What’s Doing in Copenhagen

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Copenhagen’s canals, predominantly located in the waterfront district of Christianshavn, have played an important role in the city’s history. One of the most notable canals is the Nyhavn canal that stretches from the Kongens Nytorv square to the waterfront. The canal was dug between 1670 and 1673 by Swedish war prisoners from the Dano-Swedish War, and was used to transport ships from the sea to Kongens Nytorv, where the ships’ cargo would be unloaded.  Although the canal is no longer used by commercial ships today, it still features some historical wooden ships, and it supports a lively nightlife with its many bars and cafés dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. Visitors may explore this area further by taking one of the city’s many guided canal tours, offered in both Danish and English.

Don’t forget to take a look at the Little Mermaid, a bronze statue of a mermaid perched on a rock at the Langelinie promenade near the Kastellet. Based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson, the Little Mermaid was sculpted in 1913 by Edvard Eriksen. The face and head of the statue was modeled on Ellen Price, a ballerina with the Copenhagen Royal Theater, and the body on the sculptor’s wife. The statue has since been a frequent target of vandalism by various political movements. In 2006, city authorities announced plans to move the statue farther out into the harbor, so as to protect it from vandals.

Copenhagen is also home to two of the world’s oldest amusement parks. Dyrehavsbakken, known colloquially as Bakken, is a free amusement park and fair located in the forested area of Dyrehaven. Created in 1583, the park is officially the oldest amusement park in the world and features rides, carnival games, and dining venues, as well as the Pjerrot, a clown wearing a boat-hat who entertains children and is one of Bakken’s most popular attractions.


The second oldest amusement park in the world is the Tivoli Gardens, which is located in downtown Copenhagen near the central train station. Tivoli first opened in 1843 and provides a pleasure garden and venues for the performing arts. The park also features some of the oldest rides in the world still in operation, including a roller coaster that was built in 1915, and a Ferris wheel from 1943.

A must-see is the Copenhagen Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in Europe, which houses animals from South America, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Arctic Circle. The zoo features a wooden observation tower 142.7 feet (43.5 meters) high, which offers visitors a spectacular view of the surrounding city.  The zoo also contains several historic buildings, including a stable for yaks, which was built in 1872 and now houses Bactrian camels, and a Herbivore House that was erected in 1875. The Zoo was founded in 1859 by ornithologist Niels Kjaerbolling, and began with a small collection of animals including chickens, owls, rabbits, and a seal in a bathtub.

Continue exploring Copenhagen’s history in one of its many delightful small museums and galleries. One such establishment is the Post and Tele Museum, which details the history of Copenhagen’s postal services. The museum features several permanent exhibitions on the development of Danish postal and telegraph communications throughout the 20th century, including relics from the first public post office established during the reign of Christian IV. The museum also features a three-dimensional stamp exhibit, several traveling exhibits, a café, and a gift shop.

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