Nyhavn is a 17th century waterfront, canal and entertainment district in Copenhagen, Denmark. Stretching from Kongens Nytorv to the harbour front just south of the Royal Playhouse, it is lined by brightly coloured 17th and early 18th century townhouses and bars, cafes and restaurants. Serving as a “heritage harbour”, the canal has many historical wooden ships.
Nyhavn was constructed by King Christian V from 1670-73, dug by Swedish war prisoners from the Dano-Swedish War 1658–1660. It is a gateway from the sea to the old inner city at Kongens Nytorv (King’s Square), where ships handled cargo and fishermens’ catch. It was notorious for beer, sailors, and prostitution. Danish author Hans Christian Andersen lived at Nyhavn 18 for some years.
The New Harbour from 1673 began as a busy trading harbour.
Ships from all over the world anchored here and life in the harbour area was dominated by seamen, public houses, girls and parties. The New Harbour became known as ‘Nyhavn’ (Newharbour)- one word instead of two. The pretty, crooked, old houses, where in times gone by tradesmen occupied, have been beautifully renovated into cosy indoor and outdoor restaurants.
Business people, tourists and lots of other people can come to Nyhavn to enjoy a wonderful atmosphere, exellent culinary delights, a cold beer and jazz music. Chit chat a laughter fill the harbour with life and captivate the nostalgia.
Nyhavn is typically Danish. For 450 years the small town of Copenhagen did not extend its borders until in 1617, King Christian the Fourth established Christianshavn thus extending the town’s framework. The development of the old capital city began and in 1671 King Christian Fifth started the excavation of the “New Harbour”.
Since that time the artificial canal for more than 300 years has been the framework of a pulsating life. Public houses, merriment and ‘generous’ women have always been Nyhavn’s character and throughout the years the harbour’s picturesque houses have been the home of world renowned artists like H C Andersen, who once lived in number 67, and several ballet artists and poets.
Looking down Nyhavn one can be reminded of H G F Holms meticulous water colours. The artist lived in number 55, he was named ‘Fattigholm’ (‘Poor Holm’). He died in 1861, and like many other artists became famous after his death. His paintings of streets and houses in Copenhagen are exhibited in museums and are acquired for huge amounts of money.
‘Poor Holm’ and other artists of the time visited the confectioner that was located on Store Strandstraede. Hans Christian Andersen, who in his lifetime was famed as a fairytale writer, also visited the confectioner. H C Andersen is probably the most famous of all Danes for his writing talent.
Together they admired the confectioner’s mural of the six MUSER. The dances music and the four seasons. The paintings are still displayed as an inspiration to the many guests. The confectioners location is today known as Restaurant Els.
Of modern poets, Sigfred Pedersen, is certainly the most well known and most Danes can hum his jolly ditties like “Vaaren der gaar gennem Nyhaven” (Spring in Nyhavn) and “Søren Bramfris Laerkesang” (Søren Bramfri’s Song of the Lark).
Sigred Pedersen added colour to the bohemians and the down and outs life in Nyhavn. He depicted the joyful atmosphere in the sand floored taverns where the jolly ditties could be heard sung by the locals for more than three centuries.
Nyhavn has always been the happy gathering place for seamen from the seven seas they did not just visit Nyhavn to drink, but to also enjoy the company of women after being deprived for many lonely months at sea,
Today the Nyhavn prostitutes are a feature of days gone by. The rougher type public houses have been replaced by cosy restaurants where even the most particular pallet can find culinary delights and comfort. There is a true Parisienne atmosphere at the restaurants where outside serving can be enjoyed. For a person living in Copenhagen, Nyhavn is the place to visit to have fun and a good time.
Here you will find musicians and jazz at its best. One can also study the lovely old ships in the harbour and the architecture from the middle ages in the best and most beautifully restored condition along side the wharf. Throughout the summer, an international public can enjoy the dear old harbour to the sounds of music and cheering “skaal”.
Nyhavn is the place to go for a fantastic atmosphere, it is the festive stopping place in Wonderful Copenhagen.