Copenhagen always reminds me of the famous Copenhagen criteria that are the entry conditions to EU. I decided to visit Copenhagen to meet my friends who live in Europe a few years ago. While I was on the plane, I was thinking “What are the famous and important landmarks of Denmark?” It didn’t occur to me at first but then my memory showed me the famous beer brands; Tuborg, Carlsberg and Lego; One of the most beloved toys in the world.
ONCE A FISHERMEN VILLAGE NOW A TRADING HARBOR
During the time of the Vikings Copenhagen was a fishermen village. Then in 1167 Bishop Absalon settled here and constructed a modest fortress. The name of city comes from Køpmannæhafn which means “merchants’ harbor”, often simply Hafn or Havn (“harbor”). It was always a trade center waiting to be a harbor city with many old buildings. The city, to me it seems to be more modern and industrial than historic and old because of the harbor.
CROWDED BUT CALM
Copenhagen that is located on the Zealand and Amager islands has 1.2 million inhabitants. It is quite a small city for me because I live in Istanbul which has 15 million inhabitants. While you are walking on the street, you may ask yourself ” Where are the people of this city? ” The city is dull. Though if you compare the European cities with Istanbul, you may obviously feel like his. The population of the Denmark is 5.6 million. However Copenhagen is one of the most crowded cities among Northern European cities with a density of 6800 people per km2.
Since the summer of 2000 Copenhagen has become much more of a center and metropolitan area after the Øresund bridge connected the Swedish city Malmö and Copenhagen. It is the 8th most expensive city in the world and the 3rd most expensive city in Europe. While it has high rankings on the income and wealth lists of Europe and the World.
ECO-FRIENDLY, A BICYCLE CITY
The city is one of the most eco-friendly cities in the world. %36 of the citizens of the city ride a bike. The cyclists ride 1.27 million km per day with their bikes. Of course 400 km of cycle lanes that is not shared with cars or pedestrians in the city has a positive impact on cyclists. The municipality works on increasing the lanes and has set the target for the number of commuters that use a bike to go up to 50% by 2015.
There are many city bike stations, almost everywhere in the city. You can use the bikes for a small amount of money. The one hour rental is 25 DKK (about 2.3 Euro). The city doesn’t only protect the environment by cycling. Denmark is the first country that imposed an environment law in 1973. The Copenhagen municipality aims to reduce %20 of carbon emission by 2015. After the sewage improvements people can swim in the harbor area. The city’s environmentalist approach reflect their cuisine and food. %75 of Copenhagen’s people consume organic food.
MUSEUMS WITH ART AND HISTORY
NY Carlsberg Glyptotek is one of the most beloved places in the city. Carl Jacobsen is the son of the founder of Carlsberg beer producer who is a philanthropist and art collector donated his old mansion with its art collections to the city. The museum has a huge collection of Egyptian, Roman and Greek historical objects and the biggest collection of Rodin outside of France. The wealthy western world brought many art and historical objects from different parts of the world to fill their museums and mansions. I realized once again the importance of the capital while I was touring in the museum. The museum and its collections are worth seeing.
The national museum is also worth visiting. I especially like the children’s part of the museum. It is a good option for families with children. Here children can play with wooden swords on the old ship or wear like old Indian merchants and sell some products on the market. I also had fun with children. I sat and wrote something on my small black board. I think it is a very nice feeling to go back to our childhood and school days.
TIVOLI – THE AMUSEMENT PARK OF COPENHAGEN
Tivoli is the right place for the ones who want to have some fun besides culture and history. The park didn’t seem to me old despite that it was established in 1843. It is the second -oldest amusement park in the world. You can see the oldest Ferris wheel in the world and also the oldest wooden roller coaster that is still operating today. The Star Flyer is the world’s second tallest carousel which opened in 2006. It is 80 meters high and has a great view of the city.
It is a great place to spend time with your family and friends like in fairs and amusement parks. There many cultural touches in the park such as an ATM machine that looks like an oriental fountain or a restaurant that looks like an Indian palace. This park still evolves itself after all these years.
CITY LANDMARK- THE STATUE OF LITTLE MERMAID
The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Snow Queen which were written by Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen are some of the well-known fairy tales of our childhood. You can see the bronze statue of Little Mermaid (Den lille havfrue) which is the character of the Little Mermaid fairy tale as sitting on a small rock in Langelinie port. The Little Mermaid is quite a small statue that is only 1.25 meter high and weighs about 175 kilos. It was commissioned in 1909 by Carl Jacobsen who is the son of the founder of Carlsberg.
FREE TOWN CHRISTIANA
Christiana and its community is another place worth seeing in the city. Today 850 people live in free town Christiana which is self-proclaimed autonomous area that covers 34 hectares of area. The area that is the old military base has a unique status in that it is regulated by a special law, the Christiania Law of 1989. On 4th September 1971 people from surrounding neighborhood broke down the fence to take over the unused area for a playground for their children. Before that the area was only guarded by a few watchmen and some homeless people.
But day after day the control of the area was taken by hippie and anarchist groups. It has been a home for divergent, young, homosexual, artists and homeless people for years. The smoking ban is not valid here. Besides its cannabis trade was tolerated by authorities until 2004. The entrance of cars here is forbidden. The inhabitants in town park their cars outside of Christiania.
They have their own currency, Løn even though Danish Kron is accepted. Here is a real different world with its rules and inhabitants in Copenhagen. As you pass under its gate you will read this sign ” You are leaving the Europen Union” which is a prove to how surreal it is.
WARM UP WITH GLOGG
I don’t have any special suggestions for Copenhagen cuisine but if you go there during the cold, you should try Gløgg . The best time for Gløgg is Christmas. It is very common to drink hot alcoholic beverage that consists of red wine , sugar, spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves and bitter orange , and optionally also stronger spirits such as vodka, akvavit or brandy. Akvavit is a Scandinavian drink made of grain or potato. It is flavored with herbs, spices or fruit oil. The Gløgg mixture is heated up to 60-70 C and then it is ready to serve. The taste of Gløgg is very nice so be careful a few glasses may easily makes you drunk.