Copenhagen Guest Post
Today we have a guest post on the site by Anders Jensen. Anders his wife Alexandra and son Anton are the creators of the website 3 on the Go. Anders and his family live in Munich, Germany. Anders originally hails from Denmark. The Jensen’s have travelled extensively. Make sure to stop by their website or become one of the 50,000 plus people who follow them on twitter. Please take the Time to read Anders article, insiders guide to Copenhagen.
Insiders guide to Copenhagen
Copenhagen has been my hometown for most of my adult life. Well, most of my entire life, actually. I
was born in Denmark and although I have lived in a few other places in the little country, perceived
by people around the world as being one of the happiest on the planet, I do consider Copenhagen to
be my “hometown”. Here is my insiders guide to Copenhagen
And there is a certain truth to the common notion that Danes are the happiest people in the world.
Denmark has THE highest income tax in the world. And 25% sales tax on everything. Plus 180% tax
on cars. Yet, we – the Danes – still walk around feeling happy most of the time.
Sure, we like to complain. And we do complain! It’s like a national sport. We complain about the
decreasing service level in the public healthcare system. We complain about roads not always being
in tip-top condition. We complain about our education system not always being fully up to date (old
books, crowded classrooms and buildings in need of repair) – but hey, all these things are free! Paid
for by taxes… We never worry about a doctor’s bill, or how we are going to afford to send our kids to
college. Thinking about stuff like that is simply not a factor for us!
So yes, there are many things for the Danes to feel happy about., I believe we are just as
happy (no more, no less) as most other European nations.
Insiders guide to Copenhagen – The facts
Back to Copenhagen. With its 1.3 million inhabitants it is actually a fairly large city, considering the
fact that there are “only” around 5.5 million people living in Denmark. In fact almost 2 million people
live in the “greater Copenhagen” area. That is more than one-third of the population.
So there is a lot going on here. Almost 100.000 students are enroled at the University of
Copenhagen, adding a rather vibrant and youthful flair to the city. The university has a good
international reputation, so many students from abroad are seen throughout the city as well.
Copenhagen was founded sometime during the 10th century. The name originally means “The
Merchants Harbour” and still to this day trading and shipping is a huge part of local business. In fact,
Maersk Line – the world’s largest shipping company – has its headquarters in Copenhagen.
Up through history, the Danes have always remained fairly neutral in terms of international affairs.
And during WWII, although occupied by the Germans, only very little of the historic city was
destroyed. Hence, you are able to see an overflow of historic buildings – many of which date back to
the 14th and 15th century – just on a one-hour stroll through the city centre. And strolling is the best
way to experience Copenhagen. You can literally see most of the city, and experience what it has to
offer, within 2 days of strolling around.
One thing most people notice almost immediately when they first enter the streets of Copenhagen is
that almost EVERYONE rides a bike! In Copenhagen, this is by far the easiest way to get around.
Sure, car traffic is pretty intense, but that is mostly commuters and other visitors, who really don’t
know better. The residents of the city prefer to go by bicycle because it is much faster and parking
fees are ridiculous. Up to 5 dollars per hour – depending on the specific parking zone. No locals are
prepared to pay for that. Sure, free parking is standard for people actually living and paying taxes in
the city, but as space is very limited in the old streets, it is always a tiresome task to find a spot
conveniently near one’s own front door (another subject for complaining!). Hence, many people
simply don’t use their car more than absolutely necessary, because they can’t be sure to get just as
good a parking spot again!
So as a tourist you must be aware of the bike lanes that are found ALL over the city. And the cyclists
come fast – so don’t get in the way! I have seen quite a few accidents and broken cameras because
people collided with cyclists.
Another great way to see the city is by boat. From the historic “Nyhavn” – “New Harbour” which
dates back more than 500 years – cruise boats are leaving several times per hour all day long. They
offer short and longer cruises. It depends on how much time you have set aside, but I recommend
the one-hour cruise that will take you through the canals and give you a very fine overview of the
most important historic points of interest.
Insiders guide to Copenhagen Top 5 of the most iconic places to visit:
Amalienborg Slot – The Royal Castle
Every day at noon you can watch the changing of the guard. This is a rather funny thing. And
although the guards do look like they are only there for show, don’t be fooled! They are in fact
protecting the Royal Family that actually lives in two of the four palaces. Every year on the Queens
birthday – 16th of April – thousands of people gather in the Royal Square to watch the Queen come
out and greet the audience.
Den Lille Havfrue – The Little Mermaid
For some reason one of the most popular attractions. The small statue by artist Edvard Eriksen, has
had its head chopped off twice, once by artists, as a sort of happening, and once by a criminal in
an act of vandalism. Hence, the neck is now filled with concrete. The statue os rather small, and
nothing really happens there. But you will see a LOT of tourists eating to see the main character from
the H.C. Andersen fairy tale.
Christiansborg – The Parliament
If you can get tickets to get inside, this is actually rather interesting. The Danish Parliament consists
of 179 members, but with full staff more than 600 people work here, plus journalists from most TV-
and radio stations in Scandinavia.
Tivoli – The world’s oldest amusement park of its kind
Enchanting and marvellous does not really cover! This IS a must see. When we lived in Copenhagen
this was our “garden” as we had season tickets, and oftentimes we would simply just stroll through,
enjoying the surroundings. Many world-class rides, restaurants and cafés. On Friday evenings
throughout the summer, Open Air concerts are held with world famous artists within pop, rock and
Nyhavn – The “old harbour”
This is the former “red light district” – but for the past hundred years, it has mostly been a place for
people to meet and drink a few beers. Especially during the summer, it is packed! You will instantly
recognise the scenery in Nyhavn, as it has become the trademark picture on most postcards from
Copenhagen. Beware: The bars and restaurants in Nyhavn are a bit on the pricey side!
One thing you cannot miss when in Denmark is the traditional open sandwiches on rye bread. That
is REAL rye bread. Not just coloured wheat bread or “dark rye toast”… The Danes have a particularly
high standard when it comes to bread, and this is, in fact, one thing all Danes abroad talk about when
we meet – we miss our rye-bread!
The open sandwiches are freshly made in thousands of combinations and are best eaten with a
Carlsberg Pilsner or – if you are into one of the fresh shrimp combinations – a chilled glass of white
In general, I will recommend any visitor of Copenhagen to simply just walk around and “take in” the
surroundings. During the past decade or so, a lot of things have happened. Currently (2016) you will
see many, many construction sites throughout the city. A brand new subway system is being built,
and the local government is constantly trying to keep up with the ever-growing traffic problems. But if
you are quick to learn how to use public transportation and if you are not afraid of using those
walking shoes of yours, you are certainly in for a treat! Even on a rainy day…
We hope our guest post insiders guide to Copenhagen was helpful in your future plans to visit Copenhagen. I like to thanks Anders for his contribution. Anders was one of the first people to reach out to me when we first appeared on the blogging scene. Thanks mate!
Father, Husband, Travel Planner, Savings Expert, Beer Connoisseur, Photographer, Social Media Tragic, Castle and UNESCO Seeker.
A full-time worker in Disability support and part time traveller when time, money and kids schooling allow.
Next up for Wyld Family Travel is 10 weeks in Europe from November 2016 till January 2017. We will be visiting Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany, France, Poland, Iceland, Denmark, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia
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