“Went to Bakken – or Tivoli Mk2. Good fun, came home and eat, drink, eat, drink”
I briefly mentioned Bakken – full name Dyrehavnsbakken (“Deer Park Hill”) – during my recent Tivoli Gardens dissertation.
Located 8 miles north of Copenhagen, it is the world’s oldest still-operating amusement park.
The origins of Dyrehaven as a ‘tourist trap’ can be traced right back to 1583 when Kirsten Piil discovered a natural spring in the forest. Copenhagen residents were immediately attracted to the spring – believing the water to have curative properties – and the place enjoyed huge crowds, which in turn brought street entertainers to the area.
For a while the spring was deemed off-limits to the public and only for the use of the then Royal family. However, in 1669 King Frederick III decided to set up an animal park on the spot, his son – Christian V – growing it even further following succession.
When Frederick V came to the throne in 1756 he opened the park to the public again, and it began to really flourish, attracting visitors, hawkers, musicians and entertainers from all over Europe. These included Pjerrot the clown, a character and image that remains an icon of the park to the current day.
What was once a mere spring is now a vibrant theme park that can vie with the best in the world. Traditional and modern roller coasters rub shoulders with carnival-style games, circus performances, slot machines, restaurants and bars.
Unlike most theme parks however, the entrance fee is zero, all the rides and attractions individually priced.
My 1973 diary entry gives little away about what I indulged in at Bakken, but if they had dodgems I’ll bet I tried them out!