Stage city for the 1st time Capital of Denmark
Population: 638,000 (Copenhageners), 1,336,000 in the 18 municipalities of the Greater Copenhagen Area
Specialities: stegt flaesh (roast pork in parsley sauce with potatoes), smorrebrod (slice of rye bread with cold cuts, fish, cheese and condiments), wienerbrod (pastry)
Personalities: Hans Christian Andersen (writer, storyteller), Soren Kierkegaard (philosopher), Mads Mikkelsen (actor), Lars von Trier (filmmaker).
Sport: European capital of sport in 2006, FC Copenhagen, Brondby (football), KIF Copenhagen (handball), KSF Kopenhagen (ice hockey). Events: Copenhagen Marathon (May), Round Christiansborg Open Water Swim (open water swimming), World Road Cycling Championships (1921, 1931, 1937, 1949, 1956, 2011)
Festivals: Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Distortion (street parties), Copenhagen Light Festival
Economy: economic and financial centre of the country, with activity focused on the service sector. Several international companies have their headquarters in Scandinavia: Microsoft (IT), Maersk (transport), Novo Nordisk, Ferring Pharmaceuticals (pharmaceutical industry), etc.
Labels: regularly designated as the world's most cyclable city / elected in 2021 as the world's safest city by The Economist magazine / World Capital of Architecture for 2023 by UNESCO.
Websites: international.kk.dk / visitcopenhagen.com / letourcph.dk
COPENHAGEN AND CYCLING
Although Copenhagen has been on the route of the Tour of Denmark – not so often —, it is mainly thanks to the World road championships that the Danish capital has established itself as a world cycling centre. The city of the Grand Départ hosted the very first edition in 1911, which was only open to amateurs, and has since awarded the rainbow jersey on five occasions between 1931 and 2011. In the latter year, Copenhagen crowned Mark Cavendish, the greatest sprinter in the history of the Tour de France, and revealed a now confirmed hopeful, Arnaud Démare. The first title awarded under the eyes of the Little Mermaid went to the Italian Learco Guerra, who also won the Giro (1934), Milan-San Remo (1933), eight stages of the Tour de France and 31 stages of the Giro. In 1937, Éloi Meulenberg, who also won nine stages of the Tour, became world champion in the city, before his compatriot Rik Van Steenbergen won the title twice in 1949 and 1956. Many riders were born in Copenhagen. Among the older ones can be mentioned Rolf Sorensen, winner of two stages and Yellow Jersey of the Tour de France, Soren Lilholt, former junior world champion, Johnny Weltz, winner of a stage in the Tour in 1988, or Anders Lund, the current coach of the Danish team. In the current peloton, Mikkel Bjerg, three-time U23 time trial world champion, and Casper Pedersen, winner of Paris-Tours in 2020, are also natives of Copenhagen.
The Little Mermaid
Since 1913, she has been welcoming travellers to Copenhagen harbour. The bronze statue refers to the famous fairy tale written in 1887 by the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen: the story of a mermaid who dreams of being able to walk on dry land to join her lover, thus sacrificing her life in the sea. Sculptor Edvard Eriksen was inspired by dancer Ellen Price, who in 1909 was a principal dancer at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen in the ballet The Little Mermaid. The sculptor's wife, Eline Eriksen, served as the model for the sculpture. The original statue was later donated to the city of Copenhagen by the founder of the Carlsberg brewery, Carl Jacobsen, who commissioned it from Edvard Eriksen after being seduced by the graceful dancer Ellen Price.
It is one of the oldest amusement parks in the world, established in 1843, and the most visited seasonal park. It is made up of all kinds of rides, attractions, concerts and events, which make the experience unique... especially at Halloween and Christmas! One can feel the presence of personalities who have walked through the park in the past, such as Hans Christian Andersen. For the boldest, the park contains one of the largest carousels in the world and a large number of carousels of all kinds. Tivoli is known for its children's guard, who parade through the park with a fanfare in the uniforms of the Royal Guard.
Characteristics: Rosenberg Castle served as the royal residence until 1710, when Frederick IV traded it in for a more modern palace. With its red brick, grey sandstone decorations, scrolled gables and slender proportions, Rosenborg Castle has the characteristic architectural features of the Flemish and Dutch Renaissance style.
Special features: among the royal rooms at Rosenborg is the collection of jewels of the Danish Royal Family: original crowns of several Danish monarchs, sceptres, earrings, diamond rings and other precious stones. Queen Margrethe II wears some of these jewels on very special occasions.
Trivia: The castle attracts about 200,000 tourists every year (2.5 million visitors to the garden)
Style: Baroque, neo-classical, neo-baroque
Characteristics: it is the seat of the Danish Parliament, the Folketing, the Ministry of State and the Supreme Court. It is located on the island of Slotsholmen in the centre of Copenhagen. The royal family still occupies several parts of the castle, which was the king's main residence until 1794.
Special features: The castle has been burnt down and rebuilt twice, and the rooms saved from the fires stand side by side with those from the last building campaign. The buildings around the carousel (stables, stalls and theatre) belong to the first Christiansborg. The same applies to the Thorvaldsen Museum, which occupies the former royal carriage house, which was remodelled by Michael Gottlieb Bindesbøll.
History: The first castle was a magnificent rococo palace with four wings, of which the carousel and the church have survived. The cost of the work was very high, costing the equivalent of half a year's income for the whole kingdom, or the value of the entire island of Zeeland's property. It caught fire and was almost completely destroyed in 1794.
Characteristics: the winter residence of the Danish royal family consists of four palaces with identical neo-classical facades and rococo interiors. The palaces surround an octagonal square in the centre of which is a monumental equestrian statue of the founder of Amalienborg, King Frederick V of Denmark.
Special features: four kings of Denmark, Christian VII, Christian VIII, Frederick VIII and Christian IX, gave their names to the four palaces. They surround the square and are designed as mansions for noble families. Their exteriors are identical, but the interiors differ. The first palace, called Sophie Amalienborg, was built between 1669 and 1673 for Queen Sophie Amalie and her husband King Frederick III (died 1670) on a piece of land acquired by King Christian IV outside the old walled city of Copenhagen in the early 17th century. The dowager queen lived here until her death on 20 February 1685.
Foundation: between 1560 and 1630
Characteristics: It was built on three islands by Hans van Steenwinckel the Elder, a Flemish architect from Antwerp. It is considered the masterpiece of the Danish Renaissance. King Christian IV commissioned it to assert his power. It is named after Frederick II. The castle was rebuilt after a fire in the mid-19th century.
Special features: the chapel from 1617 survived the fire of 1859 and in 1693 Christian V transformed it into a knights' chapel for the two Danish orders: the Order of the Elephant and the Order of Dannebrog.
Its splendour has led to it being called the "Danish Versailles".
Current destination: since 1878, it has housed the National History Museum, with the largest collection of works in Denmark.
SMK National Gallery
The Statens Museum for Kunst, abbreviated to SMK, is Denmark's leading museum of fine art. The museum houses art collections with the oldest pieces dating back to the 12th century. The section of old European and Danish art includes works by Mantegna, Titian, Tintoretto, Brueghel the Elder, Rubens, Frans Hals and Rembrandt, as well as some of the most representative paintings from the golden age of Danish painting. The modern art section includes works by artists such as Picasso, Braque, Léger, Matisse, Modigliani and Emil Nolde, and modern Danish artists such as painter Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg and sculptor Carl Bonnesen are well represented.
Arken Museum of Modern Art
This museum of modern art is housed in a building whose nautical architecture, designed by Søren Robert Lund, plays a decisive role in the visitor's experience. The central nave, known as the "art axis", is the main exhibition space. There are also three other rooms, an auditorium and a glass-walled café overlooking the sea. The temporary exhibitions feature contemporary Danish, Nordic and international art from the country's 26 art museums.
Food is an integral part of the Tour de France and followers couldn't be better served than with a starter in Copenhagen as the Danish capital hosts the two best restaurants in the world in 2021, according to an annual benchmark ranking by a British jury. Leading the way is Noma (for Nordic Mad). Headed by Albanian-born Danish chef René Redzepi, who has been named the world's best chef four times in the past decade, the restaurant is known for its reinterpretation of Nordic cuisine with dishes that evoke nature. The menu for the competition included courgette stuffed with bee larvae, for example. Noma's menus follow the cycle of the seasons: seafood from January to June, vegetables in summer, game in winter. It costs 350 euros, without wine, to eat in the best restaurant in the world. The second best restaurant on the planet, according to the same ranking, is Geranium, the first Danish restaurant to be awarded three Michelin stars in 2016. Denmark now has 26 starred restaurants. Geranium, located on the eighth floor of a building with a panoramic view of the city, is run by Rasmus Kofoed, who won the Bocuse d'Or in 2011. The menu offers sixteen-course menus adapted to the seasons. You should also expect to pay between 350 and 400 euros for a meal.