A November 2001 trip
to Copenhagen by vampirefan
Quote: In part two of my three-part journal on my trip to Copenhagen, I explore some of the historical attractions this beauty has to offer. Everywhere you look you can find something historical. This is just a small sample of what there is to see here.
Tivoli Gardens is one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. Today it is on the must-see list of just about everyone who comes to Copenhagen. Throughout the park's 15 acres, you will be able to find something for everyone in your party.
European pleasure gardens were what inspired Tivoli’s founder Georg Carstensen (1812-1857) to build this beautiful entertainment complex. In 1841, he applied to King Christian VIII to build "Tivoli & Vauxhau" for 5 years. The gardens opened in August of 1843. The original plans included formal gardens, trading posts, a concert pavilion, a theater, a fireworks display platform, games, and restaurants. Today you can still find this and more at Tivoli. In 1944, Nazi sympathizers tried to break the sprits of the Danes by burning the buildings of Tivoli. Undaunted, temporary buildings were erected, and within a few weeks, Tivoli was back to its original beauty.
More than 3 million people visit Tivoli every summer. Today they have more than 20 rides of all types. They do have some older wooden roller coasters, but nothing in the way of hyper-coasters. They have 36 different restaurants on the grounds. Throughout the summer, a number of concerts and performances are held. The gardens boast an impressive display of more than 100,000 blooms.
A few years ago, they opened up Tivoli in the winter for Christmas visitors, and it has become a popular event. Christmas in Tivoli is celebrated from mid-November until the end of December. At that time, Tivoli is truly a beautiful place to be. You can ice skate on Tivoli Lake. They have various shows through the gardens, including a performance of The Nutcracker performed by the Royal Danish Ballet. One of the display halls becomes an incredibly cute gnome village with about 20 different gnome villages. The days are shorter and the lights of Tivoli get to twinkle a little longer.
We were here during this time, and it was simply amazing. There were lights everywhere. Even in the winter, there were still beautiful blooms all over the place. The gnome village was simply adorable. Fire barrels can be found everywhere to warm you up before you move on to the next spot. Being here, I felt as if I had been transported to a page out of a fairytale. It is simply just that charming.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 12, 2005
Copenhagen, Denmark 1630
+45 33 15 10 01
Attraction | "Folketinget (Danish Goverment)"
Well, just like here in the States, where you can go and see our government hard at work, you can also go see the Danes hard at work. The Danish government, known as Folketing, operates as part of Christianborg Palace. Anyone is welcome to sit up in the balcony and admission is free.
Denmark created its first democratic constitution on June 5, 1849. The most recent activity occurred in 1953, when "Lansiting" was abolished. Most of the original 1849 constitution remains unchanged. General elections are held every 4 years unless the prime minister decides to call one sooner. They are governed by minority governments comprised of one or more parties. There are 179 members of Folketing.
The buildings here date from 1918. The buildings here house the queen’s office, the prime minister’s office, and the court. Folketing is divided into a reception room, meeting rooms, and offices. They have administrative offices here. All members of Folketing also have their own secretary and office. Several journalists who cover Folketing also have offices here as well. There are more than 1,100 people who work here.
The members sit in a semicircle facing the speaker. The Social Democratic Party sits on the left and the Conservative Party on the right. The ministers sit on the right-hand side nearest the window. The most important members sit at the front. There is a special press box, and the balcony on the left hand side is reserved for the Royal Family or other important visitors. The new Folketing year starts the first Tuesday in October.
Folketing meetings start at 1pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and 10am on Thursdays and Fridays. They generally do not meet in June and July. Everything here is presented in Danish. Most visitors who come here do so for the building itself. The inside of the meeting room is incredibly rich in details. There are a number of exquisite statues and decorative details to amaze anyone. It must be a pleasure to work in such grandeur.
You just simply sign in. You will be directed to the upstairs balcony where you can watch the proceedings. The guards here do speak English, and they have brochures printed in English, too.You are asked to speak in hushed tones. Photography is permitted as long as the flash is off. Small children are not permitted. It is also pretty impressive when you return home to tell folks you were part of the government meetings! Just leave out that anyone can do this!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 12, 2005
1240 København K.
33 37 55 00
Attraction | "Christiansborg and Queen's Gobelins"
There is nothing that will make you feel more like a VIP than going to another country and getting to visit the royal digs. Okay, granted, anyone who pays the admission can come on in, but when you’re back home telling your wonderful travel stories, you can always leave that last part out!
On our first full day in Copenhagen, my friend Tine took us to see Christiansborg Palace. Well, talk about impressive! It is a beautiful palace to say the least. The first thing you should do is just take a walk around the courtyard and admire the beautiful buildings and statues present.
The present castle is not the first castle built for the Royal Family. The first building was erected in 1167. The first palace was the seat of Bishop Absalon, founder of Copenhagen. It was razed to the ground in 1369. After that, Copenhagen Castle with Blue Towers was built, but that was demolished in 1731. That was replaced with the first Christiansborg Palace.
The castle had a stunning baroque edifice with a chapel and stables. A fire in 1794 destroyed the castle, leaving only the stables. Yet another castle was built between 1803 and 1828. It was a neoclassical building, which was typical of the times. But guess what? It was ravaged by fire, too. Maybe someone was trying to tell them something? The currently (and hopefully last) castle was built between 1907 and 1928 by Thorvald Jorgensen, and he used reinforced concrete, so hopefully it can withstand a fire should they get so unlucky again. Fragments of the last castle were preserved in this structure. The tower is 106m, making it the tallest tower in Copenhagen.
Prins Jørgens Gård 1
(45) 33 92 64 92
Attraction | "Tojhusmuseet-The Royal Danish Arsenal Museum"
One of my fellow IgoUgo writers posed the question, "What is it with boys and guns?" Well, I am assuming what ever it is; it also affects big boys too. If you ask John what his favorite thing about Copenhagen was, I am sure he would tell you Tojhusmuseet, or the Royal Danish Arsenal Museum.
The building was constructed between 1598-1604 by King Christian IV to house the Royal Arsenal. The building contains the longest vaulted Renaissance hall in Northern Europe. When it was being constructed, it was the largest complex of its kind in Europe. The Royal Arsenal was the central storehouse of cannons, hand weapons, amour, etc.
You start your visit at the Armoury hall on the first floor. This looks as if it was probably once used as stables. It is huge, and the floor is made of stone. They have massive doors here and about 16 huge wooden beams placed throughout the area. Here you will find 350 guns on display. This is where you will find the bigger weapons such as cannons and tanks. At each weapon, you will find a plaque which gives you the date of the weapon and information on the weapon. The information is written in both Danish and English.
Up on the second floor is where you find the largest concentration of weapons. Here you will find a collection of more than 7,000 hand weapons from the 1300s through the modern day. Here you will find decorative and trophy weapons, as well as weapons used for everyday and war. The weapons are arranged by year and grouped together by types. You will find weapons from all over the world, not just from Denmark. Weapons are displayed between rows of plexi glass. You can move around at your own pace. In addition to guns you will also find swords, coats of amour, uniforms, medals, banners, saddles, models, and other types of military equipment. There is even a replica of Christianborg Palace on display. You will find a variety of types and sizes of weapons. We saw some very tiny guns to guns so long it would appear they needed more than 1 person for the weapon. Up on the third floor is where they house visiting and special exhibits. While we were here they had a special exhibit on Russian weapons.
Hours are Tuesday-Sunday 12pm-4pm. They are closed December 23-26 and 31st and Jan 1st. Admission is $8 (adults) $4 (seniors and students), children free. Wednesday is free day. They do have a number of ongoing and changing exhibits. Visit them at www.thm.dk to see what is going on during your visit. The site does have an English version. They do offer special tours in advance. One of the most popular events is in the fall where they also hold a medieval jousting tournament. They do have guides on the premise to answer any questions. Most do speak English.
Royal Danish Arsenal Museum (Tojhusmuseet)
45 33 11 60 37
Attraction | "Nyhaven Canal"
One of the most popular (and free) spots to visit while in Denmark is the centuries-old Nyhaven Canal. This place is truly magical, and when you are here you feel like you have been transported back to another time and place.
The canal was completed in 1673, and soon the salt water filled the canal on October 19th of that year. It was used as a major port and was soon filled with drunken sailors, brothels, and tattoo parlors. It soon had a seedy reputation and all but the bravest of souls stayed away. In the 1970s, like many places in the world, it was reinvented and turned into a waterside attraction for the whole family.
Despite its less-than-stellar reputation in the early days, it was at #20 that Hans Christian Anderson wrote his first fairytale in 1835. From 1845-65 he lived at #67 and returned again in 1873, where he lived at #18 for two years before his death. Walking down this beautiful and historic canal, you can see why it so inspired Anderson.
Today, in the summer months, this place is a sea of brightly colored umbrellas as Danes move outside to dine and enjoy the beauty of this magical place. This picturesque canal which runs from Kongens Nytorv is filled with boats, open air café and restaurants, bars, and trendy stores. You can still find a tattoo parlor or two, but today they will be highly regarded as the place to get some ink. Most of the activity takes place on the northern side of the canal. On the opposite side you will find preserved buildings, antique shops, and upscale dining. They also hold a number of festivals throughout the year. Since I notice quite an interest in beer among the igougo travelers, you might be interested to know they have a beer festival here in September. At the bars here you can try Nyhaven Ale from the Orbaek Brewery. From April through September make sure to take in a Canal Tour via boat. I even spotted a lightship here.
Even if you are here in the winter months, like we were, you will still find plenty to do. The bars and restaurants now have a homey feeling with many having fireplaces and huge candles outside. Christmas lights add a twinkle to everything. People seem to have more time to mingle, as the pace is a bit slower in the wintertime. In the wintertime it still felt like something out of one of Anderson’s fairy tales. When you are in Copenhagen, take the time to visit this beautiful place and experience the magic for yourself. For more information, go to www.visitcopenhagen.dk.
Nyhavn Waterfront District
South of the Royal Playhouse
Copenhagen, Denmark 1051
Today part of the castle is open to the public. Here you can tour several rooms, which have displays of antiques, personal photos, jewels, and other royal trappings, clothing, and more. The rooms are beautifully displayed. They had some incredible gold artifacts, including an incredible gold cross and a gold box. I loved all of the antiques on display, and the rich tapestry wallpaper. I noticed the same type of wallpaper when we were in the Biltmore House near us in Asheville. I also noticed a rather scary picture in one of the rooms of a person who appeared to be dead or crazy. We never did find out who the picture was of.
You will also see some displays of the work of the current Queen, Queen Margreth II. She seems to be very popular with the Danes. She is also a very talented woman. We saw some of her needlework displays, which were very impressive. We also found out this talented monarchy sews costumes for the Danish Ballet and theater troops. She is also a painter. Quite talented indeed. You are welcome to take pictures inside of the rooms.
When it comes near the top of the hour try to make sure you head back outside. Here you can catch the changing of the guards. Several new guards walk in precision formation at six (I believe) stops and relieve the present guard. While this is not the major pomp and circumstance that you find in London, it is nonetheless impressive. There are also fewer crowds so you can get a better view. There are two guards stationed when you first enter the courtyard. You can take pictures of these guys but they will not talk to you. It is my understanding that sometime during the day you can find a sentry on the grounds that will answer questions about the guards.
Denmark has the oldest monarch in the world, so you really should take the time to tour this magnificent palace. You should allow yourself about an hour inside if it is not to crowded. They also have guides inside to answer any questions and they do speak English. They have a gift shop on the premises. You can pick up a guide when you pay your admission and they have guides in English. Admission at the time I went was $10. The palace is open from 10am-4pm Monday-Friday and 10am-2pm on Saturday. For more information you can visit www.danishcastles.com.
Charlotte, North Carolina