(Danish: København) is the capital of Denmark, on the island of Zealand (Danish: Sjælland).
Copenhagen is one of Europe’s most enjoyable cities. Situated on the Oresund (Danish: Øresund) strait, with Sweden just minutes away by train, it is a link between mainland Europe and Scandinavia, and has a wealth of cultural and entertaining things to see and do. The city has a reputation for tolerance, the fascinating ‘free city’ of Christiania, a community of people who have tried to create an equal and just consensus-governed democracy for its people. There is more to here than Carlsberg and The Little Mermaid, and a trip to the wonderful Tivoli Gardens will leave the visitor in no doubt that this is a very special city.
Copenhagen is located on the eastern shore of the island of Zealand (Sjælland) and partly on the island of Amager. Copenhagen faces to the east the Øresund, the strait of water that separates Denmark from Sweden, and that connects the North Sea with the Baltic Sea. On the Swedish side of the sound directly across from Copenhagen, lie the towns of Malmö and Landskrona.
Copenhagen is also a part of the Øresund region, which consists of the eastern part of Zealand in Denmark and the western part of Scania in Sweden.
The history of Copenhagen
Copenhagen was founded around year 1000 by Sweyn I Forkbeard (Svend Tveskæg) and his son Canute the Great (Knud den Store). It was only a fishing village by the name of “Havn” (harbour) until the middle of the 12th century when it grew in importance after coming into the possession of the Bishop Absalon, who fortified it in 1167. The excellent harbour encouraged Copenhagen’s growth until it became an important centre of commerce (hence its name - the first part of the word denoting commerce in Danish language).
Districts in Copenhagen
Copenhagen is devided into 15 administrative, statistical and tax districts:
- Indre By, Downtown. The historical heart of Copenhagen, dotted with churches and historic buildings.
- Christianshavn. Originally laid out as a working class neighbourhood 300 years ago, it is now a thriving beautiful area notable for its many canals. The Freetown of Christiania is situated in the northern part of Christianshavn.
- Kastellet. One of the best preserved fortifications of its time in Europe - a witness that Copenhagen was for many years a heavily fortified city.
- Holmen. North of Christianshavn, this area was until recently occupied by the military, but is now home to a lot of creative educational institutions as well as Copenhagen’s new Opera House.
- Vesterbro. This district still has its share of sex shops and sleazy hotels, but has evolved tremendiously the last years and is now one of the ‘hippest’ places to live, with cafes and bars dotted along its main artery, Istedgade.
- Frederiksberg. A small town which originally formed around Frederiksberg castle, this area is still a separate municipality. Literally surrrounded by the City of Copenhagen, it has preserved a special conservative, up-scale feel.
- Norrebro. (danish Nørrebro)The most vibrant part of Copenhagen, especially along the main artery, Nørrebrogade, with a mix of immigrants, students, rebellious youngsters etc.
- Osterbro (danish Østerbro). A cosy neighbourhood north of the center, less vibrant than Nørrebro and Vesterbro, but less quaint than Frederiksberg.
- North West, NV. A traditional and still quite worn down working class neighbourhood.