars von Trier who is behind several international movie productions as well as a founding force behind the Dogma Movement.

Annual events

Round Christiansborg Open Water Swim participants in Frederiksholm Canal
  • Copenhagen Fashion Week takes place every year in February and August. It is the largest fashion event in Northern Europe.[67][68]
  • Copenhagen Carnival takes place every year since 1982 during the Whitsun Holiday in Fælledparken and around the city. 120 bands, 2000 dancers and 100,000 spectators participate.[69]
  • Copenhagen Distortion is a youth culture festival capturing the zeitgeist of the city, gathering every year (5 days up to the first weekend of June) up to 30.000 people in the streets, in shops, galleries, clubs, bars, in boats and buses, with a cultural focus on street culture, art and upfront dance music.[70]
  • Roskilde Festival is a music festival held every year in Roskilde west of Copenhagen. Gathering around 100,000 people every year, it is one of the four largest rock music festivals in Europe.
  • Copenhagen Jazz Festival, which begins on the first Friday in July, is a popular annual event that is the result of Copenhagen's significant jazz scene. The festival takes place throughout the city in streets, squares and parks as well as in cafés and concert halls.[71] It embraces around 900 concerts, 100 venues and over 200,000 guests from Denmark and around the world. It is recognized as one of the leading jazz festivals in the World.[72][73]
  • Copenhagen Pride is a gay pride festival taking place every year in August. Among the events is "Tivoli goes pink" and it ends with a parade.[74]
  • Round Christiansborg Open Water Swim Race is a 10 km open water swimming competition taking place each year in late August. There is a competition for amateurs in the morning and a FINA World Cup competition in the afternoon.
  • Copenhagen Cooking takes place in August every year and is a food festival with a wide array of events all over the city.
  • CPH:PIX is Copenhagen's international feature film festival, established in 2009 as a fusion of the 20-year-old Natfilm festival and the 4-year-old CIFF. The CPH:PIX festival takes place in mid-April.[75]
  • CPH:DOX is Copenhagen's international documentary film festival, every year in November. On top of its documentary film programme of over 100 films, CPH:DOX includes a wide event programme with dozens of events, concerts, exhibitions and parties all over town.[75]


Copenhagen is the economical and financial centre of Denmark[76] and also strong business and economic centre in the Scandinavian-Baltic region. In 2008, Copenhagen was ranked 4th by Financial Times-owned FDi magazine on their list of Top 50 European Cities of the Future after London, Paris and Berlin.[77] In 2006/07 FDi Magazine named Copenhagen Scandinavian City of the Future[78] and in 2004/05 Copenhagen was named Northern European City of the Future ahead of other cities from Scandinavia, UK, Ireland and Benelux.[79] In the 2008 Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index, published by MasterCard, Copenhagen was ranked 14th in the world and 1st in Scandinavia.[80] Copenhagen is one of the cities in Western Europe attracting most regional headquarters and distribution centres.[81] Among the international companies that have chosen to locate their regional headquarters in Copenhagen is Microsoft. There are 2,100 foreign companies located in the Copenhagen area, of which approx. 500 are Scandinavian head offices, representing a wide range of industries.

Shipping and cleantech, Middelgrunden

Copenhagen has a service oriented economy. An important sector is life science and research & development plays a major role in the economy of the city. The entire Oresund Region is in cooperation with Sweden being promoted as Medicon Valley. Major Danish biotech companies like Novo Nordisk and Lundbeck, both of which are among 50 largest pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the World, are located in the greater Copenhagen area.[82] The region also boasts the largest IT-cluster in Scandinavia with nearly 100,000 employees and the city of Copenhagen is home to Nokia's largest research centre outside Finland.[83] Shipping is also an import business with Maersk, the World's largest shipping company, having their world headquarters in Copenhagen.

Several international companies have established their regional headquarters in Copenhagen, e.g. Microsoft. Maersk, the world's largest container shipping company, has their world headquarters in Copenhagen. A substantial number of Danish pharmaceuticals such as Novo Nordisk, Ferring Pharmaceuticals and Bavarian Nordic also operate in the area, having placed their headquarters in or close to Copenhagen.[82]

Copenhagen has some of the highest gross wages in the world.[84] High taxes mean that wages are reduced after mandatory deduction. A beneficial researcher scheme with low taxation of foreign specialists[85] has made Denmark an attractive location for highly educated foreign labour to settle. Copenhagen is however also among the most expensive cities in Europe.[86][87]

Education, science, research

Copenhagen has a well-developed higher education system of public universities. Most prominent among these is the University of Copenhagen. Founded in 1479, it is the oldest university in Denmark. It is a world-renowned research and teaching institution with campuses around the city and forms part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), which is a collaboration between international top universities including Oxford, Cambridge, Yale and Berkeley. The University attracts app. 1500 international and exchange students every year.[88] It is repeatedly ranked as one of the best universities in Europe. At the Times Higher Education's QS World University Rankings 2008 list, it was ranked as fourth best in continental Europe.[89] TheAcademic Ranking of World Universities 2008 placesd it as number 43 worldwide and 8th in Europe.[90] A second all-round university in the Copenhagen area is Roskilde University located in Roskilde.

The Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Danmarks Tekniske Universitet, is located in Lyngby at the northern outskirts of Copenhagen. In 2008 it was ranked third highest in Europe on Times Higher Education's list of the most influential technical universities in the World. The Max Planck Institute in Germany was ranked 15, ETH Zurich in Switzerland was ranked 15 and DTU in Denmark was ranked 20.[91]

Copenhagen Business School (CBS) is an esteemed and EQUIS accredited business school located on Frederiksberg.

There are also branches of both University College Capital and Metropolitan University College inside and outside Copenhagen.

Medicon Valley

Copenhagen is rich in companies and institutions with a focus on research and development within the biotechnology[92] and life science sectors. Two of the 50 largest pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the World are located in the greater Copenhagen area. The biotech and life science cluster in Copenhagen and the rest of the Oresund Region is one of the strongest in Europe. Since 1995 this has been branded as the Medicon Valley in a Danish-Swedish cooperation. The aim is to strengthen the region's position and to promote cooperation between companies and academia. The German biotech giant Sartorius Stedim Biotech, which is currently creating a Nordic head office in Tåstrup on the outskirts of Copenhagen. The Øresund region is responsible for 60 percent of life science production in Scandinavia and is home to 111 biotech companies.[93]


Copenhagen was mentioned by Clean Edge as one of the key cleantech clusters to watch in their 2008 book The Cleantech Revolution. The city is the focal point for more than 300 cleantech companies drawing on 46 research institutions. The cluster employs more than 60.000 people and is characterized by a close collaboration between universities, business and governing institutions. The regions most important cleantech research institutions are the University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen Business School,[94] Risø DTU National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy and the Technical University of Denmark which Risø is now part of.


The greater Copenhagen area has a very well established transportation infrastructure making it a hub in Northern Europe.


Copenhagen has a large network of toll-free motorways and public roads connecting different municipalities of the city together and to Northern Europe.[95] As in many other cities in Europe traffic is increasing in Copenhagen. The radial arterial roads leading to Copenhagen city centre are critically congested during peak hours.[96]


Bicycle rush hour in Copenhagen, where 37% of the population ride their bikes every day.

Copenhagen is known as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world.[97] Every day 1.1 million km are bicycled in Copenhagen.[98] 36% of all citizens commute to work, school or university by bicycle[99] and it is municipal policy that this number should go up to 40% by 2012 and 50% in 2015.[100] The city's bicycle paths are extensive and well used. Bicycle paths are often separated from the main traffic lanes and sometimes have their own signal systems.

The municipality is also developing a system of interconnected green bicycle routes, greenways, the aim being to facilitate fast, safe, and pleasant bicycle transport from one end of the city to the other. The network will cover more than 100 km (62 mi) and will have 22 routes when finished.[100] The city provides public bicycles which can be found throughout the downtown area and used with a returnable deposit of 20 kroner.

Copenhagen's well-developed bicycle culture is reflected in the use of copenhagenize to describe the practice of other cities adopting Copenhagen-style bike lanes and bicycle infrastructure.[101] In 2007 Copenhagen-based Danish urban design consultant Jan Gehl was hired by the New York City Department of Transportation to re-imagine New York City streets by introducing designs to improve life for pedestrians and cyclists.[102] In recognition of Copenhagen's emphasis on bicycling, the city has been chosen by the Union Cycliste Internationale as their first official Bike City. Bike City Copenhagen will take place from 2008 to 2011 and consist of big cycling events for professionals as well as amateurs.[99]


The harbour of Copenhagen has largely lost its industrial importance. In 2001, Copenhagen Harbour merged with the harbour in Malmö to create Copenhagen-Malmö Port. It has several functions, the most important being as a major cruise destination. In 2007 a record 286 cruise ships with 420,000 cruise passengers visited Copenhagen. 120 of these ships either started or ended the cruise in Copenhagen.[103] In 2008 these numbers grew further to 310 cruise ships and 560,000 passengers.[104] As a result of the growth in the cruise industry facilities are being expanded and improved.[105] At the World Travel Awards in 2008, Copenhagen Port was named the number one cruise destination in Europe for the fifth year in a row.[106]

Copenhagen is serviced by ferry lines to Oslo in Norway (called "Oslobåden") with a daily connection[107] and to Świnoujście in Poland (called "Polensfærgerne") with five weekly connections.[108]

Copenhagen has four lines of waterbuses, known as the Copenhagen Harbour Buses, serving ten water bus stops; four on the Amager-side and six on the Zealand-side of the harbour, from Sluseholmen in the South to Holmen in the North.


Copenhagen Airport is the principal airport serving Copenhagen. It is the largest in Scandinavia and the 17th largest in Europe.[6] Located in Kastrup on the island of Amager, it has efficient connections to downtown Copenhagen, with trip times of 15 minutes to Kongens Nytorv via metro (with 4–6 minutes between departures) and 12 minutes to Central Station via regional train. Its location also makes it the most important international airport for large parts of southern Sweden. Over the Øresund Bridge trains go to Malmö South in 14 minutes or Malmö Central Station in 22 minutes.[109] Skytrax rates Copenhagen Airport as the seventh best airport in the world, and the second best in Europe.[110]

Public transportation

Metro entrance in Frederiksberg
Christiansborg Palace - home of the Danish Parliament Folketinget, the Supreme Court, Office of the Prime Minister and official reception area of Queen Margrethe II
Børsen - the Stock Exchange building
Rosenborg Castle in central Copenhagen
Christianshavns Canal

Local transport The local transportation system of Copenhagen consists of a number of different, but combined, train systems and several types of buses. The four different rail systems are

  1. Re-tog regional trains (stops at major stations only, continues as interregional trains outside Copenhagen local traffic area)
  2. S-tog S-train (an urban rail system, with shorter distances between stations)
  3. Metro (under further development, a part of the new circle line opens 2014 and the circle line is complete at 2018)
  4. Local trains in the perifer parts of the metropolitan area. (modern but usually driven by diesel or natural gas)

There are 193 rail stations. Most of them have connecting bus services. THIS link shows all lines, stations and fare zones

Tickets. The Copenhagen local traffic area is divided in 95 zones. Zones 1,2 and 3 are equal to Copenhagen inner city. Ticket machines exist on all stations, and tickets can also be bought at busses and manually at the major stations. A ticket price inside the Copenhagen local traffic area is always between two and nine zones (a nine zone ticket goes for all zones). Price is currently (2009) 10.50 DKK for each zone. There are a number of fare discount systems, for instance 24 hour travel card.

The main junction stations for interchange between system or lines are the stations of Nørreport, Valby, Danshøj, Kastrup Airport, Ny Ellebjerg, Hellerup, Østerport, Ryvangen, Ørestaden, Flintholm, and København H (Copenhagen Central Station). The latter is a hub for trains with destinations outside the Copenhagen local traffic area, but not for local traffic.

Danish and international trains

Copenhagen Central Station provides Copenhagen with Intercity and Express trains across Denmark, as well as services to several international destinations. The train traffic to Hamburg is especially heavy, and other distant destinations can also be reached by daily international trains. Trains to southern and western Sweden depart every 20 minutes. (A special ticket fare system exists between the Copenhagen local traffic area and the most southern part of Sweden, Skåne county.)


Copenhagen is recognized as one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the world.[111] Much of the city's success can be attributed to a strong municipal policy combined with a sound national policy, in 1971 Denmark established a Ministry of Environment and the first country in the world to implement an environmental law in 1973. In 2006 Copenhagen Municipality received the European Environmental Management Award.[112] The award was given for long-term holistic environmental planning. It is municipal policy to reduce CO2 emissions by 20% before the end of 2015.[113] In 2001 a large offshore wind farm was built just off the coast of Copenhagen at Middelgrunden. It produces about 4% of the city's energy.[114]

Many years of major investments in sewage treatment has improved water quality in the harbour to an extent that the inner harbour can be used for swimming and facilities for this are provided at a number of locations.[115]

Another municipal policy is that 40% of all citizens should bicycle to and from work by 2012 and a number of initiatives are being taken to implement this policy (see "bicycling above").[116]

Copenhagen is the capital in the world where organic food has the largest market share. One in every ten purchases is organic in Copenhagen.[117] Within the municipal sector in Copenhagen, 45% of all food consumption is organic but the target is considerably higher. With the environmental strategy "Environment Metropolis: Our Vision 2015" the politicians wish that solely organic food is to be served in 90 per cent of the Copenhagen old-age homes and residential homes for children and young persons in 2015.[117]

International rankings

Copenhagen has placed well in a number of international rankings, some of which are mentioned below.

  • It was ranked #1 as Most Livable City in the World by international lifestyle magazine Monocle on their Top 25 Most Livable Cities 2008 list[118]
  • World's Best Design City 2008 also by Monocle.[118]
  • In 2008, Copenhagen was ranked #4 by Financial Times-owned FDi magazine on their list of Top50 European Cities of the Future after London, Paris and Berlin.[77] In 2006/07 FDi Magazine named Copenhagen Scandinavian City of the Future[78] and in 2004/05 Copenhagen was named Northern European City of the Future ahead of other cities from Scandinavia, UK, Ireland and Benelux.[79]
  • In the 2008 Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index, published by MasterCard, Copenhagen was ranked 14th in the world and 1st in Scandinavia.[80]
  • In the The 2008 Global Cities Index, Copenhagen was ranked 36th in the world, 15th in Europe, and 2nd in Scandinavia.[119]
  • Copenhagen ranks 3rd in Western Europe and 1st in the Nordic countries for attracting head offices.[120]
  • Copenhagen #1 out of 254 locations in the Location Ranking Survey performed by ECA International that has asked European experts where they prefer to be stationed worldwide.[121]
  • It was ranked #6 in Grist Magazine's "15 Green Cities" list in 2007 making Copenhagen the greenest capital of Scandinavia according to Grist Magazine.[122]
  • It is the capital in the world where organic food has the largest market share. One in every ten purchases is organic in Copenhagen.[123]
  • The Copenhagen Metro has been named the Best Metro in the World by industry experts.[124]
  • It is the world's #7 most expensive city and #3 most expensive in Europe on the Forbes List.[125]
  • It is ranked #7 as Preferred City For Investment Projects.[126]
  • It ranked 3rd in Western Europe in terms of attracting regional headquarters and distribution centres, only surpassed by London and Paris.[81]
  • It ranks #1 in the Global Earning Ranking.[127]
  • The city ranks as the 5th most popular city in the world for international meetings and conferences.[128]
  • It ranks as one of the most attractive cities to live and work in Europe.[129]
  • It is ranked 11th in Mercer's Quality of Living global city rankings 2009.[130]
  • Lonely Planet ranks Copenhagen as Scandinavia's ' coolest ' capital .[citation needed]
  • Travellers have voted Copenhagen the cleanest city in Europe.[131]

International relations


Copenhagen does not have official sister cities, but maintains cooperation on specific areas with other cities around the world:

See also



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  5. ^ Top 150 City Destinations: London Leads the Way
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  54. ^ Orienteering fra Københavns Kommune. Statistisk Kontor.2003 nr. 25
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  67. ^ Fashion Capital Copenhagen
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  74. ^ Copenhagen Pride
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  77. ^ a b Top 50 European City of the Future 2008/09
  78. ^ a b Scandinavian City of the Future 06/07
  79. ^ a b Northern European City of the Future 2004/05
  80. ^ a b (PDF) Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index. MasterCard. 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-24. 
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  131. ^ TripAdvisor Press Release 3 May, 2009

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Scandinavia : Denmark : Zealand : Copenhagen
View from Rundetårn
View from Rundetårn
Copenhagen is a huge city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — consider printing them all.

Copenhagen (Danish: København) [1] is the capital of Denmark and what a million Danes call home. This "friendly old girl of a town" is big enough to be a metropolis with shopping, culture and nightlife par excellence, yet still small enough to be intimate, safe and easy to navigate. Overlooking the Øresund strait with Sweden just minutes away, it is a cultural and geographic link between mainland Europe and Scandinavia. This is where old fairy tales blend with flashy new architecture and world-class design; where warm jazz mixes with cold electronica from Copenhagen's basements. You'll feel you've seen it all in a day, but could keep on discovering more for months.

Districts in Copenhagen
Districts in Copenhagen
Indre By
Downtown, Centrum, The Medieval city - a place of many names, but it is the historical heart of Copenhagen, dotted church spires, historic buildings, narrow alleys and excellent shopping.
Originally laid out as a working class neighbourhood 300 years ago, it is now a thriving area notable for its many canals. The Freetown of Christiania is situated in the northern part of Christianshavn, along with the old naval area, turned trendy: Holmen.
This district still has its share of sex shops and sleazy hotels, but has evolved tremendously in recent years and is now one of the hippest places to live, with cafes and bars dotted along its main artery, Istedgade.
A small town which originally formed around Frederiksberg castle, this area is still a separate municipality. Literally surrounded by the City of Copenhagen, it has preserved a special conservative, upscale feel.
The most vibrant part of Copenhagen, especially along the main artery, Nørrebrogade, with a mix of immigrants, students, and original working-class Nørrebro-inhabitants.
A cozy neighbourhood north of the center. Less vibrant than Nørrebro and Vesterbro, and less quaint than Frederiksberg, it is the home of the famous Little Mermaid statue, and the beautifully preserved Kastellet citadel.
Once a bastion of the working class, this island with its own distinct atmosphere, is booming with new development. Also home of the airport.
Northern suburbs
A visit to these green suburbs and Dyrehavsbakken, — the world's oldest running amusement park; Frilandsmuseet — the world's largest open air museum; or canoeing down the Mill River, will leave no doubt that this is an altogether different kind of suburbia. It is often colloquially known to locals as the "whisky belt", due to its often well-heeled residents.
The suburbs west and south of the city, short on attractions apart from the good Arken art museum, it has some good beaches and camping opportunities.



If you had dropped by Copenhagen in the eleventh century you would have found yourself looking over a quite small fishing hamlet, with some lazy cattle gazing back at you while chewing fresh green grass from the meadows around the village. Looking east you would see a host of small islets protecting the small fishing harbour from harsh weather — really not the worst place to found a city. If you would rather trust the written word than the archaeologists, the earliest accounts date from the twelfth century, when a bearded clerk (or a renowned historian if you will) called Saxo Gramaticus scribbled down a few lines about the place, Portus Mercatorum, he called it, which was really just a fancy Latin version of Købmannahavn. This has since been mangled into København in modern Danish, and even further mangled into Copenhagen in English, but all it really means is "merchant harbour."

Around 1160 AD, King Valdemar handed over control of the city to the archbishop of Roskilde, Absalon, one of the most colourful characters of the Middle Ages — a curious mix of great churchman, statesman, and warrior. As the country's only city not under the king's control, Absalon saw it thrive and erected a castle on what is today Slotsholmen (the remains are still visible in the catacombs under the present day parliament). As a man of religion he also built a great church, and with those necessities taken care of, Copenhagen quickly gained importance as a natural stop between the two most important Danish cities, the old royal capital Roskilde and Lund in present day Sweden. Endowed with an enviable location on the banks of the important Øresund Strait, it slowly but steadily surpassed the old urban centers. Copenhagen's rise was greatly aided by entrepreneurial trading with friends and foes alike and by prosperous fishing which provided much of Roman Catholic Europe with salted herring for Lent. But with prosperity comes envy and in the years to follow Copenhagen was laid waste and pillaged time and time again, mainly by the German Hanseatic League, which at one point completely destroyed the city.

Wonderful Copenhagen?

In case you are wondering about exactly what is so wonderful about Copenhagen, the city's motto is taken from the Frank Loesser song Wonderful Copenhagen featured in the 1952 film Hans Christian Andersen. Sung by Danny Kaye it's a bit of an evergreen, and not accustomed to Hollywood attention the city has stuck to it ever since — what also seems to have stuck is the pronunciation, but don't listen to old Danny, it's koh-pehn-HAY-gehn not koh-pehn-HAH-gehn.

But like a phoenix, Copenhagen repeatedly rose from the ashes. When the Danes kicked out the Pope during the reformation, Roskilde lost its importance as a Roman bishopric and after taking control of the city twenty years earlier, the king moved his residence to Copenhagen. Not terribly keen on seeing their new capital laid waste once more, successive kings built massive fortifications around the city. None more so than King Christian IV, who embarked on a building rampage which not only included the ramparts still visible throughout much of the city but also many present day landmarks like the Round Tower and the stock exchange. Since then Copenhagen was besieged by the Swedes, and then famously bombarded, set ablaze, and nearly destroyed by the British vice admiral Lord Nelson, who in one of two battles for Copenhagen, famously responded to the order to withdraw by saying "You know, Foley, I have only one eye. I have a right to be blind sometimes," and then raised the telescope to his blind eye and touted "I really do not see the signal."

Again, the city shook off its struggles and the population mushroomed during industrialization. When a cholera epidemic did a fine job of killing nearly everyone there wasn't room for, the King finally conceded that long range cannons would render its constraining walls irrelevant, and thus allowed the city to grow outside the now antiquated ramparts. But it was not long before a new modern fortification was built (known as Vestvolden today), which made Copenhagen Europe's most fortified city of the late nineteenth century.

after being subjected to yet another invasion during WWII, the whole idea of a fortified city was thrown out the window and replaced with one of the finest examples of urban planning anywhere — the Finger Plan. Copenhagen is one of few cities in the world to devise a long term plan for growth and then actually stick to it; try placing your hand over a map of Copenhagen with the palm as the city centre, and it's quite obvious why it's called the finger plan. Despite being the laughingstock of the country through the seventies and eighties when wealthy residents all moved out into the fingers, leaving behind an impoverished bankrupt city, a visit these days will prove that the Phoenix has risen once more.

  • Pelle the Conqueror (Martin Andersen Nexø, 1906-10). An epic novel in three parts and an integral part of the Danish school curriculum portraying the life of two poor Swedish immigrants — a father and son. The two last volumes take place in Copenhagen and describe the rise and the conflicts of the labour movement and global socialism which are so crucial to understanding Danish society today. All in all, it's a very good historical account of life in the city during that period, and above all, a good book.
  • Smilla's Sense of Snow (Peter Høeg, 1992). Dive into Denmark's curious post-colonial history in this international best seller. Partly set in Copenhagen, partly in Greenland, you are whirled through a murder mystery by Ms. Smilla, a half Danish Inuit brought up in poor Greenland, but now living in the kingdom's affluent and orderly capital. It is a good account of the conflicts and contrasts between two very different parts of the Kingdom, and it offers some spot-on social critique of Danish society in a very engaging way.
  • The Copenhagen Quartet (Thomas E. Kennedy). Four independent novels totaling well over a thousand pages. Each book is set against the backdrop of one of the four distinct seasons of the Danish capital: Kerrigan's Copenhagen (2002), Bluett's Blue Hours (2003), Greene's Summer (2004), and Danish Fall (2005). The novelist, an American expat, somewhat autobiographically portrays an American writer trying to come to terms with his past with the help of Copenhagen's many bars, with the Danish capital as the co-star. All of the places described in the books are real places that you can go discover.
Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°C) 2 2 5 10 15 19 20 20 17 12 7 4
Nightly lows (°C) -2 -2 -1 2 7 11 13 13 10 7 3 0
Precipitation (cm) 4.6 3.0 3.9 3.9 4.2 5.2 6.8 6.4 6.0 5.6 6.1 5.6

Averages of Copenhagen between 1961-90

Copenhagen, as in the rest of Denmark, has four distinct seasons. The best time to visit is definitely the warm period from early May to late August. The current weather forecast can be checked at the Danish Meteorological Institute website [2].

Spring, while a bit risky, as no one knows quite when it sets in, can be the best time to visit the city. On the first warm day, usually in early May, Copenhageners come out of hibernation and flock to the city streets, parks, and outdoor cafes in a veritable explosion of life, relieved that the country's dreary and dark winters are finally over. Many locals consider this the high-point of the year.

Summers in Copenhagen are usually warm with an average temperature of some twenty degrees, and the days are long — reaching the a peak of eighteen hours on the 21st of June. If the weather becomes too hot, you can jump in one of the free pools in the cool harbor waters downtown. Copenhagen's harbor is often considered the world's cleanest urban waterfront. Most of Copenhagen's annual events are held during June and July, and when the sun is out there is always life in the streets.

Autumn and winter have a profound effect on the city. The vibrant summer life withers and the streets go quiet, as most Copenhageners go directly home from work. This is where the Danish concept of hygge sets in, roughly translating into coziness. It is the local way of dealing with the short dark days. Friends and families visit each other for home cooking and conversations by candlelight with quiet music on the stereo. In week 42 the Danes have an autumn holiday, with many events taking place, such as the night of culture. The height of winter is December, where Christmas brings some relief to the short days, with lights and decorations everywhere, in the streets, shops and in peoples' windows. Tivoli opens its doors for the Christmas markets, and most Danes go on a drinking rampage, with the very Danish and traditional Christmas lunches, with work and family.

Tourist information

Copenhagen's official tourist agency is Wonderful Copenhagen

  • Copenhagen Right Now, Vesterbrogade 4A (Across from Tivoli's main entrance, near the central station), +45 70 22 24 42 (, fax: 45 70 22 24 52), [3]. Jan-Apr M-F 9AM-4PM,Sa 9AM-2PM; May-June M-Sa 9AM-6PM; July-Aug M-Sa 9AM-8PM,Su 10AM-6PM; Sep M-Sa 9AM-6PM; Oct-Dec M-F 9AM-4PM,Sa 9AM-2PM.  edit

Get in

By plane

Copenhagen's Kastrup Airport [4] (CPH) on Amager is the hub for Scandinavia's largest international carrier SAS — Scandinavian Airlines [5]. Kastrup Airport consistently gets high marks for both design and function — this is a much more pleasant place for transit than, say, London Heathrow or Frankfurt. Check-in lines can get long during peak hours however, so make sure to allocate extra time in the summer. Self-service check-in counters are available, which can cut down on wait times.

A number of low-cost carriers also fly to the airport. EasyJet [6] serves Copenhagen from London Stansted, Manchester, Milan, Geneva and Berlin Schönefeld. Air Berlin [7] flies direct to Düsseldorf, Berlin and Palma de Mallorca. Norwegian [8] offers budget flights to (amongst others) to Oslo, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Budapest, Paris, Geneva, Vienna and Warsaw. Cimber Sterling [9] operates many routes, e.g., London Gatwick, Prague, Newcastle, Edinburgh, and Athens. Recently Dutch low-cost carrier Transavia [10] has begun offering flights to a number of European destinations like Barcelona, Nice and Rome.

It takes twelve minutes by train to get from Kastrup to the central station (Hovedbanegården) in downtown Copenhagen. You need a ticket for three zones which can be purchased from one of the automated vending machines or the ticket counter located inside the atrium and costs 31,50 Kr for a single journey. The Copenhagen Metro [11] also connects Kastrup with central Copenhagen, with trains leaving every four minutes during the day and every fifteen minutes at night, taking fourteen minutes to the city center (for the same ticket and price of 31,50 Kr).

Consider Sturup Airport (MMX) in Malmö, Sweden as well — it's only 40 minutes by bus from central Malmö, and from there 30 minutes by train to Copenhagen Central Station. Wizzair [12] from Budapest, Gdansk, Katowice, Prague and Warszawa and a few domestic airlines often offer cheap flights to other Swedish cities.

Train waiting at Copenhagen Central station
Train waiting at Copenhagen Central station

While links between the capital and the rest of the country are frequent and excellent, and links with Sweden have developed rapidly since the completion of the Øresund fixed link, connections to the rest of Europe are rather poor.

From the rest of Denmark connections are frequent and numerous. In Jutland several railway branches from Århus/Aalborg in the North, Struer in the north-west, Esbjerg to the west, and finally Sønderborg in the south convene in Fredericia, where they connect to a main line with up to four intercity trains per hour, divided into Express and Intercity trains, which runs across Funen before crossing the Great Belt (Storebælt). From there it reaches across the length of Zealand before terminating at Copenhagen's central station. If you are going in the reverse direction without a seat reservation, be mindful that the train is often broken up at Frederica to serve the different branches, so if you don't have seat reservation, it's a bad idea just picking a random carriage in Copenhagen. All cross belt trains are operated by DSB (Danish State Railways [13]).

From the island of Bornholm, a high speed ferry shuttles passengers to Ystad in Sweden, where the IC-Bornholm train awaits the ferry to shuttle passengers to final stretch to Copenhagen, the whole trip takes little over three hours, and a one-way combined ferry/train ticket will set you back 245 Kr.

Across the Øresund strait in Sweden, the Øresundstog [14] trains departs from various towns in Southern Sweden, and via Lund and Malmö crosses the Øresund fixed link to Copenhagen, with a stop at the airport. The journey time from Malmö to the central station is 35 minutes and trains run every twenty minutes all day on this stretch, and every hour during the night. A one way ticket between Malmö and Copenhagen is 75 Kr. Swedish Railways [15] operates up to seven X2000 express trains from Stockholm every day (five and a half hours). An easy change in Malmö almost doubles that number and also gives you the option of a night train connection.

To continental Europe, Eurocity trains connect Hamburg with Copenhagen, up to six times per day; a single one of those trains runs directly from Berlin daily. Standard prices are €130 from Berlin and €78 from Hamburg, but it's often possible to find discounted tickets — in Denmark those are called Orange Tyskland. There are also night train connections from Munich (fourteen hours), Basel (fifteen hours) and Amsterdam (fifteen hours) operated by the German railways (Deutsche Bahn [16]).

The eight kilometre Øresund bridge leading to Malmö in Sweden
The eight kilometre Øresund bridge leading to Malmö in Sweden

Buses between Jutland and Copenhagen are only marginally cheaper than the train, although there are considerable discounts offered M-Th. International buses on the other hand offer considerably lower prices than the train. Which, however, has been prioritized politically, and Copenhagen therefore still lacks an intercity bus terminal. Most international buses stop somewhere around the Central Station (usually next to DGI-byen), but be sure to check the exact location when you buy your ticket. Domestic long-distance buses mostly terminate at Toftegårds Plads, near Valby station in the Vesterbro district.

From Jutland bus number 888 connects Copenhagen with Århus and Aalborg several times per day. Journey time is five hours and fifteen minutes from Aalborg. On Zealand there are additional stops in Holbæk and Roskilde. Line 882 runs between Copenhagen and Fjerritslev in Northwestern Jutland once every day.

  • Abildskou, M-F 8AM-5PM, Sa 8AM-2PM, Su 9AM-5PM, +45 70 21 08 88, [17].  edit

Links from Scandinavia are fairly frequent and very economical compared to the train. Most buses arrive and depart from DGI Byen, near the southern overpass of the central station. Passengers are generally encouraged to buy tickets online, but Swebus also sells tickets in the bus for an extra fee, and tickets can generally be be purchased at the Copenhagen Right Now tourist information desk near the central station. In the winter (Dec-Apr) Fjällexpressen [18] whisks skiers between Copenhagen and the Swedish ski resorts. When booking online, it's useful to know that Copenhagen is called Köpenhamn in Swedish.

  • GoByBus, +45 33 23 54 20 (), [19]. M-F 7:30AM-6PM, Sa 7:30AM-5PM, Su 9AM-6PM. Oslo (8½ hrs) via Gothenburg (4½ hrs) ~ 225 Kr, line 300..  edit
  • Swebus Express, +46 0771-218 218 (), [20]. M-F 8AM-6PM, Sa 9AM-3PM, Su 9AM-6PM. Oslo (9 hrs) via Gotenburg (5 hrs) ~ 300 SEK, line 820; Stockholm (9 hrs) via Jonköping (4½ hrs) ~ 350 SEK, line 832..  edit

From Europe there are several bus companies which offer numerous daily connections from Germany often at very competitive rates, most run via the ferries from Rødby to Puttgarden. Most of these buses stops near DGI byen on Ingerslevsgade.

  • Swebus Express, +45 80 70 33 00 (), [21]. M-F 8AM-6PM, Sa 9AM-3PM, Su 9AM-6PM. Tickets sold in the bus for an extra fee, or at the central tourist information desk. Berlin (7½ hrs) via Rostock (4½ hrs) ~450 SEK, line 902.  edit
  • Berolina, +30 88568030 (), [22]. (Gråhundbus ☎ +45 44 68 44 00, [23] in Denmark) Tickets are sold in the bus, but advance booking is recommended. Berlin (8 hrs) via Rostock (4 hrs) ~300 Kr (€40), line E55.  edit
  • Eurolines, Halmtorvet 5, +45 33 88 70 00, [24]. Daily 9AM-5PM. Tickets are sold in their office or online, in Hamburg there are connecting buses to Amsterdam and Paris. Berlin (7 hrs) ~300 Kr, line 260R; Hamburg (6 hrs) via Lübeck (5 hrs) ~300 Kr, line 210.  edit
  • Bohemian Lines, +420 416 810 054 (), [25]. Daily 8AM-8PM. Prague (13 hrs, twice weekly) ~1450 CZK (€55).  edit
  • Autoprevoz, +387 51 317 333 (), [26]. Banja Luka (25 hrs, twice weekly) ~ 300 BAM (€150)  edit
  • Toptourist, +45 48 25 38 37 (), [27]. Tickets can be paid on the bus, but advance booking and payment is recommended. Sarajevo via Salzburg (twice weekly) ~1000 Kr (€140) return.  edit
The Oslo ferry docked at the DFDS terminal in the Østerbro district
The Oslo ferry docked at the DFDS terminal in the Østerbro district

From and to Poland there are a host of different bus companies each with a few weekly scheduled departures. Unfcortunately the market is very fluid and routes and operators tend to change rapidly. Try Baltic Bus [28] for twice weekly connections with Gdańsk (25h30m). Agat [29] provides four round trips per week between Copenhagen and Katowice (20 hrs) in Southern Poland, and Eurobus [30] for connections with Warsaw (20 hrs via Hamburg) once per week. If any of these companies have shut down, try searching for alternatives, as there is a good chance someone else will have taken over the traffic.

By ferry or cruise ship

Ferries ply between Copenhagen and Oslo, Norway (16 hrs, daily; DFDS [31]) and Świnoujście, Poland (9-12 hrs, five per week, Polferries [32]). Copenhagen's spanking new ferry terminal is near Nordhavn station, and special shuttle buses (the E20 line), timed with the ferries, run between the terminal and the Kongens Nytorv square in downtown.

If you are arriving under your own sail, Copenhagen has several marinas, the biggest of which is Svanemøllehavnen [33]. There are no designated visitor berths but it is almost always possible to find one with a green sign. Daily charge: 75-120 Kr. Copenhagen is also a very popular port of call for cruises touring both the Baltic Sea and the Norwegian fjords. The port is located north of the Little Mermaid statue and is a forty minute walk from downtown (Tivoli Gardens).

Map of S-trains and Metro in the Copenhagen area, with districts marked in the background
Map of S-trains and Metro in the Copenhagen area, with districts marked in the background
Map of harbour bus lines in the canals and inner habour, with districts marked in the background
Map of harbour bus lines in the canals and inner habour, with districts marked in the background

The two big hubs are Central Station (da: Hovedbanegården/København H) with S-trains, intercity trains and buses, and Nørreport Station with S-trains, metro, regional trains and buses. Travel by train, bus and metro can be scheduled electronically through [34].

Tickets and the zone system

All public transport in Copenhagen, as well as the rest of the country, operates on a zone system. The smallest ticket is the two-zone ticket which costs 21 Kr for adults (10.50 Kr for children under the age of sixteen), and can be purchased from ticket offices, vending machines and bus drivers. Two children under the age of eleven can travel for free with one paying adult. It allows you to travel around Copenhagen in two zones (the zone where you stamped or purchased the ticket plus one adjacent zone) for one hour. You can switch freely between all trains, Metro, and buses within this hour, as long as your last trip starts before the time is up (your ticket will be timestamped in fifteen minute intervals).

The range of a single zone can be roughly translated to around seven minutes in the Metro or fifteen minutes in a bus, but always check the zone maps in the stations, some stations are closer to zone borders than others. Ask locals if help is needed, as the zone system can be complex for visitors. Night buses work all night (1AM-5AM daily) and the price of ticket is the same as during the day.

A ten-trip klippekort gives you a discount of around forty percent and can be bought in kiosks and ticket offices. You can also purchase a day pass starting at 90 Kr Alternatively, buy a Copenhagen Card [35], which gives free transport throughout the region and free admission to 60 museums and sights. The card costs 199 Kr for 24 hours, 455 Kr for 72 hours. Note that on Sundays and Mondays many museums are either free or closed, thus possibly making the card of less value on those days.

For regional trains, S-tog and Metro a ticket must be bought and timestamped before boarding the trains. For buses, tickets can be bought from the driver but not klippekort which must be purchased beforehand. The fine for traveling without a valid ticket is 750 Kr (600 Kr for buses) and ticket conductors are common both in S-trains and Metro. More information about price and tickets at movia [36].

By S-Tog

The S-train service ([37], Danish only, schedule [38]) is the backbone of the city's public transit system, and is very similar to the German S-Bahn networks and the Parisian RER system. The distinct red trains are clean, modern, and equipped with free WiFi. The system runs from early morning to late night, each line in ten minute intervals during the day (M-F 6AM-6PM) and at twenty minute intervals in the early morning and late at night. Since most lines join on a single railway line through the city centre, there are only a couple of minutes of waiting between each train in the inner districts. The F and C-lines are exceptions, the F line does a half loop outside the downtown area, with trains every five minutes throughout most of the day. The C-line is extended to Frederikssund during day time, but scaled back to Ballerup at other times. Loudspeaker announcements regarding S-trains are given in Danish only, so remember to ask your fellow travellers for help. For the most part though they are just cursory announcements.

By metro

The Copenhagen Metro [39] runs from Vanløse through the city centre and branches to either the new-town of Ørestad or to the airport. The Metro has no timetable and between Vanløse and Christianshavn trains run with a four minute interval (two minutes during peak hours). It runs nonstop at night with fifteen minute intervals. The trains run automatically and are without drivers, so the doors will close at a given time, even if all waiting passengers have not entered the train. Wait for the next train instead of trying to squeeze through in the last second.

By bus

While most locals opt for bikes, Copenhagen does have a fairly extensive and efficient bus network [40]. It can be troublesome, though, for visitors to figure out what line to take to their destination as there is little in the way of network maps available at bus stops and schedules rarely include the entire route. There are several types of bus available: regular buses are simply denoted by their number, A buses are the backbone of the city's bus network which consists of six different lines with frequent departures and stops. During the day time there are no schedules as buses depart every two to six minutes. Many stops do have a small electronic display showing how many minutes are left until the next bus arrives. S buses are long express services with few stops and extend far into the suburbs, usually across the radial suburban train network or along corridors with no rail service. They can also be useful between points in the centre as they are faster than other lines. E buses are express rush-hour services of little use to travelers as they mainly service commuters. One exception is line 20E which runs between the central square Kongens Nytorv and the DFDS (Oslo/Szczecin ferries) and cruise terminals. N buses are a network of ten bus lines operating at night between 1AM-5AM daily, when normal traffic is halted, and they are much more frequent at weekends.

For sightseeing the city has recently introduced a new CityCirkel bus [41], specially geared towards tourists. It runs a circle around the inner city stopping at many of the main attractions. The small eco-friendly electric buses runs every seven minutes (M-F 9AM-8PM, Sa 10AM-4PM, Su 11AM-3PM) and can be hailed whenever one passes by if there are green dots on the the curb. On streets with heavy traffic they also use regular bus stops. You use the same tickets as all other public buses and trains. CitySightseeing [42] runs three hop-on hop-off tours around the city ( map) in open-top double-decker buses. The main line leaves every 30 minutes, while the two other lines depart every hour in high season (Jun-Aug). Outside the peak season, services are halved. The price is 150 Kr for a one day ticket or 220 Kr for a two day ticket which also includes the DFDS canal tour boats.

The canal tour boats, here seen docking in Nyhavn, are an excellent way to see many of the city's attactions
The canal tour boats, here seen docking in Nyhavn, are an excellent way to see many of the city's attactions

Going on a canal tour of the inner harbour and canals is an excellent and easy way to see many of the city's attractions, and fortunately there are many options depending on your taste and preferences. DFDS Canal Tours operates both a unguided hop-on hop-off service, branded as the water bus, arranged into three circular trips at the northern, central and southern part of the inner harbour and canals. They also have three guided tours, either by a pre-recorded tape available in many languages, or live English & Danish commentary by a guide. Be forewarned though, after 75 minutes this can get a bit loud if you are not normally attracted to this sort of tourism. Netto-bådene offers a single fixed tour, but at a much lower price. Please note that services are scaled back considerably between October and mid-March. If you are visiting during winter, you might want to opt for DFDS' red guided tour, as it offers a heated, glass-roofed boat at this time of the year. Both companies offer starting points in either Nyhavn or Gammel Strand (opposite the parliament). A different option is the public harbour bus, which, while it doesn't enter the canals, is much faster and is an integrated part of the public transportation system using the same tickets as buses and trains.

  • DFDS Canal Tours, Nyhavn 3, +45 32 96 30 00 (), [43]. 9.30AM-8PM. Waterbus (unguided): Single 40 Kr, All day 60 Kr; Tour (guided): Single 60 Kr, All day 75 Kr. Various discounts available.  edit
  • Netto-bådene, Heibergsgade (Nyhavn), +45 32 54 41 02, [44]. 10AM-5PM (7PM in July & August). 30 Kr.  edit
  • Movia, Customer center at Rådhuspladen, +45 36 13 14 15, [45]. 7AM-7PM. Uses public ticketing system.  edit

An option you may want to consider is a Freedom ticket which for 220 Kr gives unlimited transportation for two days on both all the DFDS Canal Tour boats, as well as the double-decker sightseeing buses of Copenhagen City Sightseeing.

By bicycle

The fastest and most flexible way of seeing Copenhagen is on a bike. Forty percent of Copenhageners use their bike everyday and the city has been designed to cater for cyclists with separate bicycle lanes on most larger roads. Cyclists are often allowed to ride both ways in one-way streets. Be careful if you are not used to biking in a busy city as this is a common means of daily transportation and the locals drive fast and without room for much leeway. Don't expect to get a warning when someone wants to overtake you. Always keep to the right and look behind you before you overtake someone — otherwise you could cause some nasty accidents.

In the center of the city, you can also get around by the free public city-bikes. These are specially painted by various sponsors and are very simple bikes that you can find on special stands near major places like the main train station, Tivoli Park, the port and numerous other racks throughout the central city. After you insert a 20 Kr coin, akin to the system used for shopping or airport trolleys, you can take the bike anywhere you want as long as you stay in the inner part of the city marked on the map on the bike. If you are caught outside these borders, you could be faced with a fine (around 1,000 Kr) When you return the bike to some stand again (not necessarily the same one), you will get your money back. Please don't take away city-bikes that you see somewhere not on a stand, there are high chances that somebody will soon return for it and by taking it away, you not only deprive him of his transport, but also his money. During winter periods, however, you will not find (m)any bikes, as they are being repaired in the local prisons as part of community service. The city bikes have become something of a Copenhagen landmark and the city's example has spread to many others all over world. President Bill Clinton was presented with City Bike One as the city's gift during his official visit in 1997. It was specially designed with the presidential seal on its wheels.

As an alternative to the city bikes you can rent a bike and these are far more comfortable. You can find a little bike rental shop called CPH bike rental [46] on a side-street to Nansensgade on Turesensgade 10, five minutes from Norreport station. They rent bikes on a daily basis and use the proceeds to finance the shipment of used bikes to Africa. They also arrange city tours and sell picnic baskets. Their prices start at 60 Kr for six hours bike rent. Another bicycle shop is at the Central Railroad Station, where prices start at 75 Kr a day/340 a week. At Højbro Plads (next to McDonalds at Strøget) you can find rickshaws for hire with a driver, who will often be trained in providing tourist information as you stroll along. A variety of bike tours are offered by Bike Copenhagen with Mike including a city tour at 10AM daily departing from Copenhagen Bikes at the main train station.

Taxis are abundant throughout the city and of a very high standard — usually a Mercedes or BMW. They are pricey though, and the wait to get one can be long on a Friday or Saturday night. You can hail a taxi on the street or call for one to come pick you up at a specific address at a specific time for a small extra fee (12-15 Kr). At crucial traffic junctures throughout the city, there are special areas where taxis hold in line to pick up customers. Except for a very long trip, it is not common (or recommended) to haggle about the price. If you wish to pay with a credit card, you must present it for the driver at the beginning of the trip. All taxis accept major international credit cards and most will accept Euro cash payment and some even list prices in Euros on the meter.

Copenhagen Taxi companies

  • Amager-Øbro Taxi (Central Copenhagen) +45 32 51 51 51
  • Codan Taxi (Central Copenhagen) +45 70 25 25 25
  • Taxa 4x35 (Central Copenhagen) +45 35 35 35 35
  • TaxaMotor A/S (Central Copenhagen) +45 70 338 338
  • Ballerup-Værløse-Herlev Taxa (Northwestern suburbs)+45 44 85 35 35
  • Taxa Selandia (Southern suburbs) +45 70 10 66 66
  • Taxinord (Northern Suburbs) +45 45 83 83 83
  • Vest-Taxa (Western Suburbs)+45 43 45 45 45

Prices range 11-16 Kr per kilometer depending on the time of day and the meter flag-fall charge is 25 Kr. Generally you can trust taxis with both prices and the route taken. Because of the high flag-fall charge, it can be better financially for taxi drivers to have many trips rather than long trips, so it is therefore often in their own interest to take the shortest route.


Complete listings can be found in the appropriate district articles

Entrance to most museums is free once a week, mainly on Wednesdays. You can always count on the principal attractions to be well signed in English and German and for these places to be generally geared towards tourists. A good tip to see whether a smaller museum caters to non-Danish speakers, is to check whether the website has an English section. If it does, this usually means the museum has at least some English information throughout its exhibitions. Of course if you have some interest in a particular subject, such museums can be interesting even if you don't understand the sign-postings. As Danes are usually fairly fluent in English, you can always try to ask staff if they could give you a brief tour.

The winter Garden at Glyptoteket
The winter Garden at Glyptoteket

If you are into the arts Copenhagen has a lot to offer and the natural starting point is a visit to the Danish National Gallery (Statens Museum for Kunst) where you can feast your eyes on blockbusters from the likes of Rembrandt, Picasso, and Matisse. There are a number of paintings by Danish artists from the "Golden Age." For more classical art, visit Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. In addition to works by masters like Picasso, Leger, and Matisse, this spectacular building houses a large collection of classical statues and sculptures. The winter garden here is a beautiful place to rest your legs on a rainy day. Both of these museums are conveniently located in the downtown area.

If you are hungry for even more classic art exhibitions, an excursion north of Copenhagen to the beautiful Ordrupgaard offers you a chance to enjoy Monet, Renoir, Degas, and Gauguin. There are several other options for classical paintings but if you are ready for a change, head south to the Arken Museum of Modern Art for a world class exhibition of contemporary art, mostly Scandinavian, as well as hugely popular temporary exhibitions. If you want to enjoy some local color on an art tour, The Hirspung Collection on Østerbro features the top-of-the-pops of Danish artists, with a particular focus on the Skagen painters. For something quintessentially Danish, breeze through the wonderfully quirky sketches of the much-loved local personality Storm P at the aptly named Storm P museum on Frederiksberg.

The iconic tower of the Copenhagen zoo
The iconic tower of the Copenhagen zoo

If you want your vacation to be educational, or if you want to sneak some knowledge into the kids during the vacation, there are several options to consider. The best choice for kids is perhaps the hugely entertaining, and well renowned hands-on science museum, the Experimentarium north of Copenhagen. Another popular and well-renowned institution, is the Copenhagen Zoo on Frederiksberg, counting both among both the best and oldest zoos in Europe. If you are more into stationary animals, the Zoology museum on Østerbro offers a different perspective on the subject. Elsewhere on Østerbro, a little known attraction is a display of famous physicist Niels Bohr's study room, along with a setup of his experiments (but as this is not a museum, you should have more than passing interest in the subject to bother with them). Downtown, the University of Copenhagen runs two adjacent science museums. The Geological museum where dinosaur fossils, moon rock, and glow in the dark minerals should spark some interest in the subject for even the most school-weary kid. The Botanical Gardens on the opposite side of the street is an excellent place for a stroll in the beautiful park, even if you are not botanically inclined, and the classical palm house is a nice place to relax if it is cold outside. In poor weather, Tycho Brahe Planetarium on Vesterbro is another option and is part planetarium with an interesting astrology exhibition and part omnimax theatre where they usually screen science films.

Rundetårn is one of the city's most iconic buildings
Rundetårn is one of the city's most iconic buildings

An excellent start to any visit to Copenhagen is to climb the unique 7.5-turn helical corridor leading to the observation platform of Rundetårn (the Round tower), one of Copenhagen's most iconic buildings. It offers excellent views and is smack in the middle of the city. If that is not high enough for you head to Christianshavn for a climb up the circular stairs on the outside of the church spire of the Church of Our Saviour. It has always been regarded as something of a manhood test to climb up and touch the globe on the summit, nearly 100 meters up in the air. And now that you're in the area, head over to the opposite side of the street to Christiania, a self-governing community that has been squatting on an old naval area since the seventies. Their inventive, brightly coloured, home built houses are spectacular, as is the relaxed atmosphere — this is truly one of Copenhagen's most unique and best attractions. Due south of Christiania the old, crooked, brightly coloured buildings and soothing canals lined with masted ships make this an excellent place to continue a stroll. Other fine examples of classical architecture include the impressive City Hall and the massive dome of the Frederikskirken colloquially known as the Marble Church. This dome, with a span of 31 meters, is one of the largest in northern Europe. Both are in the downtown area.

For real architecture buffs, the city's main claim to fame is the modernist architecture and its native masters. Jørn Utzon (of Sydney Opera House fame) and Son is behind a trio of buildings on Østerbro's northern harbour, known as the Paustian complex. There is a fine, but expensive restaurant in one of the buildings. You can enjoy Arne Jacobsen's work by either sleeping at, or taking in the atmosphere (and great views) of the top floor lounge bar at the Royal Hotel which is one of the very few tall buildings in the inner city. Alternatively, head north to Bellavista, a residential complex and theatre near the beach, where there is even a restaurant featuring his famous furniture and his name. Lastly Henning Larsen, famous for his iconic buildings in Riyadh, is behind Copenhagen's new Opera house overlooking the harbour in Christianshavn. From here you can also catch a view of Copenhagen's latest iconic contraption, the Royal library known to locals as the black diamond, after its shiny polished black granite walls.


Visit the Nationalmuseet in downtown for many exhibits relating to Danish history, Viking weapons, Inuit costumes and stone age tools. If you want something more local, the Museum of Copenhagen in Vesterbro has exhibitions on the city's development since the middle ages. Another option is Frilandsmuseet in the northern suburbs — a huge and attractive open air museum with old buildings collected from all over the country. Or for a live version of old Denmark, you can visit the old town of the tiny fishing hamlet of Dragør on the southern tip of Amager with its fantastic old yellow buildings and cobblestone streets. For something more off the beaten path, paddle up the small Mølleå river in the northern suburbs through charming old eighteenth and nineteenth century mills.

Amalienborg palace is Copenhagen's royal residence
Amalienborg palace is Copenhagen's royal residence

The four identical classicist palaces of Amalienborg, make up the main residence of the Danish royal family. The octagonal courtyard in the centre is open to the public and guarded by the ceremonial Royal Guard. The relief takes place every day at noon and is a highlight for any royalist visiting the city. There is also a small royal museum on the premises. Rosenborg Palace is a small but pretty renaissance palace, surrounded by the lovely King's Garden which is one of the most lively parks of the city. The palace both serves as a museum of Royal history and as a home for the crown jewels which are on display in the catacombs beneath the castle. Unusual for a well-founded democracy, the palace that houses the parliament, Christiansborg, is also a royal palace. It is usually possible to visit the Royal reception rooms, stables and the old court theatre here. And for entertainment of royal stature, you can try to arrange tickets to watch a play in the beautiful Royal Theatre facing Kings New Square. All of these sights are in the inner city. If you are hungry for more, head north, where the park around Sorgenfri palace is open to the public, or have a picnic on the huge open plains in front of the Eremitage Palace in the Dyrehaven park which formerly served as the king's hunting castle.


Denmark is world-famous for its design tradition, and while the term Danish design has been devalued over the years due to much misuse, it is still a world-recognized brand. The natural starting point is a visit to the Danish Design Center in downtown, with temporary and permanent exhibitions, showrooms, and workshops relating to the world of Danish design, in a building designed by famous architect Henning Larsen. Not too far away, Kunstindustrimuseet is home of a nice collection relating to the study of design and its history in Denmark. Also in the same district, Royal Copenhagen runs a museum display of its famous porcelain from the early beginnings at its flagship store. Meanwhile Cisterne on Frederiksberg is an enticing museum showing modern glass art, in the intriguing catacomb like cisterns under a large park. Meldahls Smedie on Christianshavn is run by the Royal Danish school of architecture, which organizes exhibitions including final projects from students of the school here.


Guided tours

The Association of Authorized Guides (Turistførerforeningen [47]) is a semi-official entity, which offers guides in 24 languages to take you through the city. Founded in 1933, it is the oldest guide association in the world and all guides have completed a three year government approved university course. History Tours[48] gives special focus on history and the historical sights throughout the city by guides with at least a masters degree in history. Another option is to go on one of the guided Canal tours (see details in the Get around section), or for the ecologically aware, talk to one of the many bike taxis that line up in the inner city during the summer. The bikers are often very knowledgeable about the sights and can give you a good alternative tour of the city. You can negotiate the price for longer trips.

Havnebadet, a large pool area in the clean waters of the inner harbour, is hugely popular on sunny days
Havnebadet, a large pool area in the clean waters of the inner harbour, is hugely popular on sunny days

In the inner harbour, water quality has improved so much in recent years that it is possible to go for a swim from early June to late August in one of the two harbour baths: Copencabana on Vesterbro or Havnebadet at Island Brygge on Amager. When it is sunny these are packed with people from all walks of life enjoying the sunshine and taking a dip. The municipal administration has put a lot of money and effort into the facilities and this is an excellent opportunity for blending with the locals at their best.

If you fancy a proper beach, the closest are located at Charlottenlund Fort in Charlottenlund and the newly erected Amager Strandpark (The Lagoon), on Amager near the Lergravsparken metro station. If the weather is not going your way, you can opt for DGI Byen [49] which is a leisure centre and excellent swimming pool near the central railway station or the Østerbro swimming pool, modeled after a Roman bath (on Østerbro).

The Tivoli amusement parks main entrance at nighttime
The Tivoli amusement parks main entrance at nighttime

Amazingly, the two oldest functioning amusement parks, with the two oldest roller coasters, are both located in Copenhagen and they are distinctively different. Bakken or Dyrehavsbakken is the older of the two, set in a beautiful beech forest near Klampenborg north of Copenhagen. This gives it a special atmosphere and it is a lot less touristy than its counterpart — Tivoli — which is located smack in the city center in a beautiful park surrounding a lake.

  • Copenhagen Fashion Week [50] (10-14 February 2010) is held in February and August. Copenhagen is fast emerging as a global fashion centre, with a host of both up-and-coming and already well established names. For two weeks each year more than 1,000 exhibitors and 50,000 guests come together and celebrate their accomplishments with lavish parties, catwalks at city landmarks, and three trade fairs.
  • CPH:PIX (Copenhagen International Film Festival) [51] (15-25 April 2010) is a brand new film festival held in April and is the result of a merger between Copenhagen's two popular long running festivals — the Night Film Festival and the Copenhagen International Film Festival. It will feature 170 screenings competing for the grand prize of €50,000.
  • International Workers Day on 1 May is a major event in Copenhagen. The main festivities are held in Fælledparken on Østerbro and they attract over 100,000 visitors in what has lately become a 50/50 mix of a gigantic party and a political rally with speeches, happenings, and concerts. Two travelling amusement parks also set up their gear for the day, one by the main entrance at Trianglen and one in the eastern part of the park.
  • CPH Distortion [52] (2-6 June 2010) is held in the first week of June and is longest and wildest party you could ever go to. Over 60 parties in five days in each of the city districts, outdoors on the city streets and squares, in the clubs and three seriously huge parties. Over 32,000 people usually partying away between Wednesday and Sunday.
  • Zulu Sommerbio [53] Held in July and August, Danish television station 'TV2 Zulu' plays open air films in various parks and squares of Copenhagen. There are movies in both Danish and English and they are free to watch. You can buy beer and popcorn.
  • Copenhagen Jazzfestival [54] (2-11 July 2010) is held in early July and features ten days of jazz everywhere in Copenhagen — parks, cafes, clubs, and theatres. Usually a few headline acts are on the program but there are more than 800 concerts to choose from and the real attraction is often the obscure concerts you bump into randomly in a park or square somewhere in the city.
  • Grøn Koncert [55] (18 July 2010) held in late July, is a one day music festival in Valby Parken near Åparken station. It is a major event in Copenhagen with over 40,000 attending. There is usually an international headline act, along with several major Danish bands and the atmosphere is quite unique with people having picnics and beers on a huge field of grass in the park. Tickets are sold through Billetnet, both online and at post offices.
  • Copenhagen Pride [56] (7-14 August 2010) A lavish LGBT parade. The week leading up to the parade is usually full of community events and parties. Count on the City Hall Square (Rådhuspladen) changing its name to Pride Square during the week and hosting live acts, concerts and debates.
  • Stella Polaris [57] (6-8 August 2010) held the first weekend in August, is a big, free, chill-out event in one of the city parks. Top international DJs spin chill-out tunes on the decks, while people are relaxing in the sun and drinking beer. And the afterparty in one of the major clubs usually attracts some international headline acts.
  • RAW [58] (7 August 2010) held in early August is Scandinavia's largest clubbing event. The organisers rightly pride themselves in carefully selecting high quality acts and more importantly the broad range of genres represented to make this an event with broad appeal to everyone in the Copenhagen nightlife scene.
  • Strøm [59] (16-22 August 2010) also held in August is an annual electronic music festival, running in its third year. It is a gathering of the best promoters and vibrant venues Copenhagen has to offer, mixed up with events at squares, concert halls, or unusual locations throughout the city.
  • Night of Culture (Kulturnatten) [60] (15 October 2010) is held in mid-October, on the last Friday before the school holiday in week 42. You buy a badge for 70 Kr and get access to major museums, exhibitions, churches, libraries, schools, organizations, the parliament and other cultural attractions including some places that are not open to the public during the rest of the year. Open from 6PM to midnight. Attracts about 100,000 people.
  • Copenhagen Gay & Lesbian Film Festival [61] (22-31 October 2010) Held in Week 43, Ten days of gay and queer cinema at its very best with more than 130 screenings of the world's best feature films, short films, and documentaries with gay or queer relevance, culminating in a champagne party on the final day, when the best film of the year receives its award.
The 1.1 kilometre Strøget, along with its pedestrianised side streets, is the longest pedestrian street in Europe and Copenhagen's premier shopping area
The 1.1 kilometre Strøget, along with its pedestrianised side streets, is the longest pedestrian street in Europe and Copenhagen's premier shopping area

Shopping in Copenhagen is excellent, provided of-course, that you have no grasp of the whole money concept, don't need to have it, or don't mind shelling out your hard earned cash for good quality products. If you can tick off any of those options, follow the crowds down Strøget, one of the largest pedestrian malls in the world which links City Hall, Kongens Nytorv, and Nørreport station. Impeccably dressed Copenhageners breeze through high-end fashion and design stores when not zig-zagging through the hordes of tourists during the summer and Christmas seasons. Your fellow visitors can make it all feel rather touristy at times but if nothing else, it is great for people watching. If all this strange outdoor shopping takes you too far from your usual habitat, head for Magasin du Nord (on Kongens Nytorv) or Illums (on Amagertorv) for more familiar surroundings. There is even a real American style mall complete with a gargantuan parking lot out on Amager. Appropriately, it is called Fields.

If you would rather sample smaller and more personal stores, the quarter of narrow streets surrounding Strøget in the old city (colloquially known as Pisserenden and the The Latin Quarter), has a fantastic, eclectic mix of shopping. This ranges from quirky century-old businesses to the ultra hip, in a wide range of fields. It is also much less crowded than Strøget, though unfortunately no less expensive.

You can also try Vesterbrogade and Istedgade on Vesterbro, due west of the central station, although you'll need to go a few blocks before hotels/sex shops/Thai restaurants turn into more interesting territory. Right at the border of this area, Værnedamsvej and Tullinsgade are also good bets.

In Nørrebro, Ravnsborggade is well known for its huge number of antique stores that are excellent for bargain hunting and the next street to north, while more modest Elmegade has some awesome tiny independent fashion boutiques.

Laws are in place to limit opening hours for most shops, officially to the benefit of store clerks, although the "closing law" (Lukkeloven) is facing increasing unpopularity among locals. But until the opposition grows loud enough, most shops will close around M-F 5-6PM on weekdays, around 4PM on Saturdays, and rarely will anything be open on Sundays, including supermarkets! For out-of-hours shopping (apart from the ubiquitous 7-11 and small kiosks), the shops at Central Station (offering books and CDs, camping gear, photographic equipment, cosmetics, gifts) are open until 8PM daily. Large shopping centres and department stores are open on Sundays about once a month (usually the first Sunday, right after everyone gets paid) and more often during peak sale periods. The immigrant-owned grocery stores on Nørrebrogade on Nørrebro also tend to be open until very late in the evening.

Flea markets

Nørrebro Flea Market is Denmark's longest and narrowest. It stretches for 333 metres on one half of the sidewalk by the wall of the Assistens Cemetry on Nørrebrogade. Here you may find a Royal Porcelain Christmas Plate, a Chesterfield chair or plain, or downright rubbish. Runs 4 Apr–31 Oct Sa 6AM-3PM.

The oldest flea market in Copenhagen is on Israels Plads, close to the Nørreport S-Train Station. Here private individuals as well as professional dealers put up for sale all kinds of old stuff, antique furniture, His Masters Voice grammophones, and objets d'art. In 2009, the flea market celebrated its 35 year anniversary. Runs 18 Apr–10 Oct Sa 8AM-2PM.


Please look for general restaurant listings in the appropriate districts.

For a hearty and traditional Danish lunch, try out the delicious Smørrebrød open-faced sandwiches
For a hearty and traditional Danish lunch, try out the delicious Smørrebrød open-faced sandwiches

If your budget doesn't allow for regular dining at expensive Michelin restaurants, don't despair — there are plenty of other options. The cheapest are the many shawarma and pizza joints that you find on almost every street in the city. You can get a shawarma for as little as 15 Kr and pizzas start from 40 Kr). You can opt for take away or sit at the one or two tables that are usually available. The cheapest places can be found around Istedgade on Vesterbro and Nørrebrogade on Nørrebro

If shawarma gets a little tiring, there are several Mediterranean-style all-you-can eat buffet restaurants dotted around the inner city. Riz Raz is popular, with three locations and a huge vegetarian buffet for 70 Kr. The branch on St. Kannikestræde has an infallible ability to seat and feed groups of all sizes. Nearby, Ankara on Krystalgade offers a Turkish-inspired buffet that includes meat as well as salads. Nyhavns Faergekro at Nyhavn has an original herring buffet where you can eat as much herring as you like prepared in ten different ways (grilled and many different marinades).

For breakfast and lunch try one of Copenhagen's bakeries (Bager — look for a pretzel-like contraption out front). They are numerous and the quality is excellent. Many offer ready-made sandwiches (around 35 Kr) such as Denmark's famous open-faced rye bread sandwiches called smørrebrød. These sandwiches are small enough to take away and eat either with your hands or with a fork and knife and a wide range of ingredients are available including some elaborate combinations for the more adventurous. Most bakeries also offer coffee, bread rolls and cakes (expect to pay 8-10 Kr for Danish pastry, here known as wienerbrød) and many bakeries offer at least some form of counter seating.


For something quintessentially Danish, no visit to Copenhagen is complete without trying out a pølsevogn (see image on the right), literally "sausage wagon", where you can get your hands on several different forms of tasty hot dogs with a free selection of various toppings for next-to-nothing by local standards. It is also one of the few places where you are expected to socialize with the other guests. To blend in, remember to order a bottle of Cocio cocoa drink to wash down your hot dog. At night, when the wagons are put into storage, 7-11 stores (which are open 24/7) take over the business of satisfying your hot dog craving. They offer other eat-and-walk items like pizza slices or spring rolls.

And finally, remember to look out for the term dagens ret on signs and menus — this means "meal of the day" and often translates to a filling plate of hot food for a reasonable price.

Michelin dining

For a city of its size, Copenhagen has a good number of Michelin starred restaurants located mostly in the inner city. Noma, Ensemble, The Paul, and Geranium offer rare and exciting Danish cuisine, while Kong Hans Kælder and restaurant MR are the places to go for fine French dining. In other districts, Frederiksberg is home of the French/Danish restaurant Formel B and far away in the Northern suburbs Søllerød Kro is a traditional inn also offering fine French dining.

Christianshavn is the home of the only starred Italian restaurant, Era Ora and Kiin Kiin on Nørrebro is a rare high class Thai restaurant. Finally, on Østerbro, Paustian's fusion and alchemist kitchen is an altogether different way of dining.


Brunch is a Copenhagen institution, especially during the summer, and it is not unusual to hear a serious invitation for a morning brunch together with the ritual goodbye hug when a long night out in town draws to a close. In this way, brunch is intrinsically linked to the second local obsession of drinking. Food and fresh air is a great cure for hangovers as Copenhagernes have long since discovered.

Most cafés offer brunch, at least on weekends, for upwards of 80 Kr., often with a theme: American and French are especially widespread. One of the most popular options is O's American Breakfast [62] at two locations in central Copenhagen.

Nyhavn is a popular place to go for a drink in the summer
Nyhavn is a popular place to go for a drink in the summer

A large beer costs 30-40 Kr or so at most places in central Copenhagen but some charge only 20-30 Kr, especially on weekdays or during early hours. Unless you come from elsewhere in Scandinavia don't frighten yourself by trying to work out what this costs in your home currency. At most places the beer on tap is either Carlsberg or Tuborg. In either case there will be a choice of the normal pilsner and then a slightly redder special or classic. Some might also offer wheat or dark beer.

If you are on a budget you could follow the example of local teenagers and get primed with bottled beer from a supermarket or kiosk (3-7 Kr for a 330 ml bottle). It is legal and very popular to drink beer in public (not on public transport, although it will be accepted if you are not showing drunk behaviour), so buy a beer, sit on a park bench or at Nyhavn and enjoy Danish life.

As for where to drink, most tourists head straight for Nyhavn but while indeed pretty, the high prices here make it a bit of a tourist trap. In good weather imitate the locals by buying beer from a kiosk and dangling your legs over the water or head elsewhere to get your drinking on. The many side streets north and south of the strøget pedestrian street are a good starting point. Other good areas are Vesterbro west of the central station, along Vesterbrogade and Istedgade and in the meatpacking district. On Nørrebro, the cluster of bars and clubs around Sankt Hans Torv and Blågårds Plads, just after the lakes, is another hotspot. For a coastal city Copenhagen has surprisingly few places where you can enjoy a water view with your beer or coffee.

Drinking dictionary

  • Cafés are equally ready to serve coffees or beer and wine but they usually close around midnight and music is subdued to allow for conversations.
  • Bodegas are your average local watering holes, somewhat equivalent to a pub, with prices often much lower than bars and cafés. The clientèle is often a bit shady and you may have people staring at unfamiliar customers but behave nicely and they usually warm up to you. Try to have someone teach you the local træmand, majer, or snyd dice games for a fun night.
  • Pubs are just that, pubs, the familiar English, Irish, and Scottish-themed exports that often do not have much in common with the actual pubs in those countries other than exported beer and interiors.
  • Bars are what locals tend to call everything with loud music that do not have a cover charge. Packed at weekends but more quiet at other times.
  • Clubs, or discotheques as they are often still referred to here, are bars that have a cover charge and have a dance floor. Often only open Th-Sa.
  • Morgenværtshus. If you can get away with pronouncing this when you'll need it, you will be asking directions to a shady establishment full of people hell bent on not ending the night just yet. They usually open around 5AM and "classics" include the 24 hour Hong Kong in Nyhavn, Det Rene Glas on Nørrebro, Café Guldregn on Vesterbro and Andy's in downtown.


You can check for club listings in the various districts

The club scene is vibrant in Copenhagen, but most clubs are only open Th-Sa. Note that most locals have a party at home with friends or frequent their favourite bars, before they head out for the clubs, so they rarely get going until after midnight and close around 5AM. Most clubs have a 40-80 Kr cover charge and the ones that don't are rubbish more often than not. Also expect an additional 10-20 Kr for cloakrooms. Most clubs maintain a minimum age of 20 or 21, although they are not required to do this by law. Expect a draft beer, or basic drinks, to set you back 40-50 Kr — a bit more than bars usually charge.

Visitors who want to indulge Su-W will probably have to hunt around to find a place with some action but there are some options:

  • Sunday — Rub'a'dub Sundays [63] is a popular dance hall/reggae club which at the moment is hosted on Kødboderne 18 on Vesterbro.
  • Monday — The Scottish pub on Rådhuspladsen (City Hall) hosts a backpackers night, which is sometimes quite lively.
  • Tuesday — Elektronisk Tirsdag (Electronic Tuesday) [64] plays nice electronic tunes on Gefährlich on Nørrebro .
  • Wednesday — You could either go for Midweek Brakes [65] at Kødboderne 18 on Vesterbro or the popular International Night [66] for resident exchange students on Stundenterhuset in downtown.
  • Thursday is tricky, there is no set place to go, but most clubs and bars will be open and often offer discounts on beers and cocktails and free entrance.

Gay and lesbian

For its size, Copenhagen has a rather large gay scene with a good handful of bars and dance clubs located in the center of the city within walking distance from each other, some of the better ones include Be Proud - Copenhagen's largest LGBT club and and Cosy bar in Indre By. VELA, the only bar/lounge in town that is targeted at lesbians is on Vesterbro.

Live venues

Most of the music venues in Copenhagen also double as nightclubs so watch for them under the club sections in the different districts. Tickets for almost every event in Denmark and Copenhagen are sold through Billetnet [67] which has both online sales and a counter available in all post offices. But apart from headline events, tickets are usually also sold at the entrance. Expect to pay 100 Kr and upwards.

The major music venues in Copenhagen are Parken stadium on Østerbro for the biggest stars. Downtown, Copenhagen Jazzhouse obviously hosts Jazz concerts and The Rock is the spiritual home of the local rock and heavy metal scene. Vega on Vesterbro is a major venue with concerts of almost every genre by national and international acts. Nørrebro has two venues: Rust's stage mainly hosts mainstream rhythmic music and Global, as its name would imply, provides a stage for world music. Southwards on Christianshavn, it is no surprise that the Operahouse plays Opera and not to be missed, the different venues of Christiania are a powerhouse of Denmark's alternative and underground culture.


Hotel listings are available in the appropriate districts.

Copenhagen offers all kinds of accommodation but like the rest of Denmark, prices are high. Most hotels are located in Indre By and Vesterbro. Special rates are often available on the internet or from travel agencies, so look around well ahead of time, rather than spending your holiday budget on sleeping because you booked at the last minute.

If you are looking for something unique, Copenhagen has a few surprisingly little known options. Fancy sleeping in an old fort? Then look no further than Flakfortet on its very own island out in the sound. Stylish rooms, classic and rather tastefully integrated into the environs of the old fort. Staying here does though exclude spending your evenings in the city, as the last ferry leaves in the late afternoon. You can also opt for the Dragør Fort on Amager although they haven't pulled it off quite so nicely. In the same area, consider the old and historic beach front Dragør Badehotel in a classic building with great views over Øresund and a nearby beach, but also a fair deal of transportation time to the sights in the city centre. (Although it is close to the airport.)

In the same genre, and with the same drawbacks, is Skovshoved Hotel in the northern suburbs. This is an historic beach hotel with nice views and a fantastic restaurant. You can get even closer to the water on the floating houseboat hotel CPH Living moored in Christianshavn . If you're a rad hipster and would rather sample some of the design for which the city is rightly famous, consider Hotel Fox where young Danish and international artists have individually decorated and furnished the rooms. Other hip options are Hotel Twentyseven and Skt Petri Hotel located near the arty fartsy cocktail lounges of the downtown area. Or you could always max out your credit card and splurge at the timeless five star classics of D'Angleterre or Hotel Nyhavn.

On a budget

Copenhagen is an expensive city but it is possible for budget travellers to find reasonably priced accommodations. For those on an ultra low budget there are two free, but completely basic, camping grounds along the Mølleå river where you can camp for one or two nights. While camping elsewhere is no big sin, it is not legal either. There are plenty of commercial camping grounds available but if you are not used to Scandinavian price ranges, even these could seem expensive (50-200 Kr). The closest camping sites are at Charlottenlund Fort in Charlottenlund and there is also a summer-only camping ground in the outer part of Nørrebro within the city proper. If you prefer modern comforts consider one of the hospitality exchange networks. for instance, is quite popular with the Copenhagers, who provide 6,000 available hosted stays in the city, giving you the added bonus of having a local to point you to the great spots.

There are a few hostels available and the cheapest are two summer-only (July-Aug) hostels in Vesterbro: YMCA Interpoint and Sleep in fact. Here you can overnight in basic dormitory bunk beds from as little as 100 Kr. On Nørrebro the two sleep-in hostels are slightly more expensive but still a bargain compared to the general price range. The national hostel system Danhostel [68] which is part of Hostelling International, run four hostels within reasonable distance of the the centre, but they are not exactly party locations if that is what you are looking for.

For Hotels consider the Cab Inn [69] chain that has three hotels in Copenhagen. One is just a short walk away from Tivoli and Kobenhavn H and the other two are at Frederiksberg. Rooms go from €71 (single) to €103 (triples). The rooms are quite small but have TVs and private showers and toilets. If you are attracted to your own sex, you should be pleased to know that there are several cheap hotels specifically catering to gays and lesbians — Carsten's Guest House [70] and Copenhagen Rainbow [71] are two of them.


Libraries offer free internet access for one hour at a time, though this often requires signing up in advance. The Hovedbilbiotek (main library) has 12 freely accessible workstations and a wide selection of international newspapers, Krystalgade 15 [72]

A cheap (under 20Kr/hour) internet caféis in Copenhagen Central Station. Moreover, a lot of bars, cafés, McDonald's, and petrol stations offer WiFi hotspots for people with notebooks, though these are a little more expensive than internet cafés. OpenWiFi [73] maintains a list of hotspots in the city.

If you are travelling with your own laptop, you could also jump on a S-train, which all have free WiFi. But since you need to activate your account through an email confirmation, it's a good idea to register beforehand, which can be done on the Gratis Danmark website [74].

The Tourist Information Office [75] is located near Copenhagen Main Station (2km walk) and is worth a visit. The staff are really friendly and they speak almost all languages. It is possible to book hotels using PC terminals directly from within this office and they provide information for all possible activities in Copenhagen including museums, concerts and festivals.



Although Denmark is a member of the European Union, the currency is still the Danish Krone, which is pegged to the Euro at a rate of about 7.45 Kroner per Euro. In Copenhagen, Nyhavn, Tivoli, and many of the major restaurants and hotels frequented by tourists accept Swedish Kronor and Euros, although it is not yet common practice elsewhere. Banks are ubiquitous, so exchanging currencies will in most cases not present any major difficulties. Exchange offices are also becoming increasingly widespread, especially Scandinavian chains such as Forex and X-change, which often have decent rates and charge no commission. Using the exchange machines present at some banks is not recommended, though, as these charge a fee of 25 kroner (US$4.50 or €3.35).

Credit cards are widely accepted, although this is usually limited to Visa and/or Mastercard. Many supermarkets and small shops will normally only accept the widespread local Danish debit-card, also known as the Dankort. But acceptance of the two major international credit cards are increasing rapidly. Other credit cards like American Express, Diners, JCB, and Unionpay are accepted in some but not all shops in Copenhagen, especially in Strøget, the main shopping district. When accepted, a transaction fee (mandated by credit card companies, not shops) of 0.75 to 3.00 % of the amount will sometimes be charged on credit cards issued by foreign banks.

Almost all ATMs accept major international cards, including all the ones mentioned previously. Therefore it is worth noting that although some shops may not accept all credit cards, an ATM capable of doing so will in most cases be less than 200 meters away, particularly in central Copenhagen.


The Copenhagen post [76] is the country's sole English language newspaper, it's published weekly on Saturdays, and is available at many bars and cafés, as well as for sale in the Magasin department store, and the kiosks at the Central, Vesterport, Østerport, and Hellerup stations for 20 Kr.

Stay safe

As elsewhere in Europe and Denmark dial 112 for emergencies, and 114 non emergencies relating to the police.

Copenhagen used to be one of the safest cities in the world and while the situation has deteriorated in recent years, it is still quite safe compared to other cities of the same size. Like any metropolitan area, Copenhagen does experience its share of crimes and recent times have seen an increase in very violent gang-related crimes on Nørrebro. While crime against strangers is mostly of the non-violent type, such as pickpocketing and petty theft, one should take precautions, in particular around busy tourist attractions, in train stations and inside the train to the airport. Due to gang-related conflict, extra precaution is advised in the neighbourhood of Nørrebro and in the western suburbs, i.e., those municipalities located to the west of Copenhagen proper. However there is no evidence that gang members have targeted tourists.

While racism is nowhere as rampant as certain reports will have you believe, it can occasionally be a problem for people of African or Middle Eastern descent. However, the only place you are likely to encounter this as a tourist is in the city's nightlife. If you are unfortunate enough to experience racism, it is important not to get yourself involved in a heated argument, as people who have not seen the incident will usually be quick to support the offender. This is due to a surge of problems with violence related to gangs within immigrant communities, who feel alienated by a closely knit Danish society. Walk away instead, and if you feel a need to react, report the incident to authorities who are required to investigate such cases. Other ethnic groups on the other hand, are not likely to encounter any problems. Of course, prudence in behavior and politeness will in most cases avert any problems and present you as the offended party, not the offender. In fact, educated Danes in major cities will in many cases interfere and defend ethnic minorities experiencing discrimination.

Stay healthy

Emergency Rooms (ER) are called Skadestue in Danish, as with many other health related terms and phrases, it may not be understood by some Danes — but conveniently Hospital is the same in Danish. Hospitals with 24 hour Emergency Wards near the city centre include:

  • Amager Hospital, Italiensvej 1, Amager, +45 32 34 35 00, [120].  edit
  • Bispebjerg Hospital, Bispebjerg Bakke 23, 7C, Nordvest, +45 35 31 23 73, [121].  edit
  • Frederiksberg Hospital, Nordre Fasanvej 57, 3A, Frederiksberg, +45 38 16 35 22, [122].  edit

The public healthcare system also maintains doctors on call outside normal office hours, calls are screened by medical personel, and doctors dispatched only when deemed necessary.

  • Lægevagten, +45 70 13 00 41. M-F 4PM-8AM,Sa-Su all day. From 250 Kr, Free for EU citizens.  edit

There is a 24 hour pharmacy in central Copenhagen, and 3 additional ones in the suburbs.

  • Steno Apotek, Vesterbrogade 6C (Just by the Radisson Royal hotel, near the Central station), +45 33 14 82 66, [123]. regular hours: M-F 8.30AM-8PM,Sa 8.30AM-5PM. There is a 15 kr service charge outside those times..  edit
  • Malmo, Sweden, Sweden's third largest city, with a lovely historic city centre and cosy squares is just a short, convenient train ride away.
  • Elsinore (Helsingør) The old city centre with well preserved houses is one of the biggest in Denmark, and famous Kronborg castle, home of Shakespeare's Hamlet.
  • Hillerød — A small town dominated by it's huge palace, but also offers baroque gardens and a laid back city centre.
  • Roskilde — Denmark's ancient capital and a World Heritage site, with a famous cathedral full of the tombs of ancient kings, and the fantastic Viking museum. Home to one of the Big Four European music festivals, Roskilde Festival, which attracts up to 110,000 visitors each year in July.
  • The Lousiana Museum of Modern Arts is the outstanding museum of modern art in Denmark. It's located in the small town Humlebaek which is 35km north of Copenhagen via motorway E47/E5 or 35 minutes with DSB rail. When you use the train special tickets for the rail fare and museum entry fee are available.
Routes through Copenhagen
KoldingKøge  W noframe E  MalmöGöteborg
HelsingørVedbæk  N noframe S  KøgeLübeck
HelsingørVedbæk  N noframe S  KøgeBerlin
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

COPENHAGEN (Danish Kjobenhavn), the capital of the kingdom of Denmark, on the east coast of the island of Zealand (Sjaelland) at the southern end of the Sound. Pop. (1901) 4 00 ,575. The latitude is approximately that of Moscow, Berwickon-Tweed and Hopedale in Labrador. The nucleus of the city is built on low-lying ground on the east coast of the island of Zealand, between the sea and a series of small freshwater lakes, known respectively as St JOrgens So, Peblings So and Sortedams So, a southern portion occupying the northern part of the island of Amager. An excellent harbour is furnished by the natural channel between the two islands; and communication from one division to the other is afforded by two bridges - the Langebro and the Knippelsbro, which replaced the wooden drawbridge built by Christian IV. in 1620. The older city, including both the Zealand and Amager portions, was formerly surrounded by a complete line of ramparts and moats; but pleasant boulevards and gardens now occupy the westward or landward site of fortifications. Outside the lines of the original city (about 5 m. in circuit), there are extensive suburbs, especially on the Zealand side (Osterbro, Ndrrebro and Vesterbro or Osterfolled, &c., and Frederiksberg), and Amagerbro to the south of Christianshavn.

The area occupied by the inner city is known as Gammelsholm (old island). The main artery is the Gothersgade, running from Kongens Nytor y to the western boulevards, and separating a district of regular thoroughfares and rectangular blocks to the north from one of irregular, narrow and picturesque streets to the south. The Kongens Nytorv, the focus of the life of the city and the centre of road communications, is an irregular open space at the head of a narrow arm of the harbour (Nyhavn) inland from the steamer quays, with an equestrian statue of Christian V. (d. 1699) in the centre. The statue is familiarly known as Hesten (the horse) and is surrounded by noteworthy buildings. The Palace of Charlottenborg, on the east side, which takes its name from Charlotte, the wife of Christian V., is a huge sombre building, built in 1672. Frederick V. made a grant of it to the Academy of Arts, which holds its annual exhibition of paintings and sculpture in April and May, in the adjacent Kunstudstilling (1883). On the south is the principal theatre, the Royal, a beautiful modern Renaissance building (1874), on the site of a former theatre of the same name, which dated from 1748. Statues of the poets Ludvig Holberg (d. 1754), and Adam Ohlenschlager (d. 1850), the former by Stein and the latter by H. V. Bissen, stand on either side of the entrance, and the front is crowned by a group by King, representing Apollo and Pegasus, and the Fountain of Hippocrene. Within, among other sculptures, is a relief figure of Ophelia, executed by Sarah Bernhardt. Other buildings in Kongens Nytor y are the foreign office, several great commercial houses, the commercial bank, and the Thotts Palais of c. 1685. The quays of the Nyhavn are lined with old gabled houses.

From the south end of Kongens Nytorv, a street called Holmens Kanal winds past the National Bank to the Holmens Kirke, or church for the royal navy, originally erected as an anchor-smithy by Frederick II., but consecrated by Christian IV., with a chapel containing the tombs of the great admirals Niels Juel and Peder TordenskjOld, and wood-carving of the 17th century. The street then crosses a bridge on to the Slottsholm, an island divided from the mainland by a narrow arm of the harbour, occupied mainly by the Christiansborg and adjacent buildings. The royal palace of Christiansborg, originally built (1731-1745) by Christian VI., destroyed by fire in 1794, and rebuilt, again fell in flames in 1884. Fortunately most of the art treasures which the palace contained were saved. A decision was arrived at in 1903, in commemoration of the jubilee of the reign of Christian IX., to rebuild the palace for use on occasions of state, and to house the parliament. On the Slottsplads (Palace Square) which faces east, is an equestrian statue of Frederick VII. There are also preserved the bronze statues which stood over the portal of the palace before the fire - figures of Strength, Wisdom, Health and Justice, designed by Thorvaldsen. The palace chapel, adorned with works by Thorvaldsen and Bissen, was preserved from the fire, as was the royal library of about 540,000 volumes and 20,000 manuscripts, for which a new building in Christiansgade was designed about 1900.

The exchange (Borsen), on the quay to the east, is an ornate gabled building erected in 1619-1640, surmounted by a remarkable spire, formed of four dragons, with their heads directed to the four points of the compass, and their bodies entwining each other till their tai, come to a point at the top. To the south is the arsenal (Tbjhus) with a collection of ancient armour.

The Thorvaldsen museum (1839-1848), a sombre building in a combination of the Egyptian and Etruscan styles, consists of two storeys. In the centre is an open court, containing the artist's tomb. The exterior walls are decorated with groups of figures of coloured stucco, illustrative of events connected with Thorvaldsen's life. Over the principal entrance is the chariot of Victory drawn by four horses, executed in bronze from a model by Bissen. The front hall, corridors and apartments are painted in the Pompeian style, with brilliant colours and with great artistic skill. The museum contains about 300 FIG. 2. - THE Syon Cope. English, 13th Century.) The medallions with which it is embroidered contain representations of Christ on the Cross, Christ and St Mary Magdalene, Christ and Thomas, the death of the Virgin, the burial and coronation of the Virgin, St Michael and the twelve Apostles. Of the latter, four survive only in tiny fragments. The spaces between the four rows of medallions are filled with six-winged cherubim. The ground-work of the vestment is green silk embroidery, that of the medallions red. The figures are worked in silver and gold thread and coloured silks. The lower border and the orphrey with coats of arms do not belong to the original cope and are of somewhat later date. The cope belonged to the convent of Syon near Isleworth, was taken to Portugal at the Reformation, brought back early in the 19th century to England by exiled nuns and given by them to the Earl of Shrewsbury. In 1864 it was bought by the South Kensington Museum.

FIG. 3. - Cope Of Blue Silk Velvet, With Appliqle Work And Embroidery.


In the middle of the orphrey is a figure of Our Lord holding the orb in His left hand. and with His right hand raised in benediction. To the right are figures of St Peter, St Bartholomew and St Ursula; and to the left, St Paul, St John the Evangelist and St Andrew. On the hood is a seated figure of the Virgin Mary holding the Infant Saviour. German: early 16th century. (In the Victoria and Albert Museum, No. 91.1904.) VII. 96 FIG. 4.-Cope Of Embroidered Purple Silk Velvet.

In the middle is represented the Assumption of the Virgin; on the hood is a seated figure of the Almighty bearing three souls in a napkin. English, about 150o. (In the Victoria and Albert Museum.) FIG. 5.-Cope Morse (German, 14th Century) In The Cathedral At Aix - La - Chapelle.

(From a photograph by Father Joseph Braun, S. J.) FIG. 6. - Cope Morse (German, Early 14th Century), In The Parish Church At Elten.

(From a photograph by Father Joseph Braun, S. J.) of Thorvaldsen's works; and in one apartment is his sitting-room furniture arranged as it was found at the time of his death in 1844.

On the mainland, immediately west of the Slottsholm, is the Prinsens Palais, once the residence of Christian V. and Frederick VI. when crown princes, containing the national museum. This consists of four sections, the Danish, ethnographical, antique and numismatic. It was founded in 1807 by Professor Nyerup, and extended between 1815 and 1885 by C. J. Thomsen and J. J. A. Worsaae, and the ethnographical collection is among the finest in the world. From this point the Raadhusgade leads north-west to the combined Nytorv-og-Gammeltorv, where is the old townhall (Raadhus, 1815), and continues as the NBrregade to the Vor Frue Kirke (Church of our Lady), the cathedral church of Copenhagen. This church, the site of which has been similarly occupied since the i 2th century, was almost entirely destroyed in the bombardment of 1807, but was completely restored in 1811-1829. The works of Thorvaldsen which it contains constitute its chief attraction. In the pediment is a group of sixteen figures by Thorvaldsen, representing John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness; over the entrance within the portico is a bas-relief of Christ's entry into Jerusalem; on one side of the entrance is a statue of Moses by Bissen, and on the other a statue of David by Jerichau. In a niche behind the altar stands a colossal marble statue of Christ, and marble statues of the twelve apostles adorn both sides of the church.

Immediately north of Vor Frue Kirke is the university, founded by Christian I. in 1479; though its existing constitution dates from 1788. The building dates from 1836. There are five faculties - theological, juridical, medical, philosophical and mathematical. In 1851 an English and in 1852 an Anglo-Saxon lectureship were established. All the professors are bound to give a series of lectures open to the public free of charge. The university possesses considerable endowments and has several foundations for the assistance of poor students; the "regent's charity," for instance, founded by Christian, affords free residence and a small allowance to one hundred bursars. There are about 2000 students. In connexion with the university are the observatory, the chemical laboratory in Ny Vester Gade, the surgical academy in Bredgade, founded in 1786, and the botanic garden. The university library, incorporated with the former Classen library, collected by the famous merchants of that name, contains about 200,000 volumes, besides about 4 000 manuscripts, which include Rask's valuable Oriental collection and the Arne-Magnean series of Scandinavian documents. It shares with the royal library the right of receiving a copy of every book published in Denmark. There is also a zoological museum. Adjacent is St Peter's church, built in a quasi-Gothic style, with a spire 256 ft. high, and appropriated since 1585 as a parish church for the German residents in Copenhagen. A short distance along the Krystalgade is Trinity church. Its round tower is III ft. high, and is considered to be unique in Europe. It was constructed from a plan of Tycho Brahe's favourite disciple Longomontanus, and was formerly used as an observatory. It is ascended by a broad inclined spiral way, up which Peter the Great is said to have driven in a carriage and four. From this church the KjObermayergade runs south, a populous street of shops, giving upon the HOibro-plads, with its fine equestrian statue of Bishop Absalon, the city's founder. This square is connected by a bridge with the Slottsholm.

The quarter north-east of Kongens Nytor y and Gothersgaden is the richest in the city, including the palaces of Amalienborg, the castle and gardens of Rosenborg and several mansions of the nobility. The quarter extends to the strong moated citadel, which guards the harbour on the north-east. It is a regular polygon with five bastions, founded by Frederick III. about 1662-1663. One of the mansions, the Moltkes Palais, has a collection of Dutch paintings formed in the 18th century. This is in the principal thoroughfare of the quarter, Bredgaden, and close at hand the palace of King George of Greece faces the Frederikskirke or Marble church. This church, intended to have been an edifice of great extent and magnificence, was begun in the reign of Frederick V. (1749), but after twenty years was left unfinished. It remained a ruin until 1874, when it was purchased by a wealthy banker, M. Tietgen, at whose expense the work was resumed. The edifice was not carried up to the height originally intended, but the magnificent dome, which recalls the finest examples in Italy, is conspicuous far and wide. The diameter is only a few feet less than that of St Peter's in Rome. As the church stands it is one of the principal works of the architect, F. Meldahl. Behind King George's palace from the Bredgade lies the Amalienborg-plads, having in the centre an equestrian statue of Frederick V., erected in 1768 at the cost of the former Asiatic Company. The four palaces, of uniform design, encircling this plads, were built for the residence of four noble families; but on the destruction of Christiansborg in 1794 they became the residence of the king and court, and so continued till the death of Christian VIII. in 1848. One of the four is inhabited by the king, the second and third by the crown prince and other members of the royal family, while the fourth is occupied by the coronation and state rooms. The Ameliegade crosses the plads and, with the Bredgade, terminates at the esplanade outside the citadel, prolonged in the pleasant promenade of Lange Linie skirting the Sound.

To the west of the citadel is the Ostbanegaard, or eastern railway station, from which start the local trains on the coast line to Klampenborg and Helsingor. South-west from this point extends the line of gardens which occupy the site of former landward fortifications, pleasantly diversified by water and plantations, skirted on the inner side by three wide boulevards, Ostervold, Norrevold and Vestervold Gade, and containing noteworthy public buildings, mostly modern. In the Ostre Anlaeg is the art museum (1895) containing pictures, sculptures and engravings. In front of it is the Denmark monument (1896), commemorating the golden wedding (1892) of Christian IX. and Queen Louisa. Among various scenes in relief, the marriage of King Edward VII. of England and Queen Alexandra is depicted. The botanical garden (1874) contains an observatory with a statue of Tycho Brahe, and the chemical laboratory, mineralogical museum, polytechnic academy (1829) and communal hospital adjoin it. On the inner side of Ostevold Gade is Rosenborg Park, with the palace of Rosenborg erected in 1610-1617. It is an irregular building in Gothic style, with a high pointed roof, and flanked by four towers of unequal dimensions. It contains the chronological collection of Danish monarchs, including a coin and medal cabinet, a fine collection of Venetian glass, the famous silver drinking-horn of Oldenburg (1474), the regalia and other objects of interest as illustrating the history of Denmark. The Riddersal, a spacious room, is covered with tapestry representing the various battles of Christian V., and has at one end a' massive silver throne. The Norrevold Gade leads through the N6rretor y past the Folketeatre and the technical school to the Orsteds park, and from its southern end the Vestervold Gade continues through the Raadhus Plads, a centre of tramways, flanked by the modern Renaissance town hall (190,), ornamented with bronze figures, with a tower at the eastern angle. Here is also the museum of industrial art, and the Ny-Carlsberg Glyptotek, with its collection of sculpture, is on this boulevard, which skirts the pleasure garden called Tivoli. From the Raadhus-plads the Vesterbro Gade runs towards the western quarter of the city, skirting the Tivoli. Here is the Dansk Folke museum, a collection illustrating the domestic life of the nation, particularly that of the peasantry since 1600. A column of Liberty (FrihedsStotte) rises in an open space, erected in 1798 to commemorate the abolition of serfdom. Immediately north is the main railway station (Banegaard), and the North and Klampenborg stations near at hand. The western (residential) quarter contains the park of Frederiksberg, with its palace erected under Frederick IV. (d. 1730), used as a military school. The park contains a zoological garden, and is continued south in the pleasant Sondermarken, near which lies the old Glyptotek, which contained the splendid collection of sculptures, &c., made by H. C. Jacobsen VII. 4 since 1887, until their removal to the new Glyptotek founded by him in the Vestre Boulevard.

The quarter of Christianshavn is that portion of the city which skirts the harbour to the south, and lies within the fortifications. It contains the Vor Frelsers Kirke (Church of Our Saviour), dedicated in 1696, with a curious steeple 282 ft. high, ascended by an external spiral staircase. The lower part of the altar is composed of Italian marble, with a representation of Christ's sufferings in the garden of Gethsemane; and the organ is considered the finest in Copenhagen. The city does not extend much farther south, though the Amagerbro quarter lies without the walls. The island of Amager is fertile, producing vegetables for the markets of the capital. It was peopled by a Dutch colony planted by Christian II. in 1516, and many old peculiarities of dress, manners and languages are retained.

The environs of Copenhagen to the north and west are interesting, and the country, both along the coast northward and inland westward is pleasant, though in no way remarkable. The railway along the coast northward passes the seaside resorts of Klampenborg (6 m.) and Skodsborg (10 m.). Near Klampenborg is the Dyrehave (Deer park) or Skoven (the forest), a beautiful forest of beeches. The Zealand Northern railway passes Lyngby, on the lake of the same name, a favourite summer residence, and Hillerod (21 m.), a considerable town, capital of the amt (county) of Frederiksberg, and close to the palace of Frederiksberg. This was erected in 1602-1620 by Christian IV., embodying two towers of an earlier building, and partly occupying islands in a small lake. It suffered seriously from fire in 18J9, but was carefully restored under the direction of F. Meldahl. It contains a national historical museum, including furniture and pictures. The palace church is an interesting medley of Gothic and Renaissance detail. The villa of Hvidore was acquired by Queen Alexandra in 1907.

Among the literary and scientific associations of Copenhagen may be mentioned the Danish Royal Society, founded in 1742, for the advancement of the sciences of mathematics, astronomy, natural philosophy, &c., by the publication of papers and essays; the Royal Antiquarian Society, founded in 1825, for diffusing a knowledge of Northern and Icelandic archaeology; the Society for the Promotion of Danish Literature, for the publication of works chiefly connected with the history of Danish literature; the Natural Philosophy Society; the Royal Agricultural Society; the Danish Church History Society; the Industrial Association, founded in 1838; the Royal Geographical Society, established in 1876; and several musical and other societies. The Academy of Arts was founded by Frederick V. in 1754 for the instruction of artists, and for disseminating a taste for the fine arts among manufacturers and operatives. Attached to it are schools for the study of architecture, ornamental drawing and modelling. An Art Union was founded in 1826, and a musical conservatorium in 1870 under the direction of the composers N. W. Gade and J. P. E. Hartmann.

Among educational institutions, other than the university, may be mentioned the veterinary and agricultural college, established in 1773 and adopted by the state in 1776, the military academy and the school of navigation. Technical instruction is provided by the polytechnic school (1829), which is a state institution, and the school of the Technical Society, which, though a private foundation, enjoys public subvention. The schools which prepare for the university, &c., are nearly all private, but are all under the control of the state. Elementary instruction is mostly provided by the communal schools.

The churches already mentioned belong to the national Lutheran Church; the most important of those belonging to other denominations are the Reformed church, founded in 1688, and rebuilt in 1731, the Catholic church of St Ansgarius, consecrated in 1842, and the Jewish synagogue in Krystalgade, which dates from 1853. Of the monastic buildings of medieval Copenhagen various traces are preserved in the present nomenclature of the streets. The Franciscan establishment gives its name to the Graabradretor y or Grey Friars' market; and St Clara's Monastery, the largest of all, which was founded by Queen Christina, is still commemorated by the Klareboder or Clara buildings, near the present post-office. The Duebrbdre Kloster occupied the site of the hospital of the Holy Ghost.

Among the hospitals of Copenhagen, besides many modern institutions, there may be mentioned Frederick's hospital, erected in 1752-1757 by Frederick V., the Communal Hospital, erected in 1859-1863, on the eastern side of the Sortedamsso, the general hospital in Ameliegade, founded in 1769, and the garrison hospital, in Rigensgade, established in 1816 by Frederick VI. After the cholera epidemic of 1853, which carried off more than 4000 of the inhabitants, the medical association built several ranges of workmen's houses, and their example was followed by various private capitalists, among whom may be mentioned the Classen trustees, whose buildings occupy an open site on the western outskirts of the city.

Copenhagen is by far the most important commercial town in Denmark, and exemplifies the steady increase in the trade of the country. The harbour is mainly comprised in the narrow strait between the outer Sound and its inlet the Kalvebod or Kallebo Strand. The trading capabilities were aided by the construction in 1894 of the Frihavn (free port) at the northern extremity of the town, well supplied with warehouses and other conveniences. It is connected with the main railway station by means of a circular railway, while a short branch connects it with the ordinary custom-house quay. The commercial harbour is separated from the harbour for warships (Orlogshavn) by a barrier. The sea approaches are guarded by ten coast batteries besides the old citadel. The Middelgrund is a powerful defensive work completed in 1896 and most of the rest are modern. The landward defences of Copenhagen, it may be added, were left unprovided for after the Napoleonic wars until the patriotism of Danish women, who subscribed sufficient funds for the first fort, shamed parliament into granting the necessary money for others (1886-1895). Copenhagen is not an industrial town. The manufactures carried on are mostly only such as exist in every large town, and the export of manufactured goods is inconsiderable. The royal china factory is celebrated for models of Thorvaldsen's works in biscuit china. The only very large establishment is one for the construction of iron steamers, engines, &c., but some factories have been erected within the area of the free port for the purpose of working up imported raw materials duty free.


Copenhagen (i.e. Merchant's Harbour, originally simply Havn, latinized as Hafnia) is first mentioned in history in 1043. It was then only a fishing village, and remained so until about the middle of the 12th century, when Valdemar I. presented that part of the island to Axel Hvide, renowned in Danish history as Absalon, bishop of Roskilde, and afterwards archbishop of Lund. In 1167 this prelate erected a castle on the spot where the Christiansborg palace now stands, and the building was called after him Axel-huus. The settlement gradually became a great resort for merchants, and thus acquired the name which, in a corrupted form, it still bears, of Kaupmannahafn, Kj6bmannshavn, or Portus Mercatorum as it is translated by Saxo Grammaticus. In 1186, Bishop Absalon bestowed the castle and village, with the lands of Amager, on the see of Roskilde; but, as the place grew in importance, the Danish kings became anxious to regain it, and in 1245 King Eric IV. drove out Bishop Niels Stigson. On the king's death (1250), however, Bishop Jacob Erlandsen obtained the town, and, in 1254, gave to the burghers their first municipal privileges, which were confirmed by Pope Urban III. in 1286. In the charter of 1254, while there is mention of a communitas capable of making a compact with the bishop, there is nothing said of any trade or craft gilds. These are, indeed, expressly prohibited in the later charter of Bishop Johann Kvag (1294); and the distinctive character of the constitution of Copenhagen during the middle ages consisted in the absence of the free gild system, and the right of any burgher to pursue a craft under license from the Vogt (advocates) of the overlord and the city authorities. Later on, gilds were established, in spite of the prohibition of the old charters; but they were strictly subordinate to the town authorities, who appointed their aldermen and suppressed them when they considered them useless or dangerous. The prosperity of Copenhagen was checked by an attack by the people of Lubeck in 1248, and by another on the part of Prince Jaromir of Riigen in 1259. In 1306 it managed to repel the Norwegians, but in 1362, and again in 1368, it was captured by the opponents of Valdemar Atterdag. In the following century a new enemy appeared in the Hanseatic league, which was jealous of its rivalry, but their invasion was frustrated by Queen Philippa. Various attempts were made by successive kings to obtain the town from the see of Roskilde, as the most suitable for the royal residence; but it was not till 1443 that the transference was finally effected and Copenhagen became the capital of the kingdom. From 1523 to 1524 it held out for Christian II. against Frederick I., who captured it at length and strengthened its defensive works; and it was only after a year's siege that it yielded in 1536 to Christian III. From 1658 to 1660 it was unsuccessfully beleaguered by Charles Gustavus of Sweden; and in the following year it was rewarded by various privileges for its gallant defence. In 1660 it gave its name to the treaty which concluded the Swedish war of Frederick III. In 1700 it was bombarded by the united fleets of England, Holland and Sweden; in 1728 a conflagration destroyed 1640 houses and five churches; another in 1795 laid waste 943 houses, the church of St Nicolas, and the Raadhus. In 1801 the Danish fleet was destroyed in the roadstead by the English (see below, § Battle of Copenhagen); and in 1807 the city was bombarded by the British under Lord Cathcart, and saw the destruction of the university buildings, its principal church and numerous other edifices.

See O. Nielsen, Kobenhavns Historie oz Beskrivelse (Copenhagen, 1877-1892); C. Bruun and P. Munch, Kobenhavn, Skrilding of dets Historie, &c. (ibid. 1887-1901); Bering-LUsberg, Kobenhavn i gamle Dage (ibid. 1898 et seq.). (0. J. R. H.) Battle Of Copenhagen The formation of a league between the northern powers, Russia, Prussia, Denmark and Sweden, on the 16th of December 1800, nominally to protect neutral trade at sea from the enforcement by Great Britain of her belligerent claims, led to the despatch of a British fleet to the Baltic on the 12th of March 1801. It consisted of fifty-three sail in all, of which eighteen were of the line. Prussia possessed no fleet. The nominal strength of the Russian fleet was eighty-three sail of the line, of the Danish twenty-three, and of the Swedish eighteen. But this force was for the most part only on paper. Some of the Russian ships were at Archangel, others in the Mediterranean. Of those actually in the Baltic and fit to go to sea, twelve were at Reval shut in by the ice, and the others were at Kronstadt. The Swedes could equip only eleven of the -line for sea, and Denmark only seven or eight. It is highly doubtful whether the three powers could have collected more than forty ships of the line - and they would have been hastily manned, destitute of experience, and without confidence. A rapid British attack would in any case forestall the concentration of these heterogeneous squadrons. The superior quality of the veteran British crews was more than enough to counterbalance a mere superiority in numbers. The command of the British fleet was given to Sir Hyde Parker, an amiable man of no energy and little ability. He had Nelson with him as second in command - then a junior admiral but without rival in capacity and in his hold on the confidence of the fleet. Parker's orders were to give Denmark twenty-four hours in which to withdraw from the coalition, and on her refusal to destroy or neutralize her strength and then proceed against the Russians before the breaking up of the ice allowed the ships at Reval to join the squadron at Kronstadt.

On the 21st of March the British fleet, after a somewhat stormy passage, was at the entrance to the Sound. Nicholas Vansittart, afterwards Lord Bexley, the British diplomatic agent entrusted with the message to the Danish government, was landed, and left for Copenhagen. On the 23rd he returned with the refusal of the Danes. The British fleet then passed the Danish fort at Cronenburg, unhurt by its distant fire, and without being molested by the forts on the Swedish shore. Nelson urged immediate attack, and recommended, as an alternative, that part of the British fleet should watch the Danes while the remainder advanced up the Baltic to prevent the junction of the Russian Reval squadron with the ships in Kronstadt. Sir Hyde Parker was, however, unwilling to go up the Baltic with the Danes unsubdued behind him, or to divide his force. It was therefore resolved that an attack should be made on the Danish capital with the whole fleet in two divisions. Copenhagen lies on the east side of the island of Zealand; opposite it is the shoal known as the Middle Ground. To the east of the Middle Ground is another shoal known as Saltholm Flat, and there is a passage available for large ships between them. The main fortification of Copenhagen was the powerful Trekroner (Three Crown) battery at the northern end of the sea-front. Here the Danes had placed their strongest ships. The southern part of the city front was covered by hulks and gun-vessels or bomb-vessels. There were in all eighteen hulks or ships of the line in the Danish defence. To have made the attack from the northern end would in Nelson's words have been "to take the bull by the horns." He therefore proposed that he should be detached with ten sail of the line, and the frigates and small craft, to pass between the Middle Ground and Saltholm Flat, and assail the Danish line at the southern end while the remainder of the fleet engaged the Trekroner battery from the north. Sir Hyde Parker accepted his offer, and added two ships of the line to the ten asked for by Nelson.

During the nights of the 30th and 31st of March the channel between the Middle Ground and Saltholm Flat was sounded by the boats of the British fleet, the Danes making no attempt to interfere with them. On the 1st of April Nelson brought his ships through. He had transferred his flag from his own ship the "St George" (98) to the "Elephant" (74), commanded by Captain Foley, because the water was too shallow for a threedecker. On the morning of the 2nd of April the wind was fair from the south-east, and at 9.30 A.M. the British squadron weighed anchor, led by the "Amazon" frigate, commanded by Captain Riou, and began to pass along the front of the Danish line. The Danes could bring into action 375 guns in all. Their hulks and bomb-vessels were supported by batteries on Zealand; but, as the water is shallow for a long distance from the shore, these defences were too far off to render them effectual aid on the south end of their line. Nelson disposed of a greater number of guns, 1058 in all, but some did not come into action. The "Agamemnon" (64), commanded by Captain Fancourt, was unable to round the south point of the 1VIiddle Ground. The "Bellona" (74), commanded by Captain Thompson, and the "Russel" (74), commanded by Captain Cuming, ran ashore on the Middle Ground, but within range though at too great a distance for fully effective fire. Captain Thompson lost his leg in the battle. The other ships passed between the "Bellona" and "Russel" and the Danes. The leading British ship, the "Defiance" (74), carrying the flag of Rear-Admiral Graves, anchored just south of the Trekroner. As the wind was from the south-east Sir Hyde Parker was unable to make the proposed attack from the north. The place opposite the Danish fort which was to have been taken by him was occupied by Captain Riou and the frigates. The "Elephant" anchored almost in the middle of the line. Fire was opened about io A.M., and at 11.30 the action was at its height.

Until 1 o'clock there was no diminution of the Danish fire. Sir Hyde Parker, who saw the danger of Nelson's position, became anxious, and sent his second, Captain Robert Waller Ottway, to him with a message authorizing him to retire if he thought fit. Before Ottway, who had to go in a row-boat, reached the "Elephant," Sir Hyde Parker had reflected that it would be more magnanimous in him to take the responsibility of ordering the retreat. He therefore hoisted the signal of recall. It was a well-meant but ill-judged order. Nelson could only have retreated before the south-easterly wind by going past the Trekroner fort, where the passage is narrow, and the navigation difficult. He therefore disregarded the signal, and amused himself and the few officers about him by putting his glass to his blind eye and saying that he could not see it. The frigates opposite the Trekroner did retreat, Captain Riou being slain as they drew off.

At about 2.30 the fire from the Danish hulks had been much beaten down, but as their crews fell, fresh men were sent from the shore and the fire was resumed. Nelson astutely and legitimately seized the opportunity to open negotiations with the Danes. He sent a flag of truce carried by Sir F. Thesiger ashore to the crown prince of Denmark (then regent of the kingdom), to say that unless he was allowed to take possession of the hulks which had surrendered he would be compelled to burn them, a course which he deprecated on the ground of humanity and his tenderness of "the brothers of the English the Danes." The crown prince, who was shaken by the spectacle of the battle, allowed himself to be drawn into a reply, and to be referred to Sir Hyde Parker. Fire was suspended by the Danes to allow of time to receive Sir Hyde Parker's answer. Nelson with intelligent promptitude availed himself of the interval to withdraw his squadron past the Trekroner. The difficulty found in getting the ships out - one of them grounded - showed how disastrous an attempt to draw off under fire of the forts must have been.

The Danish government, which had entered the coalition largely from fear of Russia, was not prepared to make very great sacrifices, and now entered into negotiations for an armistice. It was the more ready to do so because it received news of the assassination of the tsar Paul, which had happened on the 24th of March. An armistice was made for fourteen weeks, which left the British fleet free to proceed up the Baltic. On the 12th of April, after lightening the three-deckers of their guns, the fleet passed over the shallows. But its presence had now lost all military significance. Sir Hyde Parker was assured by the Russian minister at Copenhagen that the new tsar Alexander I. would not continue the policy of hostility with England and alliance with France which had proved fatal to his father. The Swedes, who like the Danes had entered the coalition under pressure from Russia, did not send their ships to sea. The government of the new tsar was prepared for an arrangement with England. The date of the final settlement was in all probability delayed by the activity of Nelson, and his belief that a British fleet was the best negotiator in Europe. The British government learnt of the tsar's death on the 15th of April. On the 17th it instructed Sir Hyde Parker to agree to a suspension of hostilities, and not to take active measures against Russia so long as the Reval squadron did not put to sea. On the 21st of April, having now received a full account of the battle at Copenhagen, it recalled Sir Hyde Parker, whose vacillating conduct and want of enterprise had become manifest. He received the news of his recall on the 5th of May. Nelson, to whom the command passed, at once put to sea, and hastened with a part of his fleet to Reval, which he reached on the 12th of May. The Russian squadron had, however, cut a passage through the ice in the harbour on the 3rd, and had sailed for Kronstadt. Nelson was received with formal civility by the Russian officers, with whom he exchanged visits. He wrote a letter to Mr Garlike, secretary of the British embassy at St Petersburg, saying that he had come with a small squadron as the best way of paying "the very highest compliment" to the tsar.

The Russian government, which not unnaturally wished to avoid any appearance of acting under dictation, and was now in no anxiety for the Reval squadron, treated his presence as a menace. On the 13th of May Count Pahlen answered in a most peremptory letter informing Nelson that negotiations would be suspended while he remained at Reval. This retort caused Nelson annoyance which he did not attempt to conceal, but he justly concluded that he had nothing further to do at Reval, and therefore returned down the Baltic. Nelson remained with the fleet till he was relieved at his own request, and was able to sail for England on the 18th of June. He gave a proof of his regard for the service of the country by taking his passage home in a small brig rather than withdraw a line of battle ship from the squadron, which his rank entitled him to do, and as other admirals of the time generally did. The British sailors and ships embargoed in Russia were released on the 17th of May. Great Britain released her prisoners on the 4th of June, and on the 17th of June was signed the convention which terminated the Baltic campaign.

See Dispatches and Letters of Vice-Admiral Nelson, by Sir N. Harris Nicolas (1845); Life of Nelson, by Capt. A. T. Mahan (London, 1 899). (D. H.)

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Proper noun




  1. The capital city of Denmark.
  2. One of the former counties of Denmark.
  3. A community in Louisiana.

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File:Københavns byvåben
Copenhagen's coat of arms

Copenhagen is the capital city of Denmark. It is also the largest city in Denmark with 1,181,000 inhabitans (2010) living in the urban area. Copenhagen is on the islands of Zealand and Amager.

Copenhagen was built in the 12th century A.D. and got City rights in 1254. A few years later, it was destroyed nearly completely. In 1443, Copenhagen became the capital of Denmark. In 1801, there were more than 100,000 inhabitants in Copenhagen first time. In the 1960's more than 700,000 people lived in Copenhagen Municipality, and today there are 528,000 inhabitants in the municipality. Near the city centre there is the famous "Freetown" Christiania"".

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