The Royal parks
It is not without reason that Frederiksberg is known as the green heart of Copenhagen. Not only do we have the expansive Frederiksberg Gardens and Søndermarken, but a number of other gardens, too, each of which, in their own way, measure up to international gardens around the world, such as the University Gardens at the University of Copenhagen and the small gardens of the Royal Danish Horticultural Society (Haveselskabet). There are also a number of small parks, gardens and green areas which all help make Frederiksberg the green district.
The park was landscaped during the reign of King Frederik IV from 1699–1730, as a baroque garden surrounding Frederiksberg Palace. The gardens now house the remains of the baroque garden and a romantic landscape garden, which held special significance for the popular King Frederik VI. The romantic landscape garden was changed during his reign from 1808–1839. When he took up residence at Frederiksberg Palace, the garden was his favourite place, where he could sail on the canals and greet his subjects visiting the garden. Fittingly, it is he who greets the public by the main entrance at Frederiksberg Runddel. The gardens feature several lakes, canals and exotic trees and shrubs. Hugely popular with visitors, the gardens form a scenic oasis in the heart of the Danish capital. In the middle of the garden, there is a small island on which a Chinese summerhouse was built in 1799. The island can be visited on Sundays in the summer months.
Today, those wishing to sail along the canals like the king can hire boats from the boat service Svendsens Bådfart. In the summer, Frederiksberg Gardens form the setting for various cultural events, including the music festival Stella Polaris (August) and Midsummer’s Eve (June). Midsummer’s Eve is a particularly special evening in Frederiksberg, attracting some 35,000 visitors. There is a bonfire party by the water close to Frederiksberg Palace and entertainment aplenty.
The elephants at Copenhagen Zoo can be seen enjoying their new surroundings from Frederiksberg Gardens. Frederiksberg Gardens also offer a rich bird life, including mallards, grey geese, mute swans, herons and Canada geese.
The gardens, which cover an area of 31.7 hectares, have been open to the public since 1852. The park is state-owned and maintained by the Danish Agency for Palaces and Cultural Properties. Another option is a visit to the lovely Royal Danish Horticultural Society Garden (Haveselskabets Have) at the main entrance – a great source of inspiration for gardening enthusiasts.
Not only are Frederiksberg Gardens the green heart of the city, but admission is free, so definitely not to be missed.
Address: Frederiksberg Runddel 1A, DK-2000 Frederiksberg
Open: Depends on the season, but the gardens open at 6.00 and close about one hour after sunset.
In 1820, occasional access to the park was granted to people of eminent rank. This was due in part to the fact that King Frederik VI wished to use Søndermarken as his private hunting ground. From 1852, free admission was granted during the day, and there is now access around the clock. Slightly to the west of this is Borgmester Fischersvej, a social housing estate with the same name (Søndermarken), which was built in 1955. From 1953, part of Søndermarken was transferred to Copenhagen Zoo, and can now only be accessed through the main entrance.
In 2010, Frederiksberg Municipality and the Danish Agency for Palaces and Properties launched the “Life and light at Søndermarken” project. The Life and light project describes how Søndermarken was given an overall quality boost and was developed for the future – for the benefit of those living in Frederiksberg and in the capital.
The project consisted of a number of measures to unite the experience of cultural history and urban nature with exercise.
Address: Søndermarken, DK-2000 Frederiksberg
Open: Free access around the clock.
In the Arctic Ring, you get right up close to the polar bears and the North Atlantic birds, both above and below the surface of the water. Visit the new Tasmania area, where you come eye to eye with kangaroos, Tasmanian devils and wombats. Tasmania gives you a unique opportunity to walk among the animals and to see them at close quarters.
Whatever the weather, it’s always warm in the Tropical Zoo, where you will find snakes, crocodiles, marmosets, dwarf deer, free-flying birds and butterflies.
In the Children’s Zoo, the youngest members of the family can stroke the African pygmy goats and meet the pets at the Zoo Arena. You can also watch when the horses are trained and you can pet them when they are fed.
At the Elephant House, you can come face to face with the elephants and watch as they swim the moat, which is deep enough for them to dive down into, so only their trunk is sticking up.
Address: Roskildevej 32, DK-2000 Frederiksberg
Check out the day’s programme and current opening hours at www.zoo.dk. You can also buy your ticket here, and jump the queue when you arrive at the Zoo.