Denmark sits like a star the European continent, the geographic and cultural link to Scandinavia and the gateway to the Baltic. It’s thoroughly European, yet distinctively Danish. One of the smallest countries in Europe, it has the oldest capital city and the oldest flag. The queen, Her Majesty Queen Margrethe, is the youngest queen in Europe, yet hers is the oldest lineage, dating from early 900 and Viking king Gorm. Once the seat of Viking raiders and later a major north European power, Denmark has evolved into a modern, prosperous nation that is participating in the political and economic integration of Europe.
Vestiges of its royal past are readily apparent in Denmark’s stately castles, gardens, and manor houses. When it was built in 1585, Kronborg Castle, the backdrop for Shakespeare’s Hamlet, was the finest castle in northern Europe. Spottrup Castle (1450-1500), with its unique double moat, is one of the most impressive medieval fortresses in Scandinavia. Ledreborg Castle set in a 200-acre river valley is known for its magnificent terraced gardens, no mean feat in a country where the land never rises more than 500 feet above sea level.
Danish cities are filled with gracious plazas, statues, fountains, gardens crisscrossed with wide, tree-lined walkways, open-air markets, flower vendors on street corners, museums, galleries, and little cafes offering strong coffee and delectable pastries. In Copenhagen, the traditional changing of the guard ceremony takes place in front of the queen’s palace.
Danes are friendly (“If you have to throw yourself on the mercy of anyone,” it has been said, “let it be a Dane”), English-speaking, and fun-loving. And we come from a great literary and artistic heritage that includes the writers Hans Christian Andersen and Isak Dinesen, the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, the choreographer August Bournonville, and the designer Georg Jensen.
Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark and has a lot to offer for city trippers. It’s a quiet city on the waterfront, with a lot of green areas. Most people know one of the most photographed views in the city: the little mermaid, inspired by one of the fairy tales of H.C. Andersen. In the centre of the city lies the famous Tivoli Park. Copenhagen is the largest city in Denmark. Copenhagen is home to the national parliament, government, and monarchy, which are all situated in the heart of the city. The city has population of 1,116,979 inhabitants it. It is also the name of a county in Denmark, Copenhagen County (of which the city itself is not a part) Frederiksberg is in turn an enclave of the city of Copenhagen, also not part of the County that surrounds both municipalities.
An even larger metropolitan region is known as the Danish Capital Region (Hovedstadsregionen), which consists of the municipalities of Copenhagen and Frederiksberg, and the counties of Copenhagen, Frederiksborg and Roskilde. The population of Hovedstadsregionen is 1,823,109. The city itself has a canal system and is divided into 15 administrative, statistical and tax districts (bydele), each with its own character and atmosphere. 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. Several museums (almost 50) cater to the taste of almost every visitor: the modern art museum, the erotica museum, the war museum, the design museum, the Nationalmuseet about Danish history and the Library with unique manuscripts.
Denmark’s capital is a very green city. Worth a visit is the botanical garden. The Danish are proud of their monarchy and its traditions. Every day, visitors can see the changing of the Guard in front of the royal palace Amalienborg.On the oldest island of the city stands the castle Christiansborg, which is now the house of Parliament. Closeby is the Tivoli amusement park and the large pedestrian shopping area of Stroget. During the winter the heated terraces of Nyhavn offer a pleasant opportunity to enjoy the old wooden warehouses with the characteristic colours. They are now nice restaurants and trendy cafés. Don’t forget to visit the Christiana quarter, a kind of free city for the hippies and artists.