Tag Archives: Strøget

August 26th 1975

“Went to the Outdoor Museum- not bad. Walked around Copen. when we got back”

Boy, we really were doing some cultural stuff on this trip weren’t we? Probably has a lot to do with showing the city and country off to Nig, who was hopefully having a good time too.

The “outdoor museum” actually refers to the Open Air Museum, one of the largest and oldest open air museums in the world.

Set across 80+ acres of land north of Copenhagen, the museum features over 50 farms, mills and houses from Denmark’s past, all painstakingly moved from their original location.

As a result, visitors can experience how Danes lived, dating from the times of Hans Christian Andersen right up until 1950.

Each building is placed in a small tract of land, that land shaped to show the distinct character of the original surroundings and its place in the open landscape.

The museum also features Brede Works, an intact industrial plant with its adjacent factory community which includes the original worker’s cottages, nursery gardens, orphanage and the  owner’s mansion which dates back to 1795 .

Then, it was back to Copenhagen for, as my diary states, some more ‘walking around’. Up and down the Strøget no doubt?!!

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August 24th 1975

“Walked about. Went to Strøget, Glypotek, National Museum”

went to Strøget” eh? Can’t seem to get enough of the place?!

The Glyptotek – or to give it its full name he Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is an art museum situated next door to the Tivoli Gardens.

It’s an ornate, impressive building that we would always have to walk past each time we went from my Mormor’s apartment to the Town Hall Square and/or Strøget and beyond.

I’ve visited it several times. The art it contains aren’t really my ‘bag’ at all, but the architecture inside is beautiful, alone worth the entrance fee.

The artworks inside are built around the collection of Carl Jacobsen, son of the founder of the Carlsberg Breweries, and the person who also commissioned the Little Mermaid statue talked about in yesterday’s post.

It’s primarily a ‘sculpture collection’, mostly from ancient cultures around the Mediterranean, including Egypt, Rome and Greece. However, there are also large collections of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings as well as artworks from what is referred to as Denmark’s “Golden Age”

The National Museum I am far less familiar with and I admit I had to look it up to find out which building it was.

It is located in the “Princes Palace” (which was home to members of the Danish Royal Family in the 18th Century)  just a short distance away from the Strøget.

It concerns itself with the history of Danish culture, with exhibitions of prehistory, the middle ages, the renaissance and modern age. I’d be lying if I said I remember much about the visit!

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August 22nd 1975

“Walked down the Strøget. Nanny’s party in the evening – Got Wallet stolen”

Boy, Nig & I seem to be spending a LOT of time on this holiday walking up and down the Strøget… I wonder why? *cough*

I remember this party and the saga of the stolen wallet. It’s difficult to forget.

For Mormor this evening was most definitely the highlight of our trip over to see her. Today was her birthday and I think this may have been a ‘big one’ – perhaps her 70th?

To celebrate she booked a room in this fancy building a few blocks down from her apartment. It may even have been a lodge for whatever the Danish equivalent of the Masons are. I do recall the room the actual feast – and this really was a feast – was held in was seriously impressive.

She invited everyone – and I mean everyone – she knew or was related to. There must have been 60 to 80 people all sat round this one huuuuuge table. (Needless to say it wasn’t one big table but loads of smaller ones pushed together). It was all ‘fancy white linens’, silverware, candles, flowers…basically very formal indeed. FAR posher than I – or my folks, or Nig – were really used to. We all had to dress up in suits and ties – which even then I HATED – so as to not undermine the fanciness of the evening.

Now, when I say “evening”, that’s not strictly true. As I have said before, Danish meals do tend to go on for hours and hours. This was no exception. It may just have been the longest time I have ever sat at a dinner table in my entire life. We got dressed up in the afternoon and festivities – light snacks and early drinkies – commenced at around 4pm. We didn’t leave the building until past 11 o’clock that night!

Waiters brought course after course of food, and when they weren’t bringing us food they were asking what we wanted to drink. To this 17-year-old teenager it felt like THE most surreal experience.

After about 5 or 6 courses of food – soups, open sandwiches, prawns and more – Mormor stood up and did a little speech, thanked everyone for coming and said something akin to “here’s the main course” at which point three waiters wheeled in a complete stuffed pig on a silver platter. In case you’re wondering, YES with the clichéd apple in its mouth!

Even my Dad gasped – and he’d been witness to this kind of event before. My Mum said “Bloody hell Mum” in Danish to her mother loud enough that most everyone around us heard it and laughed, whilst Nig & I wondered if the excesses were ever going to stop. This was like some kind of bacchanalian feast to end all bacchanalian feasts,

Still after all the effort that had been put in it seemed churlish not to join in and tuck into this delicious (and it was delicious, oh boy was it?!) latest offering from the kitchens.

I am not joking when I say there were still 2 or 3 courses after the pig.

A memorable evening. At the end of it, Nig thanked everyone for inviting him and he was saying it was the most amazing thing he’d ever been to.

For me it became memorable for the wrong reasons too, although it did teach me a lifetime’s lesson.  I hung my suit jacket out in the foyer, the same place as many other people had hung their jackets. Sadly, I left my wallet in the inside breast pocket. Even sadder was that someone nicked it, stealing quite a bit of my saved holiday cash in the process. (Thankfully I had left some in my bedroom back at Mormor’s apartment). We couldn’t point the finger at anyone in particular but I do remember I got first mad about the theft and then very upset. It’s a shame it took the shine off the night’s proceedings, but it did teach me to never, EVER have my wallet anywhere else apart from a front trouser pocket.

We never did find out how much Mormor shelled out for this soiree. She was asked over and over but never revealed the amount, nor where she got the money from to pay for it all. I couldn’t even begin to fathom the sum involved but I’ll bet it was a little more than just a “pretty penny”

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August 18th 1975

“Slept in. Went to Mormors works and go stared at. Went for walk to square. Saga of girls in shop – grin!”

Awww… all that country air yesterday meant I didn’t emerge from my slumbers until late.

That second sentence made me laugh out loud 35 years after the event. I can’t remember it, but I can imagine what it must have been like. My Mormor (grandmother, remember?) worked in a small blood testing facility a few blocks away from her apartment. She was one of the senior (in age) technicians, responsible for moving samples from one part of the building to the other. As a result she knew everyone that worked there and probably bent their ear regarding her handsome, intelligent & hugely talented grandson (OK, maybe those were the words she used) from England.

I suspect she had pre-empted a visit from Nig and Me, gathering all her colleagues in one area so she could show me off. I have no doubt at all that I stood there deeply embarrassed to the same degree to which she was proud.

“Grin” does seem to be the 70’s version of LOL in my world, doesn’t it?

I’m sorry to have to disappoint again but I have no recall about the ‘saga‘ (which makes it sound at least a little memorable) of the girls in whatever shop I am referring to.

To make up for it though, here’s a picture of the square to which I refer…

Specifically, Copenhagen’s Rådhuspladsen – or City Hall Square. This photo must have been taken from atop the clock tower of the City Hall itself. That zebra crossing you can see on the right of the photo leads to one end of the prior-mentioned Strøget, home – if my diary is to be believed – to an apparent succession of attractive bra-less girls.

The City Hall is also home to Jens Olsen’s World Clock. This astronomical clock consists of 12 movements with over 14,000 parts. The clock is mechanical and must be wound once a week. (I wonder what happens if anyone was to somehow forget the task?) As well as the time it displays eclipses, positions of the planets/stars, and has a perpetual calendar. Olsen designed it and helped build it, but sadly died in 1945, a full 10 years before it was first unveiled to the public.

I’ve watched it tick away it a couple of times and its really impressive craftsmanship and a quick must-see if you’re ever lucky enough to be visiting Copenhagen.

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August 29th 1973

“Felt sick all day. Went down the Stroget. Bort book mark. Nanny gave me tie – smart!”

The Strøget continues to be the longest pedestrian-only shopping street in the whole of Europe

The street runs from Rådhuspladsen (Town Hall Square), all the way to  Kongens Nytorv (King’s New Square), and along the way crosses a succession of other squares and piazzas all packed with fountains, seating and food vendors.

Each side of the street is awash with retailers from large stores like Magasin and Illum all the way to tiny little independent stores such as bookshops and chocolatiers.

Strøget was created by urban planner Jan Gehl in the 1960s just as cars were beginning to take over and threatening to ruin Copenhagen’s old streets. It has since become a model for town centres the world over.

Another example of how the forward-thinking the Danes are.

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