There’s More To The Now Cool Capital of Denmark Than That Statue
A guard at Amalienborg, Copenhagen, Denmark. March 12, 2014
The word on the street is that the Danish capital of Copenhagen is blossoming, coming out of its well-developed shell. There certainly seemed to be a buzz on the streets when I was in town last week. The buzz wasn’t because I was in town, it was because, well, Copenhagen is cool these days. Compared to the past, there are more cafes, bars & restaurants in which to buy horridly expensive cappuccinos, beers & Michelin star-rated cuisine. And seemingly the Copenhageners are frequenting them too, staying out, shock horror, on the streets after dark. Well I never.
I had an afternoon to sample what Copenhagen was all about, an easy-going city of canals, harmonious civic spaces, cobbled squares & copper spires, not to mention a hip city full of cutting-edge architecture & chic independent fashion & design stores. An afternoon isn’t a lot of time but thankfully Copenhagen is small & easy to navigate. It’s also clean, safe, & flat. Oh, & when the sun is out, as it was when I was in town, it’s a rather attractive place to be; not a European classic by any means, but a nice little city alright. So here is a pictorial look at five to-dos in Wonderful Copenhagen, as the city bills itself.
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Hang Out By the Canal
A Few Copenhagen Observations
• Copenhageners are an obedient lot. No one dares to cross the road, no matter how short the distance, how quiet the street or how long the wait, until the little green man says so. Not wanting to draw attention to yourself, get arrested, or get ran over by a bicyclist means you invariably do the same.
• Copenhageners are also very friendly & have that enviable Scandinavian trait of being able to switch effortlessly between Danish & fluent English.
• They have 7/11 here.
• Electricity alone drives the metro – it’s fully automated. It’s kind of scary but needless to say works flawlessly & runs like clockwork.
• The furry hats on the guards at Amalienborg (see following pictures) are ridiculous looking.
• Denmark has the highest per capita GDP in the EU. Yes, it’s expensive, but not overly so. Oslo, Norway, is much more of a financial challenge.
– Lonely Planet, Denmark
• The majority of the bicycles that everyone zips around on are massive. I’d like to see them tackle hills on those bad boys.
• The Little Mermaid is indeed little. Iconic, but little.
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Wonder what all the fuss is about at The Little Mermaid
Unveiled on 23 August 1913, The Little Mermaid was a gift from Danish brewer Carl Jacobsen, he of Carlsberg fame, to the city of Copenhagen. The sculpture, by artist Edvard Eriksen, is made of bronze and granite and was inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale about a mermaid who gives up everything to be unified with a young, handsome prince on land. Every morning and evening she swims to the surface from the bottom of the sea and, perched on her rock in the water, she stares longingly towards the shore hoping to catch a glimpse of her beloved prince. Carl Jacobsen fell in love with the character after watching a ballet performance based on the fairy tale at the Royal Danish Theater. The brewer was so captivated by both the fairy tale and the ballet that he commissioned Eriksen to create a sculpture of the mermaid. Eriksen’s wife, Eline, posed for the statue.