Rådhuspladsen (City Hall Square in Copenhagen) is the nexus of Denmark’s capital city, grandly lit up at night with its colored signs, digital news headlines and blinking neon, with the enormous City Hall (Rådhuset).
Constructed in the National Romantic style, its inspiration was drawn from medieval Danish and Norwegian architecture with a touch of the palazzo style of northern Italy. The façade and interior are trimmed with historic details from Nordic mythology.
For a bird’s eye view of the city’s spires and towers, climb the 106 meter (347ft) tower.
Inside the Rådhuset’s foyer, look for the entrance to Jens Olsen’s World Clock. Its star dial mechanism shows the path of the pole star in resettable periods, making it one of the most accurate and complicated clocks in the world. Unsurprisingly, the masterpiece of time-telling took 27 years to build.
Bordering the square to the cast on Vester Voldgade, are two of Copenhagen’s fine traditional hotels. Closest to City Hall is the Palace Hotel, one of the few buildings in the Jugendstil (Art Nouveau style), and further north, past the square, Hotel Kong Fredrik with the smart and pricey Gastro Pub Restaurant.
Between the two hotels is the beginning of Strøget, Europe’s longest pedestrianized shopping street, and the kingdoms of wonder that are Hans Christian Andersen’s Wonderful World and Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum.
Forget educational value, and take the family to marvel at animated tableaux of Andersen’s most famous stories, or shrunken heads, optical illusions, and a picture of Queen Margrethe carefully constructed from pocket fluff.
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On the western side of Rådhuspladsen is Denmark’s most viewed attraction, the charming Tivoli Gardens. Opened in 1843, the amusement park updates its collection of rides and rollercoasters regularly while still retaining the air of a pleasure garden for a bygone age. The fair opening in April marks the beginning of summer. It’s a Copenhagen institution attracting visitors of all generations with its old-fashioned side-stalls, aquarium, gardens, cafés, theatres, an open-air stage, its own symphony orchestra, and a concert hall where classical concerts, jazz and musicals are performed. The park has more than 20 restaurants, including the Michelin-starred restaurant Herman.
City Hall Square in Copenhagen, written by Tor Kjolberg