A weekend in Copenhagen
The hotel rooms are designed by famous Danes, the Tivoli Park is a cultural amusement park, where you can design your own teddy bear. The art museums have collections of Danish and European art from all periods. And what's up with that mermaid in the harbor? Is she really waiting for her lover? Don't miss a visit to Nyhavn, a popular street with shops and restaurants, as well as a theatre and the department store Magasin du Nord.
Text and photos: Aurélie Montfrond
Copenhagen is a cosmopolitan city but still has its Scandinavian charm and culture. Arriving at the airport gives you a taste of what the town is like. Inspiring Danish design is almost everywhere. I found it pleasant how convenient and close to the city centre the airport was. You can take the train directly from there to Kobenhavn Central Station. It only takes twenty minutes.
From the central station it was only ten minutes by foot to my hotel. Hotel Alexandra situated on the main street, H.C. Andersens Boulevard.
The place is known for having gathered over the years exclusive pieces of design furniture by world-famous Danish designers such as Arne Jacobsen, Ole Wanscher, Hans J. Wegner and Finn Juhl.
Amusement, culture and fish
Some rooms have been entirely and individually decorated with selected Danish design furniture as well as Danish art. My room was an homage to the Danish architect Hans J.Wegner and had some of his best pieces of work. It seemed interesting how not only the rooms were decorated that way but the rest of the hotel such as the lobby and the restaurant had also been filled with Danish design chairs and tables. It made the place feel unique or rather made me feel unique.
The Tivoli gardens may be to Copenhagen what the Tuileries Gardens are to Paris on a smaller scale but the difference is that it is also an amusement park open all year round and located right in the city centre.
One of the stage theatres is strongly inspired by Asiatic architecture and stands out from the rest. There are many attractions, restaurants including the Hard Rock Café and souvenir shops. With its open-air stages, all kinds of events are held during the year. It is home to Europe's longest tropical sea aquarium. You can admire over a thousand fishes, sharks and rays in its thirty metres long reef.
Hundred of trees and thousands of flowers surround the fountain at the centre of the garden. It's a mesmerising sight.
Right at the entrance is Tivoli workshop, a paradise for children and the young at heart, where you can build a bear. There is an extensive choice of bears in different shapes such as dinosaurs, rabbits, pandas and leopards. Almost any animal you can. They stuff them in front of your eyes.
You can then dress your bear by choosing from a wide selection of outfits. Some have Danish flags or Tivoli inscriptions on them while others range from classical to Disney outfits. It sounds weird, but this is what makes this shop special to Denmark.
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
Ancient sculpture and 19th century paintings
Opposite Tivoli gardens is the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. It is an art museum dedicated to sculpture and painting. Sculptures from ancient Egypt, Greece and the Roman Empire. Several sculptures of Marcus Aurelius titled with Roman emperor. It seems that I also knew him as a philosopher. Many unknown Romans sculpted faces.
The collection of paintings focuses on Danish and French art from the nineteenth century onwards. There is a large number of pieces by the artists of the Danish golden age of painting (1800-1850), including Eckersberg, Kobke and Lundbye.
The collection of French paintings is focused on Impressionism and Post-Impressionism with mainly works by Gaugin but also widely represented are Monet, Van Gogh, Pissaro or even Signac. There are also magnificent and famous 'Danseuses' sculptures by Degas.
There is a winter garden at the center of the museum where you can have a coffee while enjoying again the furniture. The museum café is exclusively decorated by Danish design furniture. The museum art bookshop has an interesting choice of books covering the entire museum collection and published by the museum itself.
Statens Museum for Kunst
Danish and international works of art
The Danish National Gallery or Statens Museum for Kunst is located near Norreport train station but is also accessible by foot from the city centre. Danish and foreign works from the fourteenth century and up to our time are exhibited there. New contemporary artists are also holding temporary exhibitions.
From the city hall square you can take a walk through the Latin Quarter, nice pedestrian streets that have lots of cafés, restaurants and shops.
Around the harbor
All kinds of stories about the Little Mermaid
I walk through the park to the port and admire the Little Mermaid statue. I heard many different stories about the significance of the Little Mermaid statue. Someone said she was known to have waited a long time around the port for her lover to come back. I understood that her lover came back, as she was carrying beautiful red roses. Or maybe not, maybe she was bringing them as a gift for her lover.
Walking back towards the square through Bredgade Street where you can see the golden onion domes from a distance of the Russian Orthodox Church. From there on your left is the Amalienborg palace and royal residence. If you are there around noon you will certainly see the changing of the guards, which is a daily spectacle.
Nyhavn around the canal is a colourful pedestrian street with many outdoor cafés, a very popular place to go. The famous Hotel d'Angleterre stands at its end between the royal theatre and the department store Magasin du Nord.
There are more museums in Copenhagen than the ones I visited. With a Copenhagen card you can visit most museums and attractions for free and it also gives unlimited free access to public transportation. It has discounts for selected restaurants and shops. It's a great help if you have little time to explore Copenhagen and still want to see a lot.