Copenhagen, Denmark – Two

In the second Copenhagen travel guide, you again start at Nyhaven before walking south. During your sightseeing adventure, you will visit palaces, museums, churches, squares and cobblestone streets. You will also feel the welcoming Nordic spirit of this thriving community of two million people.

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1 Sailing Ships Docked along Nyhavn in Copenhagen, Denmark

These ships are moored at the quay on Nyhaven. The docked vessels continue a tradition dating back to 1673 when this inner harbor was dug out by prisoners at the command of King Christian V. For the next 400 years, it grew into a major shipping port but then tapered off in the late 1940s. Today, traffic consists of some working vessels, restored wooden sailing ships plus sightseeing boats.

Nyhavn 2, 1051 København, Denmark

2 Royal Theater Old Stage in Copenhagen, Denmark

This is the upper level of the Royal Danish Theater, now referred to as the Old Stage. The amazing craftsmanship of Det Kongelige Teater was built on Kongens Nytorv in 1874. You will marvel at the delicate reliefs of theater masks and angels, the elaborate balcony with column-supported archways, the mosaic ceiling and the intricate statues above the dentil molding. This house used to be the venue for opera, ballet, orchestra and other musical concerts. Today, the venue primarily serves the Royal Danish Ballet. The performance company was established in 1748.

Kongens Nytorv 9 1050 København K, Denmark

3 Ludvig Holberg Statue at Royal Theater in Copenhagen, Denmark

The Ludvig Holberg statue adorns the exterior of the Royal Danish Theater. He was a Danish-Norwegian writer, historian, philosopher and playwright. Holberg is often called the founder of Danish literature. Among his numerous accomplishments, he wrote comedies during the early 18th century. The plays were performed at the Lille Grønnegade Theater which was a precursor to this Det Kongelige Teater. The sculpture by Theobald Stein was erected in 1875.

Kongens Nytorv 9 1050 København K, Denmark

4 Hôtel d’Angleterre in Copenhagen, Denmark

Since the elegant doors opened in 1775, the name Hôtel d’Angleterre has been synonymous with luxury. Their current building was constructed around 1800 in the heart of the city at Kongens Nytorv (King’s New Square). It was extensively renovated in 2013. The name of this five-star property is French for England Hotel.

Kongens Nytorv 34, 1050 København K, Denmark

5 World’s Tallest Man Statue in Copenhagen, Denmark

Robert Wadlow was the tallest man in the world. When he died at the age of 22 in 1940, he weighed 438 pounds yet his 8’ 1” frame looked thin. This likeness of the Gentle Giant stands tall at the entrance of the Guinness World of Records Museum. The attraction promises to delight you with exhibits showing over 500 world records.

Østergade 16, 1100 København K, Denmark

6 Jewelry Store on Østergade in Copenhagen, Denmark

If your shopping taste is hungry for luxury, then head toward Østergade. It is a short street leading into Kongens Nytorv or King’s New Square. This part of the Strøget shopping district has famous brand stores such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Mulberry and Prada. Or you can explore local retailers like Klarlund. The fine jewelry store has served Danes and tourists since 1947.

Østergade 22, 1100 København K, Denmark

7 Magasin du Nord in Copenhagen, Denmark

From 1838 until 1847, Hans Christian Andersen was a resident of Hotel du Nord. In 1870, Theodor Wessel and Emil Vett opened their first modest Copenhagen clothing shop here. Nineteen years later, their Magasin du Nord store took over the entire building. In 1894, they replaced it with the gorgeous Magasin du Nord structure. Interesting, they maintained the name Hotel du Nord over the main entrance. If you enjoy history more than shopping, then take a look at their museum that opened in 2013. It traces the first 150 year history of the popular Danish department store chain.

Kongens Nytorv 13, 1050 København K, Denmark

8 Admiral Niels Juel Statue in Copenhagen, Denmark

The Theobald Stein statue was erected in 1881 as a monument to Niels Juel. During the late 17th century, he was responsible for creating a formidable Royal Dano-Norwegian Navy. The admiral led fleets in several sea skirmishes against Sweden, culminating with the Battle of Køge Bay in 1677. This bronze tribute is located on Holmens Kanal. The small street was named after a navy canal that was here from 1606 until 1860. Admiral Niels Juel is buried a short distance away in Holmens Kirke.

Holmens Kanal & Holbergsgade, 1060 København K, Denmark

9 Tower over Gammel Strand in Copenhagen, Denmark

Gammel Strand used to be a quay along a harbor where Copenhagen was founded. Now a row of colorful houses from the 18th and 19th century line the northern bank of the Slotsholmens Canal. In the background is the copper tower of the former Sankt Nikolaj Kirke located at Nikolaj Plads. It was originally built around 1200. After St. Nicholas Church was destroyed by fire in 1795, it was reconstructed with funds from Carl Jacobsen of Carlsberg Brewery. Today, Gammel Strand is home to Nikolaj, the Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center.

Ved Stranden 10, 1061 København K, Denmark

10 Holmens Kirke from Holmens Bro in Copenhagen, Denmark

The land on the left, as seen from Holmens Bridge, has had an extensive history. It was an island prior to the 1500s. During the early 16th century, the property was reshaped into a peninsula and was the location of a shipyard commissioned by King Christian III. His successor, Frederick II, then added an anchor forge (factory). The next king of Denmark, Christian IV, converted them into a church in 1619. Over the next 250 years, Holmens Kirke was expanded into today’s appearance.

Holmens Bro 1060 København K, Denmark

11 Cyclist in Front of Holmens Kirke in Copenhagen, Denmark

This woman is peddling her bike along Børsgade. Across the canal is Holmens Kirke, a church consecrated in 1619. Later during the 17th century, it was extensively expanded into a Renaissance, cruciform design by architect Leonhard Blasius. The Church of Holmen’s denomination is Lutheran and is affiliated with the Church of Denmark.

Holmens Kanal 21, 1060 København K, Denmark

12 Børsen Entrance Ramp in Copenhagen, Denmark

In the early 17th century, King Christian IV had a vision to develop a grand district called Christianshaven. The plans called for building the Børsen. It was Denmark’s stock exchange until 1974. In addition, the grand hall on the first floor housed about 50 merchant booths. Can you imagine going to market in this magnificent Dutch Renaissance landmark?

Børsgade 2 1215 København K, Denmark

13 Dragon Spire on Børsen in Copenhagen, Denmark

Take a close look at the tower on the Børsen or Old Stock Exchange. The intertwining dragons on the 197 foot spire represent the Kalmar Union. This was a close relationship among the Nordic countries of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The tower was finished in 1625 and replaced in 1775. According to legend, it has protected the building from multiple fires that destroyed its neighbors on Slotsholmen over the centuries.

Børsgade 2 1215 København K, Denmark

14 Neptune Statue at Børsen in Copenhagen, Denmark

A statue of Neptune, the Roman god of the sea, stands near the entrance of the Børsen. When the building was constructed on the Slotsholmen island in the early 17th century, it was encircled by waterways. Neptune is holding his traditional weapon, the three-pronged spear called a trident. Neptune is the work of German sculptor Johann Christoph Petzold. He created the piece in 1745.

Børsgade 2 1215 København K, Denmark

15 Mercury Statue at Børsen in Copenhagen, Denmark

It seems appropriate that a statue of Mercury would be outside of the Børsen because it was the center for the stock exchange and a market dating back to 1624. Mercury is the Roman god of financial gain and commerce plus the protector of merchants. In his right hand is a sack of money. In his left is a caduceus, a staff with two intertwined serpents. This is symbolic of occupations and trades. The statue was created by Johann Christoph Petzold in the mid-18th century.

Børsgade 2 1215 København K, Denmark

16 Ornate Frieze on The Red Building in Copenhagen, Denmark

The bust above the crown and Denmark’s coat of arms is Frederick IV. He was the king of Denmark when this ornate frieze was carved on The Red Building in 1721. Also called the Building of Colleges, it is connected to the Christiansborg Palace on Slotsholmen island. The Den Røde Bygning served as the Chancellery House until 1848. It is now the offices of the Ministry of Finance.

Christiansborg Slotsplads 1, 1218 København K, Denmark

17 Pediment above Ministry of Finance Entrance in Copenhagen, Denmark

This pediment displays the Danish crown, the monogram of King Frederik IV and two cherubs. The address of Christiansborg Slotsplads 1 is the entry to Denmark’s Ministry of Finance. They are an arm of the government responsible for analyzing the country’s economic and financial environment. They also support decisions regarding the budget and policy formation. Four government agencies report to the Ministry of Finance.

Christiansborg Slotsplads 1 1218 København K, Denmark

18 Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark

There have been two castles and three palaces that have stood here on an island appropriately called Slotsholmen meaning Castle Islet. The first was built by Bishop Absalon in 1167. The current Christiansborg Palace was built in 1928. It houses all three executive branches of the Danish government including the offices of the Supreme Court and the Prime Minister. Christiansborg Palace is also used by the royal monarchs on special occasions. The spire reaches a height of almost 350 feet.

Christiansborg Slotsplads 1218 København K, Denmark

19 Royal Horse Carriage in Copenhagen, Denmark

Inside the Christiansborg Palace are the Royal Stables and Show Grounds. They maintain the horses and carriages used to transport guests of the royal family during major ceremonies. You can visit the stables to see a great collection of historical coaches, uniforms, harnesses and more. If you are lucky, you will see some of the 20 royal horses being exercised around the city streets.

Christiansborg Ridebane 2, 1218 København, Denmark

20 Christiansborg Palace Chapel in Copenhagen, Denmark

The first chapel for the Danish royal family was built in 1745. After being nearly destroyed by fire in 1794, it was restored into this Neoclassical style and consecrated in 1826. The chapel burned again in 1992 and inaugurated in 1997. For centuries, the Christiansborg Palace Chapel has been the venue for weddings, confirmations, baptisms and funerals for the monarchs and their families.

Prins Jørgens Gård 4 1218 København K, Denmark

21 Bishop Absalon Equestrian Statue in Copenhagen, Denmark

This equestrian monument by Vilhelm Bissen is a tribute to Bishop Absalon, the founding father of Copenhagen. In 1167, he commissioned a castle named Kaufmanne Hafen (Merchants Harbour). From that humble beginning grew the city of København. The statue, which was erected in 1901 on the 700th anniversary of Absalon’s death, is at Højbro Plads. This square is surrounded by 18th and 19th century buildings. The one seen here at Gammel Strand 10 was headquarters of the Kgl. Brand insurance company. Today, it is the law offices of Johan Schlüter Advokatfirma.

Højbro Pl. 10 1200 København K, Denmark

22 Mathias Hansen House in Copenhagen, Denmark

Mathias Hansen was a politician in the early 17th century. In 1616, he had this red brick, three-level Renaissance style townhouse built. Hansen went on to become the borgermester (city major) for four years starting in 1622. The Mathias Hansens Gård is one of the oldest structures in the center of Copenhagen. The historic residence is now occupied by Royal Copenhagen, the manufacturer of fine Danish porcelain.

Amagertorv 6, 1160 København K, Denmark

23 Men Sitting at Church of the Holy Ghost in Copenhagen, Denmark

The site of the Church of the Holy Ghost has an interesting history. A Franciscan monastery was built here in 1238. At the end of the 13th century, the Hospital of the Holy Ghost was added. When the complex became an abbey in 1469, the Helligåndskirken was built. Parts of the original church exist today. For example, this Renaissance portal dates back to 1630. However, much of Helligaands Kirken was destroyed during the great city fire of 1728 and was subsequently rebuilt.

Niels Hemmingsens Gade 5, 1153 København, Denmark

24 Bell Tower on Church of the Holy Ghost in Copenhagen, Denmark

Construction on this bell and clock tower rising over Helligåndskirken began in 1520. The project was halted during the Protestant Reformation. Work resumed in 1537 when the Church of the Holy Ghost became a Lutheran parish. The tower was finished in 1594. After a destructive fire, the spire was reconstructed in 1880.

Niels Hemmingsens Gade 5, 1153 København, Denmark

25 Strøget Shopping District in Copenhagen, Denmark

Strøget is the main shopping district in central Copenhagen. The cobblestoned, pedestrian street stretches for 1.1 kilometers. It is flanked by quaint, often historic buildings including one dating back to 1616. Here you will find anything you want, from luxury retailers to street vendors for a quick bite to eat.

Vimmelskaftet 46, 1161 København K, Denmark

26 Caritas Well at Gammeltorv in Copenhagen, Denmark

On the right is Caritas Well, a Renaissance fountain constructed in 1610 on the orders of King Christian IV. On top of the copper basin is a bronze sculpture by Statius Otto of a pregnant mother with her children. The ensemble is an allegory for love and charity. Caritas Well is located in the Strøget shopping district at Gammeltorv, the city’s oldest square from the 12th century.

Gammeltorv 8 1457 København K, Denmark

27 Pavilion at Nytorv in Copenhagen, Denmark

This octagon pavilion with its gilded bas reliefs and copper dome graces the center of Nytorv, a square created in 1606. It was erected by architect Otto Käszner when the New Square was renovated in 1993. Although charming, the plaza has a dark history. This is the former site of a pillory. The wooden frame secured criminals’ heads and hands during public humiliation. Executions were also conducted here by hanging or beheading from the early 17th century until 1758.

Nytorv 1F 1450 København K, Denmark

28 Court House at Nytorv in Copenhagen, Denmark

The structure is reminiscent of an ancient Greek or Roman temple with its six Ionic columns, dentil molding around the cornice and huge pediment. It was originally built in 1815 by architect C. F. Hansen as the City Hall and Court. It is now the Copenhagen Court House. In Danish, the inscription reads, “With law the country shall be built.” The quote is credited to Valdemar II. Valdemar the Victorious was king of Denmark from 1202 until 1241.

Nytorv 25, 1450 København K, Denmark

29 Metropol Teatret Façade in Copenhagen, Denmark

This exquisite, Art Nouveau façade belonged to the Metropol Teatret when it opened in 1923. The grand theater at the intersection of Strøget and Kattesundet was a popular venue for new release films. When the theater closed in 1980, it became retail space and is currently occupied by the New Yorker clothing store. Fortunately, they have done nothing to mar this beautiful architecture.

Kattesundet 3 1458 København K, Denmark

30 Art Nouveau Design of Palace Hotel in Copenhagen, Denmark

A popular architectural trend at the turn of the 19th century was Art Nouveau. The style embraces and harmonizes flowing and elegant lines both inside and out. A good example is the Palace Hotel. The property opened along the edge of City Hall Square in 1910. The architect, Anton Rosen, was extraordinarily meticulous. He not only crafted a marvelous building but then designed such minute details as the furniture, staff uniforms and even the room keys. It is now owned by Scandic Hotels.

Rådhuspladsen 57, 1550 København V, Denmark

31 City Hall from Inner Courtyard in Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen’s first City Hall was in the early 13th century. The sixth and current rådhus was built in 1905 by architect Martin Nyrop. The design is similar to a town hall in Siena, Italy. Inside are the offices of the municipal government, council and lord mayor. You can walk inside for a free self-guided stroll or, better yet, sign up for one of the tours. Then, check out this delightful inner courtyard.

Rådhuspladsen 1, 1599 København, Denmark

32 Bishop Absalon Frieze inside City Hall in Copenhagen, Denmark

In the center of this frieze above the City Hall entrance is a painting of Absalon. He was the Bishop of Roskilde (1158-1192) and the Archbishop of Lund (1178-1201). The bishop had a strong relationship with King Valdemar I of Denmark and was a powerful influence in expanding the church during the 12th century. In 1167, Absalon built a castle in Havn (Harbour). That location evolved into today’s Copenhagen, making him the father of the city. The motto beneath his image reads “Saa er by som borger.” The translation is “A city epitomizes its people.”

Rådhuspladsen 1, 1599 København, Denmark

33 City Hall Clock Tower from Courtyard in Copenhagen, Denmark

The City Hall’s clock tower rises 346 feet. The three hundred stairs are worth climbing for a panorama of the city and a bird’s eye view of Tivoli, the amusement park across the street. This stylistic photo of the Københavns Rådhus was taken through a black garden trellis in the inner courtyard.

Rådhuspladsen 1, 1599 København, Denmark

34 Hans Christian Andersen in Copenhagen, Denmark

This distinguished looking gentleman wearing 19th century attire and an opera hat is Han Christian Andersen. He was a prolific writer of poetry. He is most noted for his 150 beloved fairy tales. This statue of Denmark’s famous native son was created in 1961 by Henry Luckow-Nielsen and was sponsored by Copenhagen Municipality. The sculpture of Hans Christian Andersen is next to the City Hall at the edge of Råhuspladsen, a large center-city square.

H. C. Andersens Blvd. 24 1553 København V, Denmark

35 Hans Christian Andersen Castle in Copenhagen, Denmark

Carl Jacobsen is remembered for his role as the head of Carlsberg Brewery but also his passion for art and philanthropy. He established generous art scholarships, the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek sculpture museum and was a director of the National Art Gallery. He also provided a grant for constructing this building in 1893 for the Danish Museum of Art. It was purchased in 1978 by Tivoli, the adjacent amusement park, and renamed Hans Christian Anderson Castle.

H. C. Andersens Blvd. 22 1553 København V, Denmark

36 Rooftop Tivoli Sign in Copenhagen, Denmark

An elaborate sign on the roof of H.C. Andersen Slottet welcomes approximately four million visitors a year to Tivoli. The huge seasonal amusement park offers over forty attractions and rides. One of the most popular is a wooden rollercoaster called Rutschebanen. Historically, Tivoli Gardens was built in 1843 on the grounds where the Danes gallantly fought off the Swedes in a 1659 attack on Copenhagen.

H. C. Andersens Blvd. 20 1553 København V, Denmark

37 Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek Art Museum in Copenhagen, Denmark

What began in the late 19th century as a private collection of sculptures and art by Carl Jacobsen, the son of the Carlsberg Breweries founder, grew into the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek Art Museum. This grand, Venetian Renaissance building is the Dahlerup Wing. It was named after its architect Wilhelm Dahlerup when construction finished in 1897. Since then, several structures have been added to the art museum.

Dantes Plads 7 1704 København V, Denmark

38 Lion Sculpture at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen, Denmark

This regal lion guarding the entrance of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is one of two by French sculptor Antoine-Louis Barye. They are a hint of the approximate 10,000 sculptures you will enjoy inside the art museum. The collection includes ancient statues from Egypt, Greece and Italy plus 19th and 20th century samples from France and Denmark. One of the most popular pieces is a copy of Auguste Rodin’s “The Thinker.” The famous sculpture is located in Glyptotekshaven (Garden of Glyptotek). Admission is free.

Dantes Plads 7 1704 København V, Denmark

39 Boats Docked along Frederiksholm Kanal in Copenhagen, Denmark

This tug and weathered houseboat are moored along a quay in Frederiksholm Kanal. This view is from Byghusbro or the Brewhouse Bridge. It was built in 1935 as a connection between Christian IV’s Brewhouse and the Brewhouse Site. In the upper left corner is a peek at the 346 foot tall clock tower of City Hall.

Frederiksholms Kanal 27 1220 København K, Denmark

40 Tøjhus Museum in Copenhagen, Denmark

The Tøjhusmuseet is a fascinating museum for anyone interested in military history. Inside is a huge collection of arms, weapons, vehicles, aircraft, uniforms and informative exhibits. The displays trace war events since the Middle Ages. Although the Tøjhus Museum was established in 1928, it is housed in the former armory of King Christian IV. When the arsenal was built in 1604, the massive width of 534 feet made the structure the largest armament in the world.

Christians Brygge 12 1219 København K, Denmark

41 Royal Library’s Black Diamond Site in Copenhagen, Denmark

The National Library of Denmark was formed in 1648 by Frederick III while he was the king of Denmark and Norway. In 1482, the University of Copenhagen’s library was established. When these two institutions merged in 1989, their collection of materials exceeded 34 million, making it the biggest library in Scandinavia. This waterfront, modern glass building is the Royal Danish Library’s Black Diamond site. Den Sorte Diamant was built in 1999.

Søren Kierkegaards Plads 1, 1221 København K, Denmark

42 Christian’s Church in Copenhagen, Denmark

Christians Kirke is named after Christian V. The king allowed local German merchants to construct their own parish church. It was funded by a monarch-approved lottery. This prompted the nickname Lottery Church. It was originally called Frederik’s German Church when consecrated in 1759. The 229 foot tower was added ten years later. Today, the denomination of Christian’s Church is Protestant.

Strandgade 1 1401 København K, Denmark