Copenhagen Things to Do Tips by yooperprof Top 5 Page for this destination
Copenhagen Things to Do: 1,658 reviews and 3,305 photos
plain and simple
A severe example of neo-classicism, designed by Danish architect C. F. Hansen and consecrated in the late 1820s. The Royal Family takes part in official ceremonies here on State occasions. Open to the public on Sundays throughout the year, and daily in July.
Address: Slotsholmen, København K
Phone: 33 37 55 00
The National Art Museum is an excellent encyclopedic collection, focusing up the art of Denmark and northern Europe, but also with an excellent concentration of 19th and 20th French art as well. (They are particularly well known for their late Impressionists.)
The main body of the museum features large tradtional galleries, where the bulk of the permanent collection is exhibited. There is also a modern wing - vaguely I.M. Pei-inspired, I'd say - where contemporary and temporary exhibits are on display.
I've been to the "Statens Mueeum" twice - for the first time in May 2006, and most recently in July 2009. And there is still a great deal that I haven't seen. You could easily come here many times over many years without exhausting the collection.
Address: Sølvgade 48-50, 1307 København K
Directions: Between Nørreport st. and Østerport st.
Phone: 3374 8494
Calder at Dusk, looking out over the Øresund
Modern Art? It's not everyone's cup of tea, but personally I find it endlessly provoking and revealing. And if you know the "vocabulary" of the artists, it can be fun to play along. The collections of the Louisiana Museum are particularly strong in sculpture: Giacometti and Calder are particularly well represented. There are also many two-dimensional masterworks of the most prominent twentieth century artists, from Picasso to Richter, from Joseph Beuys to Damian Hirst. And since Denmark is in the advance of modern art and design, you'll find important Danish artists here as well. Indeed, this is a European counterpart to New York City's MOMA.
The cafe and bookstore are excellent too! You can easily spend several hours looking at the temporary exhibits as well. You probably shouldn't hope to see "it all" on one visit; you're just going to have to come back to Denmark sometime!
The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is located in a shoreline community to the north of the city of Copenhagen. It is easily accessible by train - or by private vehicle, which is how I travelled there.
Address: Gl. Strandvej 13, 3050 Humlebæk
Phone: 4919 0719
Dome - huset?
Construction of the Marble Church (originally Frederikskirke) started during the reign of Frederik V - hence its original name. It was designed by architect Nikolai Eigtved to complement the nearby Amalienborg Palace, which Eigtved also planned. But the cost of the imported Norwegian marble soon became prohibitively high, and the unfinished building had to be mothballed for more than a century.
Only at the end of the 1800s was the Marble Church completed - thanks to the contribution of one of Denmark's wealthiest men, businessman C F Tietgen. (Similar to the way in which Copenhagen's new opera house was recently bankrolled by shipping magnate Maersk McKinney Møller.)
The Marble Church is a grand baroque structure - you'll think that you're in a Roman Catholic cathdral. This is not Bergmanesque austere Protestantism!
Address: Frederiksgade 4
tower of power
Copenhagen's City Hall - the Rådhus - is one of those imposing Scandinavia Town Palaces. (Stockholm and Oslo have similar examples of this kind of northern civil pride.) It reflects an Urbanism and communitarianism that typifies the Social Democracies of the Baltic. There's pride in the past - as symbolized by emblems of Viking and the great warrior Bishop Absalon - as well commitment to social services for the present and future. Lots of things happen at City Hall and in the Rådhuspladsen in front of it: when I was in town, there was a city-sponsored ecological fair with displays of green living and live music and organic mimes. Good people watching, too.
The architect for the Rådhus was Martin Nyrop; the building was dedicated in 1905. The clock tower is 105 meters high, and features a remarkable astromechanical clock designed by Jens Olsen.
If the Round Tower ramp wasn't enough of a challenge for you, it's possible to walk up the 300+ plus stairs to the top of the Clock Tower for a small charge.
Denmark's Christian IV was the very model of a modern major monarch - for the 1600s, that is. Which doesn't mean that his reign was a happy time for his country. Au contraire. On the other hand, while he may have been overly ambitious, a disastrous war-planner, and incredibly naive about his domestic life, at least he tried hard. Read Rose Tremain's intriguing novel about Christian, "Music and Silence" to understand a bit more about his time and it what it meant for Denmark.
The Round Tower is one of the more positive legacies of Christian IV. He wanted to be known as a patron of learning, as an exemplar of the virtues of curiousity and open-mindedness. Accordingly, this structure was conceived as a magnet for astronomers across Europe, who would be attracted to the tallest observatory yet conceived. On clear nights, Christian and his favored star-gazers would ascend the long spiral ramp to the dizzying heights above his royal capital. It's hard to get into the mind-set, but for many people of the 17th century, this must have been one of the great wonders of the modern world. Others probably saw it as a modern Tower of Babel, only confirming their previous suspicions that the end times might soon be at hand.
Address: Købmagergade 52A, 1150 København K
Phone: 33 73 03 73
well-marked entrance on Marmobroen
Denmark National Museet, or National Museum, presents the story of the Danish Kingdom from the middle ages to the Present. Fascinating temporary exhibits share the building with comprehensive permanent displays. While the more recent centuries of Danish history are interpreted with updated, relevant, and interesting artifacts, material from the more distant centuries is presented in a disjointed and confused fashion. You might think that it would be hard to present the Viking and medieval history of the Danes is a boring and tedious fashion - but they manage to do it here. It's my humble opinion that the older sections of the National Museum are in need in accordance with contemporary styles and standards of museumology. This could be one of the real highlights of any visit to Copenhagen - but it needs some work.
The core building of the National Museet was a grand 17th century townhome built for a key figure in the Royal Administration. A few historic chambers of the grand house have been preserved in the museum. The museum also owns a nearby 19th century house that has been maintained as a showcase of Danish Victorian design - I didn't get a chance to see it on this visit, but would like to sometime.
Address: Frederiksholms Kanal 12, 1220 København K
Phone: 3313 4411
on a clear day, you can see Sweden
A landmark on the Copenhagen skyline, Vor Fresers Kirke is distinguished by its remarkable twisting spire. 400 steps to the top - the last 150 of which are outdoors! The church itself was built in the 17th century, with the spire added in the middle of the 18th. Architect Lauritz de Thurah was inspired by St. Ivo's tower in Rome.
Address: Sankt Annægade 29, 1416 København K
Phone: 32 57 27 98
I wonder what the King is doing tonight?
King Christian IV was the longest reigning monarch in modern Danish history, and certainly placed his remarkable stamp upon his kingdom and his capital city of Copenhagen. Rosenborg Castle is fascinating even for people who aren't usually interested in history. As for history geeks - like yooperprof - this is a wonderful attraction.
Here are some highlights of Rosenborg Castle that I thought were remarkable:
a) the King's Music Room - a stately drawing room on the ground level where the Christian IV could entertain guests while his musicians - many of whom came from England - played in the basement. The King designed "listening channels" so the stately music could "waft" up invisibly from below.
b) the wonderful reception hall on the second floor of the Castle - with stunning silver plated lions guarding the thrones of the king and queen.
c) the Royal collections on display in the basement - especially the toy soldiers and the considerable hoard of amber jewelry
d) the Danish Crown Jewels
For more about Christian IV, his common-law wife Kristin Munk, and his remarkable taste in architecture and music, read Rose Tremain's fascinating recent novel, "Music and Silence."
Address: Øster Voldgade 4A, 1350 København K
Phone: 33 15 32 86
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