Nyhavn’s past is almost as colourful as the façades on the quay. It’s a history full of ships, sailors – and lots of alcohol. Drinking beer is still the number one pastime here: On a sunny day, all of Copenhagen seems to converge on the quays of Nyhavn for a glass of Carlsberg. But, however delicious, there is much more to this area than chilled lager.
Many of the houses in Nyhavn were once inhabited by prominent artists and writers. This includes world-famous fairy tale author Hans Christian Andersen, who lived in no fewer than three houses here at different times. Many of his stories were written in Nyhavn. Andersen initially lived at number 20, where he came up with the tale of the Princess on the Pea, among others. He later moved to number 67, which he swapped after twenty years for number 18, where he spent two more years.
Address: Nyhavn 20
It is difficult to choose just one from the wide selection of cafés on the waterfront at Nyhavn. One of the most famous places is Nyhavn 17, a pub dating back to the eighteenth century, when it was frequented by sailors. This cosy bar with dark wood furnishing is now visited by a more diverse clientele enjoying whiskey and tasty beers. On sunny days the tables out on the quay make Nyhavn 17 a great place to people watch and enjoy the boats sailing up and down the harbour.
The many canals of Copenhagen make this an ideal city for a cruise. Dozens of boats depart every day from Nyhavn to offer guests fine vistas over the city streets from the water. They pass attractions such as the statue of the Little Mermaid and the super-modern opera house. There are tour boats, hop-on hop-off tours and dinner cruises. Less obvious, but well worth the price, is the jazz cruise. This boat has a full jazz band on board and sails along all the highlights of the city in an hour and a half.
More information on: www.stromma.dk
In the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, the Hong Kong was the main haunt of sailors blowing off steam until the wee hours. It remains hugely popular – and with good reason: After all other bars close, the Hong Kong just keeps going. The bar staff serves drinks here seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. This makes it the perfect address for an afterparty in the middle of the night or a cup of coffee in the early morning.
Address: Nyhavn 7
At its end, Nyhavn hosts the Mindeankeret, the huge anchor memorial which commemorates more than 1,700 Danish officers and sailors who died during the Second World War. The monument initially consisted of a large wooden cross and was replaced in 1951 by the anchor of the frigate Fyn which had been stationed in the naval port of Holmen during the war. An official ceremony is held to commemorate the war dead every year on 5 May, the day on which Denmark was liberated in 1945.