406 islands make up Denmark, along with Jutland on the mainland. The capital Copenhagen is located on the island of Zealand. Picturesque images abound, but if you look under the surface, what makes this metropolis tick?
In 1728 a minor fire in a candle works got completely out of hand and wiped out the majority of the city's wooden buildings. The fire brigade were too intoxicated to do much about it - this being one of the beer-related hazards of pay day.
Not ones to rest on their laurels, they went one better in 1795 when they lost the keys to the pump house, thus allowing another blaze to run riot and wreak devastation.
Moving to the present day, the city's tallest high-rise structure is the headquarters of Carlsberg. Is there a pattern here?
Fairy tales and the dead
2005 is the bicentennial of the birth of Hans Christian Andersen. He moved to Copenhagen as a young man and his presence remains in the form of numerous landmarks such as the little mermaid statue. The latter may sound a little twee but makes up for that with the dubious distinction of being Europe's most vandalised statue, having been variously beheaded and attacked with explosives.
Hans Christian Andersen's grave at Assistens cemetery is a popular destination for visitors and locals alike. In fact in the summer the cemetery as a whole is a popular location for picnics and topless bathing.
Some other famous Danes include:
The big picture
- Søren Kierkegaard - the father of existentialism
- Bjarne Stroustrup - the father of C++
- Ole Kirk Christiansen - inventor of Lego
- Niels Bohr - nuclear physicist
- Karen Blixen - author of Out of Africa
The Rundetaarn was built in the seventeenth century and stands an imposing 36 metres over the city. King Christian IV used to be driven to the top in a carriage but most people these days stroll up the spiral staircase to check out the marvellous views. Shopping and fun
Strøget is the world's longest shopping street - it's also handily near Tivoli -an amusement park and flower garden with concert hall, food pavilions and funfair.The obligatory cultural bit
The ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, opened in 1996 when Copenhagen was European city of culture. It's a quite stunning piece of architecture and a thriving centre of modern art. Also check out the botanical gardens and the Statens Museum for Kunst - the Danish National Gallery - which houses the largest collection of art in Denmark.
Copenhagen is a fascinating and friendly city with a rich history, steeped in culture and with a cutting-edge style of its own. Unique. We can't wait for Sibos!
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