City History: Copenhagen
Nowadays, Copenhagen is a prosperous town: Multitude of shopping facilities, the largest pedestrian system in the world, the capital of Denmark and thus the seat of the National Parliament. Moreover, Copenhagen is known for being a center of culture, arts and liberal politics. Furthermore, Copenhagen offers a lot of entertainment activities and, of course, sightseeing, as it is one of the biggest cities in Scandinavia.
Nevertheless, Copenhagen has also a dark side lying in the past: Being a Viking area, getting occupied by the Nazis during WWII, suffering from the bubonic plaque as well as fighting in “The Battle of Copenhagen”. Compelling history, it’s really worth to have a look at it!
As even Vikings need a place where to start their adventures from. Exotic destinations like Greenland or North America on the itinerary, Copenhagen appeared to be the perfect choice for departure. So, for 300 years between 750 and 1050, Copenhagen was the place of choice for the Vikings.
Copenhagen was founded in the 12th century
Bishop Absalon. That’s the name of the one who founded Copenhagen. Due to its position near the Øresund and thus good harbor facilities, Copenhagen was able to grow fast in the 12th century. Originally being a fishing village, Copenhagen soon got the status of a city.
It didn’t take long until the city got a more important one: The Capital City of Denmark in 1443. Only three decades later, the University of Copenhagen was founded by King Christian I.
Lutheranism as the official religion in Copenhagen
Nowadays, about 90 percent of all inhabitants are protestants. The reason for that lies back in the 16th century, when the Catholicism was brought down by King Christian III.
Copenhagen features many “firsts” of Denmark, but the Royal Library, which was founded in 1648, is probably one of the most significant ones until today.
18th century – dark chapter of Copenhagen
A death toll of about 20,000 people, nearly a third of the population in 1711 – that’s the result of a bubonic plaque which broke out in Copenhagen. But that’s not the only evil Copenhagen had to endure: Several fires destroyed the city in 1728. Nevertheless, it only took about nine years to reconstruct Copenhagen, but the medieval core has changed irreversible.
In 1794, another fire broke out in the capital of Denmark, causing damage to Christiansborg Palace, the home of the royal family. The Battle of Copenhagen (1801 – 1807) caused heavy losses to the Danish fleet against England. In the last year of the war, Copenhagen was bombarded heavily by the British.
Copenhagen up till now
After being occupied by the Germans in WWII, Copenhagen nowadays is one of the most dynamic cities in the world. Nearly two million inhabitants – and almost everybody is proud owner of a bicycle. The capital of denmark is known to be a city for bikers.
In 2008, it was even chosen as the best city in the world due to offering its residents the highest quality of life by the British Magazine Monocle. With a rich commercial and educational environment, Copenhagen has become a very international city.