Copenhagen is Denmark ‘s capital and largest city, located on the islands of Zealand and Amager at the south end of the Sound with 1,295,686 residents (2017). The metropolitan area is defined as Copenhagen, Frederiksberg and Gentofte municipalities and a dozen surrounding municipalities with a total of 1,992,114 residents (2015).
Copenhagen’s political board consists of the Citizens’ Representation and seven underlying and equal committees or departments:
- Finance Committee
- Culture and Leisure Committee
- The Committee on Children and Youth
- Health and Care Committee
- social Committee
- The Technical and Environmental Committee
- Employment and Integration Committee
The Finance Committee consists of 13 members, the other committees have 11 and the chair of the committees is the mayor (city council) for their respective disciplines. In the Finance Committee, the mayor (the mayor) is the leader and the mayors from the other committees, as well as six other members from the Citizens’ Representation. The committees can make final decisions in their areas of expertise, which helps to limit the number of cases that arise for the Citizens’ Representation.
Furthermore, the committees are composed according to a ratio choice, which means that a simple majority cannot take all the seats in a selection. Since the committees are not only advisory, it ensures the minority’s influence on the solution of the municipality’s tasks.
Copenhagen consists of 18 independent municipalities, and the political agenda is also set by the local municipal leadership. Furthermore, most of Greater Copenhagen belongs to the Capital Region, which has as its most important task the running of hospitals and organizing public transport.
The municipalities located in Copenhagen in whole or in part are:
Copenhagen’s business sector has changed significantly in recent decades. While the capital used to have almost half of Denmark’s industrial companies, large parts of the industry have now moved to other parts of Denmark, especially to the rural areas of Jutland. Nevertheless, there is still considerable graphics industry, including large printing companies, publishers and newspapers, workshop industry and branches of the Carlsberg brewery. Many industrial workplaces have moved out of the city center and to the peripheral municipalities of Greater Copenhagen. Over 80 per cent of the jobs are now in various service industries, and Copenhagen is the country’s most important banking and insurance center with Danmarks Nationalbank and the stock exchange, and also dominates the wholesale trade. Tourist traffic is considerable, including hundreds of cruise ships every year.
The city is the seat of the University of Copenhagen, founded in 1479, as well as a number of higher education institutions, scientific institutions, museums, theaters and more. Norwegian embassy and sailor’s church. Copenhagen was the European Capital of Culture in 1996.
Transport and Communications
Copenhagen is Denmark’s most important communication center. The port, which is the country’s largest and only free port, is shared in the North Harbor (with the Free Harbor) north of Toldboden, the Inner Harbor between Toldboden and Langebro, the South Harbor south of Langebro, and the East Harbor on Amager’s east side with the oil port of Prøvestenshavnen. There are regular ferry connections including Oslo, Świnoujście and Rønne on Bornholm. There are major development and improvement plans for the port area. The harbor at Holmen was closed down in 1995–1996, and the renovated buildings are taken over by various cultural institutions, including the Academy of Fine Arts’ School of Architecture, the Film School and the State Theater School.
The city is also a hub for rail traffic between the Nordic region and the continent, and a number of railway lines lead from Copenhagen. Copenhagen International Airport, Kastrup at Amager, is the largest and busiest in the Nordic region: 19.0 million passengers in total in 2004.
The internal communications are managed by the Metropolitan Area Transport Company (HT), and include an S-rail network besides the bus network. A ring road links the western districts to the city center, and the network has been expanded since the 1960s. with the Køge Bay track and connections to Høje Tåstrup, Frederikssund, Hillerød and Farum. However, the buses, which in 1972 replaced the last trams, account for most of the public journeys, and are particularly important for short journeys within the municipality. Rapidly increasing road traffic has necessitated the constant development of the Copenhagen freeways, and between the motorways leading out of the city, a network of ring roads has been built for traffic between the different districts. A new track (opened in 2000) connects the center with the Øresund Bridge to Sweden. The first stage at Copenhagen Metro opened in 2002, the extension to Kastrup Airport in 2007, while the final stage is expected to be completed in 2019.
The municipality of Copenhagen can be divided into three main areas: the central urban area, the Brokvarterene and the outer districts.
The central urban area
The central urban area includes Indre By (Old Town), which is within the old ramparts from before Christian 4’s time and is limited by Vester Voldgade, Nørre Voldgade, Gothersgade and Kongens Nytorv. Indre By is characterized by the narrow and crooked streets, but due to the big fires in 1728 and 1795 and the bombing in 1807 there are few really old houses.
City Hall Square is the center of Copenhagen, with the City Hall built in 1905 with Italian Renaissance as a model. From the town hall square runs a continuous series of business streets, the lively, old-fashioned “Strøget”. Here is the department store Illum’s, Bing & Grondahl (porcelain), The Royal Porcelain Factory and more. The street ends in Kongens Nytorv, Copenhagen’s largest square with the equestrian statue of Kristian 5, to the daily called “The Horse”. Here you will find the large department store Magasin du Nord, the Hotel d’Angleterre and the Royal Theater. The building dates from 1874, but the theater was opened all the way in 1748. Later, the New Scene (“Stærekassen”) was offered. At Kongens Nytorv is also Charlottenborg with an art academy and exhibition rooms. Nyhavns channel extends with its many picturesque houses right up to Kongens Nytorv.
The city’s oldest church, Our Lady Church (Cathedral), is located near Strøget and is in its present form erected in neoclassical style in 1811-1829. In the university area (the “Latin Quarter”) north of Strøget are among other things the university’s main building (1836) and old student housing such as Regensen (1623-1628). There are also many antique shops and antique shops, for example in Fiolstræde, and a number of small restaurants, including Gråbrødretorv. The Round Tower, the astronomical observatory, dates from 1642, the church of Trinitatis from 1656.
Separated from the rest of the inner city by canals is Slotsholmen with Christiansborg (1907-1928). Christiansborg Castle Church was completely damaged by fire in 1992, completely restored in 1996. Here are also the Parliament’s meeting rooms, the Ministerial Building, the Royal Library (the largest in the Nordic countries) with the modernist extension “The Black Diamond” (1999), Tøjhuset (museum), Børsen (1619–1628) with its twisting spire, the Castle Church and Thorvaldsens Museum. To the east of Slotsholmen lies Holmen’s Church with the sarcophagus of the Tordenskiold, and Danmarks Nationalbank. West of Slotsholmen lies the National Museum, established in 1892, with large archaeological and ethnographic collections and more New Carlsberg Glyptotek (art collections).
In the so-called Frederiksstaden north of Gothersgade you find the royal residence Amalienborg, with four large castles surrounding the castle square with the equestrian statue of Frederik 5. Nearby is the Marble Church (Frederikskirken) with a 45 meter high dome, begun in 1746 and completed in 1894, and the Museum of Art Industry. Further west is Kongens Have with Rosenborg Castle, built in 1617 in the Dutch Renaissance style, from 1833 royal family museum with collections of furniture, art, porcelain, silver and more. In the northeast lies Nyboder, low yellow buildings erected by Christian 4 as dwellings for the fleet’s permanent people, and the Castle (1640, expanded in the 1660s) surrounded by parks and moat. East of the Castle is the Langelinie promenade with the Gefion fountain and the Little Mermaid.
In the ramparts outside the ramparts, the remains of the old fortifications and moat were preserved in a number of parks: from the north Østre Anlæg with Hirschsprung’s painting collection and the National Museum of Art (large new building from 1998), the Botanical Garden with the Polytechnic Teaching Institute (Denmark’s Technical College, founded in 1829), The Mineralogical Museum and the Observatory, Ørstedsparken and Tivoli (the largest entertainment establishment in the Nordic region, opened in 1843). Southeast of Tivoli lies the New Carlsberg Glyptotek (1892-1906, interior extension from 1996) with rich sculpture collections, and the Politigården; west of Tivoli Central Station, Central Post Building and SAS House, and at the southern end of St. Jørgens Lake is the Planetarium. Between the Østre Anlæg and Sortedams Sø lies the “Potato Racks”, Copenhagen’s first major cooperative residential area, built in 1873-1889 for the workers at Burmeister & Wain.
Christianshavn in northern Amager is connected to the Inner City by Knippelsbro, and is part of the central urban area. It is separated from the rest of Amager by old fortress ramparts and moat, and was built under Christian 4 with naval station and shipyards, magazines, barracks and other military facilities. Here is also the Church of Our Savior (1682-1896) in Italian Baroque style with a spiraled tower, and the “sanctuary” Christiania. Further north is the Refshale Island with the remains of the large, now abandoned Burmeister & Wain’s shipyards, and even further north the forts Lynetten and Trekroner. Many of the old warehouses in Christianshavn have been converted into attractive homes, offices and hotels.
In 2005, the new opera at the waterfront opened. The impressive building, designed by Henning Larsen, is located on Holmen (Dokøen) and is a gift from shipowner Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller, Denmark’s richest man.
The bridge neighborhoods lie outside a continuous series of lakes – Sortedams Sø, Peblinge Sø and Skt. Jørgens Sø – and includes extensive residential areas with tenement barracks built in the latter half of the 19th century. In the north lies Østerbro, in the west Nørrebro, and in the south Vesterbro. The bridge blocks were built after the construction ban outside the full facilities was lifted in 1852. Between Østerbro and Nørrebro is the Common Park with large sports facilities (the Park, the national football stadium) and the adjoining University Park with university and college institutes and several large hospitals (Rigshospitalet). Also nearby is “The Medical Association’s Housing”, built in 1854-1857 as Copenhagen’s first philanthropic housing project.
The island of Amager is rapidly changing. Large areas are being developed along the metro line to the Vestamager nature area in the new district, Ørestad. Here, among other things, Denmark’s Radio moves out into a large complex, and here are also several departments of the University of Copenhagen, the Field’s shopping center, various residential areas and many large companies. Among other things, it is close to Kastrup Airport and the Øresund Bridge to Malmö, which makes the area attractive. In 2005, the island’s inaugural coast inaugurated Amager Strandpark with artificial dunes and sandy beaches.
The outer districts cover two thirds of the Copenhagen area, and include both the outer districts of Zealand (Kongens Enghave, Valby, Vigerslev, Vanløse, Husum, Brønshøj, Utterslev, Emdrup) and Amager (Amagerbro, Sundbyvester, Sundbyøster). The area consists partly of villa and detached houses, partly of open block buildings and partly of large industrial areas, mainly developed after 1900. At Bispebjerg in Emdrup lies Grundtvig’s Church (1921-1940), which resembles a late Gothic village church, but is large as a cathedral. From the town hall square, the wide Vesterbrogade (and Frederiksberg Allé) leads west towards Frederiksberg, which is completely enclosed by the municipality of Copenhagen, with Frederiksberg Garden with the Zoo and Frederiksberg Castle (now war school). Here is Copenhagen’s popular outdoor area with theaters, auditoriums and many restaurants. In Frederiksberg is also the Landbohøjskolen (established in 1856), the large sports palace KB-Hallen (1938) with room for 8000 spectators, the Radiohuset and the center facility Falkoner’s center (1958). Just south of Frederiksberg lies the large area of the Carlsberg Brewery; however, most of the production has moved to East Jutland.
The suburban municipalities surround Copenhagen in the north, west and southwest, and until the Second World War, residential construction was spread out into the city’s neighboring municipalities. Since 1947, the development of Greater Copenhagen has been based on the so-called “Fingerplan”, whose main idea is that urban growth in suburban municipalities should be concentrated to a few “fingers” or urban strips around an S-subway line. Between the fingers there should be wedges of open land. The Finger Plan has been subject to several revisions and changes, but is still guiding the development pattern in Greater Copenhagen.
The most important urban links extend (from the north) towards Helsingør, Birkerød, Glaksaxe – Farum, Ballerup, Tåstrup and Køge Bugt. The suburban areas north of Copenhagen, along Strandvejen and the subway towards Helsingør, are among the most prosperous in Greater Copenhagen and are often called the “Gold Coast” or “Whiskey Belt”. This is especially true of the municipality of Gentofte with Hellerup, Charlottenlund and Klampenborg. Here you will find, among others, Denmark’s Aquarium, Dyrehaven and Dyrehavsbakken, Charlottenlund Castle and the Hermitage. Further north, by the Øresund coast, are Vedbæk and Hørsholm, the country’s richest municipality. The suburbs west and southwest of Copenhagen, including the areas along the Køge Bay, are to a greater extent characterized by social housing with a mix of small and high-rise areas and industry.