Is Simplicity, Politeness, and Equality Really The Culture of Copenhagen?

Spending time in Copenhagen visiting Tivoli Gardens, The Little Mermaid, and taking a canal cruise was spectacular! We also spent time in cafes chatting with locals and getting a feel for their beautiful city and their lifestyles. Part of a pre-cruise excursion also took us to the Royal Palace.

My writing includes my personal travel experiences, destination, history, and cultural information.

Copenhagen

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Copenhagen, Denmark was the beginning of a journey to a part of Europe that I had never experienced. This was a cruise adventure that ended in London. The planned itinerary was to visit Denmark, Norway, Scotland, Ireland, and England. Unfortunately, we missed Scotland completely because of a dangerous storm. Our captain sailed us away from the storm into beautiful weather which gave us a few extra sea days. Although missing Scotland was a bit of a disappointment, the cruise line really stepped up making sure those unplanned sea days were full of extra entertainment, free drinks, and some additional ship board credit.

Copenhagen

Spending time in Copenhagen visiting Tivoli Gardens, The Little Mermaid, and taking a canal cruise was spectacular! We also spent time in cafes chatting with locals and getting a feel for their beautiful city and their lifestyles. Part of a pre-cruise excursion also took us to the Royal Palace.

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The city is divided into nine districts. We spent our time in the districts of the Inner City, Christian's Harbor, and Western Bridge.

Copenhagen Has Nine Districts

Tivoli Gardens

Located in the city center, Tivoli Gardens is known as an amusement park and pleasure garden. Opening in 1863, it is one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. A little-known fact about Tivoli is that it served as the inspiration to Walt Disney when he conceptualized Disneyland.

Finding the Gardens peaceful and serene, we spent an entire evening there. It was easy to indulge in great food and ice cream. We also strolled through the beautiful gardens and observed the Oriental-style temples. One of the best parts was enjoying each other on a beautiful, temperate evening. We found Tivoli was completely different from the typical American amusement park. The rides were tucked away and the chaos was absent. I believe our observations are a testament to the Danish culture of simplicity, politeness, and equality.

The Little Mermaid

The bronze statue located on the water was inspired by the Hans Christian Anderson fairytale. It depicts a mermaid becoming human. Hans Christian Anderson is known for his fairy tales but he was also a big proponent of travel and wrote numerous travel logs. His quote "To Travel is to Live" is the adopted tag line for this website!

Little Mermaid is actually on rocks in the water. Honestly, I was stunned at her size. I had pictured a huge statue but she is only about four feet tall! Many of the tourists (including me!) navigated across the rocks to get photographed right next to the statue. We did witness one person slip off the rocks and fall into the water, which I found hilarious but was secretly happy that was not my fate!

Canal Cruise

The weather could not have been more perfect during the three days we spent in Copenhagen! Sunny, cool enough for a light jacket, and a gentle breeze seemed like we hit the trifecta on the day we did the canal tour!

Our Canal Tour Itinerary:

  • Frederiks Kirke (Marmorkirken)
  • Christiansborg Slot
  • Amalienborg Museum
  • Copenhagen Stock Exchange
  • Holmens Kirke
  • Thorvaldsens Museum
  • Danish Architecture Center
  • Our Saviour's Church
  • Christiania
  • The Black Diamond - Royal Danish Library
  • Copenhagen Opera House
  • Circle Bridge
  • Ofelia Plads
  • Inderhavnsbroen
  • Everyday Shop Copenhagen
  • Trekroner Fort
  • Nyhavn
  • The Little Mermaid


We opted for the canal tour because it was a "sail by" tour. Not heavy on the touring but more of a relaxed way to see the sites. And did we see some awesome things!

Amalienborg

Amalienborgis the palace located in Copenhagen and is the present-day home to the royal family. It consists of four huge structures that were originally home to noblemen in Denmark. In 1794, the original royal palace burned down, and the royal family bought all four homes. At this point, they combined the structures and the grounds to create a huge and secure palace for the royals.

The four mansions used for this project were:

  • Christian VII's Palace, originally known as Moltke's Palace
  • Christian VIII's Palace, originally known as Levetzau's Palace
  • Frederick VIII's Palace, originally known as Brockdorff's Palace
  • Christian IX's Palace, originally known as Schack's Palace

Touring the grounds was quite lovely. In the center courtyard, we found a huge equestrian statue of King Fredrick V. The Danish Royal Guard reminded me of British guards.

The Amalie Garden is located between the palace and the waterfront. It is a two-level garden which is absolutely stunning! In addition to the beautiful flora throughout, there are marble statues and a central fountain. Despite the tour groups and other visitors, the garden was peaceful and relaxing.

Copenhagen and It's Lovely People

It's no secret that I love to travel. A very good friend once told me that when I speak about travel, the destination is one of the main characters in my story. I believe that is an accurate assessment. Not only am I interested in the sites that my destination offers, but I prioritize speaking to locals and learning their perspectives.

The time spent in Copenhagen was no different. I spent a fair amount of time in cafes having conversations with the locals.

Bikes

I was curious about the gazillion bikes and dedicated bike lanes. (on the first day, I didn't realize the dedicated bike lanes are just that and not for pedestrians- I almost got hit by a cyclist!) The Danes are very health conscious and protective of the environment. Yes, there is automobile traffic but many people ride bikes for their everyday transportation to and from work, school, and shopping. I learned that people who live out of the city, take a train in and hop on their bikes stored at the station. In the evening, they store the bike and take the train to their suburban town where another bike is stored for the ride to their home.

Danish Social Services

The taxes are quite high in Denmark and specifically in the city of Copenhagen. With an American mentality, that doesn't seem like a good thing. But the Danes are more than happy with the system. Their tax dollars insure great public transportation, bike lanes, free medical care, free medical care, free day care, and free higher education. Properties are expensive but social services assist with the maintenance using part of those tax dollars collected. I was intrigued by this system. After doing a Google search, I learned that the population of Denmark is less than six million; smaller than most major American cities. Managing six million people under a social system like this is obviously doable. I can't imagine trying to manage a population of 300 million like the United States under such a system!

The People

I got the distinct feeling that the people of Copenhagen are very happy. I verified this, once again by a Google search and found that Denmark consistently falls in the top three countries when the "happiness factor" is measured. The laws of the land are respectful to the citizens and compared to American standards are fairly lenient. Don't get me wrong, if someone breaks a law, the consequences are swift but fair. Leaving Tivoli Gardens, we witnessed someone getting arrested. There was no argument or chaotic scene. The person was handcuffed and whisked away in the blink of an eye. In fact, had we not been standing right there, we would never have known something like that had transpired.

It's no exaggeration that the culture and code of life of Copenhagen are one of simplicity, politeness, and equality. In speaking with people, we noticed everyone had a smile, their demeanor polite with a willingness to share information. I later learned that immigration to Denmark is quite hard, if not impossible. The government and the people are very protective of their way of life and make it purposely difficult for foreigners to take up residence. They don't want their applecart of simplicity, politeness, and equality upset and frankly, I can't blame them!

My Impressions

Copenhagen was an awesome location to begin a cruise that would take us to Norway and onto the United Kingdom. It was interesting to observe the lifestyle of the locals, hear about their lives and see the many attractions of the area. I especially loved the Little Mermaid and the Canal Cruise.

There is a fabulous pedestrian area that by happenstance, we wandered upon. This area was full of local shops, restaurants, and pubs.

The roadways and walkways were clean, the air clear and crisp. All in all, we spent three days in Copenhagen. I would love to return and spend a bit more time there. Summing up my time spent there, I can use one word "Fantastic!" I highly encourage you to visit, if you have not already. Or, return if you have been to Copenhagen in past years. Please leave comments in the section provided in this article.

Until next time friends, remember "To Travel is to Live!"

© 2022 Dee Serkin



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