A Little Copenhagen History

Having an 8:30 AM class on Friday’s has its perk and its downfalls. Perk is I’m done with class by 10:00 AM, downfall is who really wants class on a Friday when abroad, and who ever wants a class at 8:30 AM. But, since today was one of the first sunny and beautiful days (still only 30F) since I’ve gotten here I decided to take advantage of it, but on my tourist shoes and explore Copenhagen with my camera in hand.

There is SO much to do in the city of Copenhagen as well as in the surrounding areas but today I just wanted to walk around get the lay of the land and take some pictures of the beautiful areas.  I didn’t want to waste such a beautiful day inside a museum so I decided to leave them for another day (aka most days in Copenhagen when it’s cloudy and gloomy).

After brunch with a Bucknell friend, we headed to Christiansborg Palace. Although this isn’t my first time seeing this so called palace as it was a stop on our DIScover Copenhagen, I didn’t get to go inside or up to the tower.

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Modernly, the building is used mainly for parliament and royal receptions.  Historically, it has a long(ish) past.  This specific building was built between 1907 and 1928, but 5 palaces have occupied this area but war, conflict and fires forced rebuilding.  The initial Christiansborg Palace was built from 1731-1745 after Denmark was ruled an absolute monarchy, but in 1794 the palace burned down.  The second palace was build from 1803-1828 and was much more modern than the first palace but the King at the time, King Frederik VI, decided to stay at Amalienborg Palace (read on to hear more about that) which create the transfer from a place of monarchy living to a place for parliament.  But, this palace also burned down in 1884.  The modern palace demonstrates three different themes of architecture due to what was left after the fires and the different royalties in charge.

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The view from the top is unbelievable, after taking two different elevators and a long spiral staircase, one can see all the way to Sweden (on a clear day, which wasn’t today due to fog).  The tower has pictures that points out different important buildings of Copenhagen, helping to understand the lay of the land better.

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After Christiansborg, I decided to walk over one of many bridges to Chistianshavn.  Christianshavn is known as the “free town” or “the hippie town” or “the trendy end” as some would say. Originally it was thought to be a merchant town where houses were given for free if those living would set up trading posts. At the time, around 1674, much of the area turned into slums because of the working conditions and low pay many of the workers faced.  Now it is a small, tight knit community with a unique identity, and beautiful canals!

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Finally, I did I quick visit to the queens palace, Amalienborg Palace.  I love royal families, so learning about this royal family is super interesting to me.  Queen Margrethe II has been queen since 1972, she was the first women to inherit the throne in Denmark! We haven’t learned much of this history of the Royal Family, but we have learned about some royal drama. Since the Queen’s wife is not of royalty, he cannot be crowned the king.  Every Dane that has explained this story basically says he’s incredibly bitter by that so he has given up any royal duties that he could possibly have and many rumor that that means they are splitting up or she is going to ‘retire’ from her duties and let her son take over. But nothing has been confirmed yet.  What I think is interesting about the Royal Palaces is that you can get so close with minimal security, and the Danish flag flies when the Queen or Prince are in the building, and so far, she’s been there every time I’ve been there.  She has two sons, both of which still live in Copenhagen, and unfortunately for me they are both married and have children (and are in their 40’s).

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After a lot of walking, I took the train home, and enjoyed my bike ride from the train station to my home to relax for the weekend.

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