Copenhagen (Danish: København; Latin: Hafnia; French: Copenhague) is the capital of the Kingdom of Denmark. It is also the city of residence for the kings and queens of Denmark.

Located in a favourable position by the narrow Sound, which is the most accessible passage from the Baltic to the North Sea (by way of Kattegat and the Skaw), and gifted with a natural harbour, Copenhagen has been a major mercantile center since mediaeval times. Until the mid-19th century, Copenhagen shipping dominated Nordic trade, and the city is still home to several of the world's largest shipping companies.

Nowadays, Copenhagen is a lively, active city, with plenty of tourist attractions and night life. Among the more well-known attractions are the amusement parks Tivoli and Bakken, the statue of The Little Mermaid, and Kastellet, the Citadel of Copenhagen. For more tourist attractions, see my Noder's guide to Copenhagen.

Population (Jan. 1, 1999):
Copenhagen proper: 491,082
With environs: 1,192,912


After having read nine9's otherwise excellent writeup, below, I am reminded that perhaps a mention of Copenhagen's eventful military history is in order. Since it is rather difficult to sum up a thousand years of history in a few paragraphs, I'll restrict myself to mentioning the four most significant military events in Copenhagen's history:

1658: The Siege of Copenhagen
At the culmination of a protracted war between Denmark and Sweden, Copenhagen remained essentially the only unconquered part of Denmark. A lenghty siege (with the Danes receiving relief in the form of supplies and reinforcements from Dutch fleets in the Sound) ended in a settlement (the Peace of Roskilde) which left most of Denmark free, although significant concessions were made to the Swedes, including all of Scania.

1801: The Battle of the Roadstead of Copenhagen
(Danish: Slaget på Reden). As part of a British plan to neutralise the possibility of Danish naval intervention in the wars with France, a British fleet under Sir Hyde Parker met and inflicted a significant defeat on the Danish navy. After the prince regent (later King Frederik VI of Denmark) made the ill-advised decision to give up the fight, the remaining Danish ships were scuttled or seized as prizes by the British.

1807: The Bombardment of Copenhagen
After the defeat in 1801, the hitherto-neutral Denmark joined the French side in the Napoleonic Wars, and this led to a siege of Copenhagen by a British army, in 1807. The siege included a new development in military strategy: the world's first deliberate terror bombardment of a civilian population (in fact, it is reported that when "Bomber" Harris discussed the decision to terror-bomb Dresden during WWII, he used the expression "We'll Copenhagen them!").

1940: The German Occupation
As part of Operation Weserübung, the German Wehrmacht executed a well-planned surprise attack on strategic locations in Copenhagen, using troops hidden aboard a "Trojan horse" ship in Copenhagen's port. The Nazi occupation lasted until May 1945.

Copenhagen is also a play by Michael Frayn, directed by Michael Blakemore.

The play is based on an historic event: a meeting of Neils Bohr and Werner Heisenberg in 1941. It is interesting to note, as the play takes place during WWII, that Bohr was half-Jewish and a citizen of occupied Denmark and Heisenberg was a professor at Leipzig in Germany, and even, unknown to Bohr, Heisenberg had become head of the Nazi regime's project to harness atomic energy.

The play investigates how these men might have felt about the development of nuclear weapons, but more importantly it proposes that the motives, the feelings, and the relationships mankind experience almost have their own Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle that obscures them.

Copenhagen where I come from refers to something entirely different. For all those who have not guessed by now I mean chewing tobacco. The act of using these products is called "dipping snuff" by many. It comes in a little brown can that says Copenhagen on the side, and has a little metal lid on the top, I have some in my pocket right now. You take a little pinch and nestle it between your cheek and gum. It gives the user a buzz the likes of which cigarettes cannot compare to. Similar to Skoal, copenhagen comes in long cut about 2mm to 6mm in length, and short cut about 1mm to 2mm in length. It is a tobacco product and can cause cancer.

Copenhagen is the tobacco of choice for most cowboys and oddly enough, alot of the geeks I know.

(Danish: København)

As nwman called it "Capital of that nice little country". The Capital City of Denmark, lying on the islands of Zealand (Sjælland), and Amager. It was a small fishing village until 1167, when the bishop of Roskilde built a castle on the site of the present Christiansborg palance. A settlement quickly grew up and it became the Danish capital in 1443.

Lying across the Øresund from Malmö, in Sweden, the city is one of Scandinavia's liveliest and largest with a population of around 1.4 million. For tourists, the city has maintained a good balance between daytime sightseeing and an active nightlife. For sightseers, the city is replete with countless museums, castles and old churches, including the Rådhus (City Hall), Gammel Torv (where the city's central market once was), Tivoli, the little mermaid, the Royal Theatre, Charlottenburg (seat of the Royal Academy of Arts), Nyhavn -- a picturesque canal, dug 300 years ago -- and, of course, Amalienborg Palace, home of the royal family since 1794. And for the clubbers, pubs and clubs are open until the early hours of the morning.

The city was occupied by Germany between April 1940 and May 1945, and was also site to an important battle in both British and Danish Naval history on April 2, 1801, when the British fleet led by Sir Hyde Parker and Nelson destroyed the Danish fleet. The various skirmishes and battles between Britain and Denmark had deep ramifications for the industrialisation of Denmark and the emancipation of the Working Classes.

Population (1990): 1,337,100

The most interesting thing about copenhagen (the Michael Frayn play, not the city) is the way it's typically staged.

Stage down is converted to a number of tiers of seats that, rather than sticking to the back wall, curve forward to the upstage parts of the wings. The playing area is extended out over the pit and in the shape of a flattened circle. The stage is also canted forward at a noticeable angle so that when a player is walking the perimeter of the stage their tread is noticeably affected by the pull of gravity. The seats at the back create the illusion of the play being played in the round, as well as reenforcing the almost atomic relationships between the characters, each other and the stage itself, the stage being a metaphor for both the universe (in a very literal sense - this is a play about quantum physics, people and memory after all) and the interior of an atom.

As the play progresses, its three characters each take turns at center stage with the two other characters orbiting around them. It's an incredibly energetic play and the players rarely stand still, constantly bouncing their thoughts off of each other. In the staging I've seen, Bohr and his wife intitially stuck to the center of the 'atom' while Heisenberg orbited around them. As the play progresses and they begin to trust each other once again, Heisenberg moves closer and closer to the center of the atom until Margarette is spun out to the orbit, effectively excluded from Heisenberg's relationship with her husband.

The other interpretation that could be brought to this is a cultural one - Heisenberg was a nationalistic German trying to stay afloat during World War II; Bohr and his wife were Danes and under German occupation. Regardless of their past affiliation Heisenberg was obviously not to be trusted and his initial hesitant orbits reflect that - he wasn't being cautious, he was being held at bay by the forces radiated from the core of this particular nucleus.

Co`pen*ha"gen (?), n. [From Copenhagen, Denmark.]


A sweetened hot drink of spirit and beaten eggs.


A children's game in which one player is inclosed by a circle of others holding a rope.


© Webster 1913.

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