Here is a gallery of pictures I have taken and information about points of interest
in Copenhagen and its environs. I hope they will inspire you to visit soon.
Copyright © 2011 Gordon Bayless. All rights reserved.
Amalienborg is the winter residence of the Danish royal family. The four palace buildings on the large open square were originally built for wealthy noblemen, who sold them to the royal family following a 1794 fire that destroyed their residence at the first Christiansborg Slot. The Royal Lifeguards, who were established in 1658 and serve as an infantry and ceremonial unit in the Danish Army, stand watch 24 hours at the palace, and there is a 12 noon changing of the guard. Frederik's Church, also known as the Marble Church, is nearby and boasts one of Europe's largest domes.
Børsen - The Stock Exchange
Børsen - The Stock Exchange - was established by King Christian IV as a building to facilitate trade. The building was done in the first half of the 1600's in a Dutch Renaissance style and has a tower comprised of four dragons, whose tails entwine to the sky and bear the three crowns of Scandinavia: Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Later the building became the Danish Stock Exchange, and today it is owned by the Danish Chamber of Commerce.
Christiansborg Slot - Christian's Castle
Christiansborg Slot - Christian's Castle - is the primary structure on central Copenhagen's little Slotsholmen - the Small Castle Island. This is the most recent of five castles which have been on the spot. While previous structures were residences for the royal family, the current structure houses only the Royal Reception Rooms (where one can tour and see the large contemporary tapestries given as a 50th birthday gift to Queen Margrethe II and various stately rooms), the Danish Parliament, and Offices of the Prime Minister. It was built 1907-1928, with Thorvald Jørgensen as architect. King Frederik VIII laid the cornerstone, and King Christian X inaugurated the building.
Rundetårn - Round Tower
Rundetårn - Round Tower - is the oldest functioning observatory in Europe and was finished for King Christian IV in 1642. It is attached to Trinitatis Kirke - Trinity Church, and the top, reached by flat sprial walkway, affords a nice view of central Copenhagen. On its front is a rebus (picture puzzle) made up of some words both in Latin and Hebrew and a heart sign, which can be solved to mean ' Steer knowledge and righteousness, Lord, in the crowned King Christian IV's heart'. The King himself came up with the rebus, which he drew on the back of a loose piece of paper, where on the other side he had drawn three ships he wanted built by his boat builder. The tower is 34.8 meters (just over 114 feet) high.
Rosenborg Slot - Rosenborg Castle
Rosenborg Slot - Rosenborg Castle - was begun in 1606 as a pleasure palace by King Christian IV, together with Copenhagen's oldest garden, Kongens Have - The King's Garden. The Castle has been open to the public as a museum since 1838 and houses a collection of royal items of reigns from King Christian IV up through the reign of King Frederik VII. (The royal collections are continued in the museum at Christian VIII's Palace at Amalienborg, where there are items for subsequent monarchs.) The Crown Jewels of Denmark can be seen in the Treasury beneath the Castle.
Hans Christian Andersen
A statue honoring Hans Christian Andersen is found alongside Copenhagen's Rådhus - Town Hall. Born in 1805 in the small town of Odense, he made a daring and adventurous breakaway at the young age of 14 to pursue a theatrical career in Copenhagen. After three years of unsuccessful attempts to become a singer, actor or playwright, he returned to school and finally graduated at the age of 23. He had his debut as an author in 1829, but for the next 6-8 years was financially restrained, and he lived at the graces of benefactors. As a person and as a poet, he was always in transit and undergoing change. Privately, he lived in a strange provisional state, always staying in boarding-house-like accommodations when not staying at hotels or at Danish manor homes or traveling. He traveled 29-30 times abroad, with long duration. In all, he spent 9 years of his life abroad on travels. In his lifetime he became an acclaimed poet and author and is famous for his children's stories, which include 'The Little Mermaid', 'The Ugly Duckling', 'The Little Match Girl', 'The Snow Queen', 'The Emperor's New Clothes', and 'The Steadfast Tin Soldier'. Poems and stories have been translated into at least 150 languages, and they continue to delight people all over the world.
Caritas is a gilded fountain established in 1608 by King Christian IV on Gammeltorv - Old Market - and is the oldest fountain in Copenhagen. Christian IV's monogram is visible, as is the monogram of King Christian VII on the base from the time of its restoration in 1781. Caritas is Latin, for personified Love, which is one of the three theological virtues: Faith, Hope and Love. The fountain is fed water by a natural gravitational flow from a lake outside of the city.
Old Copenahagen and Strøget
Pedestrian walking streets enhance the opportunities to walk everywhere in Old Copenahagen. The main pedestrian street is Strøget (which is a continuous string of four old streets running one mile (1.6 km) between Rådhuspladsen - Town Hall Square - to the West and Kongens Nytorv - The King's New Square - to the East. Other prominent walking streets include Kompagnistræde, which runs parallel to Strøget's west side and has an abundance of cafes with outdoor tables, and Købmagergade (shown here in the picture).
Det Kongelige Bibliotek - The Royal Library
Det Kongelige Bibliotek - The Royal Library - has a modern jewel of architecture, known as Den Sorte Diamant - The Black Diamond, which overlooks Inderhavnen - The Inner Harbor. In addition to housing reading rooms, exhibition areas, and special centers for the library's national collections, the new building contains a multi-functional concert hall that seats 600 people. A café on the main floor provides an opportunity to be seen as intellectual while enjoying a cappuccino. The Royal Library was founded in the mid 1600s by King Frederik III, but it was his son, King Christian V, who was first able to use the library in 1673. In 1793 the library was opened to the public. The old part of the current buildings was constructed in 1906. The Black Diamond doubled the size of the library when opened 1999. In total, there are some 2 ½ million books and over 50,000 manuscripts, making it the largest library in Scandinavia.
Vor Frue Kirke - Church of Our Lady
Vor Frue Kirke (Domkirken) - Church of Our Lady (Cathedral) - was founded in 1191 and consecrated in 1209 as one of the four parish churches in Middle Ages Copenhagen. Several church buildings have been on the site, and the present one was started in 1811 just after destruction of the previous church during the 1807 bombardment by the English. In 1924, the diocese of the island of Sjælland - Zealand was split in two parts, and the Church was designated as a Cathedral. Inside are important statue works by the famous Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen.
Rådhuspladsen - Town Hall Square
Rådhuspladsen - Town Hall Square - is today's center of Copenhagen activity. The square is on the site of the old Western Gate of the city, and is dominated by Rådhuset - The Town Hall. The impressive building came into use in 1903, and its architect, Martin Nyrop, was very detail-oriented and took ideas from everywhere to create a building in a Middle Ages and Italien renaissance palatial style.
Vor Frelsers Kirke - Church of Our Savior
Vor Frelsers Kirke - Church of Our Savior - was consecrated in 1696 for the people of Christianshavn. In 1752 the tower and spire were finished, and there are about 400 steps to the top, with the final 150 steps on the outside spiral staircase, where there is a large golden globe and a Christ-like figure representing the conquering of the earth by Christianity.
Kongens Nytorv - The King's New Square
Kongens Nytorv - The King's New Square - was laid out in the 1680s by King Christian V on the site of the previous old Eastern Gate of the city. There is an equestrian statue of the king in the center of the square, but there is more interest in elements of the statue other than in the rider. Under the horse is a man who is about to be crushed by the horse, and he has two purposes: to hold the statue up with his knee since the statue was originally made out of heavy lead and the horse began to sink, causing it all to be redone in bronze in 1946, and to symbolize Envy which the king and his horse are trampling. The four people who sit and rest at the statue's base represent Wisdom, Heroics, Strength and Honor. Students come and dance around the statue when they finish their student exams. In the winter, there is an ice skating rink around the statue. It takes the Copenhagen Municipality about 7 weeks to install the rink, which typically open on the first Sunday in the Advent.
Nikolaj Kirke - Nikolaj Church
Nikolaj Kirke - Nikolaj Church - was built in the Middle Ages during the 1500s. However, it burned in the great fire of 1795, which left a lot of Copenhagen in ruins. After the fire, King Frederik VI ordered that the parish church should be torn down, which was done in 1805. The tower was salvageable and turned into a watch tower for the fire service. The square around the church was built up as a meat and specialty food shops. The tower continued as a fire service point until 1882, when it was built in a new form. In 1909 the beer brewer Carl Jacobsen funded the building of a new spire. Copenhagen's administration decided to rebuild the church, which was finished in 1917, but it was not consecrated as a church. It has served many other purposes, such as housing Copenhagen's Museum, the main city library until 1957, a concert hall, etc. Even though it was not going to host worship services, it still got a new organ, which was built in 1930 and was a forerunner for the modern, new baroque style of organ. Today it houses an art gallery.
The Stork Fountain
The Stork Fountain was installed in 1894 at the intersection of the two pedestrian walking streets Købmagergade and Strøget on the square called Amagertorv. It is a popular point to designate as a meeting point. On Amagertorv is Copenhagen's first public toilet, underground, which opened in 1902 with great interest among the townsfolk.
Canal Boat Tours
Canal Boat Tours are a major tourist attraction in Copenhagen. The specially-constructed boats make their way through the waterway canals and on the Inner Harbor with a guided narration. The tours last about an hour.
The three Lakes of Copenhagen
The three Lakes of Copenhagen are made of dammed water from distant natural lakes and running water sources, mainly Utterslev Bog and the Ladegårds River. The lakes were created in the Middle Ages, mainly to provide water to the chain of moats around Copenhagen. One lake was used for drinking water. The other two were used for washing clothes, and the washers would spread their clothes out on the banks to dry. In the late 1920s, the free formed lakes were contained with walls as they are today. Sortedam Lake - Blackdam Lake - was named for the black dam that contained the flow of water. Saint Jørgens Lake was named after a nearby hospital for lepers, Saint Jørgens Garden. Pebling Lake meant a student at Latin school.
Ørstedspark - Ørsted's Park - is one of a ring of parks resulting from the fortifications of ramparts and moats established by King Christian IV in the 1600s. With the coming of democracy in the 1840s there was great pressure on the military to give up the areas of fortification. The population needed space, and at the time the only green spaces were small church yards and the ramparts. The debate was whether to make it an all- green space or to build for the people. The result was a compromise: The Citadel, Østre Anlæg, Botanical Gardens, Tivoli, and Ørstedspark. The old ramparts became officially owned by the city in 1869, and for a few years there was discussion on plans. It was the landscape gardener Henrik Flint whose plan was used for Ørstedspark. It was a promenade park, typical for the time. It took the name because the park already had a monument to Hans Christian Ørsted, who was the first to discover electro magnetism and the first to create aluminum. The park has 16 acres (6.5 hectares), of which 4.5 acres (1.8 hectares) is lake area. Many statues have been added by Carlsberg Beer's Albertina Foundation.
Nyhavn - New Harbor
Nyhavn - New Harbor - was new at the time of its construction by King Christian V using Swedish prisoners of war from 1670 to 1673 in order to connect the main inner harbor of Copenhagen with a new square he established as Kongens Nytorv - King's New Square. The area developed an infamous reputation as a hangout for sailors and prostitutes, but eventually was established as a permanent heritage harbor for old wooden ships. Today it is a popular place for eating and drinking. The buildings are protected, and the oldest is from 1661 (number 9). I consider it to be the 'heart' of Copenhagen.
New Carlsberg Glyptotek
The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek - New Carlsberg Glyptotek - was founded by the Carlsberg Beer brewer Carl Jacobsen to house his large private art collection. It was named after his brewery, Ny Carlsberg, with the addition of' Glyptotek' which implied a collection of things made of stone, i.e., sculptures. It is truly a unique museum, with over 10,000 pieces of art. The two original buildings are one by the architect Vilhelm Dahlerup in 1897, and a second designed by architect Hack Kampmann and opened in 1906. These two buildings are connected by a Winter Garden. A third building was opened in 1996 and was designed by Henning Larsen to house the Egyptian collection downstairs and the French Impressionist and Post Impressionist works upstairs.
Christianshavn - Christian's Harbor - was established in 1620 by King Christian IV who wanted to invest in the marine community at a time when the realm had many ships and seamen who became rich after returning from 2 or 3 years of tours in international trade. At the time, Copenhagen was inside walls, but there were no walls on the sea side of Copenhagen, so something was necessary for defense. The King admired the Netherlands, so he had the Dutch architect Johan Semp make plans for a new area of town, Christianshavn, patterned after Amsterdam. Thousands of tree trunks were driven into a bed of water. Upon completion, merchants were persuaded to settle in Christianshavn - with investors offered an incentive of being tax free for 12 years. The area did not suffer in the great fires and English bombardment, so one can still see examples of houses built in the late 1600's.
Kastellet - The Citadel
Kastellet - The Citadel - was completed by King Frederik III in 1661-1663 as the harbor front defense to finish off the work of his father, King Christian IV, who had already finished all the ramparts and moats as a defense system around the city of Copenhagen. It is a pentagonal area concealed by the high earthworks. Within there is an impressive, and much unchanged, military compound. There is also an interesting church, consecrated in 1704. For its first 200 years, it was a soldier's church, but in 1902 it became a civilian parish church. It is the church of the dean of the Danish army. The adjacent building was originally a prison, and "listening holes" connect the prison and the church for the benefit of the prisoners.
Højbro Plads - High Bridge Plaza - is an open area between the pedestrian street Strøget and the bridge leading over a canal to Slotsholmen - The Castle Island where one finds Christiansborg and other public buildings. At the end of the square is a statute of Bishop Absalon of Roskilde on the spot where Copenhagen began when he founded it in 1167.
Gråbrødretorv - Grey Friars Square
Gråbrødretorv - Grey Friars Square - is hidden away from the busy streets of Copenhagen, and in warmer months offers a great many choices of eateries with outdoor seating. The tree in the center of the square is a form of sycamore, and is the largest and oldest of its kind in Copenhagen. Until 1530 there was a monastery on the square.
Danish National Art Museum
Statens Museum for Kunst - Danish National Art Museum - was built between 1889 and 1896 following plans drawn by Wilhelm Dahlerup and G.E.W. Møller in Italian Renaissance style. In the autumn of 1998, an extension was opened designed by the architects Anna Maria Indrio and Mads Møller. This new building was constructed in the park behind the original building and is connected to it by a glass-covered walkway, 'the street of sculptures'. The 'street' stretches along the full length of the museum, and within it concerts and dance performances are held. The museum contains collections of art dating from the 12th century. In the older European and Danish collections there are representations by Mantegna, Titian, Tintoretto, Breugel, Rubens, Frans Hals and Rembrandt. The modern collection comprises work by Picasso, Braque, Leger, Matisse, Modigliani and Emil Nolde. Also Danish painters are richly represented with the styles of C.W. Eckersberg, Oluf Høst, Edward Weihe, Olaf Rude and Haral Giersing.
Nyboder - New Small Houses - were started in 1631 by King Christian IV to house the sailors for his fleet. It was practical to have them living in a confined area so that they could quickly be called to duty. People associate Nyboder with their yellow color; however the original color of the development was red and white. Owned by the military, Nyboder still house enlisted personnel of the Danish Navy, Army and Air Force, but since 2006 priority is no longer given to enlisted personnel.
Pølsevogn - sausage wagon
One never need be hungry in Copenhagen when there are so many opportunities to grab a famous Danish sausage in a bun. Many people on tour ask if we can take a break to sample, and it is seldom a problem (day or night) to find a pølsevogn - sausage wagon - nearby.
Trekroner - Three Crowns fortress
Trekroner - Three Crowns - is a manmade fortress island was created in 1787 to strengthen Copenhagen's fortification against attack from the sea, mainly from a potential attack by the Swedes, with which the Danes had battled for a total of 134 years worth of wars. But the only use of the fortress was in defense against Lord Nelson, who came in 1801 with the purpose of taking the strong Danish naval fleet which the British feared might fall into the hands of Napoleon. The 66 canons of the fortress held him at bay. In 1807, the British admiral James Gambier came with the same purpose, and was successful in taking the fleet after bombarding Copenhagen for 4 days and 3 nights. 6 weeks after the Danes surrendered, the fleet was ready to go: 45 naval ships and 92 merchant ships with supplies from the Navy's warehouses left Copenhagen flying the English flag. It was a day of sorrow for the Danish-Norwegian navy and the kingdom. It also reshaped the political and spiritual climate which was a prelude to the Constitutional Monarchy that came later in the mid Century.
Tivoli Gardens is the indisputable Number One attraction for tourists and residents in Denmark. Its founder, Georg Carstensen, was only 29 when he obtained permission from King Christian VIII to set up a pleasure garden outside the city walls that existed at the time. The king agreed with Carstensen's logic that happy folk did not revolt or get involved in politics, which was certainly the case elsewhere in European revolutions of the times. In less than 3 months, he had raised the money, prepared the land and built a music pavilion, bandstand and restaurants. It was an instant success when it opened on 15 August 1843. Tivoli has since grown over the years into its present area of 82,717 square meters (20.5 acres), and has many amusement rides, restaurants and food stands, and entertainment. In addition to the royal families of Denmark, there have been many famous visitors at Tivoli, including Walt Disney who visited several times in the 1950s. He was a great admirer of Tivoli, which was an inspiration to his first park, Disneyland, which opened in 1955.
Helsingør, north of Copenhagen, is Denmark's closest point to Sweden, and ferries run frequently across Øresund to the Swedish port of Helsingborg. On the Denmark side, Helsingør - Elsinore - is home to Kronborg Slot - Kronborg Castle, used by Shakespeare as his setting for Hamlet. The castle was built in the period between 1574 and 1585 and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000.
Hillerød, northwest of Copenhagen, spotlights Frederiksborg Slot - Frederiksborg Castle. Buildings on the site were started by King Frederik II, but the most elaborate buildings were completed during the reign of his son, King Christian IV, in the early part of the 17th Century. Danish monarchs were crowned here from 1641 until 1840 in the beautiful Slotskirke - Castle Chapel. The Carlsberg brewer Carl Jacobsen restored the castle after it was badly damaged in a fire in 1859, and he established it as a national museum to house great Danish treasures of furnishings and art.