What’s what: A guide to the districts of Copenhagen
What are the defining characteristics of each of Copenhagen’s districts?
Here are the most important things you need to know.
Where: Nørrebro is the western part of central Copenhagen. The neighbourhood starts immediately beyond the lakes at Queen Louise Bridge (Dronning Louisesbro). And just past the bridge – five minute’s walk from the centrally located Nørreport Station – you can sense the difference in the atmosphere.
What is Nørrebro like? Nørrebro is Copenhagen’s most multi-ethnic neighbourhood, but you have to go as far as Ydre Nørrebro (’Outer Nørrebro’) 3-4 kilometres along Nørrebrogade before mosques and signs that are written solely in Arabic mark its transformation into something truly exotic. Nørrebro is also popular with students and alternative subcultures. The area north of Nørrebrogade – which lies on your left if you’re entering it from the city centre – has the reputation of being the most gentrified part.
Most important roads: Everything revolves around Nørrebrogade with regard to what is the right place to eat kebabs and falaffels. Some sections of the street are closed to passenger cars.
Landmarks: Nørrebro contains Denmark’s most important cemetery. H.C. Andersen and Søren Kirkegaard (among other notables) are buried here. The hip Jægersborggade is also worth a visit.
Where: Østerbro is the northern part of Copenhagen municipality, incorporating the northern part of the harbour plus Fælledparken and the boundary to the north that it shares with Hellerup.
What is Østerbro like? Østerbro has a reputation as a prosperous district with many upper middle-class residents. In the rest of Denmark, Østerbro is synonymous with families whose organically fed children lead a first-class lifestyle. Østerbro is also where many embassies are located, such as those of the USA, UK and Russia.
Most important roads: Østerbrogade is the main shopping street. Lyngbyvej carries the most traffic out of town heading north.
Landmarks: Fælledparken – Copenhagen’s largest park – and Parken, the national football stadium. Langelinie and the Little Mermaid are technically also situated in Østerbro, but those are near the city centre.
Where: Frederiksberg is a green island and independent municipality which is surrounded by Copenhagen. The inner part of Frederiksberg begins where the lakes terminate to the south.
What is Frederiksberg like? There’s a reason for Frederiksberg being an independent municipality. People here are very conscious of themselves, and uniquely, the district has been governed by conservative administrations for over 100 years.
Most important roads: Gammel Kongevej is a good way to enter Frederiksberg. Falkoner Allé cuts transversely across the district.
Landmarks: The Zoological Garden, Frederiksberg Garden and Søndermarken are green landmarks in Frederiksberg. Frederiksberg Allé, which leads to Frederiksberg Have (’Frederiksberg Garden’), is the most stately and Paris-like street in Copenhagen.
Where? Vesterbro begins immediately beyond the far side of Rådhuspladsen, and parts of the district are therefore very centrally located in the city.
What is Vesterbro like? Vesterbro is the Copenhagen district that has changed the most during the past 30 years – specifically, from an impoverished, run-down working-class neighbourhood to a district inhabited by hipsters and families with children.
Most important roads: Vesterbrogade and Istedgade.
Landmarks: Kødbyen (’The meat district’) has become a hub for nightlife and restaurants. Carlsberg and its visitor centre are also located in Vesterbro.
Christianshavn & Holmen
Where: Christianshavn is geographically a part of Amager, though you’ll never get one of its inhabitants to admit this. Holmen lies north of Christianshavn and was previously a closed naval area. Christianshavn is located directly opposite the city centre on the other side of the water.
Most important roads: Torvegade is the main road for vehicles. Inderhavnsbroen (’the inner-harbour bridge’), which is designated for cyclists and pedestrians, connects the city centre to Christianshavn.
What is Christianshavn like? Christianshavn also has the reputation of being the home of alternative lifestyles, not least because of Christiania. But large parts of Christianshavn – and Holmen in particular – are also both expensive and exclusive.
Landmarks: Christiania is one of Denmark’s biggest tourist attractions (see page 19). Our Saviour Church and Christian’s Church are historic and architectural landmarks. Meanwhile, the food market at Inderhavnsbroen and Reffen are also significant draws.
Amager & Ørestad
Where: Technically, Amager is the entirety of the island south of Copenhagen, along with the airport and the uninhabited Vestamager. The Copenhagen part of Amager starts just where Christianshavn ends. Ørestad is the new district on the western part of Amager.
Most important roads: Amagerbrogade is the main shopping street. Amager Strandvej is up-and-coming, and sucks in all of Copenhagen during fine weather in the summer.
What is Amager like? Formerly, Amager had the unsavoury reputation of being Copenhagen’s rubbish dump. Today, however, several parts of it have become gentrified, but the island is large enough that you can find everything here, including the original and the off-kilter.
Landmarks: Amager Strandpark is a large recreational area with many activities in the summer. (Take the metro to Øresund or Amager Strand). Ørestad and the mega-shopping centre Field’s are modern landmarks, while Amager Fælled is a large and unique natural area that lies close to Copenhagen.