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Copenhagen/Christianshavn

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Christianshavn is a district east of the inner city of Copenhagen. Once a working-class neighbourhood, today Christianshavn is a trendy part of the city with its own unique identity. people from all walks of life, live side-by-side among cool cafes, old school bodegas, fancy restaurants and charming 19-century houses along picturesque canals. Further north, Holmen is an old naval area, that has seen a dramatic change in the past few years, with the old buildings being updated for residence, along with new dramatic architecture - fittingly a new home of the royal Danish school of architecture.

A view over Christianshavn seen from Vor Frelsers Church, with the inner city in the background.

Understand

Christianshavn is an artificial island, erected in the swampy area between what is now the Inner city and the island of Amager, by King Christian the 4th, as a grand unification of his mad dash of construction projects, and his ambitions to develop Denmark into a major Naval power.

The district was built as part of the southern fortification of Copenhagen in the early 17th century. It was designed in the image of Amsterdam, with a canal cutting straight through the center - from this point Danish merchants were to expand trade over the seven seas, a heritage that is still very visible today, with the forest of masts from the sailing ships docked along the canal, and the century old watering holes of sailors still handing out beers and snaps to thirsty passers by.

In the early days Christianshavn was an independent city, until it was swallowed by the rapidly expanding capital, but to this day retains a unique atmosphere - and the people refer to themselves at Christianhavners first, and then as Copenhageners. In many ways Christianshavn is still a small town in a big city. Diversity is thriving here, and the district has managed to embrace people from all walks of life; from the alcoholic sipping beer at the corner, to the marketing yuppie, and form its own special identity stemming from this diversity.

Get in

Map of Christianshavn

Christianshavn and the sub district of Holmen, is a peninsula stretching out north through the old fortifications - because of this it is surrounded by water, and only access is across the Knippelsbro bridge, and the dam to Amager. It is entirely located within Zone 1 of the common ticketing system of the Metro, trains and busses. It is only a pleasurable 10 minute walk from Strøget on Amagertorv, past the parliament, and over the Knippelsbro bridge, if you don't want to pay for public transit.

By Bus

The backbone of bus transport in central Copenhagen are the A buses operated by Movia [1], which run every few minutes throughout the day. The S Buses are express buses that operate on longer lines, with fewer stops. Christianshavn's Square is the major stop, with stops by 3 different buslines, and interchange to the Metro.

  • 2A Starts at the Tingbjerg district in the North Western part of Copenhagen, and runs through downtown, with stops at Rådhuspladen (the central square) and the central station, before it crosses the harbour, and runs through Christianshavn on Torvegade, with stops at Asiatisk Plads (Ministry of foreign affairs) and the Metro station on Christianshavn Square. It terminates at Kastrup metro station on Amager.
  • 350S Begins its journey in the suburb of Herlev, north west of Copenhagen. And runs through the inner city with stops on Nørreport station and Kongens Nytorv square, before it crosses Knippelsbro bridge, and stops at Christianshavn Square. It continues onwards to Amager, and terminates in picturesque Dragør south of the Airport.

By Metro

The M1 or M2 metro lines stop at Christianshavn, located in the center of the district at Christianshavn Square. Interchange between the S-train system, and the metro is provided at Nørreport station.

By Boat

The water busses (Bus 901 and 902) have to stops on Holmen (Holmen nord and Opera). The water busses only sail in the summer. You can sail in your own boat to Lynetten Marina.

The Canal-Tour Waterbus have several stops on holmen [2].

Get around

colourful houses along the main Canal

By bus

Bus line '9A is Christianshavn's only bus line, it enters Christianshavn over the Knippels bridge, from the city centre, and turns north at Christianshavns square, along Prinsessegade - where it stops at Vor Frelsers church, and Christianias main entrance, from where it continues on the bridge across to Holmen and terminates at the Opera house.

By bike

Christianshavn's small, quiet streets are excellent for sightseeing on a bike, and the free citybike system covers the entire district, there are stalls at Christianshavn torv, Asiatisk Plads (near the ministry of foreign affairs), Church of our saviour, at the main entrance to Christiania, and the central square of Holmen.

See

Old houses along Amagergade

Christianshavn's main attraction, is actually Christianshavn itself. It bears some resemblance to Amsterdam, with its quiet streets branching out from the main canal, flanked by old houses, in bright colours, some dating back to 18th century - one of the photogenic ones is Amagergade on the right side of the the main street, at the end nearest the dam to Amager. And of course the green oasis of the free town Christiania, with its creative home build houses, covered in its own guide.

  • Christiania Fristaden Christiania; or just 'Christiania' or 'Staden', (Enter from Prinsessegade), [3]. Open 24 hours. Christiania has since its establishment in a former military area in 1971 been a partially self governed and semi legal community of 85 acres, today with more than 1,000 inhabitants and more than a million people visiting every year. Christiania contains bars, cafes, restaurants and concert venues. Christinia is car free with small paths and a lot of green and water areas. Staden has throughout the years been a subject for controversy. The political pressure for legalisation and normalisation has increased over recent years and negotiations on the future of the area are ongoing. Do not take photos on the central "Pusher Street", drug dealers will not tolerate it. Free.
  • Dansk Arkitektur Center (Danish Architecture Centre), Strandgade 27B, +45 3257 1930 (), [4]. M-Su:10AM-5PM,W:-9PM. Each year, 5-10 exhibitions on Danish and foreign architecture can been seen here. Conferences, lectures and guided tours are held in connection with exhibitions. 40 Kr.
  • The Royal Danish Naval Museum [5], Overgaden oven Vandet 58, +45 32546363. Has a collection of model ships, started in 1670. Information about naval battles, cannon, uniforms, and handguns. Open 2-4 pm, closed Mondays.


Lille Mølle
  • Lille Mølle, Christianshavns Voldgade 54 (Close to Vor Frelsers church), [6]. June, July, August, and september: tours at 1, 2, and 3 pm,. A small gem worth 45 minutes of your time. It is the base of an 1783 windmill on the inside of the old defense lines. In 1916 it was bought by a young engineer who made it a home for him and his wife, who lived there until 1974. Now it is a museum, nothing is changed since 1974. 50 Kr, free for under 18's, buy the ticket the same day in next door cafe Bastion og Løven.
  • Nordatlantens brygge, Strandgade 91, +45 32 83 37 00 (), [7]. M-F:10AM-5PM,Sa-Su:noon-5PM. Nordatlantens Brygge is a cultural house where you can experience culture and arts from the North Atlantic region. Housed in an old dock building, there are 3 exhibition halls with changing exhibitions, performances and lectures. 40 Kr.
  • Overgaden, institut for samtidskunst (Institute for contemporary art), Overgaden Neden Vandet 17, +45 32 57 72 73 (), [8]. Tu-Su:1PM-5PM,Th:1PM-8PM. Established in 1986 by a group of local artists, Overgaden has for more than two decades been among the leading non-profit exhibition spaces for contemporary art in Copenhagen. Free.
  • Skibene på Holmen (The Historic ships on Holmen), Elefanten, Nyholm, +45 33 11 60 37, [9]. 1 July-15 August 11AM-5PM. A collection of 3 cold war warships; The large Frigate Peder Skram, The last Danish submarine Sælen famed for her participation in the War on Iraq in 2003 and protection of Norwegian waters during the Cold War. Also on display is P 547 Sehested, the last fast attack boat in the Royal Danish Navy. Apart of the summer opening, the ships are open during most school breaks, and for larger groups at any time of year. Combination ticket: 70 Kr.
  • Spejdermuseet (The scouts museum), Arsenalvej 100, +45 32 64 00 59, [10]. W 5PM-8PM,Th 2PM-5PM,Su 11AM-3PM. Housed in a 250 years old arsenal building, this museum showcases the history of the Scouts movement in Denmark, all the way back to the early beginnings in 1905, through models, old equipment, posters etc. Free.

Do

Vor Frelser Church
  • Casino Copenhagen, Amager Boulevard 70, +45 33 96 59 65 (), [11]. 2PM-4AM. Is the only Casino in Copenhagen Entrance: 85 Kr..
  • Christianshavns bådudlejning of café (Christianshavn boat rental and cafe), Overgaden neden Vandet 29, +45 32 96 53 53 (), [12]. Interesting mix of a café on a floating dock in the canal, that also rents out rowing boats for sailing in the canals of Christianshavn. Also sells picnic baskets for the boats. 80 Kr/hour.
  • Kajak ole, Strandgade 50, +45 40 50 40 06, [13]. This outfit conducts guided kayaking tours around the canals of Christianshavn and Holmen. The owner is a nice and friendly dude, that has been doing his tours for more than 10 years. the 3 standard tours ranges between 1½-3 hours, but you can also request special individual tours. Also arranges hilarious kayak water polo games. from 245 Kr.
  • The Operahouse, Ekvipagemestervej 10, +45 33 69 69 33, [14]. 5PM-last show. Opened in 2005 in a striking building overlooking the harbor, designed by world renowned architect Henning Larsen. Mainly hosts Opera's, but occasionally shows contemporary music concerts, and plays. For Opera's there are always 25 tickets reserved for selling on the day. Price varies..
  • Vor Frelsers Kirke (Church of our saviour), Sankt Annæ Gade 29, +45 32 54 68 83 (), [15]. Church: 11AM-3.30PM, Tower 10AM-4PM. Climb the 400 steps to the top of the spire of the church for panoramic views of Copenhagen. The last steps are on the outside of the spire. Rumor has it that that the designer throw himself out the tower, when he discovered the rotation of the stairs was the wrong way, so that sword fights would have to be fought with the left hand, however the spiraling stairs was meant to symbol the ascend into heaven.

Buy

Shopping possibilities on Christianshavn aren't as extensive as in other parts of Copenhagen, but there several small and interesting stores dotted around Christianshavn's quite side streets, and on Christiania. Groceries can be bought in the Super Brugsen on the Christianshavns Torv, Christianshavns central square where the metro station is located.

  • Ceramic Studio and Shop, Wilders Plads 9B, +45 32 96 29 20, [16]. This is a combined studio and shop for the two ceramicists Inge Vincent and Karin Michelsen, carrying products in the beautiful Scandinavian design tradition.
  • Ginnungagab, Overgaden oven Vandet 4A, +45 32 54 22 11. M-F:11AM-6PM,Sa:11AM-3PM. A place to go for some alternative souvenirs, the store is specialized in products of leather and wool, from Scandinavia and Greenland, like clothing, shoes and bags. It also carries the vikings prefered alcohol; mead, and organic vegetables. Have fun pronouncing the name, when asking directions for the store.
  • Pang Christianshavn, Dronningensgade 46, +45 21 69 21 02, [17]. This small store carries furniture, clothes and interiors in every color of the rainbow, as long as it packs a punch. Pang is a danish word for colors that stands out.

Eat

Sunday brunch at Frederiks Bastion
  • Bastionen + Løven, Christianshavns Voldgade 50, ''+45'' 32950940 (), [18]. Nice restaurant in romantic green surroundings. Serves Danish inspired gourmet food. 350 Kr for dinner menu, 85 Kr for lunch.
  • Cafe Hekla, Prinsessegade 59, +45 32 54 87 28, [19]. M-F:3AM-midnight,Sa:11AM-midnight,Su:11AM-10PM. Quality bistro style with Christiania across the street and 10 min. walk from the Opera. Serves French and Danish food. Mains from 110 Kr.
  • Café Lynge Larsen, Strandgade 50, +45 32 54 46 24. M-Th:8AM-10PM,F-Su:10AM-12PM. Sandwiches, traditional smørrebrød, and salads
  • Café Wilder, Wildersgade 56, +45 32 54 71 83, [20]. M-Th:9AM-midnight,F-Sa:9AM-2AM,Su:9.30AM-midnight. Good simple food for brunch, lunch, dinner, or just a drink. Lunch from 60 Kr, Mains: 145 Kr.
  • Frederiks Bastion, Refshalevej 80, +45 32 57 08 51, [21]. W-Sa:noon-9PM,Su: 11AM-9PM. Old gunpowder house turned into bar and cafe, big nordic brunch on weekends. Danish food with a french twist. 2 courses: 279 Kr.
  • Lynetten, Refshalevej 200, +45 32 57 17 08, [22]. M-Su:noon-9PM. Restaurant on the Lynetten Marina, which serves traditional Danish food. Dish of the day from 62 Kr.
  • Ravelinen, Torvegade 79, '+45'' 32962045 (), [23]. M-Su:11.30AM-midnight. Very traditional summer restaurant in townhouse from 1728, serving traditional Danish cuisine including smørrebrød, in either the beautiful building, or on an outdoor balcony with view over a canal. Lunch from 62 Kr, Mains from 142 Kr.
  • Spicey Kitchen, Torvegade 56, +45 32 95 28 29. Very cheap Indian style food, including some vegetarian dishes. Mains from Kr 45.


  • Viva, Langebrogade Kaj 570, +45 27 25 05 05, [24]. M-Sa 5.30PM-10PM,Su 5.30PM-9PM. Unique dining on an old ship docked in the the harbor, stylishly propped up to be a restaurant, with both indoor and and outdoor seating. Perfect for a romantic evening in the summer (open year round) Mains from 115 Kr.
  • Asador Argentino, Overgaden Neden Vandet 17, +45 32 54 54 08, [25]. M-Su 17.30-midnight. Argentine restaurant specializing in tasty charcoal grilled Argentine steaks, served with good Argentine wine. Limited outdoor garden seating for summer days. Mains from 145 Kr.
  • Danish Craft Studio & Shop, Wilders Plads 11 B, +45 27 64 11 91, [26]. Situated by the beautiful Christianshavn Kanal 4 women working with ceramics, glass, paintings, sculpture and photo in colorful feminine design. Once a year they transform their studio into a cozy Christmas market with fire in the fireplace and serving traditional Glögg (last week-end in November- first week-end in December)
  • Danish Craft Studio & Shop, Wilders Plads 11 B, +45 27 64 11 91, [27]. Situated by the beautiful Christianshavn Kanal 4 women working with ceramics, glass, paintings, sculpture and photo in colorful feminine design. Once a year they transform their studio into a cozy Christmas market with fire in the fireplace and serving traditional Glögg (last week-end in November- first week-end in December)
  • Studio & Shop, Wilders Plads 11 B, 27641191, [28]. Situated by the beautiful Christianshavn Kanal 4 women working with ceramics, glass, paintings, sculpture and photo in colorful feminine design. Once a year they transform their studio into a cozy Christmas market with fire in the fireplace and serving traditional Glögg (last week-end in November- first week-end in December)
  • Ane Schollert, Wilders Plads 11 B, +45 27 64 11 91, [29].

Splurge

  • Noma, Strandgade 93, +45 32 96 32 97, [30]. Lunch:Tu-F:noon-1.30PM,Dinner:M-Sa:6PM-10PM. Noma is not only (one of) the best restaurant(s) in Copenhagen, it has also repeatedly been named the best in the word by the reputable British magazine Restaurant. It specializes specifically in Nordic cuisine - if it's not from Scandinavia, it's not on the menu, and that includes even mundane ingredients such as olive oil or garlic, instead the chef find unique Nordic ingredients and combine them in inventive ways to create extraordinary dishes. Housed in an old brick warehouse on the water, the environs are almost as good as the food. Try the tasting menus (from 700 Kr)-- the things you wouldn't normally choose may well be the best. Bookings are essential, months in advance preferably. Mains from 295 Kr.
  • Era Ora, Overgaden neden Vandet 33B, +45 32 54 06 93, [31]. Superb and expensive Italian restaurant, which imports its ingredients directly from Italy, and provides quality service. Dinner menus from 1100-1750 Kr including wine..

Drink

Halvandet
  • Fingerbøllet, Wildersgade 39, +45 32 54 67 17, [32]. M-Sa:11AM-02AM,Su:noon-2AM. This bar is unpretentious and old school, a hangout for alcoholics, seamen, and students - who feast on the low prices, and plays a game dices or billiards, with rock or country music blasting out the speakers.
  • Eiffel Bar, Wildersgade 58, +45 32 57 70 92, [33]. daily:9AM-2AM. Eiffel bar has something of a 30s Paris feel to it, although the Can Can girls has disappeared since the place it opened in 1736. The crowd here is as diverse as the district, but definitely not pretentious. Bottled beers: 14 Kr.
  • Halvandet, Refshalevej 325 (Holmen), +45 70 27 02 96, [34]. Open from 11Am until it becomes to cold at night. Restaurant, bar, and beach bar. Halvandet has two big warehouses. Outside a big area is filled with sand to create, a beach-bar, a beach volleyball court, and a beach-football (soccer) field. A warm summer evening, sitting with a cold beer in a beach chair at the edge of the quay, this is probably the most relaxing place in Copenhagen to have a drink. Brunch 95 Kr, main course 95 Kr.
  • Kontiki Bar, Takkeloftvej 1, +45 29 46 54 17, [35]. Bar on poles in the canal behind the architect school. Connect to the restaurant boat, "Ellen". Also have sandwiches and other food.

Sleep

  • Radisson Blu Scandinavia, Amager Boulevard 70, ''+45'' 33965000, [36]. 542 rooms, most with a view over Copenhagen. The Dining Room restaurant is on the 25. floor.
  • Hotel CPH Living, Langebrogade 1C 1411 Copenhagen K, +45 61 60 85 46, [37]. This floating hotel opened in summer 2009, Cphliving is more or less a stationary boat floating around in the harbour, with huge floor to ceiling windows facing the water, this boat hotel is certainly unique, and possibly providing the best view of any hotel in the city. 1495 Kr for a double.

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