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"Nyhavn - the naughty side turned good" Nyhavn Tip by jonkb

Nyhavn, Copenhagen: 102 reviews and 182 photos

by jonkb

One of the more popular spots in Copenhagen is called Nyhavn. The name translates to “new harbor”, which points to the fact that it’s construction started after the city already was established. It streaches from Kongens Nytorv, in front of the royal theatre, to the waterfront. Bring your camera. The area is full of vibrant colors.
The harbor was excavated 1670-3 by Swedish prisoners of war (Dano-Swedish war of 1658-1660). It’s original name when opened by Christian V was Nyhavnskanalen, but I guess that name was too cumbersome. Today it’s only called Nyhavn. Originally it was going to be named Dronningens kanal (the Queens channel)
The northern odd (the houses have odd numbers) side was known for being kind of seedy, with dark public houses, sailors quarters and brothels. There was however a large scale renovation during the 1980s, and today the area is covered with cafes and restaurants. The restaurants are open all year. During the winter, you’ll get a blanket to warm your legs, should you venture to sit outside.
No. 1 was a winedealer. It also housed Copenhagens first flowershop. The Pub here was in principal off limits for females, officially because it didn’t have a ladies restroom. If a female entered the Pub the carpet had to be turned over or replaced. The oldest house here is number 9 (1661). It is the first of the socalled Commediehouses (The inhabitant was the leader of the theater). No. 15 has an image of an elephant above the door. Here you could get merchandaise from the far east, such as tea and porcelain. The most famous houses are number 17 and Cap Horn. In addition to the restaurant number 17 also houses a world famous tattoo artist studio. There’s been a tattoo-studio here since the later half of the 1800s. The most known tattoo artist was probably tato-Ole, who owned the shop from 1947 untill his death in 1988. He did several of king Frederik IX, tattoos, and was appointed Royal Deliverer of tattoos! The poet H.C. Andersen lived in four of the houses during a period of 20 years at Nyhavn. Among the houses he lived in was no. 18 (the “proper” or “even” side) and no. 67.
The ships in the actual canal are mostly historical wooden ships with their own stories and engaged staff. At the start Nyhavn was large enough for the ships of the time, but as ocean going ships grew larger, they outgrew the canal. Then the canal was taken over by smaller ships, mostly sailing in Danish waters. After WWII land transport replaced most of this traffic, so the canal became largely void of ships. Nyhavnsforeningen (translated: Nyhavns Society) was formed in the sixties and had the aim of revitalizing the area. The inner part of Nyhavn therefore became a museum for veteran ships in 1977. The southern side of the canal is reserved for veteran ships owned by the Danish National Museum. The northern side (towards the colorful houses) is reserved for ships owned by Nyhavnsforeningen and privately owned vessels. Here’s a few of the ships: Lightvessel XVII Gedser Rev. Buildt in Odense in 1895 it served as a movable lighthouse until 1972. MA-RI: Was built for smuggling. She was confiscated in Helsingør in 1923, sold on auction, and operated as a fishing vessel and ferry between Bornholm and Poland.
The first temporary wooden footbridge across the harbor was erected in 1875. It was replaced by the sturdy “eletricaly driven” bridge that you see today in 1912.
The memorial anchor at the canals inner end was put there in 1951 in memory of the more than 1700 Danish and allied sailors (officers and service men) that died in service during WWII. The anchor itself was made in 1872 and was taken from the frigate Fyn, docked at Holmen Naval Base during the war. On may 5th there’s a ceremony held here commemorating the fallen every year.

Address: Nyhavn
Directions: Getting there is easy. The metro station Kongens Nytorv is located a few hundred meters away from the base of the canal. You can take both lines to get here. Also you can get here using the harbor canalbuses.
Phone: +45 33 15 15 66

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Dec 10, 2013
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