The Charms and Culture of Copenhagen

The charms and contrast of Copenhagen are endless. As one of Europe’s oldest monarchies, the capital city of Denmark is steeped in both history and innovation.

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First, the old. A glimpse of history can be seen through the castles and palaces, museums and 16th and 17th century architecture. The castle Frederiksborg Slot is home to Denmark’s Museum of Natural History and famous for its baroque gardens (and the setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet). Described as “Nordic Versailles,” design aficionados will love the incredible grandeur both inside and out. A view of the city can be found at the Rundetaarn, one of the oldest observatories in Europe and notable for its spiral stairway. Legend has it that Catherine the Great rode to the top of the tower in a horse-drawn carriage.

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The Denmark National Museum is considered the world’s largest of cultural history. Standout artifacts include the 3,500-year-old Sun Chariot that was made in the Early Bronze Age, 1890 authentic Victorian home, Viking collection, African masks, Egyptian mummies and for the child in you, enjoy the village of doll houses. SMK/National Gallery of Denmark houses Danish art for the past seven centuries and the Hirschsprung Collection focuses on art from the Danish Golden Age.

To experience the modern, cutting-edge side of Copenhagen, look no further than the fashion, design and food scenes. Long considered a fashion capital, the city is a leader in sustainable clothing. Fashion designers Henrik Vibskov, Trine Lindegaard and Stine Goya are the names to watch. The clean, functional lines of classic Danish and Scandinavian interior design is still in vogue, favored for its simplicity, high quality and craftsmanship.

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And for foodies, check out the  “New Nordic Cuisine” that is comprised of pure, simple and seasonal foods. 18 Michelin stars were awarded to 15 restaurants in this former fishing village turned cosmopolitan city where smoked fish, hake (a delicate white fish), brewed beer and artisanal cheese is the order of the day. Or you can sample a variety of foods from the burgeoning street food scene.

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While biking is the predominant form of transportation (a word to the wise, exercise caution as the streets are buzzing with cyclists), explore the city’s quaint neighborhood Nyhavn.  Filled with multi-colored buildings, narrow streets and canals, it’s the perfect place to visit local haunts and experience Copenhagen as the Danes or as resident and author Hans Christian Andersen in the 1800s.

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