1 Mar 2010

Copenhagen – capital of Norway?

Currently not, but between 1536 and 1814, during Norwegian tributary to Denmark, it was a capital of Norway as well. In this period all the kingdom’s royal, intellectual and administrative power was centered in Copenhagen. Both, Kalmar Union and Denmark-Norway Union were called by Norwegian national romanticism’s officials “400-Year Night”.

By the way, Copenhagen is one of Europe’s oldest capitals with a royal touch – the monarchy in Denmark is the oldest in the world. I totally agree with quote from ‘Hamlet’ that ‘there’s something modern in the state of Denmark’, because somehow it encapsulates the spirit of the youthful dynamism present in this city. First impression, after arrived to Copenhagen’s harbor, was like cycling & jogging. Copenhagians really love to move even though it is Ferbruary and temperature is below 0 degrees of Celsius, they all year long have a passion for jogging and cycling even with children. Copenhagen is known as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world. Every day nearly 37% of all citizens (who are 1,2 million in urban area of Copenhagen) commute to work, school, shopping or just commute by bicycle and this causes bicycle rush hours and traffic jams!The government was forced to develop well bicycle lanes and paths system in and around the city. What is more, bicycle paths are mostly separated from the main traffic and have their own signal systems. For those who don’t have own bike the city provide public bicycles which can be found throughout the downtown area and used with a returnable deposit of 20 kroner. Now, I know why urbanists use term ‘copenhagenize’ to describe the practice of adopting Copenhagen-style lanes and bicycle infrastructure.

Copenhagen is sometimes called ‘City of Spires’, because vainly is looking for skyscrapers and high business buildings there. ‘City of Spires' is known for its horizontal skyline, only broken by spires at churches and castles e.g The Marble Church or Rosenborg Castle. Recent years have seen a tremendous boom in modern architecture in Copenhagen. Indeed, a political majority has decided to keep the historical centre free of high-rises, but several areas will see or have already seen massive urban development of modern buildings e.g. Royal Danish Playhouse, Black Diamond, Scandinavian malls and hotels. An ambitious regeneration project will create a new Carlsberg District, at the historical premises of the Carslberg Breweries that has moved the production of beer to Frederica, leaving a worth-to-see Carlsberg museum.

Another a must-see in Copenhagen is Little Mermaid (Den lille havfrue). This sculpture was commissioned in 1909 by the Carlsberg brewer Carl Jacobsen, impressed by a ballet ‘The little Mermaid’ based on a fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen. From Little Mermaid is better to go ahead to Gefion Fountain and then go through channel coast just cross the Royal Danish Playhouse and Black Diamond, by the way see Royal Castle Amalienborg and Operahouse up to Nyhavn. These are truly exciting, cool and very enjoyable places to visit. In Nyhavn, it is worth to stay for a moment and taste Danish specialties like smørrebrød (open sandwiches) or pølser (boiled sausage) all perfect to match a cold beer Carlsberg. Smørrebrød tradition goes back to the birth of industrialism in Denmark. When people started to work outside their farms they brought leftovers to have for lunch at work and so it is: a piece of buttered rye dark brown bread and homemade cold cuts, pieces of meat, fish, cheese or spreads as an on-lay. Pølser is usually made of 60-75% very finely ground pork, very sparsely spiced with pepper, nutmeg or sweet spices. The most noticeable aspect is that its skin often contains a traditional red dye making it goudy red. Pølser is always served with mustard or ketchup or both and a roll, without cutlery!

To sum up, Copenhagen is the economical and financial centre not only of Denmark but also for Scandinavian-Baltic region. This city is rich in companies and institutions with a focus on R&D within biotechnology and life sciences sectors as well as IT and shipping industry. Since 1995 the Zealand region in Denmark with Skåne region in Sweden have been branded as the Medicon Valley in a Danish-Swedish cooperation.

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