Copenhagen is both a cozy Scandinavian capital and busy international metropolis. It’s resplendent with urban parks and stunning architecture, and boasts a colorful history. Perhaps
unsurprisingly, Copenhagen was once home to thousands of Jews. Though never large in numbers, Danish Jews exerted a significant and lasting influence on the nation’s culture and history.
The first Jewish community was founded in the town of Fredericia in 1682, and in 1684 an Ashkenazi community was founded in Copenhagen. By 1780, there were approximately 1,600 Jews in Denmark, all of whom were admitted by special permission granted on the basis of personal wealth. They were subject to social and economic discrimination, but they were not required to live in ghettos and had a significant degree of self-governance. The early 19th century saw a flourishing of Danish-Jewish cultural life. The Great Synagogue of Copenhagen is a landmark of this time, designed by the architect G. F. Hetsch.
The community's population peaked prior to the Holocaust. Despite German occupation during the war, the Danish Resistance Movement, assisted by citizens from all walks of life, organized a mass evacuation of roughly 8,000 Jews from Denmark by sea to nearby neutral Sweden; this ensured the safety of almost all the Danish Jews.
Today there are an estimated 8,000, predominantly Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe, in Denmark, most of whom live in Copenhagen and the immediate surroundings. Copenhagen has 2 synagogues, multiple Jewish institutions, and 2 Jewish periodicals.
Jewish Copenhagen tour
3 hour walking tour
Your Milk & Honey guide will greet you at the port to begin the tour. Enjoy a visit to the Old Jewish Quarter – as well as the Danish Jewish Museum, a work by Daniel Libeskind (known for the Jewish Museum in Berlin, among many other architectural treasures around the world.) Although the G.F. Hetsch-designed Great Synagogue is currently closed for renovations, the nearby Trinitatis Church, where the synagogue’s Torah scrolls were hidden during World War II (and managed to survive unscathed), may be of interest.
Be enchanted by anecdotes and sagas of Copenhagen’s history and of Jewish life in hidden side streets and majestic squares. You can learn about Jewish-Danish intellectualism while standing before the statue of physicist and Nobel laureate Niels Bohr. Another point of interest is the Wounded Woman Sculpture, presented to the Danish people by the State of Israel in appreciation of their help in evacuating nearly 8,000 Jews to Sweden during the Holocaust. Conclude your tour at the port.
Historical and Contemporary Perspectives of Copenhagen tour
6 hour walking tour
By adding 3 hours to the above mentioned tour you will have the opportunity to selve deeper into Copenhagen’s splendid history and culture. Come and explore the city’s landmarks like Christiansborg Palace, home to the Danish Parliament, and the iconic Little Mermaid statue, inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s famous tale.
You will see the Gefion Fountain and the Royal Palace, along with the neoclassical Cathedral and the city’s centuries old University. Discover the tiny streets of the historical Latin Quarter, crammed with second-hand bookstores and cozy jazz clubs. Complete your day with a stroll down the Nyhavn Canal’s colorful 17th century waterfront, which is lined with brightly colored townhouses and bustling cafes, before finishing off at the port.
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