This folder was created for participants in the Servas Youth Nordic Meeting 2011 in Denmark

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.

The 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, situated on 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 neighbourhood, 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 rather expensive 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.

The Suburbs:

When travelling 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