COPENHAGEN — IndreBy

This is the inner city area of Copenhagen and it is the main tourist and shopping centre. The area is bounded by the lakes that circle the inner city and the harbour. It is also the historical centre of Copenhagen and is home to many of Copenhagen’s attractions, restaurants, clubs, bars and hotels. In this area you will find lots of attractive streets and squares full of both the local people and visitors to the city. Copenhagen’s two main thoroughfares of Strøget and Købmagergade are found here and they are pedestrianised.

The sights found here are:
Danish Museum of Art and Design
Museum of the History of Medicine
Amalienborg
Marmorkirken
David’s Collection
Rosenborg Castle
The King’s Garden
Geological Museum
Danish National Gallery
The University of Copenhagen Botanical Garden
Worker’s Museum
Music Museum
The Round Tower
Gråbrodretorv
Strøget
Royal Danish Theatre
Canal Tours
Charlottenborg
Nyhavn
Thorvaldsen’s Museum
Christiansborg Palace
The Jewish Museum
The Black Diamond
The Royal Danish Arsenal Museum
National Museum of Denmark
City Hall
Danish Design Center
Glyptoteket
Tivoli

Danish Museum of Art and Design
This museum is one of Scandinavia’s main exhibition forums for Danish and international industrial design as well as decorative and applied arts. Its collection and resources are used for the study of design and its history in Denmark. The museum was founded in 1890 by the Industriforeningen and was opened five years later in a building situated on what is now H.C. Andersens Boulevard. Since 1926 the museum has been housed in the former King Frederik’s Hospital which is a magnificent Rococco building dating from the 1750s. Some of the designers featured in the museum include Arne Jacobseb, Jacob Jacobsen and Kaare Klint. There is also a lovely collection of Chinese and German porcelain. The library found in the museum holds the largest collection of design books in Scandinavia. The museum garden is open to everyone during museum opening hours and if you are here in summer you may be treated to one of the regular performances that are held here. There is also a cafe.
For information about the museum visit the website at: http://designmuseum.dk/en

Museum of the History of Medicine
This is a fascinating though slightly gruesome museum housed in a former teaching hospital. Its collection covers the history of medicine, pharmacy and dentistry. There are lots of pickled body parts and macabre diagrams. One place not to be missed is the original teaching theatre which is the scene of hundreds of cadavers that have been dissected over the years.
For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.museion.ku.dk

Amalienborg

Amalienborg
This complex is the main residence of the Danish Royal family and it consists of four Rococco palaces dating from the 1750s. The four buidings form an octagonal square with a statue of King Frederik V in the centre. King Frederik ruled Denmark and Norway from 1746 to 1766. You are allowed to visit two of the four palaces - Christian V111’s palace which is in part a museum of the Glücksburg royal family and Christian V11’s palace which is used by the Queen of Denmark to receive guests and official representatives. In the palace grounds you can see the Danish Royal Guard who march from Rosenberg Castle at 11.30am daily through the streets and there is a changing of the guard at the front of Amalienborg Palace at 12pm. If the Queen is in residence you will know because the flags will be flying and the Royal Guard’s music band accompanies this ceremony.
For information about the castle visit the website at: http://kongehuset.dk/english/palaces/amalienborg

Traveller's Tip

Be aware that if you want to take photos inside the palace you will have to pay around 20DKK for the privilege.
Marmorkirken

Marmorkirken
This church is also known as the Marble Church and it is found near to Amalienborg Palace and the Opera House in the middle of elegant Frederiksstaden. With its magnificent copper dome the awe inspiring Marble Church has to be one of the most impressive churches in Copenhagen. Building work started on the church in 1749 and originally the building material was to be Norwegian marble. This became too expensive and work on the church stopped in 1770 and didn’t begin again until the late 19th century when a wealthy industrialist donated the money for it to be completed using the cheaper Danish marble. It was originally to be built in Neoclassical Revival design but it was finally built in the Roman Baroque style and opened in 1894. The dome which is a prominent landmark of the Copenhagen skyline was modelled on St Peter’s in Rome and at 46 metres high it is one of the largest in the world. Around the church are 14 bronze statues of prominent Danish Churchmen including priest and author N.F.S. Grundtvig, philosopher and theologian Søren A. Kierkegaard and poet and novelist B.S. Ingemann. On the balustrade around the dome are sculptures in zinc of 18 historical figures from the Bible icluding prophets, apostles and the founder of Reformation, Martin Luther. The dome is open daily from 1 to 3pm from June 15 to August and the rest of the year only on Saturday and Sundays from 1 to 3 pm.

David’s Collection
This museum contains a magnificent collection of art from the World of Islam dating from the 7th to the 19th centuries from around the world. The initial works of art came from Christian Ludvig David, a lawyer in the Danish High Court who died in 1960 and left his collection to the city but since then the museum has added to this. Other exhibits include pottery, weaponry, glassware, silverware, textiles and texts.
For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.davidmus.dk/en

Rosenborg Castle

Rosenborg Castle
This beautiful Renaissance castle dates from 1633 and has survived fires and wars relatively unscathed. It is found just outside the centre of the city next to the National Gallery and Botanical Gardens. The castle originally started with the construction of the King’s Garden that surrounds the castle today. The castle itself took around 22 years to build. The first building was a two story mansion in Dutch Renaissance style with one tower on the west side and in 1611 an extra gate tower and drawbridge were built. The castle was extended between 1613 and 1615 which made it twice its original size. Between 1616 and 1624 it was extended again to become an elegant and comfortable castle fit for a Royal family. The castle was inhabited by King Christian 1V until his death in 1648 where he was buried in Roskilde Cathedral which you can visit. The king had his quarters in the northern section of the castle and the queen had hers in the southern section. The middle section contained the King’s Audience room, the antechamber and the Great Hall. The castle remained as a Royal residence until around 1710 when King Frederik 1V, the great grandson of King Christian 1V left Rosenberg to live in Frederiksberg Castle. Rosenberg Castle then became a Royal museum housing the Royal collections, King Christian 1V’s personal collection and historical artefacts. The highlights of this collection are the dazzling crown jewels found in the basement Treasury. Other treasures include the lavishly decorated coronation saddle from 1596 which is also found in the basement. Make sure you visit the Knight’s Hall in Room 21 with its coronation seat, three silver lions, and relics from the 1700s.
For information about the castle visit the website at: http://dkks.dk/english

Traveller's Tip

Be aware that if you want to take photos inside the castle you will have to pay around 20DKK for the privilege.
  • Next to Rosenberg Castle are the barracks and drill ground of the Royal Guards. You can follow the Royal guards marching from Rosenberg Castle at 11.30am to Amalienborg Palace to see the changing of the guard at 12pm. Also in these grounds is the Guard museum with its collection showing the history of the guards from their beginning in 1658 to the present day.
    The King’s Garden

    The King’s Garden
    These gardens are Denmark’s oldest Royal gardens and were established in the Renaissance style by King Christian IV in the early 1600s. Today the gardens are a popular place to walk and huge numbers of people visit them every day. Although the park has undergone several major changes, the three entrances have been preserved. Inside the park you will find the Hercules Pavillon and the famous statue of Hans Christian Andersen amongst other sculptures. The gardens are home to a rose-garden, an adventure playground and the symmetrical Renaissance garden, Krumspringet. In the summer there is a puppet show for children.

    Geological Museum
    This is part of the Natural History Museum of Denmark. It houses collections of minerals and gems from all over the world and has one of the best meteorite collections. Included in this collection is a piece of the moon brought home by Apollo 17. There are also fossilised animals and plants.
    For information about the museum visit the website at: http://geologi.snm.ku.dk/english

    Traveller's Tip

    Be aware some of the displays have been poorly translated so it is difficult to know what they are exactly.

    Danish National Gallery
    This is a huge museum and you could easily spend quite a few hours here and it is free admission. It is the largest museum in Denmark and amongst its displays are paintings and sculpture dating from the 13th century up to the present day. The building housing the museum dates from 1896 but has been extended over time. The collection originated in 1750 when the king of that time, Frederik V purchased large quantities of art from Europe and many famous artists of this time are represented here including Bruegel, Rubens and Rembrandt amongst others. There is also a children’s museum on the ground floor with lots of hands-on displays and workshops and an excellent cafe.
    For information about the gallery visit the website at: http://www.smk.dk/en

    The University of Copenhagen Botanical Garden

    The University of Copenhagen Botanical Garden
    This is another part of the Natural History Museum of Denmark. The garden covers an area of 10 hectares and a highlight of the garden is the extensive complex of historical glasshouses dating from 1874. The garden was first created in 1600 on land donated by King Frederik V in what is now Krystalgad but then it moved in 1752 to the Fredersstaden district. It was created at its present location in 1870 and four years later the glasshouses were added through funding by Carlsberg founder J. C. Jacobsen. His inspiration for these was the Crystal Palace built for the Great Exhibition in London in 1851. Today the gardens contain more than 13,000 species of plants almost all of which have been collected in the wild. The garden is arranged in different sections such as: Danish plants, perennial plants, annual plants, rock gardens with plants from mountaineous areas in Central and Southern Europe and Conifer Hill which is planted with coniferous trees. There are also many magnificent specimen trees. There are 27 glasshouses including the conservatory complex which houses the Palm House and one housing cacti and other succulents. In the garden you will also find a special air-conditioned greenhouse that can recreate environments for Artic plants.
    For information about the botanical garden visit the website at: http://botanik.snm.ku.dk/english

    Worker’s Museum
    This museum is found in the former Worker’s Building dating from 1879. The permanent exhibitions allow you to experience what it would have been like to be a family in the years between 1885 and 1990. The exhibitions focus on the everday life and social conditions for working people. One of the permanent exhibitions concentrates on life in the 1950s, another concentrates on the early 1930s, the third follows the life of a real family, the Sorensens, through three generations and the fourth describes the progress of workers during the last century and includes the welfare society and the ‘Nordic Model’ on the labour market. There are also 2 to 3 temporary exhibitions about different aspects of the working class or the labour movement shown each year. The museum has a shop and a cafe and beer hall where you can experience the traditional food and drink of the working class.
    For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.arbejdermuseet.dk/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=1173&Itemid=481

    Music Museum
    The Danish Music Museum offers a fascinating tour through the history of music. Its collection concentrates on the period from the Renaissance to the present-day. The collection of instruments is huge and a highlight is where children are encouraged to experiment with some of them. Guided tours are available in English. Note that the exhibition part of this museum is closed for renovation until late 2013 but the library is still open for public use.
    For information about the museum visit the following website at: http://natmus.dk/en/besoeg-museerne/nationalmuseet/visitor-information

    The Round Tower

    The Round Tower
    This tower is the oldest functioning observatory in Europe and has been around since 1642. It is found in Købmagergade, a shopping street and from the platform at the top you will get a panoramic view of Copenhagen. To get to the top you will need to walk up a spiral walk which is 268.5 metres long at the outer edge and only 85.5 metres long near the centre of the building. Though the tower is only 36 metres tall you will have to walk around 209 metres because of the spiral walk. This spiral walk leads to the library hall which once housed the university book collection. Today it contains temporary exhibitions of art, culture, history and science. The Round Tower is connected with the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe and some of his material is found here.
    For information about the tower visit the website at: http://www.rundetaarn.dk/engelsk/index.html

    Traveller's Tip

    The walk to the top isn’t hard due to the spiral walkway in place of steps. It is probably best to visit the tower in the morning to avoid long queues and be aware that it can get windy at the top.
  • The telescope is open for public use during the winter months.
    Gråbrodretorv

    Gråbrodretorv
    This is one of Copenhagen’s most beautiful squares in the old town. It is a lovely place to just sit and relax and watch the people walking by. During the summer months there are plays and concerts held here. The square is surrounded by cafes and restaurants and some lovely restored buildings and the neighbouring streets are good for shopping. The square dates back to 1238 when the first monastery in Copenhagen was built here by the Franciscan monks. The name Gråbrodretorv which translates as ‘Grey Brother’s Square’ refers to the grey habits worn by the monks. The monastery closed down around 300 years after it was built and the buildings were destroyed.

    Strøget

    Strøget
    Strøget refers to the four streets of Frederiksberggade, Vimmelskaftet, Amagertorv and Ostergade which are linked by three squares. This is the world’s longest pedestrian street being 1.1 kilometres and and is most famous for its shopping. There are lots and lots of shops ranging from budget to big international designer brands such as Prada, Louis Vitton and Hermès amongst others. Off Strøget and facing Kongens Nytorv is the leading department store, Magasin du Nord. The side streets are also worth exploring and here you will find many specialised shops selling clothes, jewellery, antiques as well as cafes and restaurants.

    Royal Danish Theatre
    This theatre has been around since 1748 and was first built for private performances for the king but later these performances became public. The Royal Theatre has three main venues which are the Opera House, the Playhouse, and the Old Stage. All performances are subsidised by the government which makes tickets to peformances very affordable.
    For information about the theatre visit the website at: http://kglteater.dk/?sc_lang=en

    Canal Tours

    Canal Tours
    Several boat tour companies provide canal tours around Copenhagen’s waterways or you can take one of the yellow harbour buses. The harbour boat-bus service runs from the Black Diamond to Nordre Toldbod just south of the Little Mermaid, stopping at Knippelsbro, Nyhavn, the Opera House and twice in Holmen along the way. Single tickets are expensive and are valid for one hour but they can also be used on the buses, metro and S-tog. Boats sail every 20 minutes until 8pm (7pm on Sunday). A harbour bus also sails from the Opera House to Nyhavn after every performance. There is a waterbus which is a hop-on-hop-off boat with an audioguide. The route covers the whole harbour from Fisketorvet in the south to the fortress, Trekroner in the north and takes around 150 minutes. A day ticket allows you to get on and off as many times as you like within a 24 hour period.
    For information about canal tours visit the website at: http://www.stromma.dk/en/CANALTOURS
    For information about canal tours visit the website at: http://www.nettobaadene.dk
    For information about the hop-on-hop-ff boat visit the website at: http://www.stromma.dk/en/SIGHTSEEING-TOURS/Hop-on-hop-off-boat

    Charlottenborg

    Charlottenborg
    This is one of the largest and most beautiful centres for contemporary art in Europe. The complex which consists of the Royal Danish School of Visual Arts as well as exhibition spaces, a bookstore and a cafe is housed in a lovely old mansion. The centre has three main exhibitions a year consisting of a large one featuring lots of different artists, a middle-size solo exhibition and a range of other events including talks, performances and screenings.
    For information about what is on at the centre visit the website at: http://www.kunsthalcharlottenborg.dk/forside?lang=eng

    Nyhavn

    Nyhavn
    This area was originally a busy commercial port where ships from all over the world docked and was a favourite place for sailors to hang out when they weren’t at sea. Over time lots of the old houses have been renovated but the area still retains its authentic 18th century character. Many of the houses lining the quays of Nyhavn belonged to prominent artists and other famous people. No 9 is the oldest house in the area and dates back to 1681. No 20 was occupied by Hans Christian Andersen and it is here he wrote several of his fairy tales. He also lived at no 67 for 20 years and no 18 where he lived for the last 2 years of his life and where he died. Today you will find a fleet of old-time sailing ships in the harbour as well as many cafes and restaurants. This is a very pleasant place to spend some time, especially in the summer months.

    Gammel Strand

    Gammel Strand
    This area fronts the canal that partially encircles the island of Slotsholmen and it used to be the site of Copenhagen’s fish market. Today you can see here a statue of an old fishwife, representing one of the fishwives who once sold fish on this spot. Facing this statue is the much grander statue of Bishop Absalon who founded Copenhagen over 1,000 years ago. On the other side of the bridge is a statue of a merman and his children found in the water of the canal. Gammel Strand has many beautifully preserved 18th and 19th century town houses as well as some lovely restaurants and cafes. This area is a lovely place to sit on a warm summer’s day.

    Thorvaldsen’s Museum
    This very distinctive building in the Greco-Roman style was Denmark’s first purpose-built art museum. It houses most of the works by the sculptor, Thorvaldensen who is considered one of the world’s greatest sculptors. If you like sculptures then this is the museum for you.
    For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.thorvaldsensmuseum.dk/en

    Christiansborg Palace

    Christiansborg Palace
    This is the most important building in Denmark today as it houses the Danish parliament, the Supreme Court, the Prime Minister’s office and the Royal Reception Rooms. This palace occupies the site on which Bishop Absalon built the earliest fortifications of the city in 1167 and it has housed parliament and sovereigns ever since. The bishop’s castle was destroyed in the 14th century but its ruins as well as those of the medieval fortress were discovered when the present palace was being built and can now be seen by visitors. The first palace to be built here was in 1733 by King Christian V1 but this was destroyed by fire in 1794 without being completed. The riding school is the only survivor from that period. A second palace was built early in the 19th century but was only rarely used by Royalty and in 1849 it became the home of the new Parliament. In 1884 it was burned down and among the sections which survived was the palace church. The dome of this church was decorated with angels by Bertel Thorvaldsen. The palace that you see today was built between 1907 and 1928 to the design of Thorvald Jorgensen. The palace has four wings with a granite facade and a 90 metre-high tower. Parts of the palace are open to the public including the Royal Reception Rooms when they are not being used by the Royal Family and the Danish Parliament when it is in session but on other occasions only by guided tour.
    For information about the palace visit the website at: http://www.christiansborgslot.dk/en.aspx?sc_lang=en

    Old Stock Exchange

    Old Stock Exchange
    The Stock Exchange is one of the oldest buildings in Copenhagen and is found southeast of Christiansborg Palace, facing Copenhagen harbour on the island of Slotsholmen. It was built between 1619 and 1620 by King Christian 1V and served as the city’s stock exchange until 1974 where it moved to more modern facilities at Nikolaj Plads 8. The old Stock Exchange now houses the offices of the Copenhagen Chamber of Trade and is used for gala dinners, conferences and other events. The old Stock Exchange was built in the Dutch Renaissance style and its most impressive feature is the 54 metre-high tower with a spire formed by the intertwined tails of four dragons. These are topped by three crowns which symbolize the Scandinavian Empire of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Another distinctive feature is the green patina of the copper roof which dates from the 19th century.
    For information about the Old Stock Exchange visit the website at: http://english.borsbygningen.dk/

    Traveller's Tip

    According to legend the dragons on the spire guard the building against attack and from fire. This legend has been upheld by the fact that the building has been spared despite fires in neighbouring buildings.

    The Jewish Museum
    This museum is found in the former Royal Boathouse built by King Christian IV in 1598 inside the Danish Royal Library’s Galley House. The museum shows what Danish-Jewish life was like throughout its 400 year history and includes the rescue of Danish Jews during WW11. The museum exhibits historical artefacts and art as well as simple everday items, each telling a story. The building itself is rather unique in that the walls and floors were purposely built so they aren’t straight or even and the rooms aren’t square. The point is to give you a sense of what it would have been like to be a newcomer in a strange place such as an immigrant.
    For information about the museum visit the website at: http://jewmus.dk/en/the-danish-jewish-museum

    The Black Diamond

    The Black Diamond
    This is the new and spectacular wing of the Royal Library that was opened in 1999. It is clad in Absolute Black granite which was mined in Zimbabwe and cut and polished in Northern Italy. It is an amazing building and is found right on the waterfront of the harbour. The building is used for a variety of cultural functions including concerts, exhibitions and lectures. It is open daily except Sundays from 10am.
    For information about the Black Diamond and the Royal Library visit the website at: http://www.kb.dk/en/dia/a>

    The Royal Danish Arsenal Museum
    This museum is housed in the arsenal constructed by King Christian IV between 1598 and 1604. The building contains the longest vaulted Renaissance hall in Northern Europe which is more than 100 metres long and houses the heavy artillery. The museum has a very good collection of hand weapons dating from the Middle Ages to the present day and includes highly decorative guns as well as modern hand guns. There are also displays of coats of armour, uniforms, banners, saddles and models from the 19th century to the present day. There are more than 5000 pieces in the collection, which is extemely well-organised and displayed. The museum has special exhibitions throughout the year as well as special activities and displays for children.
    For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.thm.dk

    National Museum of Denmark
    This is Denmark’s largest museum of Danish cultural history and it is housed in a classical 18th century mansion. It follows the history of the Danes right down to the present day. The highlight of the the museum is the Sun Chariot from the 13th century and the Golden Horns of Gallehus from the early 5th century. These are the national symbols and relics that draw visitors from all over the world to admire.
    For information about the museum visit the website at: http://natmus.dk/en/?cHash=813aa549da4173f208a1dc3c9efd457e

    City Hall

    City Hall
    The Copenhagen City Hall or Københavns Rådhus was built between 1892 and 1905 and its design started a new trend in this part of the world. It is one of the tallest buildings in the city and this is due to its tower which is 105.6 metres high. The City Hall is where many official receptions are held and it is where the Queen celebrates the official part of her birthdays. The Building is found on the largest square in Copenhagen and it can hold 50,000 people or more and many important events are held in the square such as the World Cup in football where they put up a big screen for people to watch. On one side of the square is the Tivoli and on the other side the famous pedestrian street Strøget begins.
    For information about City Hall and its opening times visit the website at: http://subsite.kk.dk/sitecore/content/Subsites/CityOfCopenhagen/SubsiteFrontpage.aspx

    Danish Design Center
    If you like industrial design then this is the place for you. The building houses displays of Danish design at its best as well as things that the Danes have invented. The Center shows eight large and six smaller exhibitions every year and to find out what is on during your visit you should go to the Design Center’s website. There is a shop onsite with some very interesting travel items as well as many other gifts that you might like to take home. The cafe is also good.
    For information about the center visit the website at: http://en.ddc.dk/

    Glyptotek

    Glyptoteket
    This is an art museum and originates from the personal collection of Carl Jacobsen who was the son of the founder of the Carlsberg Breweries. The collection mainly consists of sculpture and one of the highlights are the ancient Egyptian, Roman and Greek sculptures. Also of importance here is the collection of Rodin sculptures which are considered the most important outside of France. The museum also has a large collection of French impressionists, Post impressionists and Danish Golden Age paintings. You will find works from Monet, Pissaro, Renoir, Degas, van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec amongst others.
    For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.glyptoteket.com/

    Traveller's Tip

    If you happen to be in Copenhagen on a Sunday you can visit the gallery for free.
    Tivoli

    Tivoli
    This historic amusement park opened in 1843 and was and still is Denmark’s number-one tourist attraction. At night it has 100,000 specially made soft glow light bulbs as well as ordinary lights making it a spectacular sight. It features thousands of flowers in flower beds, food pavilions, a merry-go-round of tiny viking ships, sideshow games, and a ferris wheel of hot air balloons and a host of other rides. There is also a children’s playground. There is a parade by the Tivoli Boy’s Guard on weekends at 5.20pm and 7.20pm and Wednesday at 5pm.
    For information about Tivoli visit the website at: http://www.tivoli.dk/composite-3351.htm