The following is a small inspiration “folder” introducing you to some of the
less famous, but beautiful places to visit in Copenhagen and some of the
suburbs situated around the Danish capital. This is not supposed to be a
traditional tourist guide containing the classic tourist attractions. You
may find those online or in a guide book on Denmark.
The content of this folder is nothing but a collection of personal favourite
spots and areas of a young Dane with an everyday life in this part of
Denmark. Hopefully, what you will get out of this small appetiser is some
inspiration on how to visit Denmark in a more unconventional way. We will
begin in the heart of Copenhagen. From there working our way out into the
unique outskirts of the Capital, ending off with a brief taste of some areas
in the more rural part of mid-Zealand.
This might encourage you to visit Denmark and participate in a true Servas
experience in Denmark. Enjoy!
The Centre of Copenhagen:
At the very heart
of Copenhagen you will find what we Danes call “Pisserenden”.
It is the old part of the city that has been there since the beginning. The
area has changed a lot over the years, and today it is known as a creative
and alternative neighbourhood. A punk-art bar called Floss and the most
famous extreme-tattoo and piercing store in Denmark, Copenhagen Body
Extremes, are located on the street called Larsbjørnsstræde. While the
street called Studiestrædet hosts some of Copenhagen’s most popular and
trendy bars and cafés such as The Cosy Bar, Log Lady, and Bar 7. You will
also find an environment very open to homosexuality and several gay bars are
situated in the area.
When you head
towards Nyhavn and Christianshavn you will start seeing some of Copenhagen’s
lovely canals. Young Copenhageners often hang out around the
canals, both those close to the city centre (Gammel Strand), but also them
at Christianshavn. You can enjoy a cold beer in the afternoon sun or even
barbeque on the edges of the canals, while looking at the boats passing by.
A popular activity, which allows for you to meet Copenhageners.
In Denmark we have a small independent “state” called Christiania,
which is situated very close to the centre of Copenhagen. Christiania is
mainly known for its hippie culture, as well as the area called Pusher
Street where marihuana is being (illegally) sold. However, Christiania is
much more than that. In fact, it is also used as a very lovely and peaceful
garden or park
where you will be able to enjoy a moment’s peace under the small trees at
the shore of the lake. Or stroll around in untamed, creative and beautiful
surroundings looking at the homemade houses and the gorgeous plants and
flowers. Many young and older Copenhageners enjoy hanging out here to get a
break from the busy city centre in more unconventional surroundings. Every
Thursday “Folkekøkken” takes place in the building right at the entrance to
Christiania (On the ground floor, Prinsessegade, Christianshavn, 1440
Copenhagen K). The concept is that a group of volunteers (it could be
yourself) meet up in the building around 4pm to gather food from the
supermarkets and bakeries at Christianshavn that otherwise would have been
thrown out. From the groceries
they receive they
put together a nice meal. There is always a vegetarian dish and a vegan
alternative. At 7 pm the kitchen is open to whoever would like to have a
cheap meal in good company. A full dinner, often including a small dessert,
is only 20 DKKR/ 3 Euros. All the money goes to the homeless in Copenhagen
or supporting underprivileged children. At Folkekøkken you will find an
international environment where young people meet and make friends, while
supporting a good cause. You will also find a wide range of concerts and
music arrangements taking place at one of the five scenes that are situated
inside the Free State.
Metropolitan Area of Copenhagen:
When we get further out towards the corners of Copenhagen, some very unique
areas are found. I will start with the area towards the Airport. Firstly,
you will be introduced to a beach called Amager Strandpark,
Amager. The beach has been there for almost 75 years. However, in 2004 a new
artificial beach island was added on to the popular beach. Today Amager
Strandpark is an even more fashionable place to come as a Copenhagener, as
the island is made from fine white sand. Especially for young families, it
is a popular destination in the summer, since the artificial island makes
the water between the real cost line and the artificial island
extraordinarily calm and low. This makes it safer for children to swim in
that area. Many activities take place on the small island, such as
windsurfing, beach parties and live music.
If you continue
westwards on Amager, you will find Ørestaden. Ørestaden is
Copenhagen’s newest part of the city. It is still in rapid development and
is constantly changing. New architectural masterpieces are created one after
the other. You can discuss if it is aesthetically preferable to the older
part of town or if it fits into the picture of Copenhagen as we know it.
Nevertheless, it is an innovative project creating a lot of new housing
possibilities and can be interesting to follow as it develops.
Some of the most famous architectural accomplishments
are the VM Bjerget (the mountain) and
Tietgenkollegiet (housing for young students). Since the area is not
completely occupied yet, you will find vast areas with wild vegetation that
works like big parks.
If however, you go towards the Northern part of Copenhagen, Nørrebro,
you will find a more ghetto-like and multi-cultural area. Many street
artists are roaming in this
creating enormous and often very advanced paintings in the streets. Again,
it can be discussed whether it is ethically acceptable to invade the public
sphere in this way. Nonetheless, it is admirable works of art you will find
around Nørrebro. Many minorities are living in this part of the city that
makes it an exotic quarter of Copenhagen where small Pakistani shops and
outdoor bazars are situated. The area of Nørrebro is charming in its own way
and makes Copenhagen a more diverse city to live in.
When continuing westwards you will arrive at Frederiksberg, which is
actually a separate city in itself. Usually this area is known for being a
area housing predominantly wealthier Copenhageners. However, this is also
the area where Copenhagen Business School is situated, which means that a
quite high number of young people are hanging out in the surroundings of
Frederiksberg. Especially, Frederiksberg Have, which is an old
sizable garden or park, is a popular destination for youngsters and families
in the summertime. It is a historical garden as it was founded in the
beginning of the 18th hundred. Connected to the garden are Frederiksberg
Slot, Copenhagen’s Zoo and Frederikberg’s City Hall. The seemingly endless
grass fields make it a great place for outdoor games and sunbathing.
Frederikberg Have will also offer you a beautiful botanical experience, as
the garden is very well taken care of by numerous gardeners.
between the different areas of Copenhagen, as well as between the suburbs
around Zealand, you will find that Denmark has a particularly efficient and
diverse public transportation system. Inside the city of
Copenhagen metros, busses and S-trains will take you where you need to go.
We even have established public transport by water, hence “boat-busses” can
take you across the canals and safe you quite some time when avoiding going
all the way around the canals. You use the same tickets to all kinds of
transportation and all tickets are valid for at least an hour. Furthermore,
there are departures several times an hour, with the metro and the busses
even during the night. So you can always get to and around the centre of our
Capital easily and efficiently. When travelling outside Copenhagen it is
possible to use the regular trains, which are quite fast. Busses are also to
be found in great numbers all over Zealand.
So there is no reason to avoid the suburbs and outer corners of Copenhagen
when visiting Denmark. Furthermore, Denmark is a very bike friendly country
where most of the population bikes around in their everyday life. Bike paths
are created next to the majority of the bigger streets, so you can bike more
safely. In most cities it is possible to rent a bike quite cheaply. In the
centre of Copenhagen, you will even find free bikes standing around. They
are attached to some metal chains, where you have to stick in a 10 kroner
coin in order to free the bike from the chain and be able to use it as long
as you wish. The bikes are not of the best quality, but they are fine if you
just need it when you are sightseeing. A big stand is to be found at the
Central Station among other places.
As Denmark is a former agricultural community, large corn fields and flat
meadows are dominating the view
when visiting the more rural areas of Zealand. The picture included here is
taken close to a small town called Ruds Vedby in the beginning of July, and
represents a typical landscape view on Zealand.
Denmark is also famous for its green forests, and you are actually going to
be staying very close to Denmark’s largest forest during the Youth Meeting,
namely Københavns Stor Skov. The forest is situated near the
small town called Hvalsø on mid-Zealand. There are small paths inside the
woods, but there are also areas where you can get the feeling of being lost
in a beautiful wild forest. Moreover, there is a quite big lake where you
can go for a swing. The water has a cobber-red colour, since the leaves from
the trees around the lake fall into the water in the autumn. However, the
water is nice and clean.
Birkegårdens Haver offers another unforgettable outdoor
experience. Birkegården was originally a normal
farm owned by a
couple that loved gardening. In 1996 their garden was so known around
Zealand that they decided to turn their garden into an actual park. Today
Birkegården possesses a vast area in Tågerup (mid-Zealand) where they have
several different theme parks, as for example their “Danish-English” garden
with traditional old-fashion gardening, the prairie garden and the
Japanese-inspired garden. It is overwhelming to take a walk in the different
gardens. Every single area is impressively taken care of, and you feel like
you are in a botanic paradise. Furthermore, they also offer activities for
children, such as a mini-golf course, an animal pen with rabbits, goats and
donkeys, as well as a big playground. Unfortunately, you will need a car or
a bike to get to Birkegården’s Haver, since it is situated far from any
public transport possibilities. We will bring copies of the folder from
Birkegården’s Haver that you can ask for during the Youth Meeting if you are
interested in more details.
You can get a pdf-version
here in a new window