Frederiksstaden Walking Tour (Self Guided), Copenhagen

The district of Frederiksstaden was constructed during the reign of Frederick V, hence the name. Today, it is considered to be one of the most important rococo complexes in Europe. The district is characterized by straight broad streets, lined by bourgeois houses, mansions and palaces. This tour guides you through the most important attractions of Frederiksstaden.
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Frederiksstaden Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Frederiksstaden Walking Tour
Guide Location: Denmark » Copenhagen (See other walking tours in Copenhagen)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 12
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 km
Author: EmmaS
Amalienborg Palace

1) Amalienborg Palace (must see)

Amalienborg Palace is the official residence of the Danish Royal Family. This palace complex features four rococo palaces constructed between 1750 and 1758. All are built around the octagonal square where you will find King Frederik’s equestrian statue. King Frederik ruled Norway and Denmark between 1723 and 1766 and was instrumental in the construction of Frederiksstad of which Amalienborg palace is a part.

Land for the palace was acquired by King Christian IV who ruled Norway and Denmark between 1577 and 1648. Queen Sophie Amalie, King Frederik III’s consort constructed the first palace in this waterfront area between 1669 and 1673. This palace was destroyed by fire in 1689.

King Frederik IV constructed the second royal palace at Amalienborg during his rule between 1671 and 1730. This was a two-storied small summer residence that featured a charming French garden. It was named Sophie Amalienborg.

King Frederik V, in his effort to create a separate city outside Copenhagen, constructed Frederik’s City or Frederiksstad that featured exclusive homes for the noble families and aristocrats. All buildings were in Baroque style. Later on, additions were made to these buildings in rococo architectural style. Make sure you include Amalienborg Palace in your itinerary when you visit Copenhagen.

Why You Should Visit:
Considered as one of the best examples of the Rococo architecture style, this complex is beautifully preserved and feels more intimate than its European counterparts.

Arrive at midday for the changing of the guard, an interesting display that takes around 10 minutes.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-5pm (Jun 1-Aug 31); 10am-4pm (May 1-May 31 / Sep 1-Oct 31); 10am-3pm (Apr 13-Apr 22 / Dec 26-Dec 31); Tue-Sun: 10am-3pm (Feb 25-Apr 12 / Apr 23-Apr 30 / Nov 1-Dec 22)

2) Amaliehaven

Amaliehaven also known as Amalie Garden is situated in central Copenhagen’s Frederiksstaden neighbourhood between the water front and the Amalienborg Palace. This small park was gifted to the city by the A.P. Moller and Chastine McKinney Moller Foundation in 1953.

The park was first created over an ancient shipyard established by Lars Larsen, a rich ship owner in 1802. Jean Delogne, the Belgian landscape architect designed this garden that was inaugurated in 1983.

The park is rectangle shaped with a large fountain at the center. The design is symmetrical and is exquisitely complemented by the naturally flowering plants. You will find two levels of the garden extending on either sides of the central fountain. One side of the garden is enclosed by the street and the other by walls and shrubs.

You will also find a stunning variety of flowers and plants in this garden. The effect is amazing with natural shapes of flowers contrasting the park’s geometric layout. If you visit Amaliehaven in April, you are extremely lucky as you will find the Japanese cherry trees in full bloom. These trees are indeed the highlight of this park.

All sculptures you find here are sculpted by Arnaldo Pomodoro, the famous Italian sculptor. There are four attractive abstract columns and water features that sprinkle jets of water.

3) Nyhavn (must see)

Nyhavn is a popular entertainment district in the city of Copenhagen. This 17th Century canal and waterfront is located to the south of the Royal Playhouse.

Nyhavn stretches to the harbour right from Kongens Nytorv and the entire stretch is lined with townhouses, restaurants and cafes from the 17th and 18th centuries. King Christian V constructed Nyhavn between 1670 and 1673. This harbour served as a passage to Kongens Nytorv old inner city where fishermen’s catch and cargo were handled by the ships.

Hans Christian Andersen, the Danish author lived in this area for a few years. In those days, the area was also notorious for sailors, beer and prostitution. After World War II, small vessel freight traffic was taken over by land transport and Nyhavn’s ships disappeared. Nyhavn was converted to a veteran ship and museum harbour in 1977.

This area continues to charm tourists from across the world with its exquisitely constructed townhouses made of bricks, wood and plaster. Go to the south of Nyhavn and you will find huge and lavish mansions along the canal. Do not miss out the Charlottenborg Palace located at the corner of Kongens Nytorv. A visit to Nyhavn is a must on your trip to Copenhagen.

Why You Should Visit:
Perfect picturesque place to end a long day. You can do as the locals do: enjoy a beer/coffee from a nearby store, rest your feet at the quayside and enjoy the view.

4) Charlottenborg

Charlottenborg is a Dutch Baroque style palace constructed for Ulrik Frederik Gyldenlve between 1672 and 1683. In 1700, the palace was bought by Charlotte Amalie, Queen Dowager. As you visit the palace, you will find that the main building faces Kongens Nytorv. It was constructed by C. F. Hansen in 1827 and features the Antiksalen and Fest Halls.

Today, Charlottenborg, named after the famous widow Queen Charlotte Amalie, has an extensive collection of art and literature displayed in its library. It is also where the Royal Danish Academy of Art operates from. Established and emerging artists aspiring to showcase their talent hold exhibitions here.

One of the most famous exhibitions held at Charlottenborg is Forårsudstillint, the spring show. This exhibition is a host to artists who display their crafts, paintings and architecture. Artists from around the nation send their work here which is reviewed and if chosen, displayed at this exhibition.

Another art show, namely the Efterårsudstillingen, is held in autumn. This exhibition displays works of eminent artists who are specially invited. Charlottenborg holds curated shows and at least five exhibitions each year. Do not miss a visit to this popular tourist attraction on your trip to Copenhagen.
Kongens Nytorv Square

5) Kongens Nytorv Square

A popular tourist attraction, Kongens Nytorv Square is situated in central Denmark in Stroget Pedestrian Street. This public square is huge and impressive with an equestrian statue of Christian V at the center.

This square was constructed by Christian V in 1670 during the expansion of the fortified city. Around the square, you will find many prominent buildings such as the 1683Thott Palace, 1671 Charlottenborg Palace and 1874 Royal Danish Theatre.

Abraham-Cesar Lamoureux, the French sculptor created the equestrian statue in 1688. This statue, originally made in gilded lead, holds the distinction of being the oldest statue in Scandinavia. In 1939, the statue was recast in bronze.

You will find a statue of the king with a laurel wreath helmet dressed as a Roman imperator. At Kongens Nytorv Square, there are four allegorical statues at the plinth foot. Representing fortitude and prudence, the figures of Alexander the Great and Minerva, face Charlottenborg Palace. On the opposite side, you will find statues of Artemisia and Herkules signifying honor and strength.

“Krinsen” or circle of wreath in Danish surrounds Christian V’s statue in the form of an elliptical parterre. Do not miss out the 1913 telephone stand and old kiosk with their hand carved ornamentation and copper clad roof at this square.
Jørgen L. Dalgaard

6) Jørgen L. Dalgaard

Located at Bredgade in Indre By, Jørgen L. Dalgaard Gallery specializes in 20th century decorative arts. The gallery, which was established in 1974, is internationally renowned as a specialist in Danish stoneware, porcelains and glass. Its unique collections inside its 300-square feet gallery also include a wide range of Danish modern furniture. Since 1976, Jørgen L. Dalgaard Gallery has been a member of the world's largest antique dealers trade association CINOA and the Danish Antique Dealers Association.

Operation hours: Monday - Friday: 1 pm - 6 pm.
Frederick's Church

7) Frederick's Church (must see)

Also known as the Marble Church, Frederick’s Church is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Copenhagen – especially for its dome which is the largest in Scandinavia. This dome spans 31 meters and is supported by 12 columns.

Along with all other structures in Frederiksstaden district, the church was built to commemorate a member of the House of Oldenburg’s 300 years coronation jubilee celebrations. It was designed and erected by architect Nicolai Eigtved in 1740. King Frederick V laid the foundation stone in 1749. Eigtved died in 1754 due to which construction was hit by budget constraints and had to be stalled.

Johann Friedrich Struensee discarded the original plan in 1770 and the church remained incomplete for a while in spite of many efforts. For the next 150 years, the edifice remained in ruins. Carl Frederik Tietgen eventually got prominent architect Ferdinand Meldahl to design the church in its final form and financed its construction. Due to financial restrictions, the original plans for the church to be built almost entirely from marble were discarded, and instead, Meldahl opted for construction to be done with limestone. The church was finally opened to the public on August 19, 1894.

A series of statues of prominent theologians and ecclesiastical figures, including one of the eminent Danish philosopher Kierkegaard (who, incidentally, had become very critical of the established church by the end of his life), encircles the grounds of the building.

Why You Should Visit:
This church really has the wow factor; as beautiful inside as it is out (also, rather unique and unusual as it is circular inside).

The dome can be visited – for a small fee – every day at 1pm sharp in summer but only at the weekend (Sat/Sun) in winter. Very impressive view from above!

Opening Hours:
Mon-Thu: 10am-5pm; Fri-Sun: 12-5pm
Free admission
Alexander Newsky Church

8) Alexander Newsky Church

Built by the Russian government, Alexander Nevsky Church holds the distinction of being the only one of its kind in Copenhagen. This Russian Orthodox Church was constructed between 1881 and 1883 to commemorate the wedding of Alexander Alexandrovich and Princess Dagmar of Denmark and is dedicated to Alexander Nevsky, the Russian patron saint.

The church was designed by David Ivanovich Grimm, the Russian architect and was funded by Tsar Alexander III. David Ivanovich, a professor at Saint Petersburg based Imperial Academy of Arts, was one of the winners in an architectural competition. His design was executed by Albert Nielsen, the Danish architect and was supervised by Ferdinand Meldahl.

The Church was consecrated by Chancellor of the Theological Academy in St. Petersburg, Provost Janysev in 1883. He was assisted by a monk from St. Petersburg based Alexander Nevsky Lavra and by the priest of the congregation. This ceremony was attended by Greek, Russian and Danish royal families.

From outside, you will find this impressive church designed in 17th century Muscovite architectural style. You will find three prominent onion domes dominating the building. These street facing domes are on top of the gable.

Highlight of the grey and red brick facade are the ornamentations in sandstone. Do not miss out the patron saint Alexander Nevsky’s statue above the bells standing high on the facade.
Medical Museion

9) Medical Museion

Medical Museion is a part of the University of Copenhagen’s Faculty of Health Sciences. This museum is also a research unit dedicated to history of disease and health from a cultural perspective. It is housed in Frederiksstaden on Bredgade in a very old building dating back to 1787. This building was designed by Peter Meyn in neo-classical style. The Academy of Surgery responsible for educating surgeons was housed here from 1785 to 1842.

As you browse around, you will find that the main focus of this museum is the recent advancements in the field of biomedicine. You will find displays related to the iconographic culture of biomedicine here.

It was in 1906 that a group of Copenhagen based medical doctors founded the impressive collections at this unique museum. On the occasion of the 50th year celebrations of the Danish Medical Association, the Medical Museion held its first ever exhibition on August 22nd, 1907. At that time, the museum was situated at the Fredericiagade Rigsdag building. It was moved to its present location in 1947.

Originally the museum was called the Museum of Medical History. It was only from 2004 that it is referred to as Medical Museion. As part of the training, dissections were carried out in the central space which is used as the exhibition space today.

Operation hours: Wednesday - Friday, Sunday: 12 pm - 4 pm

10) Kunstindustrimuseet

One of the finest museums of decorative and applied art, Kunstindustrimuseet is frequented by discerning tourists who love art. Put aside at least two hours of your time as the museum has over 300,000 objects on display.

This museum is housed in one of Copenhagen’s historic landmarks. Enter the building and you will find a beautiful garden surrounded by four wings. The building where the museum exists today was a part of the Royal Frederik Hospital. This hospital was constructed by King Frederik V between 1752 and 1757.

Left to rot for a considerable period, it was only in the 20s that it was completely restored after being taken over by the city. Here you will find rooms arranged in a chronological order from the middle ages to the twentieth century.

A lot of tapestries, furniture, porcelain, pottery, textiles, silver and glass items are arranged in an impressive manner. You will also find a range of fabrics and furniture from the 30s that showcase the role of Danish modern design.

Other collections on display at the museum include Japanese and Chinese art and handicrafts. Do not miss a visit to the library here that has over 65,000 books on architecture, industrial design, photography, advertising, costumes, arts and crafts.

Operation hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 10 am – 6 pm; Wednesday: 10 am - 9 pm

11) Kastellet (must see)

One of the most impressive and well-preserved fortifications in Northern Europe, Kastellet, as it is called, has bastions at the corners and is designed in the form of a pentagram. As you enter its grounds, you will find a number of buildings including a windmill and a church. This historic site which also serves as a public park is frequented by locals and tourists alike.

It was in 1626 that King Christian IV started construction of Kastellet. Economic constraints forced him to drop his grand plans of building a large castle here. King Frederik III, his successor continued with the construction which was later extended by Henrik Ruse, the Dutch engineer after the Swedish siege between 1658 and 1660.

Kastellet was built as an effort by Copenhagen to defend itself against England in the 1807 Battle of Copenhagen. A.P. Moller and Chastine McKinney Mollers General Fund made possible a complete renovation of Kastellet between 1989 and 1999. Currently, it is owned by the Danish Defence Ministry and the area is used by Defence Intelligence, Danish Home Guard, Chief of Staff, Royal Garrison’s Library and the Defence Judge Advocate Corps.

Locals visit Kastellet to enjoy a pleasant walk on a sunny day. Tourists visit this fortification for its rich heritage and children love to play around with the birds and animals here.

Why You Should Visit:
The high walls of the fortress offer a lovely view of the harbor, and the fact that half of it is still a working base means it's kept in tip top shape.
Very pleasant area to take a quiet stroll or run, and with a charming windmill to boot!

Can get windy on a cold day so do cover up.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 6am-10pm
Little Mermaid

12) Little Mermaid (must see)

On your trip to Copenhagen, take time off to visit the harbor where you will find the Little Mermaid statue. This statue is the icon of Copenhagen and is visited by tourists from across the world. The unimposing statue is based on one of Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales.

After enjoying a ballet on this fairy tale at the Royal Theatre, Carlsberg founder’s son Carl Jacobsen commissioned the statue in 1909. It was modeled after none other than Ellen Price, the prima ballerina (well, partly, at least).

The statue is made of bronze and was painstakingly created by expert sculptor, Edvard Eriksen. Unveiled in 1913, the statue has Ellen Price’s head and Eline Eriksen, the sculptor’s wife’s body.

The Little Mermaid statue surprisingly weighs only around 175 kg and is 1.25 meters tall. Its small size is a surprise for first-time visitors who expect to see something grand and huge.

The statue was moved to the Danish Pavilion’s Shanghai by the Copenhagen City Council where it delighted visitors who came for the Expo 2010 held between May and October. Since its installation about a hundred years back, this is the first time the statue was moved from its pedestal.

Why You Should Visit:
To watch people fall into the water as they try to get a photo with the statue (this happens more often than you'd think).

The perfect spot for taking a picture is from the promenade overlooking the statue to the left. It's a great photo op, not only of the mermaid but the Copenhagen harbour behind.

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