Main information about Copenhagen attractions
Art galleries have never been particularly child friendly, or even interesting for children. In Copenhagen, this problem has been addressed and corrected. Many attractions are family oriented, and most contain a special area of interest to children. Copenhagen is a perfect city for visiting children.
No trip to Copenhagen would be complete without a visit to Tivoli (it’s open from mid April to mid September). Right in the middle of town, Tivoli offers both the fun of the fair, the peace and tranquility of a park and the ambience of the many open air cafes, restaurants and bars.
It’s a real wonderland for children of all ages, with its marooned pirate ship, roller coaster rides, shooting galleries, and the Valhala Castle, home of The Nordic God, Odin, who welcomes children to the Valhala Restaurant.
For more rides and amusements, just out of town lies Bakken, (open from late March to late August, with free admission). A well established pleasure park situated on the wooded outskirts of Dyrehaven. The child friendly restaurant is the perfect place to relax after Bakken’s notorious roller coaster.
As a visitor with children in Copenhagen it’s not difficult to keep both yourself and them entertained. There are now many children friendly museums, where it’s designed to be interesting both for you and the kids. The National Museum for example features a special children’s section.
National Gallery’s (Statens Museum for Kunst) new Children’s Gallery. The idea behind the new addition of the art museum is to teach children the values in art, but on their own terms. Featuring selected original works from the permanent collections, workshops and a theater, the Children’s Gallery gives children an insight into various creative processes.
For the more scientifically minded there’s the Experimentarium, a collection of hands-on installations and exhibitions demonstrating the wonders of natural science. Crazy mirrors, water wheels, computer rooms, logic puzzles, and so on.
The Kids´ Pavillion is for children aged 3-6. Continuing the scientific theme, there’s the Tycho Brahe Planetarium. In it’s impressive building at the end of the city’s string of lakes, the Planetarium boasts an Omnimax theatre, which projects a hemispherical image within its dome. As you sit in the reclining seats, it’s impossible not to physically experience the movie; be it an underwater safari or a trip on a roller coaster.
Copenhagen is also the proud owner of a major Zoo. Probably the most popular are the Monkey House, Children’s Zoo and the Night Zoo where day is turned into night. Just outside the city lies
Denmark’s Aquarium with it’s spectacular tropical and sea-water landscape tanks filled with fish and aquatic mammals from all over the world.
If you take one of the Water Buses, you can hop off at Langelinie for a closer look at the grand cruise liners moored there and the Little Mermaid.
A spectacular trip along the North coast leads to Lousiana Museum of Modern Art. Situated right on the coast, the gardens, beach and the special children’s house, make it an ideal destination.
A perfect way to round off the day could be a visit to Vandkulturhuset in DGI-town, Copenhagen’s new sports and cultural centre. Vandkulturhuset includes a new swimming pool with lots of fun for children: young and old. Take a swim in the pool formed as a super-ellipse, play in the children’ s pool or the water park with diving and climbing areas, or relax in hot water baths with spa, etc.
Among Copenhagen’s many parks, Frederiksberg Have is particularly suitable for children. It’s a park for football, rounders, kites and general fun. There’s even a boat trip around the park’s canal system.
In the center of town are: Kongens Have (Rosenborg Castle) and the Botanic Gardens. They are peaceful places to take an ice-cream or a hot dog from one of the street stalls. Close to the international Football Stadium is another park, Fælledparken, with its outdoor pavilion café and wide open spaces.
Bakken Amusement Park
Dyrehavevej 62, Klampenborg
Daily 1pm-midnight Closed late Aug to late Mar
S-tog: Klampenborg train from the Central Railroad Station to the Klampenborg station (about a 20-minute ride); then walk through the Deer Park or take a horse-drawn cab
On the northern edge of Copenhagen, about 7 1/2 miles from the city center, this amusement park was created years ago. It’s a local favorite, featuring roller coasters, dancing, the tunnel of love, and a merry-go-round. Open-air restaurants are plentiful, as are snack bars and ice-cream booths. Proceeds from the amusements support this unspoiled natural preserve. There are no cars allowed: only bicycles and horse-drawn carriages.
Strandvejen, in Charlottenlund Fort Park, Charlottenlund
Mar-Oct, daily 10am-6pm; Feb, Mon-Fri 10am-4pm, Sat-Sun 10am-5pm
S-tog: Line C to Charlottenlund.
Opened in 1939 north of Copenhagen along the Øresund coast, this is one of the most extensive aquariums in Europe. Its large tanks are famous for their decoration. Hundreds of salt- and freshwater-species are exhibited. One tank houses piranha from South America.
Eskperimentarium (Hands-On Science Center)
Tuborg Havnevej 7, Hellerup
S-tog: Hellerup or Svanemøllen.
Bus: 6, 21, or 23
Admission Charged; free for children 3 and under
Located in the old mineral water-bottling hall of Tuborg breweries, this museum has a hands-on approach to science.. Visitors use not only their hands but all of their senses as they participate in some 300 exhibitions and demonstrations divided into three themes: Humans, Nature, and The Interaction Between Humans and Nature.
Visitors hear what all the world’s languages sound like, make a wind machine blow up to hurricane force, check their skin to test how much sun it can take, dance in an inverted disco, or visit a slimming machine. Families can work as a team to examine enzymes, make a camera from paper, or test perfume. Exhibits change frequently.
Louis Tussaud Wax Museum
H. C. Andersens Blvd. 22
Apr 29-Sept 13, daily 10am-11pm; Sept 14-Apr 28, daily 10am-6pm
Bus: 1, 2, 16, 28, 29, or 41
Now a part of Tivoli, the Louis Tussaud Wax Museum is a major commercial attraction in Copenhagen. It features more than 200 wax figures–everybody from Danish kings and queens to Leonardo da Vinci. Children can visit the Snow Queen’s Castle, or watch Frankenstein and Dracula guard the monsters and vampires.
Tycho Brahe Planetarium
Gammel Kongevej 10
Bus: 1 or 14
Admission charged, depending on the show, for Omnimax films
The marvel of the night sky, with its planets, galaxies, star clusters, and comets, is created by a star projector using the planetarium dome as a screen and space theater. Named after the famed Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601), the planetarium also stages Omnimax film productions. There’s an information center and a restaurant.
Zoologisk Have (Copenhagen Zoo)
Roskildevej 32, Frederiksberg
Bus: 6, 18, 28, 39, or 550S
With more than 2,000 animals from Greenland to Africa, this zoo boasts spacious new habitats for reindeer and musk oxen as well as an open roaming area for lions. Take a ride up the small wooden Eiffel Tower, or walk across the street and let your kids enjoy the petting zoo. The zoo is mobbed on Sundays.
10, Ny Vestergade
45 33 13 44 11
This brilliantly restored 18th-century royal residence, contains some of the finest rooms in the city. It was extensively modernized in recent years. It has housed what is regarded as one of the best national museums in Europe since the 1930s. Extensive collections chronicle Danish cultural history from prehistoric to modern times . Included is one of the largest collections of Stone Age tools in the world. Egyptian, Greek, and Roman antiquities are on display. All exhibits have English captions.
The children’s museum, with replicas of period clothing and “please touch” exhibits condenses the rest of the museum into something understandable to children 4- 12.
In addition to their special area, children enjoy the whole museum, as it is engaging throughout.
Tuborg Havnevej 7, Hellerup
39 27 33 33
9-5 Mon,Wed.-Fri. 9-9 Tues., 11-5 Sat., Sun.
Located in the former mineral water bottling plant of the Tuborg Brewery, this museum has a hands on approach to science. Untamed forces such as earthquakes, floods and hurricanes demonstrate that the Earth is alive and constantly changing. Dynamic Earth is a new. exhibition on this Amazing and Turbulent Planet that provides us with both food and energy.
Daily 11am-midnight Seasonal Info: Closed mid-Sept to Apr
Bus: 1, 16, or 29
Admission charged. Rides extra.
Since it opened in 1843, this 20 acre garden and amusement park in the center of Copenhagen has been a resounding success. It is, in fact, the jewel of Copenhagen’s family attractions, and Denmark’s biggest tourist draw. It features thousands of flowers, a merry-go-round of tiny Viking ships, games of chance and skill (pinball arcades, slot machines, shooting galleries), and a Ferris wheel of hot-air balloons and cabin seats. There’s even a playground for children.
An Arabian-style fantasy palace, with towers and arches, houses more than two dozen restaurants in all price ranges, from a lakeside inn to a beer garden. Take a walk around the edge of the tiny lake with its ducks, swans, and boats.
A parade of the red-uniformed Tivoli Boys Guard takes place on weekends at 6:30 and 8:30pm, and their regimental band gives concerts on Saturday at 3pm on the open-air stage. The oldest building at Tivoli, the Chinese-style Pantomime Theater with its peacock curtain, stages pantomimes in the evening.
Copenhagen’s best-known attraction, conveniently located next to its main train station, attracts an astounding number of visitors: 4 million people from May to September. Tivoli is more sophisticated than a mere funfair among its many attractions, are frequent classical, jazz, and rock concerts. Fantastic flower exhibits color the lush gardens and float on the swan-filled ponds. Try to see Tivoli at least once by night, when 100,000 colored lanterns illuminate the Chinese pagoda and the main fountain.
The park was established in the 1840s, when Danish architect George Carstensen persuaded King Christian VIII to let him build an amusement park, rationalizing that when people amuse themselves, they forget politics.
Apr 24-Sept 13 daily 11am-6pm. Off-season Tues-Sun 10am-4pm S-train to Central Station
Some 150 years of Europe’s most famous amusement park are revealed in this offbeat museum spread across three floors. Models, films, 3D displays, pictures, posters, and original artifacts reveal how the Danes and their foreign visitors had harmless fun over the decades. Opening in 1993, the museum became an instant hit with Tivoli devotees.
It’s a great idea to come here if you have only one chance to visit Copenhagen in a lifetime, and Tivoli has shut down for the year at the time of your visit. Tivoli has hosted many legendary performers over the years: everyone from Marlene Dietrich to a flea circus that ran for 65 years. Their appearances are documented in the museum. Children will delight in the rides of yesterday.
Louisiana Museum for Moderne Kunst
(Louisiana Museum for Modern Art)
Gammel Strandvej 13, 49/19-07-19.
Drive north on motorway E47/E55, or take the train and walk 10 min. north of the station.
Combined train and admission tickets available at the station
Daily 10-5, Wed. until 10.
The elegant seaside town of Humlebæk, located 19 mi. north of Copenhagen, is home of this outstanding modern art museum famed for its stunning location and architecture as much as for its collection. It is surrounded by a large park. Housed in a 19th-century villa surrounded by dramatic views of the Øresund waters, the permanent collection includes modern
American paintings and Danish paintings from the COBRA (a trend in northern European painting that took its name from its active locations, Copenhagen, BRussels, and Amsterdam) and constructivist movements. Paintings are displayed from several of Picasso’s periods, as well as many from the Pop Art movement of the 1960’s. Be sure to see the haunting collection of Giacomettis backdropped by picture windows overlooking the Sound.
In the gardens are sculptures by Calder, Henry Moore, Joan Miro, Max Ernst and Giacometti. The gardens are very popular with children, who also enjoy the special exhibit area called Bornehuset (The Children’s House), which was designed just for them.
The Louisiana holds regular lectures, film screenings, and concerts, and is known for its outstanding “superstar” exhibits six times a year.
Ny Vesterg. 10
This brilliantly restored 18th-century royal residence, contains some of the finest rooms in the city. It was extensively modernized in recent years. It has housed what is regarded as one of the best national museums in Europe since the 1930s. Extensive collections chronicle Danish cultural history from prehistoric to modern times .
Included is one of the largest collections of Stone Age tools in the world. Egyptian, Greek, and Roman antiquities are on display. All exhibits have English captions.
The children’s museum, with replicas of period clothing and “please touch” exhibits condenses the rest of the museum into something understandable to children 4- 12. In addition to their special area, children enjoy the whole museum, as it is engaging throughout.
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
(New Carlsberg Sculpture Collection)
Dantes Plads 7
Bus: 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, or 10
Admission charged for adults; free for children; free for everyone Wed and Sun
On Sundays from October to March, the museum hosts a variety of musical events. The Glyptotek, behind Tivoli, is one of the most important art museums in Scandinavia. Founded by the 19th-century art collector Carl Jacobsen, of the Carlsberg Brewery family, the museum comprises two distinct areas: modern and antiquities.
The modern section has both French and Danish art, mainly from the 19th century. Sculpture, including works by Rodin, is on the ground floor, and works of the impressionists and related artists, including van Gogh’s Landscape from St. Rémy, are on the upper floors. Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art are on the main floor, and Etruscan, Greek, and Cypriot art are on the lower floor. A conservatory separates the two areas.
The Egyptian collection is outstanding. A favorite of many is a prehistoric rendering of a hippopotamus. Fine Greek originals (headless Apollo, Niobe’s tragic children) and Roman copies of original Greek bronzes (4th-century Hercules) are also displayed, as are some of the noblest Roman busts–Pompey, Virgil, Augustus, and Trajan. The Erruscan art display (sarcophagi, a winged lion, bronzes, and pottery)
In 1996 the Ny Glyptotek added a French Masters’ wing. This wing, constructed of white marble and granite, is situated in the inner courtyard, which can only be reached through the Conservatory. In a climate- and light-controlled environment, there is a collection of French masterpieces that includes works by Manet, Monet, Degas, and Renoir, as well as an impressive collection of French sculpture, such as Rodin’s
The Burghers of Calais, and one of only three complete sets of Degas bronzes. The display features Cézanne’s famous Portrait of the Artist, as well as about 35 paintings by, Paul Gauguin who married a Danish woman in 1873.
June-Aug., Mon.-Sat. 10-8, Sun. noon-8; Sept.-May, Mon.-Sat. 10-5, Sun. noon-5.
Observatory and telescope mid-Oct.-Mar., Tues.-Wed. 7 PM-10 PM; mid-June-mid-Aug., Sun. 1-4.
Down one of the side streets (Købmagergade) of the Stroget is the Rundetårn. Built in 1642 under the direction of Christian !V for the astronomer Tycho Brahe, the red brick tower was originally intended as an observatory for the nearby university.
It is still the oldest functioning observatory in Europe. The Round Tower is unique for its cobbled spiral walkway which winds 686 feet almost to the top of the tower, 114 feet above the city.
There are only a few stairs at the very top. Halfway up is an exhibition space. Trinitatiskirke was built in 1637 and has a baroque altar by Friedrich Ehbisch as well as a three faced rococo clock. The observatory at the top of the tower is often open with an astronomer on hand to explain what is seen through the telescope.
Instead of climbing the stout Round Tower’s stairs, visitors scale a smooth, 600-ft spiral ramp on From its top, you enjoy a panoramic view of the twisted streets and crooked roofs of Copenhagen.
Statens Museum for Kunst
(The National Gallery of Art)
33 74 84 94
10-5 Tues., Thurs.-Sun. 10-8 Wed. closed Mon.
Free to all Wed.
Admission charged other than Wed. for visitors 16 and older.
Founded in 1824, the national Gallery had its origins in royal collections from centuries earlier. During the 19th century, the collection was based in Christiansborg Slot, until a fire necessitated moving it to the currently specially designed building designed by Vilhelm Dahlerup. The museum’s main focus is Danish art. This is well represented from the Golden Age of the early 19th century , back through the works of its 15th – 18th century forerunners. On the ground floor is the children’s art museum with hands-on displays.
Von Frelsers Kirke
(Church of Our Savior)
Skt. Annægade 29
Mar-Aug daily 9am-4pm; Sept-Nov daily 9am-3pm; Dec-Feb daily 10am-2pm
Admission charged to tower;
Church admission: free
This Palladian Dutch baroque church with an external tower staircase was built by architect Lambert van Haven for Christian V in 1682. The 295 foot high copper and gold spire can be seen from most parts of the city center, and is a Copenhagen landmark, dominating the Christianshavn area. Inside, is a splendid baroque altar, richly adorned with cherubs and other figures.
There is also a lovely font and richly carved organ case. The spire is open to anyone who wants to navigate the 400 or more steps, which spiral narrower and narrower as they reach the summit.
Amalienborg (Amalia’s Castle)
Dkr 40. Jan.-Apr. and Nov.-Dec., Tues.-Sun. 11-4; May-Oct., daily 10-4.
The four identical Rococo buildings occupying this square have housed the royals since 1784. The Christian VIII palace across from the queen’s residence houses the Amalienborg Museum, which displays the second division of the Royal Collection (the first is at Rosenborg Slot). In the square’s center is a magnificent equestrian statue of King Frederik V, which reputedly cost as much as all the buildings combined.
Arbejdemuseet (The Workers Museum)
July 1-Nov 1 daily 10am-6pm. Off-season Tues-Sun 10am-6pm
Bus: 5, 7, 14, 16, 17, 24, 43, or 84
This museum traces the working class of Denmark from their struggles beginning around 1850 up to the present day. It’s not just about the labor movement, however; it recreates various times and eras. For example, there is a reconstruction of a Danish street in the 1800s, complete with a tram.
There’s also the re-creation of an apartment that was once inhabited by a worker in a brewery, along with his wife and eight children. The furnishings and artifacts are authentic. The museum is a tribute to the working class, depicting the struggle of laborers to make a living and provide for their families.
The museum also has a 19th-century-style restaurant serving old-fashioned Danish specialties and a ’50s-style coffee shop.
Carlsberg Brewery Visit
45 33 27 13 14
Bus 6 from Rådhuspladsen
Free 90 minute tours are offered Mon-Fri at 11am and 2pm.
Visitors are escorted through the brew houses and along the production line. Each tour ends with guests sampling the products. The factory produces 3 million bottles of beer a day.
The Little Mermaid
Langelinie on the harbor
Bus 1,6, or 9.
A life-size statue inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s story, The Little Mermaid, one of the world’s most famous fairy tales. The statue was sculpted by Edward Eriksen and rests on rocks just off the shore. In 1964 and in 1998, the mermaid’s head was stolen.
The original mold still exists, and it is possible to recast the bronze and restore missing body parts. In the latest assault, this was not necessary. The missing head turned up at a local TV station, delivered by a masked figure. The mermaid is without question one of the most photographed women in Copenhagen.
Changing of the Guard (At Noon)
www.kongehuset.dk (in Danish only)
Every day at noon, the Royal Guard and band march from Rosenborg Slot through the city for the changing of the guard. At noon on Queen Margrethe’s birthday, April 16, crowds of Danes gather to cheer their monarch, who stands and waves from her balcony. On Amalienborg’s harbor side are the trees, gardens, and fountains of Amalienhaven.
Prinsesseg. and Badsmandsstr.
An anarchists’ commune founded in 1971, when students occupied army barracks, it is now a peaceful community of nonconformists who run a number of businesses, including a bike shop, bakery, rock club, and communal bathhouse.
Christiansborg Slot (Christiansborg Castle)
May-Sept., daily 9:30-3:30, Oct.-Apr., Tues., Thurs, and weekends 9:30-3.
Bordered by canals on three sides, this massive granite castle is where the queen officially receives guests. From 1441 until the fire of 1795, it was used as the royal residence. Even though the first two castles on the site were burned, Christiansborg remains an impressive Baroque compound.
The castle’s best known feature during the Middle Ages was the Blå Tårn (Blue Tower) which was used to house prisoners of note. One of the best known was Eleonore Christine, daughter of Christian IV, who was suspected of being part of her husband’s treason plot.
The present-day copper roofed structure with its neo-baroque granite and concrete façade, looks more like a town hall than a castle. Its central tower is the tallest in Denmark at 358 feet.
Free, open to the public
While the castle was being rebuilt at the turn of the century, the Nationalmuseet excavated the ruins beneath it. This dark, subterranean maze contains fascinating models and architectural relics.
Folketinget (Parliament House)
May-Sept., Mon.-Sat., tours hourly (except noon) 10-4; Oct.-Apr., Tues., Thurs., and Sat., tours hourly (except noon) 10-4
Kongelige Repræsantationlokaler (Royal Reception Chambers)
Admission charged: guided tours only.
May-Sept., English tours daily at 11, 1 and 3; Oct.-Dec. and Feb.-Apr., Tues., Thurs., Sat. and Sun., tours at 11 and 3
You’ll be asked to remove shoes or boots and put on slippers furnished by the Museum, to protect the floors
Højesteret (Supreme Court)
Call first to double-check the opening hours, which vary.
The governmental buildings are on the site of the city’s first fortress which was commissioned by Bishop Absalon in 1167. The guards at the entrance are knowledgeable and willing to answer questions.
Den Kongelige Afstøbningssamling (The Royal Cast Collection)
Bus: 1, 6, or 9
Admission charged. Free Wed.
Wed-Tues 10am-4pm, Sat-Sun 1-4pm Closed on other days
Founded in 1895 as part of the Royal Museum for Fine Arts, the Royal Cast Collection was moved in 1984. Its permanent home is in the Vestindisk Pakhus, a rebuilt warehouse overlooking the harbor of Copenhagen, close to Amalienborg Palace. It is one of the largest and oldest cast collections in the world, comprising arouund2,000 plaster-casts modeled after famous sculptures from the past 4,000 years of western culture.
The best known original works from antiquity and the Renaissance are now scattered all over the museums of the world, but here they are represented by their casts. Egyptian sphinxes, gold from Atreus’ treasury, Venus de Milo, the Pergamon altar, and marble sculpture from the temples of the Acropolis in Athens are among the treasures. Most of the collection was made between 1870 and 1915 by leading European plaster workshops.
(the Marble Church, also known as Frederikskirken)
The Church is open: Mon-Tues and Thurs-Fri 11am-2pm, Wed 11am-6pm, Sat 11am-4pm, Sun noon-4pm.
The Dome is open: June 15-Sept 1 daily 11am-12:45pm; Oct-May, Sat-Sun 11am-12:45pm
Bus: 1, 6, or 9
Admission free to church.
Admission charged to dome.
This two hundred year-old circular church, with its green copper dome, one of the largest in the world, is a short walk from Amalienborg Palace. After an unsuccessful start during Denmark’s neo-classical revival in the 1750s, the church was finally completed in Roman baroque style in 1894.
Frihedsmuseet (Resistance Museum)
May-Sept. 15, Tues.-Sat. 10-4, Sun. 10-5; Sept. 16-Apr., Tues.-Sat. 11-3, Sun. 11-4.
Evocative, moving displays commemorate the heroic Danish resistance movement, which saved 7,000 Jews from the Nazis by hiding them and then smuggling them to Sweden. The homemade tank outside was used to spread the news of the Nazi surrender after World War II
at Holmens Kanal
May 15-Sept 15 Mon-Fri 9am-2pm, Sat 9am-noon
Bus: 1, 2, 6, 8, 9, 10, 31, 37, or 43
Built in 1619, this royal chapel and naval church lies across the canal from Slotsholmen, next to the National Bank of Denmark. Although the structure was converted into a church for the royal navy in 1619, its nave was originally built in 1562 when it was first used as an anchor smithy.
By 1641 the ever-changing church became predominantly Dutch Renaissance in style, an architectural style that is maintained to this day. main doorway was brought here from Roskilde Cathedral in the 19th century.
Inside, is a baroque altar of unpainted oak and a carved pulpit by Abel Schrøder the Younger. Both of these artifacts date from the mid-17th century. In the burial chamber are the tombs of some of Denmark’s best known sea heroes. This is the church in which Queen Margrethe II chose to take her wedding vows in 1967.
(Copenhagen City Museum and Soren Kierkegaard Collection)
Bus: 6, 16, 27, or 28
Admission charged, except free on Fri.
May-Sept., Wed.-Mon. 10-4; Oct.-Apr.,Wed.-Sun. 1-4.
A collection in which Copenhagen’s history is set forth, is found in this 17th-century building in the heart of Vesterbro. Outside is a meticulously maintained model of medieval Copenhagen. The permanent exhibition presents the history of Copenhagen in artifacts and pictures. A smaller separate department is devoted to the father of existentialism, Sören Kierkegaard ‘s (1813-55) drawings, letters, books, photographs, and personal belongings.
(King’s New Square)
This square has lost much of its charm due to an outbreak of Dutch Elm disease in 1998 that felled its trees. It is, however, still lined with some of the city’s finest buildings. The square was built on the site of the former ramparts that ringed the city in an arc all the way from Rådhuspladsen.
A mounted statue of Christian V dominates the square. Crafted in 1688 by the French sculptor Lamoureux, he is ludicrously depicted as a Roman emperor astride his horse. Every year, at the end of June, graduating high school students arrive in horse-drawn carriages and dance beneath the statue.
(Royal Library, library annex, and Concert Hall)
Christians Brygge 8
Mon-Fri 9am-7pm, Sat 10am-7pm ; closed Sun.
Bus: 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, or 9.
Main building: Admission free
Exhibits: Admission charged.
Charge for concerts varies.
The Royal Library, which reopened in late 1998, dates from the 1600s and is the largest library in Scandinavia. Housed in a classic building with high-ceilinged reading rooms and columned hallways, it is a grand and impressive place.
It holds some 2 million volumes, everything from sagas of Viking journeys to America ( before Columbus allegedly discovered the already inhabited continent), and enough prints, maps, and manuscripts to keep the most intense scholar busy for several lifetimes. The library owns original manuscripts by such beloved Danish writers as Hans Christian Andersen and Karen Blixen (more widely known as Isak Dinesen).
The library was closed while a vast black granite annex(known locally as “The Black Diamond”) was added to accommodate the output of Danish works since World War II.
Today the library stretches all the way to the waterfront. As a national library, Kongelige Bibliotek owns the world’s most complete collection of works printed in Danish, some going as far back as 1482. After viewing the interior of the library, enjoy a stroll through its formal gardens, which contain a fish pond and a statue of philosopher Sören Kierkegaard.
Musikhistorisk Museum og Carl Claudius’ Samling
(Musical History Museum and Carl Claudius’ Collection)
Bus: 5, 7, 14, 16, 17, 24, 31, 42, 43, 50, 84, or 184
The museum is contained in three 18th century houses and offers a journey through the history of musical instruments in Europe from 1000 to 1900. Exhibits are grouped around a theme, and as you view them you’re treated to special recordings. The overall emphasis of the museum is on the effect music has had on Danish culture. Sometimes the museum is the venue of special concerts.
This harbor-front neighborhood was built 300 years ago to attract traffic and commerce to the city center. Until 1970, the area was a favorite haunt of sailors. Now the bustling, colorful, Dutch-style canal is lined with cafés, bars and restaurants and old time sailing ships from the Nationalmuseet’s collection.
Many of the old buildings have been well preserved and help to retain the harbor’s authentic 18th-century maritime atmosphere.. Hans Christian Andersen lived at various times in the Nyhavn houses at numbers 18, 20, and 67.
Orlogsmuseet (Royal Naval Museum)
Overgaden Oven Vandet 58
Bus: 2, 8, 9, 28, 31, or 350S
This museum in Sökvasthuset, the former naval hospital, opens onto Christianshavn Kanal. It traces the history of the Danish navy, and, in fact, of this whole maritime nation. More than 300 model ships, many based on designs that date from as early as the 1500s, are on display. Some of these model vessels were designed and constructed by naval engineers as prototypes for the construction of ships that were later launched into the North Sea.
The models are wide ranging: some are fully dressed, with working sails, whereas others are cross-sectional with their frames outlined. Many naval artifacts are also displayed. There is a display of navigational instruments and the propeller from the German U-Boat that sank the Lusitania. Also displayed are naval uniforms worn by Danish officers and sailors over the decades.
Completed in 1905, the mock-Renaissance building dominates Rådhus Pladsen (City Hall Square), the hub of Copenhagen’s commercial district.
Weekdays 9:30-4, Sat. 9:30-1. Tours in English weekdays at 3, Sat. at 10.
Tower tours Mon.-Sat. at 3, also June-Sept. at 10 and 11.
Call to confirm hours.
Completed in 1905, Rådhuset has been the site of numerous elections; home to many governmental administrations; the site of occupation by the Germans during World War II; and the center of welcome for the returning football heroes from the 1992 European Championships.
Besides being an important ceremonial meeting place for Danish officials, the intricately decorated Rådhus (the façade and roof are lined with statues, gargoyles, and individually crafted stone and iron figures) contains the first World Clock.
The multidialed, superaccurate astronomical timepiece has a 570,000 year calendar and took inventor Jens Olsen Verdensur 27 years to complete before it was put into action in 1955.
The interior of the building is beautifully decorated. Higghlights include busts of HC Andersen, the physicist, Niels Bohr, Professor Nyrop, and sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen. The library, banquet hall, the mosaic floors, chandeliers, reliefs, intricate brickwork and painted ceilings all merit attention.
Diagonally across Rådhus Pladsen, on top of a corner office building are a neon thermometer and a gilded barometer. On sunny days there’s a golden sculpture of a girl on a bicycle; if it will rain, a girl with an umbrella appears.
Rådhuset is also a venue for exhibitions and concerts.
Øster Voldg. 4A,
Jan.-Apr. and Nov.-Dec., Tues.-Sun. 11-2;
May – Sept., daily 10-4; Oct., daily 11-3.
This Dutch Renaissance castle contains ballrooms, halls, and reception chambers, yet has a feeling of “home.” It was the favorite residence of King Christian IV. Denmark was going through a period of economic depression toward the end of his reign, so the King literally pulled up the drawbridge and escaped the harsh realities of the outside world.
Thousands of objects are displayed inside: toys, architectural tricks, inventions, art objects and jewelry, gathered from around the world. the castle basement was a source of pride to the King. In it, his personal orchestra would perform, their music rising through a complex system of pipes connected to his living quarters. The basement now contains the Treasury, the repository of the Crown Jewels.
Rosenborg was a royal residence up until 1838, when these collections were opened to the public, along with many rooms which had remained intact over several generations from the time of Christian IV (1588-1648) to Frederik IV (1699-1730).
The 24 rooms currently on display offer an insight into the lives of Renaissance kings that is perhaps unparalleled in Europe. In recent years, electricity has been installed. This has dispelled some of the natural gloom that one associates with castles, but doe illuminate the treasures to advantage.
The castle’s setting is equally welcoming: it is in the middle of the Kongens Have (King’s Garden), amid lawns, park benches, and shady walking paths. In 1849, when the absolute monarchy was abolished, the royal castles became state property, except for Rosenborg, which is still passed down from monarch to monarch.
Wed 2-4, Sat-Sun noon-4pm
Bus: 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 31, 37, or 43
Theater buffs flock to this museum in the Old Royal Court Theater, which dates from 1767. King Christian VII had it constructed as the first court theater in Copenhagen. At one time Hans Christian Andersen was once a ballet student here. In 1842 the theater was modernized and given its present look, but the curtain went down on it for the last time in 1881.
It opened as a museum in 1992. The museum traces the history of the Danish theater from the 18th century until modern times. The public has access to the theater boxes, the stage, and the old dressing rooms. Some of the great theatrical performances of Europe, from Italian opera to pantomime, reportedly took place on the stage here. Photographs, prints, theatrical costumes, and even old stage programs tell the story, beginning with Ludvig Holberg and going up to the present day.
Vor Frue Kirke
This Greek Renaissance-style church, built in the early 19th century near Copenhagen University, features Bertel Thorvaldsen’s white marble neoclassical works including Christ and the Apostles. The funeral of Hans Christian Andersen took place here in 1875, and that of Sören Kierkegaard in 1855.