10 Most Unusual Facts You Never Knew About Copenhagen, Denmark – Baltic Sea 2
Copenhagen-Malmo Port, Copenhagen, Denmark
The doorway to Denmark and Sweden. An important gateway for at least a million consumers into the Baltic Sea area. Located at the center of the Oresund Region, Copenhagen-Malmo Port is one of the biggest port in the Nordic area. Dating back to the Middle Ages, this port was once owned by the Danish Royal Family. It was one of the naval stations of the Royal Danish Navy. But in 1742, the port was turned into an independent institution until 1812. A bigger one was constructed in 1891 and was opened in 1894. Today, Copenhagen-Malmo Port handles passengers, consumer goods, construction materials, new cars, aviation fuel (brent oil) and other important cargoes. Besides these, one of every 4 tourists arrive at the Port of Copenhagen-Malmo via cruise ships. This port in return provides services in making these visitors enjoy their short-lived stay in the city. The cruise industry alone creates thousands of jobs in the Port of Copenhagen-Malmo.
Almost a thousand years old, Copenhagen‘s lowly beginning was a fishing village and a trading center. Known then as “havn” or harbor, it endured many pirate attacks. Later, in the 12th century, the Bishop of Adsalon, who was an advisor to the Danish King Valdemar The Great, built forts at Stoltsholmen (a little island at the entrance of Copenhagen harbor) to protect the fishing village. As market activities prospered in the growing city, the once fishing village was later came to be known as “Koopmannehafn” or merchant’s harbor. Eventually, German traders shortened it to Kobenhavn or Copenhagen as we know today.
In a period of 8 centuries, Copenhagen suffered several attacks, 2 catastrophic fires, a flooding and the deadly bubonic plague of the Middle Ages. Today, Copenhagen has evolved into one of the most eco-friendly and technologically advanced capital in the world.
We berthed at Copenhagen-Malmo Port in November 2003 aboard the tanker Karen Knutsen for oil discharging. When you think of Copenhagen, I am sure that the things that come to your mind are: The Little Mermaid sitting at the harbor, happiest people, city of bicycles ( and bikers, of course) and a pricey budget. Yes, it’s true that this city is all about those mentioned, however, there’s more to Copenhagen than meets the eye. For a good reason, there are 10 most unusual facts you never knew about Copenhagen, Denmark which I’d like to share. Keep reading to learn more about Denmark’s capital before you go and explore it yourself.
1. The Danish Royal Family are actually the most unassuming royals in the world.
The Danish monarchy is one of the oldest in the world. Queen Margarethe II‘s lineage can be traced down to 900 years. But, a most unusual fact you never knew about Copenhagen, Denmark is that its monarchy is considered the most humble in the world. Their Queen doesn’t spend much on pomp and pageantry. Her royal grandchildren attend ordinary public schools. The adult members can be seen shopping, dining out or riding their bicycles just like any ordinary Dane. Who knows you will bump into Crown Princess Mary haggling for bargains at Stroget when you visit Copenhagen and don’t even recognize her?
2. It is living GREEN in Copenhagen.
Just imagine yourself swimming in a busy city harbor, sailing on a solar-powered boat, spending few nights at an eco-friendly hotel or munching on organic food at its street corners. Of course you can do all those in Copenhagen. A most unusual fact you never knew about Copenhagen, Denmark is that it is the world’s greenest city. For years, Copenhagen has put “sustainability” as its topmost priority. And it continues to do so as it aims to become the first carbon-neutral capital by 2025. The city turns its wastes into energy that supplies thousands of houses and businesses. Vehicles have reverted from diesel to electric. Some roads are devoted to cycling. Indeed a megapolis where the bicycle rules, even their government officials just prefer to pedal everyday when they go to work rather than “show off” their cars. Copenhagen is a showcase of climate and earth-friendly Denmark.
3. Always and will be a “happy” city.
Each year, a group of “happiness” specialists in the world rate countries basing on the contentment of its citizens. And Denmark has consistently turn up among the top 5 in the list. A most unusual fact you never knew about Copenhagen, Denmark is that it is always a city of happy people. It’s not that the residents smile most of the time or laugh often. But in Copenhagen, its people are happy because of the generous social services they get from their leaders. FREE health care, child care benefits, stable government, low levels of corruption from officials (and employees as well), work-life balance and an access to a FREE high-quality education. What more can they ask?
4. Christiana is Copenhagen’s self-governing community and the only one of its kind in the world.
Right in the heart of Copenhagen, you can find a neighborhood that has its own laws, flag and culture so different from the city. A most unusual fact you never knew about Copenhagen, Denmark is its very unique hippie quarter. Freetown Christiana is an alternative community of “bohemians” that live by a certain set of principles like equality, fairness, free taxes with their own laws independent from the Danish government. A country within a city within a country that is. You can explore the area when you visit Copenhagen but you have to abide by their rules. Such rules are: zero violence, try not to run as it means to them you are avoiding something, no cars allowed and no picture taking (except at the entrance to the neighborhood). Hard drugs are banned but marijuana is a part of their lifestyle. In fact here at Christiana there are actually stalls that sell the weed. And while the police tolerate its residents, tourists are not allowed to buy or else you might be slapped or arrested.
5. Its “Den Lille Havfrue” (The Little Mermaid) is the most vandalized girl in the world.
Since the 1960s, Copenhagen‘s most photographed icon has been the victim of vandalism attacks. A most unusual fact you never knew Copenhagen, Denmark, this girl has been beheaded several times, stolen by political activists, splashed with paints and covered with graffiti. And for this reason, the one you see along the harbor when you go to Copenhagen is just a replica. The original statue is hidden somewhere at an undisclosed location only the heirs of its sculptor, Edvard Eriksen can know. Suprisingly Den Lille Havfrue is not a big statue as you think. She is actually small about 5 feet or 1.25 meters.
6. Stroget, Europe’s longest shopping street offers tax-free shopping at high end labels.
Stroget is Copenhagen‘s main shopping mile and Europe‘s longest pedestrian only shopping street. A mecca for budget travelers and bargain hagglers, Stroget also offers tax free for high-end brands. A most unusual fact you never knew about Copenhagen, Denmark. And it is not just a popular shopping destination. This is also a venue of great activities. There are also other attractions to explore and dining nooks as well.
7. Superkilen, an urban park in Copenhagen that turned a whole block into PINK!
An elephant slide from Chernobyl, Russia; swing benches from Baghdad, Iraq; lamp posts from the United Arab Emirates, this is Superkilen. It’s a theme park in Copenhagen which is considered as the world’s most eccentric plaza. A most unusual fact you never knew about Copenhagen, Denmark. Superkilen has not only turned a whole block into pink color but it is also Europe‘s longest park as well. Filled with interesting things from around the world, this park reflects the diversity of a neighborhood in the area which is made up of immigrants from 60 countries. Superkilen is a good of how a large number of foreign residents can actually live harmoniously together. Indeed it is a picture of Denmark as an open-minded society.
8. The Danish pastry is actually called Vienna bread in Copenhagen.
The pastry we all love but it’s not Danish after all. A most unusual fact you never knew about Copenhagen, Denmark. This flaky pastry is actually called Vienna bread in Copenhagen. In 1850, bakers went on a strike in the city. They wanted to be paid in cash rather than free bed and board. And so the bakery owners hired workers from Austria who were famous for their sweet, flaky pastries. When the strikes were over, people in Copenhagen continued the Austrians‘ way of pastry making – so that’s where the word Danish pastry came up. So when you go to Copenhagen, the proper word to use when you order one is, Vienna bread.
9. Jens Olsen’s world clock at the Copenhagen’s City Hall calculates time, dates and planetary positions for the next 2,500 years.
A most unusual fact you never knew about Copenhagen, Denmark is its City Hall‘s famous attraction, the astronomical clock. Jens Olsen’s world clock is geared to calculate global time, dates and planetary alignments with exceptional precision. And as long as it is being winded at least once a week, it will continue to give this amazing information for the next 2, 500 years.
10. Home to LEGO, Carlsberg Beer, Pandora jewelry and Arla dairy products.
From toys to beer, then to jewelry and dairy products there are popular brands from Copenhagen we all have come to love. A most unusual fact you never knew about Copenhagen, Denmark. The LEGO toys you grew up with were conceived in 1932 at Billund near Copenhagen. Over the years, PANDORA jewelry has been trending worldwide. Founded in Copenhagen in 1982, Pandora high-end pieces are not just favorites of Danes but a topnotch of worldwide fashionistas as well. Probably the best beer in the world, CARLSBERG was founded in 1847 by Jacob Christian Jacobsen. Every bar in Copenhagen serves Carlsberg and is also one of the most famous brands of beer “nerds” in the world. ARLA dairy products is Danish and hails from Copenhagen. From butter to milk and cream cheese this is the 4th largest dairy product worldwide.
With a city so serene, amazing, very clean, safe and home of “happy” people Copenhagen is definitely the pride of Denmark. It is impossible not to fall in love with this city. Therefore, it should be on your bucket list when world travel eases in the coming year. Go and experience the Danes’ concept of “hygge” or coziness and I’m sure you are destined to take that sense of wonder with you when you get back home. God tur snart.