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Coordinates: 55°40′47″N 12°35′26″E / 55.67972°N 12.59056°E / 55.67972; 12.59056
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Colourful facade and old ships along the Nyhavn Canal, 2023
Length450 m (1,480 ft)
LocationIndre By, Copenhagen, Denmark
Postal code1051
Nearest metro stationKongens Nytorv
Coordinates55°40′47″N 12°35′26″E / 55.67972°N 12.59056°E / 55.67972; 12.59056

Nyhavn (Danish pronunciation: [ˈnyˌhɑwˀn]; New Harbour) is a 17th-century waterfront, canal and entertainment district in Copenhagen, Denmark. Stretching from Kongens Nytorv to the Inner Harbour just south of the Royal Playhouse, it is lined by brightly coloured 17th and early 18th century townhouses and bars, cafes and restaurants. The canal harbours many historical wooden ships.


Nyhavn seen on a detail from Rosen's Map of Copenhagen, 1674

Nyhavn was constructed by King Christian V from 1670 to 1675, dug by Danish soldiers and Swedish prisoners of war 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 for 18 years.

The first bridge across Nyhavn opened on 1874. It was a temporary wooden footbridge. It was replaced by the current bridge in 1912.[1]

As ocean-going ships grew larger, Nyhavn was taken over by internal Danish small vessel freight traffic. After World War II land transport took over this role and small vessel traffic disappeared from the Port of Copenhagen, leaving Nyhavn largely deserted of ships.

In the mid-1960s, the Nyhavn Society (Danish: Nyhavnsforeningen) was founded with the aim of revitalising the area. In 1977, Nyhavn was inaugurated as a veteran ship and museum harbour by Copenhagen's Lord Mayor Egon Weidekamp. In 1980 Nyhavn quay was pedestrianised; it had been used as a parking area in the previous years which had coincided with a dwindling of harbour activities.[2] Since then it has become a popular spot for tourists and locals alike, serving the function of a square according to architects Jan Gehl and Lars Gemzøe.[2]


Panorama of north side of Nyhavn

The northern side of Nyhavn is lined by brightly coloured townhouses built with wood, bricks, and plaster. The oldest house, at No. 9, dates from 1681.[3]

Between 1845 and 1864, Hans Christian Andersen lived at No. 67, where a memorial plaque now stands. From 1871 to 1875 Andersen lived at Nyhavn 18,[4] which currently houses an Andersen-themed souvenir shop.

The southern side of Nyhavn has lavish mansions lining the canal, including Charlottenborg Palace at the corner of Kongens Nytorv.

Veteran Ship and Museum Harbour[edit]

Panorama looking across Nyhavn, from south side to north, with the lightship in foreground, and other museum ships

Nyhavn Veteran Ship and Museum Harbour, occupying the inner section of Nyhavn, between the Nyhavn Bridge and Kongens Nytorv, is lined with old ships. From the foundation of the heritage harbour in 1977, the south side of the canal has been reserved for museum ships owned by the Danish National Museum, which received a donation of carefully restored ships from A. P. Møller, while the northern side of the canal was put at the disposal of the Nyhavn Society and privately owned, still usable wooden ships. Harbor ships include:

  • Lightvessel XVII Gedser Revlightvessel built in Odense in 1895, in operation until 1972, then acquired by the National Museum and now serving as a museum ship.
  • Svalan af Nyhavngalleass built in Jungfrusund in 1924
  • Anna Møller – galleass built in Randers in 1906
  • MA-RI – purpose-built smuggling ship built in 1920; boarded by custom authorities off Elsinore with smuggling goods aboard in 1923, then confiscated and sold on auction, then operated both as a fishing vessel and as a ferry between Poland and Bornholm, again as a smuggling vessel.
  • Mira – two-masted schooner built in Fåborg in 1898, considered one of the finest ships of the Danish small vessel traffic of the time. For many years it transported chalk from Stevns. The first ship on the north side of Nyhavn, coming from Kongens Nytorv.
  • The Boat Theatre - a lighter-type barge built in Copenhagen in 1898, since 1972 operated as a theatre boat.

The Memorial Anchor[edit]

The Memorial Anchor at the end of Nyhavn

The great Memorial Anchor (Danish: Mindeankeret) at the end of Nyhavn, where it meets Kongens Nytorv, is a monument commemorating the more than 1,700 Danish officers and sailors in service for the Navy, merchant fleet or Allied Forces, who sacrificed their lives during World War II. The Anchor was inaugurated in 1951, replacing a temporary wooden cross erected on the spot in 1945, and has a plaque with a monogram of King Frederik VII on it. The Memorial Anchor is from 1872 and was used on the Frigate Fyn (Funen), which was docked at Holmen Naval Base during the Second World War. Every year on May 5 – Denmark's Liberation day 1945 – an official ceremony is held to honour and commemorate the fallen at the Memorial Anchor.[5]

Bars and restaurants[edit]

Bars and restaurants lining the northern, sunny side of Nyhavn
Nyhavn in August, awash with tourists

Along its northern, sunnier side, Nyhavn is lined with many bars and restaurants facing the harbor. Nyhavn serves as a hub of canal tours, but it can be chilly.


Kongens Nytorv metro station is located at the end of Nyhavn, though situated at the far end of the namesake square outside Magasin du Nord. The station is served by all four lines of the Copenhagen Metro.

The Copenhagen Harbour Buses has a stop at the mouth of Nyhavn. All four routes of the harbour buses, Routes 901, 902, 903 and 904, stop at the bus stop next to the Royal Playhouse.

In 2016 the Inner Harbor Bridge (Inderhavnsbro) connecting Nyhavn and Christianshavn was opened after years of setbacks and delays. The 180 m cycling and pedestrian drawbridge has been nicknamed the Kissing Bridge because its contour resembles two tongues meeting.[6]

Cultural references[edit]


Nyhavn has also been featured in a number of international films.

  • The closing scenes of Ingmar Bergman's A Lesson in Love takes place in Nyhavn.[10]
  • In the 1957 British-American action film Hidden Fear, Nyhavn is used as a central location.
  • In the 1963 German film The Lightship, Nyhavn is used as a location in spite of the fact that the film is set in Germany.
  • In the 1966 Alfred Hitchcock spy film Torn Curtain, Armstrong (Paul Newman), who is on the way to DDR, is told to contact a used book seller at Kanalgade 1 which later turns out to be Nyhavn when his fiancée (Julie Andrews) visits the address.[10]
  • In the 2015 drama film The Danish Girl, Nyhavn is the location where Einar (Eddie Redmayne) and Gerda (Alicia Vikander) live, and it is also where Lili makes her first forays in public. Nyhavn is in the film presented as a fish market while Copenhagen's historic fish market was in fact located at Gammel Strand.[11]


  • Elisabeth Levy's 1997 novel Et dukkehus i Nyhavn (A Doll House in Nyhavn) describes a young girls life in Nyhavn in 1929.
  • Anne Marie Ejrnæs's 2002 biographical novel Som Svalen (Like the Swallow) about Thomasine Gyllenbourg begins when she is eight years old and lives in her father's home at Nyhavn 67.[12]
  • Karin Michaëlis's 1936 children's book Lotte Ligeglad is about a girl who lives in Nyhavn where her mother owns a shop next to a tavern.[13]

The poet Tom Kristensen spent part of his childhood in Lille Strandstræde. In his 1922 poem Nyhavns-Odyssé, (Nyhavn Odyssey) , he describes the adolescent boy's encounter with the colourful street in which he meets the counterparts of many in many of the characters from Homer's Odyssey.[14]


  • Nu går våren gennem Nyhavn is a song by Sigfred Pedersen with melody by Niels Clemmensen.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nyhavns historie". Nyhavns Skipperlaug (in Danish). Retrieved 2 January 2011.
  2. ^ a b Gehl, Jan; Gemzøe, Lars (1996). Public Spaces, Public Life, Copenhagen. The Danish Noob Architectural Press and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. p. 20. ISBN 877-407-305-2.
  3. ^ "Nyhavn". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 29 November 2023.
  4. ^ "Nyhavn 18". H. C. Andersen Information. Archived from the original on 16 April 2017. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  5. ^ "Nyhavn". Copenhagen Portal. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
  6. ^ "Surprise! Long-delayed Copenhagen Bridge Opens". The Local DK. 8 July 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  7. ^ "Film 7 Olsen banden på sporet / Die Olsenbande stellt die Weichen". olsenbande-homepage.de (in German). Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  8. ^ "Film 9 Olsen Banden deruda / Die Olsenbande schlägt wieder zu". olsenbande-homepage.de (in German). Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  9. ^ "Film 8 Olsen Banden ser rødt / Die Olsenbande sieht rot". olsenbande-homepage.de (in German). Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Filmby Copenhagen". Ekko. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Tour The Danish Girl locations". visitdenmark.dk. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  12. ^ "Som svanen". Gyldendal (in Danish). Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Karin Michaëlislocations". denstoredanske.dk. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  14. ^ "NYHAVNS-ODYSSÉ" (in Danish). Royal Danish Library. Retrieved 16 June 2022.

External links[edit]

KML is from Wikidata

55°40′47″N 12°35′26″E / 55.67972°N 12.59056°E / 55.67972; 12.59056