DIS is located in the very center of downtown Copenhagen – meaning the city is literally at your feet when you have a break from class!
With so many places of interest so close to DIS, we decided to put together a list of the Top 15 places you’re bound to fall in love with while studying in Copenhagen.
1. Rosenborg Slot (Rosenberg Castle) and Kongens Have (The King’s Garden) The King’s Garden provides a beautiful study spot on a sunny day – especially with Rosenborg Slot (Castle) as your backdrop. Built from 1604-1634, Rosenborg Castle was the summer mansion of King Christian the 4th – one of Denmark’s most famous kings. Rosenborg is one of the most exquisite examples of Danish renaissance architecture and the home of the crown jewels. Interested in learning more about the Danish royals? Check out the DIS elective course Royalty in the Land of Equality.
2. Tivoli Gardens
The Tivoli Gardens opened in 1843 and is the second oldest amusement park in the world, after Dyrehavsbakken (also in Denmark). The founder of Tivoli, Georg Carstensen, came across the idea to construct a pleasure garden after several trips in Europe, before asking King Christian VIII for permission to open a park. Jump forward 100 years, and Walt Disney is said to have been inspired to open his Disney theme park following a visit to Tivoli!
3. Torvehallerne – The Glass Markets
A favorite lunch and coffee spot amongst DIS students, Torvehallerne is Copenhagen’s biggest food market with over 60 different stalls that attract over 60,000 shoppers every week. You will find everything here from a paleo restaurant to cheese shops to local farm stands.
4. Ørstedsparken – Ørsted’s Park
Ørstedsparken is a fantastic oasis located right in central Copenhagen. Landscape architect Henrik Flindt designed the park for over two years before its seven entrance gates were swung open for a suspecting public (it’s hard to hide a park) in 1879. The park takes its name from a statue of the Danish physicist H.C. Ørsted erected on part of the old city fortifications. The park has been a designated ‘preserved area’ and looks pretty much the same since it was first laid out 130 years ago.
5. Nationalmuseet – The National Museum
The National Museum is Denmark’s largest museum of cultural history. The museum’s main domicile is a classical 18th century mansion just a stone’s throw from Strøget at the center of Copenhagen, and the museum is a favorite field study visit for faculty to take students to see the rune stones and Viking relics of Denmark’s past in the Danish Language & Culture course.
6. Rundetårn – The Round Tower
The Round Tower was finished in 1642 by Christian IV and was the tallest construction at the time in Copenhagen. Astronomers from the University of Copenhagen observed the cosmos from the Observatory at the top which is still open to visitors in the winter and is Europe’s oldest functioning observatory. There is no official staircase up this tower – instead you wind up a spiraling walkway, just big enough for horses and carts to be able to make it to the top as well!
7. Strøget – The Main Shopping Street
Strøget is the place to shop in Copenhagen, and is the longest pedestrian street in the world – thanks to the vision of Danish urban designer, Jan Gehl. Even us bicyclists must give way to city shoppers on foot! Just downstairs from several DIS classrooms, Strøget winds its way through the center of the downtown area. International high street stores battle for space with local Danish design shops, peppered with some of the city’s best bakeries and late night shawarma stands.
8. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek – Art Museum
A personal favorite spot of mine, the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, was founded by brewer Carl Jacobsen in 1882 to house one of the largest private art collections of the time. Roman, Greek, and Egyptian statues loom over you as you walk through the museum, and their collection of Danish Golden Age art is extremely impressive. The museum takes its name from his brewery, ‘Ny Carlsberg,’ and ’glyptotek,’ Danish for a collection of sculptures.
Several DIS courses visit Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek each semester on field studies. Notable among them are Ancient Art and Archaeology: The Copenhagen Collections, and the course portion of Impressionism Paris in which students present their favorite work on impressionist art in order to prepare for their later Optional Study Tour to Paris!
9. Rådhuspladsen – The City Hall
Rådhuspladsen is right around the corner from DIS and hosts Copenhagen’s City Hall, the headquarters of national Danish newspaper Politiken, and one corner of the Tivoli Gardens. Rådhuspladsen marks the end of the Strøget shopping street and is located on the 17th century fortifications of Copenhagen.
10. Folketinget- The Danish Parliament
Folketinget is located in Christiansborg Palace, where 179 members of parliament meet to govern Denmark. As well as being home to the Danish Parliament, Christiansborg also houses the Prime Minister’s office, and the Supreme Court. It was first built as royal palace around 1740, and rebuilt following a fire in 1794. By then the royals had moved to a new palace, which was good as Folketinget burnt down once more, and was rebuilt a final time in 1918.
DIS has several courses that are related to Danish government, such as European Game of Politics, The: Crisis and Survival , Political Leadership and Communication, and Danish Politics and Society, with the former even going on a field study that takes you right into the chambers of the Danish parliament!
11. Københavns Hovedbibliotek – Copenhagen’s Central Library
The famous modern Black Diamond library is sadly about 100 feet beyond our half mile limit so it can’t make the list, BUT Copenhagen Central Library, dating back to 1885, is just around the corner from DIS and is Copenhagen’s most utilized public institution with around a million browsers annually.
12. Botanisk Have – Botanical Gardens
Another personal favorite, the Botanical Gardens JUST qualify within our half mile limit. Thank goodness as where else can you take refuge from a snowy day in a beautiful glass greenhouses dwarfed by bizarre botanical extravagances in tropical humidity?!
13. Københavns Hovedbanegård – Copenhagen’s Central Station
Copenhagen Central Train Station – København H – is the largest railway station in Denmark and is where local and international trains depart, including frequent trains to Sweden. Trains to the airport also leave from here – a journey taking only 12 minutes – which is good to know if you’re leaving on a DIS study tour!
14. Søerne – The Lakes
The lakes are a central feature of Copenhagen and are popular for DIS students to jog alongside in all seasons of the year. The Lakes are one of the oldest features of the city’s topography – being originally built as part of the city’s defenses, and today, they blend in nicely with Copenhagen’s current reputation as a livable city.
15. Arne Jacobsen’s Radisson Blu Royal Hotel
Last but certainly not least, the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel was designed for the Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) in 1960, by Danish architect and designer Arne Jacobsen. Jacobsen designed everything about the hotel including the cutlery, the sink spouts, the ‘Swan’ and ‘Egg’ chairs, the façade….everything! Now, only Room 606 is still in the original design. Still, this is a classic piece of modernist Danish architecture just five minutes from DIS – and a reminder the Danes have been making waves in the design field long before gaining fame for the ‘New Nordic Wave’ of design these last few years!