A History of Copenhagen

Browse a brief history of Denmark's capital city.

1000s – The first settlement.

1160-67 – Copenhagen founded by Bishop Absalon, counsellor to King Valdemar I. Slotsholmen fortress is built to protect the new city.

1443 - Copenhagen replaces Roskilde as the capital city of Denmark.

1449 - Copenhagen celebrates its first coronation as the nation’s capital, for King Christian I.

1479 -Copenhagen University founded.

1583 - The world's oldest amusement park, Bakken, opens for business. Located just north of the city, you can still enjoy it today.

1588-1648 – Copenhagen’s most remarkable buildings are built during the reign of King Christian IV, including Rosenborg Castle, the Round Tower, the Old Stock Exchange, Copenhagen’s canals and Kastellet (The Old Citadel).

1658 – The Swedes besiege Copenhagen.

1700s – Most of the old medieval city is destroyed by fires during different decades.

1748 – Amalienborg Palace, residence of Denmark’s current Queen, and the Royal Danish Theatre (still at Kongens Nytorv today) are built.

1775 – Royal Copenhagen Porcelain founded.

1801-1807 - The British attack Copenhagen.

1830-1840 - Vesterbro, Nørrebro and Østerbro become a part of Copenhagen.

1843 - Tivoli Gardens amusement park founded at the city’s West Gate (Vesterport).

1847 - Carlsberg Brewery founded. The original site will soon be a Carlsberg Experience Centre.

1847 – Copenhagen Central Station (Hovedbanegården) built.

1863 - Copenhagen’s first tram, the first of its kind in Europe. Trams disappeared from city life in 1972.

1875 - Hans Christian Andersen, the world famous fairytale writer, dies in Copenhagen. You can visit his grave in Assisten's Churchyard (Assitens Kirkegaard).

1905 - Copenhagen City Hall (Rådhuset) is completed.

1905 - The first Pølsevogn (Sausage cart) established in Copenhagen. 

1910 – Copenhagen opens its first bike path separated from road traffic.

1913 - The Little Mermaid statue is unveiled.

1925 – Copenhagen Airport opens for business.

1940-1945 – Copenhagen and Denmark occupied by the Nazis during WWII.

1962 - The world’s longest pedestrian shopping street, Strøget, is inaugurated for happy shoppers.

1971 – The freetown of Christiania is founded by squatters on an old military site in the city’s Christianshavn district

2000 – The impressive Oresund Bridge, joining Denmark and Sweden, opens.

2002 – Copenhagen’s first metro line welcomes passengers.

2004 – The distinctive new Opera opens on the waterfront.

2008 - British lifestyle magazine Monocle ranks Copenhagen as the best city in the world to live in.

Further reading

Read more about Copenhagen.

Read more about Historical Denmark.

Book a hotel in Copenhagen.

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Enjoy a capital city packed full of royal sites and regal events.