Nordic Adventure, Part 6: Copenhagen

The fourth city in my five-city romp through the Nordics was the capital of Denmark:  Copenhagen!

Copenhagen is full of fascinating things to see and do.   For example, directly opposite the main train station is Tivoli Gardens, the second oldest amusement park in the world.  Opened in 1843, Tivoli is the second most popular seasonal theme park in the world, the most visited theme park in Scandinavia and the fourth most visited in Europe.


Most of the rides are considerably more recent than the park’s opening in the 1800s.  For example, the red track here is The Demon, which only dates back ten years to 2004.  Some roller coaster enthusiasts posted a video of their ride if you’re curious.


In the center of the city is the Rundetårn, or Round Tower, completed in 1642.


The tower was built as an astronomical observatory at the top and a library partway up.  The path to the top is a helix, a sloped walk.  This was chosen over stairs because so that a horse and carriage could go to the top.  This allowed them to move books and sensitive scientific equipment up the tower easily.


The center of the tower is completely hollow, and you can see all the way to the bottom.   A daring tourist can step right onto this thick observation glass.


This is the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. It was founded in 1897 by Carl Jacobsen, the man who founded the Carlsberg beer brewery.  It’s an art museum which originally contained Jacobsen’s private collection.


The museum was originally a sculpture museum, and sculpture remains the primary focus of the atrium and grounds.  This is Kai Nielsen’s sculpture, “Water Mother,” front and center in the Winter Garden.


In front of the main stairway is a rather nifty statue of Neptune.


…and this attractive fellow is in the gardens out back.


Let’s get this out of the way right now- You’re going to see Segway riders in a bunch of these pictures, because I took another Segway tour when I was in Copenhagen.   The city of Copenhagen contains hundreds of miles worth of bicycle lanes, 14 miles of which are on the streets in the city.  Segways are allowed to use bicycle lanes in the city, so it’s an amazingly great way to cover a lot of ground.  Plus they’re really fun.


I can’t really remember why I took a picture of this wall, but it sure is a happy wall, wouldn’t you say?


This square is called Gammeltorv.  That round thing is a fountain but I guess it was still covered from the winter.  I had a very enjoyable traditional Danish meal at a restaurant in this plaza.


Copenhagen was nine days into my travels, and I needed to do some laundry.  I found a marvelous place called The Laundromat Cafe, which has locations in Denmark and Reykjavik Iceland.  The Laundromat Cafe is exactly what it sounds like-  a nice place to get a snack or a beer while you’re laundry is running in the handy coin-operated wash machines.  I did a load of laundry, and had a delicious pastry.  The girl behind the counter said this was a traditional Danish pastry, but I never caught the name of it.  I can say that it looks and tastes like a strawberry  Pop-Tart, only more delicious.


Non-sequitur time!  The Metro in Copenhagen has large clear windows on the front and back of each car, and if you take video from inside, it looks a little bit like the opening credits to Doctor Who.  Behold!

Amagertorv is a popular meeting place in Copenhagen because the Stork Fountain is a pretty well known and easy to find landmark.


This building used to be Nikolaj Church, but now Nikolaj Kunsthal is a contemporary art center.  They do their best to keep the confusion down, by way of this handy hanging banner on the front of the building.


Frederik’s Church is often referred to as the Marble Church.  It’s due west of Amalienborg Palace.  This is the largest church dome in Scandinavia, and it was probably modeled after the Basilica in Vatican City.


This is the courtyard at Amalienborg Palace.  Amalienborg consists of four identical palace buildings in an octagonal courtyard.


You can tell it’s a Palace because there are guards with fuzzy hats.  It’s a royal thing.


Den lille havfrue, or The Little Mermaid, is a fairly famous bronze sculpture by Edvard Eriksen which sits on a rock by the waterside.  The head of the statue is modeled after ballerina Ellen Price, but Price didn’t agree to model in the nude, so the body is modeled after the sculptor’s wife, Eline.  The statue is a frequent target for vandalism, and tourists climb onto the rock with her quite often for photographs.  In fact, the solitude displayed in this picture is very much an illusion, as you’ll see in the next photo.


Later in the day, I took a boat tour which passed the Little Mermaid from the water.  This view gives you a much more accurate idea of what it’s like by the Mermaid’s rock.


The Gefion Fountain, near the Little Mermaid, is the biggest monument in Copenhagen.  It was created for Carlsberg Brewery’s 50th birthday.  The legend of Gefion was told to me three different times while I was in Copenhagen, and it goes roughly as follows:

The Swedish king Gylfe offered Gefion as much of Sweden as she could plough in one day and one night.To get the most out of it, Gefion turned her four sons into big strong oxen and harnessed them to a plough.   And then they ploughed. And they ploughed. All day and all night. So deep in the ground, that when the time expired, Gefion could lift up the land and drop it into the sea between Sweden and Funen Island in Denmark.  And that’s how the beautiful and historic Zealand Island – the biggest island in Denmark – came to be.


Near the Little Mermaid is an old well preserved star-shaped fortress called Kastellet.  This is one tiny corner of it.


Apparently, this bridge is the source of considerable embarassment for the Danes-   the construction was begun from both sides, and when they got near the middle, they realized that the two sides did not actually line up.  The construction company has since gone out of business and they’re left with an incomplete non-connecting bridge.


The spire on the left here, with the four entwined dragons, is actually the Stock Exchange. This is very misleading, Copenhagen!


This is the Royal Library in Copenhagen.  The structure in the front is referred to as the Black Diamond, and the part in the back is the original Library building.


The Royal Library Garden exists behind the structures in the previous photo-  it’s a really quiet and pleasant place in the middle of the city.


This is Christiansborg Palace, the seat of Danish Parliament.


Anchored in the harbor is the Royal Yacht Dannebrog.  Dannebrog serves as the official and private residence for the Royal Couple and other members of the Royal Family when they are on official visits overseas or on summer cruises in home waters.


When the royals are waiting to be picked up by the boat, or when they’re waiting for state visitors, they wait in Toldboden.  They use the gazebo-like building on the left, with the crown on its roof.  Non-royals are allowed to wait in the other structure.


My visit was just after the Eurovision Song Contest was hosted in Copenhagen.  It was so recent to my visit that they hadn’t even taken down the banner on the giant music hall yet.


I don’t have much to say about the Opera House.


Frederik’s Church again, this time from the water.


The neat looking spiral spire is Christianshavn, the Church of Our Savior.  The circular stairs to climb the tower are on the outside of the building.  I didn’t climb this one, regrettably, but it looks really neat!


Copenhagen’s City Hall Square.


Alongside of the Copenhagen City Hall is a statue of Hans Christian Andersen, author of faery-tales such as The Little Mermaid and Frozen…er, I mean The Snow Queen.


Have you ever been to Copenhagen?

7 thoughts on “Nordic Adventure, Part 6: Copenhagen

  1. Amelie

    The embarrassing bridge story made me laugh out loud. And of course, the Doctor Who theme played in my head during the reading of this post. This city looks so beautiful. This might my favorite of your Nordic Adventure posts yet.


  2. Robert

    Regrettably only at the airport (which is one of the best I’ve ever been).
    Btw, Dannebrog is also (resp. mainly) the name of the Danish flag!


  3. I was just in Copenhagen in June. We saw a few of the same things, but mostly you covered a lot of ground that I didn’t. I’m sooo behind with my blog that I’m just now posting about a trip to Spain from last May so who knows when I’ll catch up to Copenhagen, but when I do I’m going to link to your post so people can see what the Little Mermaid is really like lol. I was told by the waitress at the Hard Rock that it’s best to go there at sunset because all the tour buses have stopped by then so you can get a pretty sunset in the picture and not have a bunch of people climbing all over her. Of course we left around 10pm and the sun still hadn’t set.


    1. I’m waaaay behind in mine also- my trip through the Nordic countries was in May. Since them, I’ve also been to Krakow, Budapest, and Bratislava.

      This is a rather pleasant problem to have, though.


      1. Nice. That’s true. I actually don’t mind it so much. I usually type up notes right after a trip and then get around to an actual blog post much, much later. By that time, writing the post is a little like getting to re-experience it. 🙂


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