Copenhagen Denmark

Horses, History, and Tea in the Royal Kitchen: Copenhagen’s Culture Night

October 13, 2014

Friday night saw the streets of Copenhagen come alive on its annual night of culture. Kulturnatten offers not only cultural experiences like concerts and museums, it also gives the public the opportunity to go behind closed doors and discover parts of the city you don’t normally get to see, from church crypts to the UN and the old Stock Exchange. As new residents who love nothing more than exploring this incredible city, we were looking forward to experiencing what this unique night had to offer.

We picked up our tickets and program the day of, and set to work deciding which of the 600 events offered we could get to in the six hours. For 90DKK each (less than $20), we received a badge that would grant us admission to all events, and even public transportation. Some of the most intriguing options like exploring the hidden areas and treasures of City Hall were long booked up, but there was plenty left to discover. It didn’t help that the program was completely in Danish, but we managed to wade through it and decide on a itinerary that optimistically had us visiting six locations over the course of the evening.
The Royal Kitchen at Christiansborg Palace

Our first stop was the one I was most excited about: Christiansborg Palace. On arriving after a packed bus ride, we headed for the Royal Stables, home of the Queen’s white horses and a display of Royal carriages over the centuries. A scheduled horse show was sadly cancelled, so we moved on to the Festkøkken – the Royal Kitchen, known as “The Copper Kitchen”. This kitchen is never usually seen by the public, and of course my other half being a chef, we loved seeing the huge copper cookware used to prepare for the feasts served to honoured guests in the Great Hall of the Palace above. The highlight here was sitting for a tea and slice of cake, an apple mousse whose recipe was created by the Queen’s husband himself, and is often served at Royal functions. It’s not every day you get to have tea in the Queen’s kitchen! Our last stop at Christiansborg was the Ruins that lie under the palace. Four castles and palaces have stood where Christiansborg is today, and some of the remains are left to be explored, along with an exhibit on castle history.

Tea time!
Then, it was on to the Carlsberg Brewery, whose grounds were hosting a variety of activities from fencing to an art exhibit to a ropes course in the trees. We first went to Boxland, a maze of shipping containers hosting bars, bazaar stalls, and bonfires, then on to Visit Carlsberg. On this night, you could tour the brewery museum for free, learn about the history and processes, and browse the bottle collection. Best of all, you could visit the stables and the draft horses who pull the carts and wagons. These huge, gorgeous creatures were calmly munching their evening snack, not minding a bit if you rubbed their soft noses.
Carlsberg Brewery Museum

It was then we realized that our goal of a new location every hour was incredibly unrealistic, and decided to head back to the city centre and see what the City Hall and Strøget pedestrian area had to offer. The centre was bursting with people and full of things to see. We walked around a Copenhagen photo exhibit, took a look around the courthouse, and debated joining the epic line to tour the jail, but decided not to wait. Instead we continued along the the Rundetaarn – the Round Church – and started the climb up the spiral ramp to the top. After a bit of a wait, we were finally on the observation deck, and for the first time ever, we looked down on the city from above. We saw church towers, the busy streets, and the sparkling lights of Tivoli. It was a beautiful end to an amazing night.

‘Copenhagen Green’ Photo Exhibition
We may not have had time to visit the Church of Our Saviour, with its corkscrew spire, enjoy a concert of traditional music at Amalienborg Palace, or watch the light show in the Botanical Gardens – but there’s always next year.

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