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A Guide to Hans Christian Andersen's Copenhagen


The world-famous author Hans Christian Andersen left his mark on every corner of Copenhagen. From the colorful houses of Nyhavn, where his beloved stories were born, to Tivoli's funny rides, his spirit lives on! Join us on a journey through the city, step into the pages of his fairy tales, and discover Copenhagen through the eyes of this literary legend.

Who Was Hans Christian Andersen?

Hans Christian Andersen, born on April 2nd,1805 in Odense, came from humble beginnings. He attended school for poor children, receiving only a basic education. From a young age, despite disliking school, he was drawn to literature—a passion ignited by his father. Dreaming of becoming an actor, singer, and poet, he moved to Copenhagen by himself at just 14 to chase his dreams.

His career took a decisive turn when, while performing as a singer at The Royal Danish Theatre, a colleague, Jonas Collin, recognized his potential as a poet and supported his further education. This paved the way for him to develop his skills and ultimately become the beloved storyteller we know today.

In the Footsteps of Hans Christian Andersen’s Copenhagen

The Danish capital was not only his home for most of his life, but also his source of inspiration, education, and recognition. Here are some of the places where you can follow his footsteps and learn more about his connection to Copenhagen.

1. The Colorful Houses of Nyhavn

In the picturesque Nyhavn, particularly at addresses 20 and 67, Hans Christian Andersen wrote some of his most famous fairy tales, including 'The Little Mermaid', 'The Tinderbox’, and ‘The Princess and the Pea’. A plaque on the building of Nyhavn 20 commemorates his time there.

Join Stromma’s Classic Canal Tour from Nyhavn and imagine H.C. Andersen gazing at the same colorful houses, inspiration sparking as he watched the world go by.
Fun fact: All Stromma’s canal boats are named after the famous characters of his fairy tales.


2. The Iconic Little Mermaid

The iconic statue of 'The Little Mermaid,' crafted by sculptor Edvard Eriksen in 1913, was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale. Today, it stands as one of Copenhagen’s most visited landmarks.

Find The Little Mermaid at Langelinie, where she gazes longingly out over the water. Hop off Stromma’s Classic Copenhagen route at stop 5 – The Little Mermaid or admire her from the water onboard a Classic Canal Tour.

3. The Hans Christian Andersen Room at Magasin

Magasin is one of the oldest and largest department stores in Copenhagen, and it has a special room dedicated to the author as part of their small museum on the fourth floor. The room is decorated with illustrations, quotes, and memorabilia from his fairy tales, and it also has a cozy reading nook where you can browse through his books and enjoy the magic of his words.

Magasin is located at Vingårdstræde 6, 1070 København K and the museum is on the 4th floor.

4. Bakkehuset – The Fairy Tale Academy

This historic building in Frederiksberg was a meeting place for many of the Danish intellectuals and artists of the 19th century, and H.C. Andersen is known to have come here both to find inspiration and to seek friendship with likeminded people.

Today, Bakkehuset has dedicated a section to the writer called ‘The Fairy Tale Academy’. Here, you can write your own fairy tales and you can even write them with a feather pen just as he did.

Find Bakkehuset at Rahbeks Alle 23, 1801 Frederiksberg. Or take Stromma’s Urban Green Copenhagen route to stop 28 - Bakkehuset.

5. Visit the Statues at The King's Garden & City Hall Square

In the King's Garden a statue made in 1880 by August V. Saabye shows him holding a book as if he's reading a story—perhaps one of his own? On the plinth of the statue, you can see various brass reliefs depicting some of his fairy tales, such as ‘The Stork’ and ‘The Ugly Duckling’.

By Copenhagen City Hall , a statue crafted by the skilled hands of sculptor Henry Luckow-Nielsen in 1965 captures him in a thoughtful pose, book in hand, with beautiful reliefs that depict scenes from some of his beloved tales. This statue commemorated his 150th birthday.

Join Stromma’s Classic Copenhagen route to stop 9 - Rosenborg Castle to get to The King's Garden and hop off at stop 12 - Tivoli to see the statue at City Hall.

HC Andersen statue_City Hall.jpg

6. Assistens Cemetery - The Final Resting Place

In August of 1875, the famous writer died from liver cancer and was buried at Assistens Cemetery in Copenhagen, along with many other famous Danes, such as Soren Kierkegaard, Niels Bohr, and Karen Blixen. The cemetery is a peaceful and beautiful green space, where you can pay your respects to Andersen and admire his simple yet elegant tombstone.

Find Assistens Cemetery at Kapelvej 2, 2200 Copenhagen N

HC Andersen_final resting place.jpg

To Travel is To Live

H.C. Andersen’s famous quote ‘To travel is to live’ was a rule he lived by. The literary giant spent many years travelling around the world to observe people and culture, fueling his imagination for his literary work.

Tivoli Gardens has a ride called 'The Flying Trunk', a tribute to Hans Christian Andersen's adventurous spirit and imaginative fairy tales. To travel is to live, and seated in a trunk, you'll be taken on a magical journey through 32 of his beloved stories. Can you recognize the scenes from The Tinderbox, The Ugly Duckling, The Snow Queen, and The Steadfast Tin Soldier?

At Ripley’s Believe It or Not you can dive even deeper into the world of Hans Christian Andersen as some of his most popular fairy tales come to life with light, scent, and sound. Step into the storybooks and journey through his life, travels, and stories.

Board the suitcase in Tivoli at Vesterbrogade 3, 1630 Copenhagen V
Be part of the fairy tales at Ripley’s Believe It or Not at Rådhuspladsen 57,1550 Copenhagen

Jump off at stop 12 – Tivoli aboard Stromma’s Classic Copenhagen route and you’ll be close to both H.C. Andersen experiences.

The Snow Queen.jpg

Fun facts about H.C. Andersen

  • April 2nd, H.C. Andersen’s birthday, is the International Children’s Book Day
  • According to UNESCO he is the eighth most translated writer in the world as his fairy tales are translated into more than 125 different languages!
  • He wrote 156 stories divided across nine volumes
  • Many of his stories have been adapted into films, plays, musicals, and ballets
  • He also wrote novels, travelogues, poems, and autobiographies, and was a prolific letter writer, but they all came to live in the shadow of his captivating fairy tales
  • Disney’s highly popular ‘Frozen’ was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale ‘The Snow Queen’ from 1844

As you can see, signs of Hans Christian Andersen can be found everywhere across Copenhagen and it’s easy to understand why he’s considered a national treasure in Denmark.

Map of places to visit

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