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Copenhagen: The Best Design In Denmark


Hay House – Mette and Rolf Hay, the team behind this fabulous interiors store, have made it their raison d’etre to offer high-quality design at (almost) affordable prices. Their Copenhagen store sells its own line of furniture and textiles, plus works of other innovative Danish designers. Easy-to-pack souvenirs include notebooks and ceramic cups.

Hay House
Hay House

Illums Bolighus – A venerable temple to design dating back to 1925, this multi – level department store is dedicated to big Danish and international names. Tempting goods include fashion, jewellery, silverware and glassware, and there’s no shortage of Danish furniture, textiles and attractive office accessories.

Normann – In a converted cinema in Osterbro, sprawling Normann seduces shoppers (and wallets) with its eye-candy designer goods, from statement bowls, glassware and tea strainers, to furniture, lighting, cushions and more. If it’s time to give your life a Scandi makeover, this is the place to do it. Best of all, the shop ships worldwide.


Design Museum – A must for fans of the applied arts and industrial design, this fairly extensive collection includes Danish silver, textiles and porcelain, as well as iconic design pieces by modem innovators such as Kaare Klint, Poul Henningsen and Arne Jacobsen. The museum shop is one of the city’s best.

Det Kongelige Bibliotek – The national library comes in two parts: a 19th-century red-brick building and the head-turning ‘Black Diamond’ extension, the latter a leaning parallelogram of sleek black granite and smoke-coloured glass. From the harbour-fronting atrium, an escalator leads up to a ceiling mural by celebrated Danish artist Per Kirkeby. The library hosts fascinating art and history exhibitions, and a decent cafe.

Det Kongelige Bibliotek
Det Kongelige Bibliotek

Christiania – Setup by squatters in 1971, the Freetown Christiania commune has drawn nonconformists from across the globe. Beyond its graffiti -strewn barrack buildings and the infamous ‘ Pusher Street’, you’ll find a treasure trove of small, imaginative abodes built by hand using salvaged materials. Many of these intriguing creations are by the old city moat on the district’s eastern side. Keep an eye out for converted greenhouses, wooden caravans and a home made entirely of window frames.


Tivoli Gardens – The city’s veteran amusement park is the world’s second oldest (1843) and one that inspired both Walt Disney and Hans Christian Andersen with its dreamscape of rides, exotic pavilions and Willy Wonka-esque architecture. The park is petite by today’s standards, but its Arabian Nights persona makes it a fascinating space.

Tivoli Gardens
Tivoli Gardens

Rundetarn – Haul yourself up the spiral ramp of the 35m-high, redbrick ‘Round Tower’ and you’ll be following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Christian IV, who built it in 1642 as an observatory (it still functions as one today). You’ll also be retracing the hoof steps of Russian tsar Peter the Great’s horse.

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