facts about Denmark

7 Interesting Facts About Copenhagen

Denmark’s cool, cutting edge capital city is a popular mini-break destination for millions of tourists every year. Over 9 million people travel to Copenhagen every year for a dose of royal history, Michelin-starred meals and eye-popping architecture – all by the waterside. But how much do you know about the capital of scandi-cool? Did you know it started life as a fishing village, endured decades of flooding, fires and sieges, and still plans to be carbon-neutral by 2025? From a self-governing society to gifting the world Carlsberg beer, we’ll bet you have heard some of these interesting facts about Copenhagen.

7 Interesting Facts About Copenhagen

1. Copenhagen is home to a self-governing Freetown

Freetown Christiania is a self-governing society within the city. Its 900 residents live their life to a common law that outlaws theft, weapons, hard drugs and private cars. While it rejects state control, it’s lived in tolerable harmony with the city for decades. A group of squatters took over the former military base in 1971 and established it as their commune.

However, the hippie utopia has become a victim of its own success in recent years. Mass tourism and gentrification are forcing prices up.

Editorial credit: Robert Szymanski / Shutterstock.com

2. Copenhagen is seriously sustainable 

Widely viewed as the green capital of the world, Copenhagen has cut its emissions by nearly a third during the past decade. The city has made huge investments in renewable energy such as wind and solar power, as well as heating systems to recycle waste.

Around one-quarter of the city is dedicated to green space too, thanks to innovative strategies such as introducing green roofs to newly-built buildings and transforming unused land into pint-sized parks.

Copenhagen things to do

3. Copenhagen is home to the world’s oldest theme park

Dyrehavsbakken – or ‘Bakken’ – dates back to 1583. It’s located inside the Par Force Hunting Landscape of Jaegersborg Deer Park. People have travelled here for centuries for its healing springs. Originally, visitors would drink from the healing spring over the summer. As it became more popular, people set up tents and stalls to entertain and sell items. Today, it’s a wholesome family-friendly amusement park, complete with rides, a theatre, restaurants and lots of live music.

That’s not the only impressive amusement park in Copenhagen. The Tivoli Gardens, built in 1843, inspired Disneyland. Walt Disney visited the park in 1951 and supposedly spent hours jotting down notes, sampling food and hopping on rides.

interesting facts about Copenhagen
Editorial credit: Stig Alenas / Shutterstock.com

4. It’s a haven for cyclists

Copenhagen is one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world. There are over 250 miles bike paths winding around the city and over 700,000 bikes in use – more than one per car. More than 60% of the city’s population commute by bicycle too. While cycling has always been popular, it made a real comeback in 1973 after the global oil prices hit motorists hard.

In the past five years, Copenhagen has also opened eight ‘super highways’, stretching from the city centre to the outer suburbs. The 17.5 km Albertslund Route, running through Copenhagen, Frederiksberg, Albertslund and Rødovre, is one of the most popular.

interesting facts about Copenhagen
Editorial credit: Copenhagen Stock / Shutterstock.com

5. You can drive directly from Copenhagen to Sweden

You might recognise it as the backdrop to the moody drama, The Bridge, but Oresund Bridge hasn’t always existed. In fact, it’s a relatively recent addition to the city. Built in 2000, the ten-mile elevated bridge connects Copenhagen to Malmö, Sweden, across the artificial island of Pebrholm. Around six million vehicles make the ten-minute journey every day.

It had a huge impact on relations between the two countries; in 2005 many Danes moved to Sweden to escape the skyrocketing house prices and decided to commute instead.

interesting facts about Copenhagen

6. Carlsberg beer was born in Copenhagen

Founded in 1847, Carlsberg is now one of the top five largest beer companies in the world. J.C. Jacobsen started brewing the beers in his mother’s copper washbasin, then opened his own brewery just outside Copenhagen. A fire destroyed the first brewery, but his second attempt is still standing. in fact, the Carlsburg Brewery is one of the largest breweries in the world.

The Carlsberg Brewery is also home to the world’s largest collection of unopened beer bottles. The Danish engineer Leif Sonne started collecting them in 1968 and accrued so many that he decided to stash them in the brewery in 1993. There are now more than 20,000 unopened bottles in the collections.

interesting facts about Copenhagen
Editorial credit: monticello / Shutterstock.com

7. The city invented ‘hygge’

There’s no one word in English for ‘hygge’, but comfort, contentment and cosiness almost do the trick. In essence, it means creating a warm atmosphere for the people you love. Think roaring fires in a cosy pub, the warm glow of candlelight, a sheepskin throw and a mug of hot chocolate and marshmallows. Unsurprising that Danish people are some of the happiest in the world, eh?

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Allie D'Almo

Allie is a passionate traveller with a hearty interest in great food and stories. She likes to travel slowly, particularly to underrated and underloved places. She’s lived in Italy and is now based in London, where she spends most of her time either plotting her next trip or writing about her last one.

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