Copenhagen – the capital of Denmark – was officially founded in 1167. The small fishing village, as it was then, prospered and developed into København – 'port of tradesmen'. Today Copenhagen is the commercial, cultural and administrative centre of Denmark, and the greater city area has a population of 1.2 million. Although busy and noisy as any large city, Copenhagen continues to captivate visitors because it has managed to maintain some of its original charm. Compared to many other cosmopolitan cities, it is considered a safe city.
Just outside the city centre, you find the areas of Østerbro, Vesterbro, Nørrebro, Frederiksberg and Amager. Østerbro is one of the well-off areas of Copenhagen. Buildings as well as cafés, restaurants and shops are often of a more classical style than what you find in other areas. Vesterbro and Nørrebro used to be working class areas, but over the past decade both areas have turned into trendy hot spots influenced by people of many different ethnic origins, and they are very popular areas for shopping and going out.
Though you may not notice it, Frederiksberg is actually an independent municipality surrounded by Copenhagen. It offers good shopping facilities, places for going out as well as Frederiksberg Have – a beautiful park loved by all Copenhageners. Amager is in fact an island linked to the rest of Copenhagen by bridges. Still, it is as close to the city centre as the other areas, and in addition to that it has its own beach, which is a popular destination in the summer.
Copenhagen is small compared to other cities around the world, so even if you are not going to live in one of the areas mentioned above, you will never be far away from the city centre, from the University or from where things are happening!
Getting around the inner city as well as the rest of Copenhagen is easy. The city has a well-developed public transportation system of busses, metro and trains but cycling is, in fact, the most popular, quickest and cheapest way to get around. There is an extensive network of cycling paths throughout Copenhagen. Many students choose to buy a cheap used bike when they arrive in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen has a rich cultural life. It is home to a wide range of interesting museums and attracts international performers and artists to festivals, concerts and other events throughout the year. Copenhagen's cafés, bars and restaurants, many of them half submerged in cellars or located in picturesque historical buildings, range from traditional to trendy and serve everything from hot Thai curries to traditional Danish frikadeller (meat balls).
If you need to find a restaurant, a museum or want to know which concerts or movies are on in Copenhagen, the 2GOcopenhagen, All About Copenhagen and the Visit Copenhagen websites have the information. If you want to find out what is happening in the rest of the country as well, KultuNaut has Denmark's largest electronic cultural calendar.