The square outside Copenhagen's Rådhus (City Hall) unites the busy thoroughfare of Vestrobrogade and the bustling Strøget pedestrian street. While the current hoardings (metro station under construction) mar its beauty somewhat, it remains home to a number of city icons. Among these is the Italian-inspired Rådhus itself, built in 1905, and a charming statue of Hans Christian Andersen. Seated and sporting a top hat, the writer gazes wistfully at the historic Tivoli Gardens amusement park located across the very street named in his honour.

A few steps away from Denmark's most famous storyteller is the so-called Dragon Fountain, depicting a large dragon doing battle with a bull. The fountain was designed by Joakim Skovgaard in collaboration with Thorvald Bindesbøll. Interestingly, Bindesbøll is best known for designing the world-famous Carlsberg label. Next to the fountain stands a stone pillar, marking where Vesterport – the West gate – once stood when the city centre was surrounded by fortified walls. Identical pillars can be found at Nørreport (the North gate) and Østerport (the East gate). Towering above the square are the Lur Blowers, a pair of Viking statues sharing a tall pillar originally meant for one. The instrument they are playing is the lur, a Norse Bronze Age relic once used for religious ceremonies and rituals.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Copenhagen attractions

1. Rådhus

0.04 MILES

Completed in 1905, Copenhagen's national Romantic-style city hall is the work of architect Martin Nyrop. Inside is the curious Jens Olsen's World Clock,…

2. Jens Olsen's World Clock

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The most famous resident at Copenhagen's Rådhus (City Hall) is the curious Jens Olsen's World Clock, designed by astromechanic Jens Olsen (1872–1945) and…

3. Rådhus Tower

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You can climb the 105m city hall tower for a commanding view of Tivoli Gardens and the city centre.

4. Rådhus Courtyard

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Influenced by the architecture of northern Italy, City Hall's courtyard features a central fountain.

5. Tivoli Gardens

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Dating from 1843, tasteful Tivoli wins fans with its dreamy whirl of amusement rides, twinkling pavilions, carnival games and open-air stage shows…

6. Domhuset

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Built in 1815, Copenhagen’s neoclassical courthouse was designed by CF Hansen, also responsible for Vor Frue Kirke. It's linked by its own ‘bridge of…

7. Caritas Well


Named for the Goddess of Charity, this lovely fountain was built in 1608 by King Christian IV, when Gammeltorv was the city's main square, and is the…

8. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

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Fin de siècle architecture meets with an eclectic mix of art at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. The collection is divided into two parts: Northern Europe's…