Den Frie exhibition space is the strange looking building one sees when leaving busy Østerport station; with its Greek-style gold pillars and relief of Pegasus, it looks a little out of place in central Copenhagen. Now an important contemporary art space hosting changing solo and group exhibitions, it boasts a long history that started in 1891, when a group of artists that included J.F. Willumsen and Vilhelm Hammershøj teamed up to present censorship-free exhibitions in protest at the jury-led shows of nearby Charlottenborg. This tradition of an open artists' association remains, and the building hosts an open exhibition each year for association members. In November 2014, the art museum unveiled its new extension, including basement exhibition space, cafe and gardens.
Tsar Alexander III personally helped finance the cost of this Russian Orthodox Church, which was commissioned by Danish Princess Dagmar. Designed by Russian architect David Ivanovich Grimm, it was built by Albert Nielsen from granite and Danish red brick and completed in 1883. Open only for services or by appointment, the church is distinguished by three onion-shaped domes, which have made the church familiar to visitors and residents alike - few, however, will realize that the church boasts an equally grand interior. A marble stairway leads to the top floor, from where you get a great view of both the iconostasis (which separates the sanctuary from the rest of the church) and the ceiling's Byzantine and Russian paintings.
Amalienhaven was opened to the public in 1983, making it one of Copenhagen's newest parks. Situated directly on the waterfront below the royal palace, it is a neat, elegant garden of ornate flowerbeds and statues, which was designed by the French landscape architect Jean Delogne and presented to the city as a gift by the late shipping tycoon, Mærsk McKinney Møller. A stroll through the park affords pleasant harbor views and a chance to take a snapshot next to the park's familiar fountain, which stands in a direct line with nearby Amalienborg and Marmorkirken.
Located in the former Royal Academy of Surgeons building from 1787 (the lecture hall, hardly changed, is still used by medical students), this rather macabre museum is dedicated to the history of medicine and run by the University of Copenhagen. It's an offbeat mix of artefacts, crossing wildly in theme from dentistry to the hygiene of 19th-century prostitiutes, and its far more modern research wing, hosting talks, exhibitions, and events in English as well as Danish. Note that due to the 200+ year-old location, the medical museum remains inaccessible to wheelchair users.
Marmorkirken (The Marble Church) is so named because of its Norwegian marble, which proved too costly to use for the entire church - it was finally completed in 1894, over 150 years since royal architect Nicolai Eigtved first drew up the grand designs for a flamboyant royal church, after much controversy and with the less expensive Danish marble. The church was designed as part of the ambitious Amalienborg complex; its magnificent dome rises above the nearby buildings and with a span of 100 ft, is among the largest in Europe. Visitors should note the impressive statues outside, baroque altar, baptismal fonts and German woodcarvings.
Formerly the Danish Museum of Art & Design or Kunstindustrimuseet, the largest museum for industrial design and applied arts in Scandinavia is located in a beautiful rococo building in the Frederiksstaden district, the former King Frederik's Hospital, which dates from the 1750s. Housed in this building are permanent collections of European furniture, textiles, prints and posters that will prove fascinating to anyone interested in the history of decorative arts. A delightful addition to the exhibitions is the museum garden, Gronnegaard, which is open to all museum visitors: In the summer, the doors of the museum cafe are opened out into this secluded green space, which is completely hidden from the busy street in front of the museum.
Nyhavn may be a tourist trap, but with good reason: On a sunny evening, it's one of the loveliest spots in Copenhagen. With its pretty painted houses clustered around the canalside (most of them restaurants and cafes), it's hard to imagine that Nyhavn was a notorious neighborhood of lowlifes, drunks and prostitutes right up until 1970, popular with sailors on shore leave and littered with all-night bars and tattoo parlors. Only one of those original tattooists now remains, along with seaman's' hostel Hotel Bethel; these days, prices at Nyhavn's eateries are some of the highest in Copenhagen. You could always follow the lead of the other sun worshippers, buy a bottle of beer or an ice cream from a nearby store and dangle your feet from the jetty.
Amalienborg is actually a group of four Rococo palaces built around an octagonal square by royal architect Nicolai Eigtved in the 1750s. Of these, Queen Margrethe lives in Christian IV's palace with her husband, Prince Consort Henrik while Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary have lived in Frederik VIII's Palace since 2010, together with their children. Part of Christian VIII's Palace is open to the public as a museum (Amalienborg Museum). In the center of the square is the imposing statue of Frederik V on horseback, a costly commssion by French artist Jacques Saly. The public are free to walk around the square, though respect is expected; no sitting on the palace steps, for example. Changing of the guards takes place daily at noon.
Kastellet translates into English as 'the Citadel', and this excellently-preserved, pentagram-shaped military fortification is one of a ring of four bastions encircling old Copenhagen (other ramparts can be found in Christianshavn; Tivoli Gardens was also built along the old ramparts). Besides its continued use by the Danish Defence services (not open to the public), both visitors and local residents make recreational use of the grounds, including occasional events and concerts (the annual open-air performance by the Royal Danish Ballet is a long-standing tradition). This pleasant public park includes a moat and windmill. Nearby attractions include the Gefion Fountain and the English church of St Alban's.
The small, unassuming figure in bronze of Hans Christian Andersen's tragic heroine sits patiently on her rock, her head bowed, climbed on by tourists and buffetted by the waves. You might want to hate her, this rather over-rated tourist attraction that's been the icon of all things Danish since she was first unveiled back in 1913, but you may leave Langelinie feeling sorry for her, she who has falled victim to graffiti, politcal actions and even her own beheading in a famous artist's happening of the 60s. Still, the walk up here from Nyhavn is pleasant, and the nearby Amaliehaven Park looks lovely on a warm summer's day. Alternatively, many people take in the landmark as part of a canal tour.