I’m not big on amusement parks. In fact, I’ve successfully avoided taking either children or grandchildren to Disney World ( bad grandma!)
Rides either terrify or bore me. But I loved Tivoli in Copenhagen. The park opened in 1843, just outside the west gate of the still-walled old city.
King Christian VIII was worried about social unrest at the time. Workers all over Europe were annoyingly demanding higher wages and shorter hours. The founder of the park, George Carstensen, convinced the king that if the people have a place to amuse themselves, “they do not think about politics.” As the city expanded, Tivoli became almost the center. That’s the tower of the City Hall in the background.
I visited at twilight because I wanted to see the fabled lights.
So were the thousands of tulips. In fact, the flowerbeds were so perfect that I wondered if gardeners came in nightly and replaced them with fresh plants straight from a greenhouse.
A rock band was getting ready to set up at the Chinese theater. The theater dates from 1874.
Families strolled and let cotton candy melt in their mouths.
A pair of peacocks wandered into a restaurant.
There are any number of restaurants, plain to fancy, plus food carts strategically placed.
Raincoats for sale? Sure. It rains quite a bit in Copenhagen.
Hans Christian Andersen, 1805-1875, is pretty much the secular patron saint of Denmark. He loved Tivoli Gardens. In 1965, the city put up a bronze more-than-double life size statue of the writer of at least 125 fairy tales, just outside City Hall. He’s holding his place in a book while he gazes up at the bright lights of Tivoli across the street. His knee is brightly polished because everybody sits on his lap for a photo. The sculptor was Henry Lucknow-Nielsen.
Across town, the wistful sculpture of Andersen’s Little Mermaid draws rowdy crowds from the nearby cruise port. It may be all some people really see of Copenhagen.
Minus the crowds, the mermaid is lovely. She seems to ignore the busy harbor behind her. I’m sure she dreads the rowdy cruise-boat crowds, but maybe she’s off in her own world. Edvard Eriksen created her in 1913.
Tivoli in springtime did not disappoint. I loved Copenhagen so much that I’m going back in December (cheap off-season airfares helped).
Will it be cold? Afraid so. It was cold enough for mittens and wool hats in early May. But I expect Chrismastime in Scandinavia to be a fairy-tale experience. Plus there may be snow!
Join me next time for more explorations in the art, literature and history of Europe!