Copenhagen Things to Do Tips by ValbyDK Top 5 Page for this destination
Copenhagen Things to Do: 1,658 reviews and 3,305 photos
The Blue Planet
Copenhagen's newest attraction, The Blue Planet aquarium, opened in March 2013 in Kastrup, 8-9 kilometres from the city centre. It was replacing the old Danmarks Akvarium (Denmark's Aquarium) which was built in 1939 in Charlottenlund.
The Blue Planet is the largest aquarium in Northern Europe. It consist of 55 tanks (the largest is 7 metres high and contains 4 million litres of water) with more than 20,000 fish and ocean animals from all over the world. There are fish and animals from the sea around Denmark and from the Danish lakes, but also more exotic specimens like sharks, rays, turtles, barracudas, moray eels - and a rain forest section with piranhas, anacondas, and beautiful butterflies...
Amazing place, and one of the top attractions in Copenhagen. But as mentioned it is newly opened and can be rather crowded!
Address: Jacob Fortlingsvej 1, Kastrup
Designmuseum Danmark (The Danish Museum of Art & Design) was founded in 1890 by The Confederation of Danish Industries and The Ny Carlsberg Foundation. It opened to the public in 1895 – first in a new museum building in the centre of Copenhagen - but since 1926, the Danish Museum of Art & Design has been housed in one of Copenhagen’s finest rococo buildings, the former King Frederik V’s Hospital from 1752.
The Danish Museum of Art & Design has exhibitions of industrial design covering the period from the Late Middle Ages to the present day. Most of the collection is however from around year 1900 and up to our time. I think the museum is quite interesting and absolute the best design museum in Copenhagen.
I have been visiting Danish Design Centre (DDC) twice with mixed results. My first visit was great; the exhibition was about the design of Bang & Olufsen hifi-systems and it was very interesting. My second visit was a big disappointment; the exhibition was about Danish design in general, but it was very small and done in less than 15 minutes!
Each year, DDC houses several temporary exhibitions featuring Danish and international design, so check their webpage before you go. The value of a visit depend a lot of your interests and the theme and quality of the exhibition…
DDC has been located at HC Andersens Boulevard since January 2000, in a building designed by Professor Henning Larsen. Besides the exhibition rooms, DDC also houses offices, a conference centre, a shop, and a small café.
I have only visited Danish Architecture Center (DAC) once and it was strange experience. I must admit that I can’t remember the theme of the exhibition, but it was located in the cellar in two small rooms – and mainly consisted of TV screens showing documentary. Not very interesting - but every year there are several exhibitions on Danish and foreign architecture, so check their webpage before you go. The value of a visit depend a lot of your interests and the theme and quality of the exhibition… Besides the exhibitions, DAC has a well equipped bookshop.
DAC has since 1986 been located at the old warehouse Gammel Dok at the harbour front. The building itself and the other old warehouses is worth a closer look.
I'm Not a Church
Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center is located in the former Nikolaj Church at Nikolaj Plads in the centre of Copenhagen and functions as an exhibition space for contemporary art. There are several annual Danish and international exhibitions - with mainly experimental and innovative art - presented here at the old church.
I have been to the Art Center twice and both times I found the exhibitions quite interesting. First a photo exhibition with photos from around the world and latest, during the Football World Cup 2010, they had an art exhibition with a football theme...
If you don’t want to visit the Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center you could take a closer look at church. The history of the Church of Saint Nicholas dates back to year 1261 and it is the third-oldest church in Copenhagen. In 1795, the great fire of Copenhagen destroyed the church and Nikolaj's long history as a church came to an end in 1805. The church was rebuilt to its current state in 1917 and has since then been used for different purposes as for example main library, museum, and art library. Since 1981 the church has been the home of Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center. In connection with the Art Center there is a café and a small playground for children.
Address: Nikolaj Plads 10, Copenhagen K
Directions: Only a few metres from the pedestrian street "Strøget" (behind FONA).
The entrance to the Visitors Centre
If you have some interest in beer culture or beer brewing, a visit to the Carlsberg Visitors Centre is absolute recommendable. The Visitors Centre is newly renovated and there are exhibitions about the brewing of beers and the history of the Carlsberg and Tuborg Brewery.
It’s not a guided tour, you just follow the signs and they will lead you through the exhibitions halls, the horse stables, the garages with old beer wagons, and more… The tour takes around 1 hour and ends in a small gift shop with all sorts of different Carlsberg merchandise. From the shop you enter a really nice modern bar where you can taste the products from Carlsberg and Tuborg. Two tickets for beer tasting are included in the entrance fee (70 DKK for adults in 2013), and some of the beers can only be tasted here.
After a visit to the Carlsberg Visitors Centre you could also visit the Carlsberg Museum. It is free and only 5 minutes walk from the Visitors Centre – but please notice that the museum is closed during the weekend and on holidays. The museum was established in 1882 and originally housed the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (read my other tip) before it was moved to Dantes Plads in the centre of Copenhagen. Today the museum consists of two sections: One section about the brewery with many pictures and a large model of the brewery - and one section about the founder of Carlsberg, Carl Jacobsen, and his family. The Carlsberg Museum is a little outdated, but there is free admission so why not spend 15 minutes inside if you are in the area.
If you still want to see more of the Carlsberg Brewery you should take the 5 minutes walk to Ny Carlsberg Vej and have a look at some of the old brewery buildings. Arriving from the Valby side you will first see the Elephant Tower (from 1901) which is the most famous building on the Carlsberg Brewery site. The Tower has four life size elephants as a symbol of loyalty and strength, and the elephants' blankets bear New Carlsberg's swastika trademark. The next gate is the Dipylon Gate (from 1892) which used to house two malting floors and malt was loaded in and out of carriages through tubes in the gate ceiling. On the top there is a bell tower featuring Stephen Sinding’s artwork “The Bell Strikers”.
Address: Gamle Carlsberg Vej 11, Valby
Directions: The Visitors Centre is located 15 minutes walk from the train station in Valby.
April 2013: The museum is temporarily closed due to fire.
Frihedsmuseet (The Museum of Danish Resistance) tells the story of Danish resistance during the German occupation in 1940-1945. The museum springs from an exhibition called ‘Fighting Denmark’ - arranged by the Resistance Council in 1945. In 1957 a permanent museum was opened on the present location, but the exhibition you see today was inaugurated in 1995.
The exhibitions describe the many resistance activities, for example printing of illegal newspapers, underground radio communication, sabotage of factories and railway tracks, and more... The exhibitions are divided into four themes and periods: 1940-1941 Adaptation, 1942-1943 Resistance, 1943-1944 Terror and 1944-1945 Liberation.
Besides the museum, you can visit an air-raid shelter – located next to the Museum of Danish Resistance. Not that much to see, but still interesting to visit an old air-raid shelter. This part of the museum is only open on Sundays (from May to September).
The admission to the museum is free.
Address: Churchillparken, Copenhagen K
Orlogsmuseet (The Royal Danish Naval Museum) presents the history of the Danish naval fleet from the late middle ages up to present day.
The museum contains information about naval battles, cannons, uniforms, handguns, art, architecture and other cultural artefacts that all relate to the history of the Danish naval fleet - one of the larger exhibitions is about the Cold War. The Royal Danish Naval Museum also has one of the World’s finest collections of historical models. It dates back to the 17th century when the Admiralty ordered that models of all the larger naval ships should be produced.
The museum is located in the old “Søkvæsthuset” at Christianshavn. “Søkvæsthuset” was once a naval hospital, a state prison, and a naval academy before it opened as the Naval Museum in 1989.
Address: Overgaden oven Vandet 58, Copenhagen K
Directions: 5-10 minutes walk from Christianshavn Torv to the museum.
Tøjhusmuseet (The Royal Danish Arsenal Museum) houses collections of military equipment from Middle Ages to present day; cannons, hand weapons, coats of armour, uniforms, banners, saddles, models, and much more… The collection is huge, but I kind of lost the interest after the first rows of cannons, guns and so on. It was just not me… but if you have a special interest in military and weapons it might be an interesting place…
The museum was established in 1928 in an old building (from 1604) at Slotsholmen. The building is beautiful, and I have read that it contains the longest vaulted Renaissance Hall in Northern Europe.
Address: Tøjhusgade 3, Copenhagen K
The Royal Cast Collection
Den Kongelige Afstøbningssamling (The Royal Cast Collection) is housed in Vestindisk Pakhus, an old warehouse from 1797. The museum houses a collection of more than 2,000 plaster cast of the world’s most outstanding and famous sculptures.
You’ll find sculptures of Egyptian Kings, mythical beasts, Greek gods, Roman Emperors and much more… Works of Michelangelo are also represented in the collection, and outside the museum a copy of his ‘David’ from 1501-1504 is located. As written on their webpage: It is impossible to establish a collection – of this calibre – with the original sculptures of bronze and marble. With cast it is possible to choose only the best of the best…
OK - the collection is quite impressive, but I wasn’t carried away… All the time I knew I was looking at a copy of the original sculpture and that didn't really excite me…
Address: Vestindisk Pakhus, Toldbodgade 40, 1253 Copenhagen
Holmen is home of three different vessels from the Cold War era: The frigate Peder Skram, the fast attack boat Sehested, and the submarine Sælen - and all vessels are open for public.
HDMS Peder Skram (F352) was a class frigate in the Royal Danish Navy, named after Peder Skram who was a 16th century Danish admiral. The frigate was built in 1965 on Helsingør Shipyard and was decommissioned in 1990. There are no guided tours around Peder Skram, but you just follow a map (included in the ticket price) and the signs around the ship. Cannons, the engine room, the bridge, and much more...
In Denmark the ship is ‘world famous’ because Peder Skram on September 6, 1982 accidental launched a Harpoon Missile! The missile hit a summer residential area in the north western part of Zealand, fortunately without human damages. The missile launch is now called the “Hovsa-missilet” (The Ups Missile).
The much smaller P 547 Sehested is only accessible on a 30 minutes guided tour. Sehested is a fast attack boat from 1978, and I was told about the torpedo launching, and again visited the bridge and where the crew lived aboard the vessel.
The submarine Sælen is also only accessible on a 30 minutes guided tour. I was told about the history of Sælen, famed for its participation in the War on Iraq in 2003 and the protecting of Norwegian waters during the Cold War. It was my first ever visit on a submarine and for me this was the highlight of 'the historic ships' on Holmen. No way I was staying in a submarine for months...
Directions: You have to enter the military base, Marinestation København.
Christiania was founded in 1971 when a group of citizens knocked down the fence to an abandoned military area and set up a new hippie community, completely independent of the Danish government. That was more than 40 years ago, and today the Freetown is not as free as it once was... Residents are paying taxes, fees for water, electricity, etc. - and in 2012 a new Christiania fund bought the area from the Danish state.
Christiania is home for many creative people and if you take a walk through the Freetown you’ll see several beautiful paintings and sculptures – and some of the houses are art pieces themselves. There are also good craft shops, theatres, live music, and some nice dining places. One the other hand, not all is positive… There are some rundown parts and Christiania is for everybody and you’ll also see drunk and stoned people... Not a happy sight...
What about safety? There has been a couple of violent events in the last couple of years, but I think it is an OK place with friendly people and I have no worries going there. However, you could check the actual status of Christiania before your visit. Don’t take pictures everywhere - ask if you are in doubt!!!
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