Finding hygge in Copenhagen

14 Mar

Hygge [noun]

“A quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture)”  

~  en.oxforddictionaries.com

There are people who travel for sun and beaches, and there are people who travel to see the world. I am firmly in the camp of the latter, so with a business trip on Marc’s calendar, off we went to Copenhagen in cold, gray, snowy, wet March!

The Danish know how to handle winter, and Copenhagen’s charm comes through even with gray skies. With snow falling outside, we were able to experience the joys of settling into warm, cozy restaurants for heartwarming soups and stews–a bit of what the Danish call hygge.

Some details about visiting:

  • Everyone speaks English. We read that they start learning English as a second language in 3rd grade, and add a third language shortly after.  The downside of this is I didn’t learn anything beyond “tak” (thank you) and felt pretty stupid about.
  • It’s expensive.
  • While the guide books all break the main area into half sections, you can easily cover it all on foot. 
  • Bicycles, and bicycle lanes, are everywhere!

You may notice there are no photographs of the famous Little Mermaid statue. I did go to see it–a bit of a long walk to the edge of a park, where she sits in a less than idyllic location overlooking an industrial part of the harbour. But copyright laws regarding the statue are very strict, so I won’t be posting my photographs!

This harbour called Nyhavn is one of the prettiest parts of Copenhagen, although also probably the most touristy. Note the light ship on the right; these were built in the 1800s and brought out to locations where they were they were moored, e.g. on reefs or sandbanks. This one in particular was built in 1895 and also served to record data about weather, climate, and water, and acted as a coastal observation post for NATO.
This harbour called Nyhavn is one of the prettiest parts of Copenhagen, although also probably the most touristy. Note the light ship on the right; these were built in the 1800s and brought out to locations where they were they were moored, e.g. on reefs or sandbanks. This one in particular was built in 1895 and also served to record data about weather, climate, and water, and acted as a coastal observation post for NATO.
These bronze dragons are in front of Copenhagen’s city hall. The building opens onto a large plaza which currently houses a construction site for the subway expansion.  There’s also a statue of Hans Christian Andersen, the famous Danish writer.
The Indre By, or inner city, includes a large area of mostly pedestrianized streets. I’ve never seen so many H&M stores in a small area–the Swedish chain has a large presence here!
I heard the band playing while I was inside a coffee shop trying to warm up and dry off… As I rushed out to take a photo, the shopkeeper told me this parade comes by every day. 
Christiania is another pretty area, which seemed to be less touristy–although we didn’t visit the famed Freetown Christiana (to quote Wikipedia, “a self-proclaimed autonomous anarchist district”) which apparently sees a million visitors each year. Especially along the canal, it looks and feels a lot like Amsterdam–right down to the thousands of bicycles!
Some of the gorgeous old buildings in Christiania. Sankt Annae 8 is warm and cozy and served the best tomato soup I’ve ever had!  The red and yellow buildings throughout Copenhagen provide a refreshing punch of colour on dreary winter days.
What could be better, on a snowy, wet March day, than flowers?
Spring is coming!
One of the bridges leading to the Kastellet, described as a star-shaped 17th century fortress although now it just looks like an assortment of attractive old buildings, in a park setting.
A view from the other side of the Kastellet

There is some interesting modern architecture too!

A few last pictures of lovely Nyhavn.

 

Makes you want to curl up with a cup of hot cocoa, doesn’t it? I hope spring is coming, wherever you are!

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