My impression of Denmark and information I learned from my guide:
1) Denmark has been called a bridge because it links northern Europe with the Scandinavian Peninsula.
2) It is the smallest of the Scandinavian countries.
3) The major islands are Zealand, Funen and Bornholm.
4) A Palace is called a slot
5) Denmark is the home of Hans Christian Anderson a famous story teller- you can see his book characters immortalized in wax in the Luis Tussauds Wax museum.
6) My mom and I flew from Atlanta to Paris and then onto Copenhagen. We were pretty tired when we got off the plane but we were here to see Rick Steves and his group and I was prepared to conquer Scandinavia. When we got on the train, the train directions given by our tour guidebook were a little confusing because were looking for signs in English but the train signs were in Danish. After asking a few good looking girls I found our way to where we needed to get off at, Radhuspladsen, which is the main train station, or meaning –town center. Once we did that we were fine. We arrived by train at our destination and although it was raining we decided we were not going to let that get in our way (well I did anyway, mom was kind of cranky- she wanted a hot bath and a hot cup of coffee and sleep).
7) We crossed the street from the train station to our hotel, the hotel Nebo and checked in. We had to look a few times to make sure that this was our hotel “The Mission Hotel Nebo” http://www.hotel-denmark.demon.co.uk/nebo.html because it was as my mom would say a pretty rough looking hotel. Later we found out that no one was happy with it, but Rick said it was a last minute substitution so we decided to live with it for a few nights. It was kind of interesting because on our other tours with Trafalgar and Globus we always had our own bathrooms and large rooms and this one was pretty small and not real comfortable -no hair dryers, men to carry the bags and no room service so we had to “rough it”. In the tour books it listed this section of town as “seedy” so mom was a little afraid of what was going to go on here but we felt pretty comfortable once we settled in-but I missed the hair dryers and mini bar and my mom missed the tea pot in the room, no cable TV and I missed having no room service at night when I was starved. One of the first people we met standing in the lobby was Rick. I said to him “Rick do you remember me?” and he did not even though we had met in Atlanta a few months earlier, but I told him “By the end of the trip you won’t ever forget me!” (He should have known that was the beginning of the end).
8) The first thing you want to do when you get to Copenhagen is to take a sightseeing bus, it is very cheap and you get a two-day pass. You catch it at the town center by the city hall and it will take you past all the sites while giving you some information about each site. (And this worked well for my mom and I because it was raining and she was still pretty tired and crabby). We especially liked the little mermaid, the Hans Christian Anderson statute and loved the spire on the Stock Exchange (with the dragon pedestal). We glided past the Ameliaborg Palace http://www.woco.dk/Features/royal_att.htm but did not get a chance to get off and look around or see the changing of the guard . Since our Rick Steves tour package did not include an orientation bus ride around the town we were glad we took this tour or we would have missed a lot of photo stops and missed seeing a lot of the “tourist “ things up close and personal. (Rick doesn’t like the tourist stuff but I like it). After we finished our sightseeing we went back to the hotel and met our travel partners. Everyone knew me already that was not a good sign. We had a small meeting and ate some hor d’oevres and then I charged out to get some real food from the Hard Rock Café right next door to Tivoli.
9) Mom wanted to see the museums and palaces I wanted to do the fun stuff. So since the group was going to a few museums and palaces anyway, I talked her into doing the fun stuff. In Copenhagen you must see Ripley’s Believe it or Not which is in the town center across from the Towne Hall (and you can use your Copenhagen card for it). This museum is filled with great stuff like a trout with fur and an albino deer. It also had a great horror section and I really enjoyed it. I’ve been to a few RBON in the US, the next best is in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, but this was more realistic than the others. Rock bought us each a Copenhagen Card and turned us lose in the city- there are lots and lots of great things to see with the card- I think I counted that you can use it for up to 60 places in all and gives you access to free public transportation.
10) The first day our group was altogether we had a great breakfast, and mom was not so cranky. (The beds in the Nebo were awful-the sheets smelled old and the mattresses sank- so I was happy mom was not so cranky, the showers barely gave hot water so I was glad mom was no so cranky and there was no TV to watch so I was glad mom was not so cranky). Our guide Jane took us on a great walking tour of the old city and we learned about the city within the city walls and I was scoping out the best toy stores to go back to. From Jane I learned that: Copenhagen was founded in 1167 and has been the capital of Denmark since 1417; Copenhagen is the seat of the nation's government, and home to the Danish royal family. The reigning monarch, Queen Margrethe II can trace her ancestry back to the Viking Age, making Denmark the world's oldest kingdom. We did a lot of walking around the area and seemed like every where we went we always came back to the center of town with the fountain in it, so I was pretty sure if I ditched my mom to go in search of a chess set I would not get lost. But rather than hear her ranting and raving and having the Danish police out looking for me I stayed with the group and we went to the RizRaz http://www.aok.dk/E/V/CPHDK/0000/16/95/3.html for lunch and then onto a canal ride. The RizRaz is a vegetarian restaurant that Rick lists in his book and I did not see too much that I liked so I picked at some of the stuff and waited to hit the hot dog stand a little later (the hot dogs are great). From here Dave and Rick had already bought our tickets for the canal and on our way to the canal we saw a statue that someone had sculptured and then sunk in the canal, why I don’t know but it looked great and you could see it very clearly. The canal ride was very interesting and it reminded me a lot of Amsterdam except I got to sit with Anne and Rick Steves and had a great time showing him how I had done a science experiment and baked a CD in my microwave. He showed me how to draw pictures on it as we were gliding past the bright houses on this dreary day and we made our own picture book with a marker and crackled CD. It rained most of the time we were on the canal ride so it didn’t look like the tour books but I had a pretty good time anyway. I bet on a nice day the ride would have been great.
11) In the afternoon we hit the National Museum and although I am museumed out from visiting so many on other Europe trips I really liked this one and was glad the group dragged me along. The National Museum is Denmark's primary cultural history museum and is housed in a beautiful eighteenth-century palace in the center of Copenhagen. I was surprised to find out that the permanent collections portray more than 10.000 years of history, providing insights into the world of the past and foreign cultures worldwide. Some of the areas we were able to visit with our trusty guide Jane leading the way were Danish Prehistory (13000 BC-1050 AD), Middle Ages and Renaissance Denmark (1050-1660), The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals and The Collection of Egyptian and Classical Antiquities. Personally the part I liked the best was looking at the skeletons, or mummies that were a few hundred years old that still had hair on their heads, that was a blast. I also saw a few mummies or skeletons that were Scottish girls and they had their clothing still on, creepy. There was a great musical instrument room and a rock with red clay writing on it that was about 1300 years old. While the rest of the group went onto the Ny Carlesburg Glyptotek http://www.glyptoteket.dk/index-uk.html I made my mom ditch the group and we went in search of toy stores down the Stroget and we found some good toy stores and to me it was well worth it. I am not a shopper but I really liked this Stroget, you could walk forever and you still always seemed to come back to the same place. (The same fountain I was going to ditch my mom at earlier). A lot of people from the group went to the Carlesburg and no one came back saying it was great- one lady (I think it was Clare) liked the garden and no one else said anything more about it so I was pretty glad I didn’t waste my time there. On the way back to the hotel I made my mom get me a hot dog from the street vendors, who are disabled workers and boy it was great- I think it is called a polska.
12) The next day Rick and Sonja explained the train system to us and we headed up to Hillerod to see Frederiksborg Castle. Frederiksborg Castle lies in the middle of Hillerod and it is built on three islands in the castle lake. The oldest part of the building dates back to 1560 and was built by Frederik II (that’s where the castle name comes from) but most of the castle was built during the 1600-1620’s by Fred’s son Christian IV in what the guide told us was Dutch Renaissance style. The kings of Denmark used the castle for over 200 years and in 1859 there was a huge fire but the castle was rebuilt. There is a museum in the castle that houses pictures and I really liked the chapel, which was used for the knights of the Order of the Elephant (can you believe that?). It was here that Rick made us learn each others names and he was the only one who could not remember everyone’s which I thought was pretty funny. I also learned that the fountain in the center of the courtyard was a duplicate of one that was lost to the Swedes in the war. It was cold, really cold and rainy and I was glad I wore my heavy coat. My mom and I are use to being taken from door to door on tours and since we had to do a lot of walking and busing and training I was glad to be wearing my warm clothes, but I could have used some gloves, walking in the wind is no fun.
13) Some of our group left to go onto the Elsignor castle of Hamlet fame but I talked my mom into going back into town to look around some more. (My mom was mad that we did not get to Elsingor since everyone who went said it was great – huh oh) We took the train back in with Sonja and Dave our guides, who were checking out the Rosenborg castle http://www.ses.dk/ses_web/html/uk_slotte/default.htm (which my mother wanted to do also) but I dragged her in town to do some fun stuff. Dave told me how he stalked Rick for months until he gave him a job at ETBD and Sonya told us that she worked very very hard but loved her job. We got back into town and I have to tell you another must see is Luis Tussauds Wax Museum http://www.tussaud.dk/ . In here you can get to see Charlie Chaplin, Batman Characters and historical figures such as the Royal Danish family. I liked this better than the one in London, it was less crowded, had more stuff to see and it was free with the Copenhagen card. My mom liked the Hans Christian Anderson wax display I liked the rocker stuff and the ride. A definite must see!! And when you are coming out take a look to your left to see the “Golden Girls” who tell you if it is going to rain or shine- for us we just saw the one with the umbrella not the bike, it rained every day almost all day except for a little sunshine for which we sere grateful. A lot of our group went to see the Rosenborg castle and thought it was great and my mom was really mad that we missed out on it, she said next time we go back that is one of the first things we are going to see! See she kept getting mad not seeing all these castles and palaces, and now that’s all I hear about is how much she missed because I wanted to go shopping on the Stroget. Wally said the tapestry wasn’t so great but liked the ruins.
14) Now to the best part. If you love amusement parks you want to go to Tivoli for fun http://184.108.40.206/eng/start.nsf.. Tivoli is now 156 years old and is 20 acres long with over 110,000 lanterns and great rides. You know I am use to Six Flags and high tech rides that scare the pants off ya but although this was not high tech it still was great fun and cheap. We have Six Flags Over Georgia where I live and nothing can beat those rides but these were different- they were old time rides and shows that people use to look at and enjoy before we had scream machines. The best rides for me to go on were the Golden tower which brings you so high that you can see over the city and then it unexpectedly drops you and you bounce around 2 or three times and the Dragon Roller Coaster. There are also other good rides like the Viking Boren which maneuver’s you through scary rooms and you feel like you have gone to Viking hell at times. We pretty much spent the late afternoon here (I went on the Golden needle at least 4 times- I had lots of tickets to use) and then went to Hard Rock Café next door for diner, the food was not so great but I got a great sweatshirt that I wear to school a lot. My mom and I fought over the sweatshirt, she bought it for herself but I confiscated it and I think my mom (who is a lawyer) taught me possession is 9/10 of the law. Bring an umbrella it rains a lot in Denmark and bring sweatshirts it is pretty cold even in the spring.
15) The next morning we got up and met our bus driver Jean Jans and I knew he was going to be a good friend to me. He spoke a lot of French and great English and just giving you a look ahead we had a blast with him. We got on the bus, which had plenty of seats, I sat with Dave Fox our assistant guide and off we went saying good by to the Hotel Nebo (and believe me good riddance). Wally and Joyce had stayed at another hotel and few days before we got there and it is one that Rick uses and they were not crazy about it but said it was a step up from the Mission Nebo. Shoving off from Copenhagen we headed to Roskilde to see the Viking ship museum. We saw about four ships that had been rebuilt and put back together over about 20 years. They are maintained in thermal controlled climates and we also got to look around outside at some new boats being built. I thought the museum was OK but see one ship see four, I liked walking around outside better and liked seeing the workshop they had for kids. I also liked watching the men building new boats and got some great pictures. Jane placed a map on the ground and explained to us how the Vikings planned the attacks and how they were warded off using their waterways. Very interesting. We then went to the Roskilde Cathedral, which was built in the middle ages. Since the Reformation, all Danish kings- and almost all queens- have been buried in Roskilde Cathedral and many of them in special Royal Sepulchral Chapels. The Cathedral only holds a few medieval royal tombs and of the best to see is that of Queen Margrete the first. The first King to be buried here is Harald Bluetooth in 986 and the last was Frederik IX in 1972. We then ate lunch which was a bowl of soup (I was hungry and wanted real food- another hot dog maybe? ), ran around town for about 20 minutes passing Rick several times as he was charging around trying to update his book within the short time we were there and we were off to Aero.
16) From Roskilde we took the new bridge to Funen but stopped off in Odense to see the home of Hans Christian Anderson, a small stop and we were off again. I did not much care for the museum it was pretty boring, I read a few of Hans Christian Andersons notes and then I was out looking around town and that was far more interesting than the museum. (They had a thumbolina statue in the middle of the town). Here’s my thought- skip the town- it is about as interesting as watching paint dry. We got a little turned around in Odense, it was Jean’s first time there, but the ferry waited for us at Svenborg to take us to Aero, my favorite place in Scandinavia. On the way over to Aero by ferry I learned that we would be staying in Aeroskobing and Rick helped teach me to play backgammon (personally I like chess better- it is more of a challenge but had a lot of fun playing chess with him) and after Rick left, Clare helped me master the game a little more. From my guide I learned that Aeroskobing was a prosperous merchant town in the late 1600s and has been preserved in its entirety. Its narrow, cobbled streets are lined with close-standing 17th and 18th century houses, many of them gently listing half-timbered affairs with handblown glass windows, decorative doorways and street-side hollyhocks. We got there in the evening and our guides helped us to our bed and breakfast. We stayed with Suzanne at the Hotel Vestegard and she had a dog-named Doozie that I became best friends with. I wasn’t sure I would like this pension thing, as I had never stayed any place where I had to share a bathroom with anyone, but Suzanne made me feel like I was a family member that had come over to visit and I wish I never had to leave. We put our bags in the room and then went for a walk with Valerie and Joye along the water and Valerie showed me millions of jelly fish, now that was cool. They were all different colored but clear and just floating there near shore. From there we went to eat dinner with the rest of the group and I sat next to Sonja and Dave. (I think I got Rick in trouble because I started telling jokes and Anne gave Rick that look that my mother was giving me –the joke was a good one about Madonna and the Pope and Arnold Schwarzineger )(The more jokes we told the madder Anne got-OH OH) Everyone had been assigned a buddy and we had to tell about our buddy. Valerie was my buddy and boy did she get an earful. We ate some fish and some stuff that was like a red fruit with lots of cream that I cannot say what it was but became the butt of everyone’s joke. We had a great time getting to know each other and to be honest with you I think everyone in the room had at least a college degree and most had advanced degrees and big jobs and I felt like a shrimp. The group was made of teachers, a principal, bankers, designers, a vet, my mom the lawyer, my buddy the a nurse psychologist and computer guy. I remember that Anne Steves had 12 kids in her family and Rick could not remember how long he had been married (Oh Oh Rick are you in trouble?) I learned that Sonja lives with her boyfriend when she was home in Seattle and had some pets, Dave loved beer and never met a beer he did not like, and Jane had a great job but came on this tour just to be with us and get the tour ready for next year’s new tours .
17) The next day we got a great tour around the island and went to two really beautiful churches. I learned the Scans bury their people with their tombstones facing the east so they are greated by the rising sun and they have large boats in their church suspended from the ceiling , which remind them of their voyage through life and to the next world. The man who was our guide looked like Anthony Hopkins when he came out of the jungle in “Instinct” talk about a wild man!! But he took us to two beautiful churches and opened up a piece on the altar that was eons old and only opened for special occasions. The one church we visited Rick pointed out that Martin Luther was firmly at the helm and that church was a little more formal than the other but they both were a whole lot different from the ones back home. My mom pointed out to me that there was a lot of German influence in the church the way it was decorated, but I just liked those Viking ships hanging from the ceiling, From here we went to visit a pagan burial ground where a rock was said to have magic love potion abilities so I took a chip of the rock. We then got back in the bus and went to a sea coast where we learned about flint and chalk and how important it was too the Danes (I learned a little about hat the day before at the Museum) and I took another piece of Denmark with me and then onto lunch for pickled herring. I had a great lunch and from there we went back to the pension Vestegard. I tried to talk my mother into riding some bikes but after we had rented them she freaked out because the tires were too skinny and the cobblestones too rough and she was sure one of us was going to fall and break our arm. So back went the bikes and we decided to walk around along the sea edge after we did some laundry. But on my way down there I stopped at the Waffle House and got my first of 14 cones for the day (talk about a sugar rush) while my mom did some quick laundry (it took 4 adults with graduate degrees to figure out how to use the machine, finally Suzanne came to our rescue and we had some clean clothing). I ate some ice cream and then tried to walk it off but I kept going back for more until I had tasted all 18 flavors. That night we ate with Valerie and Joy at Mums and I have to recommend the Mumms steak it is GREAT!! We were soon joined by Dave and Sonja and Jean and then who comes in but Rick and Anne. It was a great night with lots of fun. I went back and watched TV with Suzanne and her family and my mom went up stairs and read a book she bought.
18) The next day we left Aero and I cried and begged Suzanne to let me stay, I never wanted to leave this great place, the houses were small and I felt like I was in a fairy land- Rick calls it Hygglie (means cozy, comfie). I grabbed Doozy and said good by and we boarded the ferry and off we went. But trouble was brewing, because we soon found out that Sally had left her money belt there and took forever to catch up with us- what a scare). On the way over we learned that we were going to visit Jane’s family to see what it was like to visit a real Danish place. We took awhile getting there but her family was wonderful. They had a lot of food put out for us and we got to meet her whole family including a beautiful girl named Mya. What I remember was Dave Fox and I talking a lot about how I should not scare Mya and we had a great time together- I got lots of pictures with her and was really happy to visit with them. Wally got a little drunk on Aquavit and was chasing Jane’s nephew around the house and we all sang happy birthday to Jane’s mother before we left. Jane’s family spoke little English we spoke no Danish but we all seemed to understand each other.
19) From here we left Denmark and headed out to Sweden. (I learned a lot of Danish information from Jane and think she is a great tour guide and she should have stayed working for Rick because he really needs her.)
Research I did when I got back because I loved Scandinavia
Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark got its name from the word koben-haven or “merchants harbour”. With a population of nearly 1.5 million, Copenhagen is Scandinavia's largest and liveliest city. I could say that Copenhagen is the perfect city Walking around Copenhagen gives you a good feeling, it is open and inviting yet closed and compact. You feel safe as you walk passed the hot dog stands and safe amongst the crowds.
How not to get lost remember- The central railway station is bordered on the west by the main hotel zone (where we stayed) and on the east by Tivoli amusement park . Opposite the northern corner of Tivoli is Rådhuspladsen, the city's central square . Strøget, the world's longest pedestrian mall runs through the city center between Rådhuspladsen and Kongens Nytorv, the square at the head of Nyhavn canal area.
Climate - Denmark has a mild climate with no extremes of heat or cold. In the light summer months of June to August, the average daytime temperature is 19.5 degrees centigrade and in February - the coldest month - the average is 1.2 degrees centigrade. This makes Copenhagen's weather much more like London's or Amsterdam's than that of the other Scandinavian capitals
Government -Denmark is a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Margrethe II as the head of state. A popularly elected parliament, Folketinget, governs the country and the prime minister, the nation's chief political officer, usually comes from the ranks of the majority party.
Electric Current - 220 volts AC
Religion - The Church of Denmark is Lutheran
Nomadic hunters followed the lichen and moss-eating reindeer into post-glacial Denmark. The reindeer heard 'go north' voices, but Stone Age Danes stayed put, sowing seeds in the ash of slash-and-burn fields, fencing in stock animals and burying their dead vertically.
Skill and artistry flowered in the Bronze Age from 1800 BC, trades routes paddled all the way south and the most beautiful made-by-Danes products were buried in bogs for sacrificial safe-keeping.
Iron clanged in from 500 BC and was domestically available, leading to the development of large agricultural communities. Present-day Denmark can trace its linguistic and cultural roots back to when the region was settled by the Danes, a tribe that is thought to have migrated south from Sweden around 500 AD.
In the late 9th century, warriors led by the Norwegian Viking chieftain Hardegon conquered the Jutland peninsula. The Danish monarchy, which claims to be the world's oldest, dates back to Hardegon's son, Gorm the Old, (Danish mothers had a few problems naming their children), who established his reign early in the 10th century. Gorm's son, Harald Bluetooth, completed the conquest of the Danes, speeding their conversion to Christianity. They kept it together for half a century or so, but as Viking power waned, the borders of the Danish kingdom shrank back to Denmark.
Blackadderish strife, plots, counter plots and assassinations marked the medieval period. By the late 14th century, upstart dynasties intermarried, eventually forming the Kalmar Union under fair Queen Magrethe; Denmark, Norway and Sweden, now all bunked in together, started to exasperate each other. Profligate Danish spending on wars particularly peeved Sweden, and the union dissolved in 1523 when Sweden elected Gustav Vasa as its king. Norway, however, was to remain under Danish rule for another three centuries.
In the 16th century the Reformation swept through the country, leaving burnt churches and civil warfare in its wake. The fighting ended in 1536 with the ousting of the powerful Catholic Church and the establishment of a Danish Lutheran church headed by the monarchy. King Christian IV ruled for the first half of the 17th century, undermining fabulous trade and wealth creation by leading his subjects into the disastrous Thirty Years War with Sweden. Denmark lost land and money and the king an eye. Even more disastrous were the losses to Sweden incurred some decades later by Christian's successor, King Frederick III. Denmark emerged slowly from these wars, focusing on civil development and reform.
During the Napoleonic Wars Britain attacked Copenhagen twice, inflicting heavy damage on the Danish fleet in 1801 and leaving much of Copenhagen ablaze in 1807. The Swedes then took advantage of a weakened Denmark, successfully demanding that Denmark cede Norway to them.
The 19th century might have started off lean, dismal and dominated by a small Frenchman with a big ego, but by the 1830s Denmark had awakened to a cultural revolution in the arts, philosophy and literature. A democratic movement in Denmark led to the adoption of a constitution on 5 June 1849, which in turn led to the formation of a Danish constitutional monarchy. Germany took control of Schleswig in southern Jutland, after its inhabitants, people of both Danish and German heritage, revolted against the new constitution.
Neutral in WW I, Denmark reaffirmed its neutrality at the outbreak of WW II; but on 9 April 1940, with German warplanes flying over Copenhagen, Denmark surrendered to Germany. The Danes were able to cling to a degree of autonomy, but after three years the Germans ended the pretence and took outright control. Although Soviet forces heavily bombarded the island of Bornholm, the rest of Denmark emerged from WW II relatively unscathed. Under the leadership of the Social Democrats a comprehensive social welfare state was established. Denmark is still providing its citizens with extensive cradle-to-grave security.
Although Denmark voted to join the European Community (now the European Union) in 1973, the Danes have been hesitant to support expansion of the European Union (EU).
When Norway broke its political ties with Denmark in the early 19th century, the former Norwegian colonies of Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands stayed under Danish administration. Iceland, under Danish rule since 1380, declared itself an independent state in 1918, although foreign policy was still controlled from Copenhagen. Iceland became completely independent in 1944.
The Kingdom of Denmark still includes Greenland and the Faroe Islands, but both are essentially self-governing. The Faroe Islands has had home rule since 1948, Greenland since 1979. As Denmark retains responsibility for their banking, defence and foreign relations, Greenland and the Faroe Islands each have two parliamentary representatives in the Danish Folketing. Unlike Denmark, however, neither Greenland nor the Faroe Islands is part of the EU.
People involved in history
Harold Bluetooth (d. c.985) was the first Christian king of Denmark, and his son, Sweyn, conquered England. Danish hegemony over N Europe was first established (12th-13th cent.) by WALDEMAR I and WALDEMAR II.
Queen MARGARET I achieved (1397) the KALMAR UNION of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway; the union with Sweden was largely ineffective and ended in 1523, but that with Norway lasted until 1814. The house of Oldenburg, from which the present dynasty is descended, acceded in 1448 with CHRISTIAN I, who also united Schleswig and Holstein with the Danish crown. Participation in the THIRTY YEARS WAR (1618-48) and the wars (1657-60) of FREDERICK III with Sweden caused Denmark to lose prestige.
Under the Treaty of Kiel (1814) Denmark lost Norway to Sweden, and following its defeat (1864) by Prussia and Austria it was deprived of SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN. Of more lasting importance was the internal reform of the 19th cent. that transformed Denmark's poor peasantry into the most prosperous small farmers in Europe
Scandinavian were warriors who raided the coasts of Europe and the British Isles from the 9th to 11th cent. The world's best shipbuilders, they were driven as far as Greenland and North America by overpopulation, internal dissension, quest for trade, and thirst for adventure. Many Vikings settled where they had raided .The Viking Age ended with the introduction of Christianity into Scandinavia; the emergence of the kingdoms of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden; and the rise of European states strong enough to repel invasion.
Kings of Denmark.
Waldemar I (the Great), 1131-82 (r.1157-82), gained his domain in wars with CANUTE and Sweyn III. He increased his prestige by marrying his daughters to the sons of FREDERICK I, PHILIP II of France, and Eric X of Sweden. His son, Canute VI, succeeded him. Waldemar II, 1170-1241 (r.1202-41), was the second son of Waldemar I. He conquered much of Estonia but lost Schwerin, in Germany. His son, Eric IV, succeeded him. Waldemar IV (Valdemar Atterdag), c.1320-1375 (r.1340-75), by 1361 had united Denmark, which foreign rulers had dismembered. He defeated (1362) the HANSEATIC LEAGUE but was forced (1370) to grant it free trade in Denmark. He was succeeded by Olaf, son of his daughter, MARGARET I, and Haakon VI of Norway.
Margaret, Queen of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden
Danish queens. Margaret I, 1353-1412, queen of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, was the daughter of WALDEMAR IV of Denmark. Married (1363) to Haakon VI of Norway (d. 1380), the son of MAGNUS VII, she was regent for her son OLAF V in Denmark (1375-87) and Norway (1380-87). After he died (1387), she defeated and captured (1389) the Swedish king, Albert, and persuaded the Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish diets to accept her grandnephew, Eric of Pomerania, as king. He was crowned (1397), and the KALMAR UNION was established. Margaret remained the actual ruler of all three kingdoms until her death. Margaret II (Margrethe), 1940-, queen of Denmark (r.1972-), is the daughter of King FREDERICK IX and Queen Ingrid (daughter of GUSTAVUS VI of Sweden). She became queen under a new constitution (1953) allowing female succession. She and her husband, Comte Henri de Laborde de Monpezat, have two sons.
A combination of the crowns of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, effected at Kalmar, Sweden, by MARGARET I in 1397. Because all three crowns were elective, the union could not be maintained by inheritance. Margaret's successors controlled Sweden intermittently until GUSTAVUS I of Sweden dissolved the union (1523). Norway became independent in 1814.
DANISH BOROUGH TOWNS
The cultural towns of the Middle
The history of Danish borough towns stretches back to before the Middle Ages. As early as the 9th century, Schleswig and Ribe are mentioned as urban communities that have borough-like status. Around 900, Århus is added to the list, followed by Odense, Roskilde, Viborg and many other towns. In the account of Denmark from 1070 by Master Adam of Bremen, the series of borough towns at the head of the East Jutland fjords are listed. Originally, the borough towns were commercial centers, often protected by a fortification.
The borough towns were closely linked to the power of the king. The king owned the towns and he alone controlled the special borough charter legislation. It was the king who granted the borough towns their privileges - and he was also the one who formulated their obligations. The privileges included the protection of trade and crafts against shopkeepers and farmers from outside the towns; the obligations included the payment of taxes. The citizens formed the nucleus of the population of borough towns, the tradespeople - although the population also included beggars, the poor, the nobility and - not least - the clergy. In the medieval period, the power and influence of the church was of considerable importance for the development of the borough towns - greatest, of course, in the cathedral cities, where the number of churches and abbeys provides a striking impression of this influence.
In Denmark the medieval borough towns are still lively centers of commerce and culture. New towns have, however, since been added, the most recent as late as the 19th century as a result of the industrialization of society. In other words, there are borough towns with winding streets and small thatched cottages as well as those with modern architecture and grid plans. Some lie down by the open sea, others at the head of idyllic fjords - and others yet again on the windswept heath. All of the borough towns are profoundly influenced by the age when they came into being, by their location, the local countryside and the people surrounding them and living in them. The street scene as well as the art and culture on offer vary a great deal - even the cuisine is quite regional. In this way, each borough town is an independent unit, with its own cultural identity, its own art museum, its own music festival and its own attractions and activities.
ROSKILDE-1000 YEAR OLD CULTURAL CITY
Roskilde has rightly been referred to as Denmark's first capital. King Harald Bluetooth was one of the founders of the city; he was the man who made Roskilde the seat of royal power. In the Middle Ages, Roskilde was considered one of northern Europe's largest and most important cities, with a population of 5,000-10,000. The rich Catholic Church had established a strong position in the city. Roskilde became a cathedral city c. 1020, the cathedral being supplemented over the course of time by 14 parish churches and five abbeys. Queen Margrethe I was buried in Roskilde Cathedral in 1413, since when the church has been the preferred burial place of the Danish royal family.
The Reformation of 1536 was a turning-point for Roskilde. The entire Catholic administration disappeared, and all the abbeys and most of the parish churches were dissolved. The city soon declined, with only about 1,500 inhabitants by the mid 18th century. In 1847, Denmark's first railway line was built between Copenhagen and Roskilde. This gave the city new life. It began to flourish as a commercial city and has since developed into Central Zealand's traffic hub as well as a center for education, research, trade and tourism.
People have always lived at the head of Roskilde Fjord. Here there was food to be had, for both the land and the fjord were fertile - and here there was the possibility of defense. As early as the Viking Age, Roskilde was densely populated and the center of royal power - so the city is more than one thousand years old. Archaeological finds provide clear evidence that the city was of great importance in the Viking period, and it is no coincidence that Denmark's largest Viking ship museum is to be found in Roskilde. In 1962, a group of archaeologists discovered the wrecks of five scuttled ships. To begin with, the archaeologists were puzzled. Who had scuttled them - and why? It gradually became clear, however, that the Vikings themselves had done so, in order to block the entrance by sea to the fjord and thus to protect their town against a possible enemy. Today, these defense ships can be seen in Roskilde at the Viking Ship Museum, specially constructed to house them
Without its ships the Viking Age would never have been the great age it was destined to become. The Vikings aroused terror and dread wherever they came, but their ships also commanded people's reluctant admiration. The bard Arnorr wrote in a lay that when the Viking ships subdued the waves, it was almost as if hosts of angels were hovering over the water. A visit to the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde bears this out. The museum has been organized around the find of five shipwrecks from the Viking Age that confirm the legendary skill of the Vikings as shipbuilders.
Ships for war and ships for trade
For most people, the Vikings epitomize warriors and conquerors who set out into the world on voyages of pillage and plunder in their awe-inspiring ships, with bloodthirsty dragons adorning the prow. The warships of the Vikings ruled the waves, outclassing all others in maneuverability and elegance, being slim and flexible - efficient means of transporting large numbers of men.
Among the ship finds at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde are two warships, one a massive warship, 30 meters long and 4.5 meters wide. It was powered by a sail of 130 sqm and perhaps 60 oars. Such a ship must have been a fearful threat when it suddenly appeared without warning from the open sea, spewing out its crew of 100 pitiless warriors intent on attack and plunder who then disappeared with their booty before anyone could manage to establish a common defense.
But the Vikings were not only warriors. They were also skilful craftsmen and traders, with the Viking period representing a time of the exchange of goods and culture between Denmark and the rest of Europe. Their trading ships took their culture and craft traditions out into the world, returning with those of other countries.
In the Viking Ship Hall you can see that the trading ships were heavier and broader than the warships. They had decks fore and aft, but amidships there was the hold, which in the largest ships could carry up to 20 tones of cargo. At the new museum island you can follow the building of replicas of Viking ships. During the summer season, you can try sailing one of these replicas and thereby gain insight into how Vikings were able to sail round half the world.`
The ship was an extension of the Viking's personality, so it can come as no surprise that it assumed a spiritual significance. When a major figure died, his ship was heaved up onto the land and the dead man was buried in it, along with his possessions. In the Ladby Ship, discovered near Kerteminde on Funen and which can be viewed on site, archaeologists did not only discover earthly possessions but also the remains of 11 horses and several dogs. During his life, the ship was his masterpiece - in death his coffin.
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