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Copenhagen (from German Kopenhagen) is the capital of Denmark. The Danish name for the city is København, a corruption of the Danish Købmandshavn, which means Merchants' Harbour.

Copenhagen, March 2001

Table of contents
1 Geography
2 Culture
3 Eating
4 History
5 See also


Copenhagen is located on the eastern shore of the island of Zealand (Sjælland) and partly on the island Amager, facing the strait known as the Øresund, with the Swedish towns of Malmö and Landskrona on the opposite side.

1.7 million people live in Metropolitan Copenhagen, of which 500,000 live in the Municipality of Copenhagen, 90,000 in the Municipality of Frederiksberg, another 500,000 in the County of Copenhagen, and the rest in nearby municipalities. The Øresund region, consisting of Eastern Zealand and Western Scania (in Sweden), has a population of 2.8 million people.


Copenhagen has consistenly been rated one of the best cities in the world in which to live by international surveys, though it also has a high cost of living.

Strøget, a pedestrian shopping street in central Copenhagen, is the longest of its kind in the world.

If Denmark is the kingdom of reason, as the saying goes, then Copenhagen is the metropolis of politeness and civility. Its inhabitants practice the two, both between themselves and towards strangers. They also add a dash of humor now and then.


Copenhagen offers a great variety of fine restaurants and modest eateries which are all delicious witnesses to the Danish passion for good food. The entire city in fact is a gourmet's delight with hundreds of small shops selling everything from succulent ice cream to unearthly good pastries. The baked goods called Danish pastries in North America are usually pale and inferior copies of the marvelous creations available in Copenhagen.


Copenhagen was a fishing village until the middle of the 12th century when it grew in importance after coming into the possession of Bishop Absalon, who fortified it in 1167. The excellent harbour encouraged Copenhagen's growth until it became an important centre of commerce (hence its name). It was repeatedly attacked by the Hanseatic League. 1658-59 it withstood a severe siege by the Swedes under Charles X. In 1801 a British fleet under Horatio Nelson fought a major battle, the Battle of Copenhagen, with the Danish navy in Copenhagen harbour. When British naval vessels bombarded Copenhagen in 1807, to prevent Denmark from surrendering its fleet to Napoleon, the city suffered great damage and hundreds of people were killed. During World War II Copenhagen was occupied by German troops as the rest of the country from April 1940 until May 1945. The city has grown greatly since the war.

Kongens Nytorv in Winter

Since the summer 2000, the cities of Copenhagen and Malmö have been connected by a toll bridge/tunnel (Oresund Bridge), which allows both rail and road passengers to cross. It was inaugurated in July 2001 by the King of Sweden and Queen of Denmark. As a result, Copenhagen has become the center of a larger metropolitan area which spans both nations. The construction of the bridge has led to a large number of changes to the public transportation system and the extensive redevelopment of Amager, south of the main city. However, the bridge has not been as widely used as was originally hoped, likely due to the high tolls, slowing the planned integration of the region.

See also

Places of note in or near Copenhagen

People of note connected with Copenhagen

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