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Copenhagen Journal

Copenhagen, like its Scandinavian neighbors, is a capital city situated on the water. Easily explored on foot or by bicycle, Copenhagen offers colorful traditional buildings, delicious food and the best of Scandinavian design. Its world class designers and architects include Arne Jacobsen, Hans Wegner, Finn Juhl and Poul Kjaerholm and their sleek designs continue to inspire us and grace our our interiors. After our visits to Helsinki and Stockholm we made a short stop in Copenhagen to experience much of what this wonderful city has to offer.

A City on Wheels - Copenhagen is a city on wheels. Everyone rides, and the bicycles have a simplicity that makes sense in this small city. Compared to our high-tech mountain bikes seen in our cities, these are quite elegant. Many of them have no brake on the handles, so you just slow down with your pedaling.

Colorful Copenhagen - Many of Copenhagen's oldest buildings' colors are warm and vivid, and they mix in with the new architecture with ease. This is Hans Christian Andersen's house where he wrote many of the fairy tales beloved by generations of children around the world.

Copenhagen's Copper Steeples - Copenhagen is a small city that is known for its beautiful architecture, including an abundance of copper church steeples. They kind of went crazy back in the good old days and it was almost a competition to build the most elaborate one.

Some Modern Danes - Copenhagen's streetscapes are interesting for people watching as well. More than in any other Scandinavian country, Copenhagen celebrates the individual.

Arne Jacobsen in Copenhagen: SAS Hotel, Room 606 - During our trip we wanted to experience some of the modern icons of design and architecture, as well as visit many of the sites of traditional Scandinavia. Arne Jacobsen can certainly be counted as one of Scandinavia's most important modern architects and his work is found in Copenhagen front and center. His SAS Royal Hotel, built in 1960, was inspired by SOM's Lever house Building in NYC. The tallest building in Copenhagen, it overlooks the popular amusement park Tivoli. Jacobsen designed absolutely every detail for the hotel, including the organic chairs (Egg and Swan), lights, door handles and curtain pulls. It featured travel amenities that we can only dream about today: You could check in with your SAS flight at the hotel and then be comfortably transported to the airport by luxurious SAS coaches just before boarding the flight. As interior design trends changed, Jacobsen's interiors became hopelessly out of date during the post-modern 80's. Fortunately, with the recent interest in mid-century design, the hotel has renovated its rooms and public spaces to once again feature Jacobsen's beautiful chairs in a contemporary setting. The colors have changed, but the Scandinavian ambience comes through loud and clear. Room 606 has been preserved from the 1960 installation and one of the hotel employees proudly gave us a tour of the room. All the furnishings (including the bathroom fixtures) are original. While just after it was built the building was voted Copenhagen's ugliest, it now stands proudly as a statement of modern design by Denmark's favorite architect.

Danish Pastry - Denmark's gift to the world is their invention of Danish pastry. Flaky and fresh, the scent of these buttery goodies wafts through the streets, beckoning one to the nearest bakery. Go ahead. Indulge.

Copenhagen's Seaport Suburb of Dragor - If you don't want to live in the city center, Copenhagen's nearby suburb of Dragor is a pretty nice alternative. Once a sleepy fishing village, Dragor is a 30 minute bus ride from town and is a favorite of the affluent Danes looking for a (more) picturesque habitat that is still well within an easy commute to Copenhagen. The house colors are a warm pale gold called Dragor yellow. This is truly a tranquil setting, and the proximity to the sea gives it added beauty.

Tivoli Gardens - Tivoli is Copenhagen's playground for both adults and children. Located in the middle of the city, Tivoli opened in 1843, the 20 acre park features carnival rides, restaurants and concerts all within flower filled gardens. The after dark lights are a favorite for tourists and Danes alike.

A City on Wheels - Copenhagen is a city on wheels. Everyone rides, and the bicycles have a simplicity that makes sense in this small city. Compared to our high-tech mountain bikes seen in our cities, these are quite elegant. Many of them have no brake on the handles, so you just slow down with your pedaling.

Arne Jacobsen in Copenhagen: The SAS Hotel - During our trip we wanted to experience some of the modern icons of design and architecture, as well as visit many of the sites of traditional Scandinavia. Arne Jacobsen can certainly be counted as one of Scandinavia's most important modern architects and his work is found in Copenhagen front and center. His SAS Royal Hotel, built in 1960, was inspired by SOM's Lever house Building in NYC. The tallest building in Copenhagen, it overlooks the popular amusement park Tivoli. Jacobsen designed absolutely every detail for the hotel, including the organic chairs (Egg and Swan), lights, door handles and curtain pulls. It featured travel amenities that we can only dream about today: You could check in with your SAS flight at the hotel and then be comfortably transported to the airport by luxurious SAS coaches just before boarding the flight. As interior design trends changed, Jacobsen's interiors became hopelessly out of date during the post-modern 80's. Fortunately, with the recent interest in mid-century design, the hotel has renovated its rooms and public spaces to once again feature Jacobsen's beautiful chairs in a contemporary setting. The colors have changed, but the Scandinavian ambience comes through loud and clear. Room 606 has been preserved from the 1960 installation and one of the hotel employees proudly gave us a tour of the room. All the furnishings (including the bathroom fixtures) are original. While just after it was built the building was voted Copenhagen's ugliest, it now stands proudly as a statement of modern design by Denmark's favorite architect.

Walkable Copenhagen - Copenhagen is a walking/biking town, with a great pedestrian-only shopping street in its center and sidewalk cafes for people watching in this very livable city.

Colorful Copenhagen - Denmark, like its Scandinavian neighbors, loves color. Traditional stucco houses and buildings are painted in warm gold, ochre and red hues which contrast with the black tile roofs and cobblestone street. Easily found in Copenhagen's downtown area, they are often next to the most modern, sleek structure. It all works, because both the traditional and modern structures have a clean graphic style.

Copenhagen's Seaport Suburb of Dragor - If you don't want to live in the city center, Copenhagen's nearby suburb of Dragor is a pretty nice alternative. Once a sleepy fishing village, Dragor is a 30 minute bus ride from town and is a favorite of the affluent Danes looking for a (more) picturesque habitat that is still well within an easy commute to Copenhagen . The hollyhocks seemed to be growing wild, and once again, the house colors are a warm pale gold called Dragor yellow. Everyone has privacy fences which enclose beautiful courtyards. This is truly a tranquil setting, and the proximity to the sea gives it added beauty.

Eco Awareness in Denmark - Europe (and especially Scandinavia) is light years ahead of the US and other nations in environmental concerns...living 'small' on the earth's surface has been part of their life for generations. We came across this exhibit in Copenhagen's Design Museum that showed us one more way that the Danes bring awareness to all about the fragility of life and this planet.

Copenhagen's Copper Steeples - Copenhagen is a small city that is known for its beautiful architecture, including an abundance of copper church steeples. They kind of went crazy back in the good old days and it was almost a competition to build the most elaborate one.

Eco Awareness in Denmark - Europe (and especially Scandinavia) is light years ahead of the US and other nations in environmental concerns...living 'small' on the earth's surface has been part of their life for generations. We came across this exhibit in Copenhagen's Design Museum that showed us one more way that the Danes bring awareness to all about the fragility of life and this planet. Unfortunately, the 'items' shown aren't normally packaged for such easy accessibility.

Copenhagen New: The Black Diamond Library - Right next to the historic buildings you find stunning modern architecture. The Danes haven't forgotten their love of great design and you can see how they are willing to take risks with their new buildings.

Copenhagen's Colorful Nyhavn - One of the most popular areas of Copenhagen is Nyhavn, an old seaport area in the city that has the most colorful painted houses ever. Whereas less than a generation ago when I first visited it was run-down and seedy, it now houses outdoor restaurant in every building for natives and tourists alike. The picturesque fishing and house boats definitely add to the ambience.

Arne Jacobsen in Copenhagen: Jacobsen Chairs in a Lecture Hall - During our trip we wanted to experience some of the modern icons of design and architecture, as well as visit many of the sites of traditional Scandinavia. Arne Jacobsen can certainly be counted as one of Scandinavia's most important modern architects and his work is found in Copenhagen front and center. Here, his iconic "Number 7" chair is used in a museum's lecture hall.

Colorful Copenhagen - Denmark, like its Scandinavian neighbors, loves color. Traditional stucco houses and buildings are painted in warm gold, ochre and red hues which contrast with the black tile roofs and cobblestone street. Easily found in Copenhagen's downtown area, they are often next to the most modern, sleek structure. It all works, because both the traditional and modern structures have a clean graphic style.

Copenhagen's Copper Steeples - Copenhagen is a small city that is known for its beautiful architecture, including an abundance of copper church steeples. They kind of went crazy back in the good old days and it was almost a competition to build the most elaborate one.

City on Wheels - Copenhagen is a city on wheels. Everyone rides, and the bicycles have a simplicity that makes sense in this small city. Compared to our high-tech mountain bikes seen in our cities, these are quite elegant. Many of them have no brake on the handles, so you just slow down with your pedaling.

Copenhagen's Copper Steeples - Copenhagen is a small city that is known for its beautiful architecture, including an abundance of copper church steeples. They kind of went crazy back in the good old days and it was almost a competition to build the most elaborate one.

Copenhagen's Seaport Suburb of Dragor - If you don't want to live in the city center, Copenhagen's nearby suburb of Dragor is a pretty nice alternative. Once a sleepy fishing village, Dragor is a 30 minute bus ride from town and is a favorite of the affluent Danes looking for a (more) picturesque habitat that is still well within an easy commute to Copenhagen . This is truly a tranquil setting, and the proximity to the sea gives it added beauty. Colorful kayaks are stored on the beach for easy access.

Copenhagen New: The Black Diamond Library - Right next to the historic buildings you find stunning modern architecture. The Danes haven't forgotten their love of great design and you can see how they are willing to take risks with their new buildings.

Arne Jacobsen in Copenhagen: The Egg and Swan Chairs in the SAS Hotel Lobby - During our trip we wanted to experience some of the modern icons of design and architecture, as well as visit many of the sites of traditional Scandinavia. Arne Jacobsen can certainly be counted as one of Scandinavia's most important modern architects and his work is found in Copenhagen front and center. His SAS Royal Hotel, built in 1960, was inspired by SOM's Lever house Building in NYC. The tallest building in Copenhagen, it overlooks the popular amusement park Tivoli. Jacobsen designed absolutely every detail for the hotel, including the organic chairs (Egg and Swan), lights, door handles and curtain pulls. It featured travel amenities that we can only dream about today: You could check in with your SAS flight at the hotel and then be comfortably transported to the airport by luxurious SAS coaches just before boarding the flight. As interior design trends changed, Jacobsen's interiors became hopelessly out of date during the post-modern 80's. Fortunately, with the recent interest in mid-century design, the hotel has renovated its rooms and public spaces to once again feature Jacobsen's beautiful chairs in a contemporary setting. The colors have changed, but the Scandinavian ambience comes through loud and clear. While just after it was built the building was voted Copenhagen's ugliest, it now stands proudly as a statement of modern design by Denmark's favorite architect.

Copenhagen New: The Black Diamond Library - Right next to the historic buildings you find stunning modern architecture. The Danes haven't forgotten their love of great design and you can see how they are willing to take risks with their new buildings.