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Case Studies 




Contributed by 
Kate Spaulding
Project for Public Spaces
August 16, 2005
December 14, 2017

An intimate and beautiful canal makes visitors feel like they are a part of Scandinavian culture.

What makes it Great?

Why it doesn't work?

Surrounded on both sides by different brightly colored buildings, this canal is small and intimate. There is a strip on either side of the canal with restaurants, bars, and places to sit and relax. The tiniest ray of sunshine on the canal will draw people out to the cafes in an instant. It is very quaint and beautiful and makes you feel like you're a part of Scandinavian culture.

Access & Linkages

The area is easily accessed by walking from the city. Everywhere in Copenhagen is within walking distance.

Comfort & Image

Since it is a canal, there are no cars getting in the way of the experience. There is usually a good amount of people there so it feels extremely safe, plus everything is out in the open. The bright colored buildings and boats give it a very inviting, fresh, and vibrant feel.

Uses & Activities

In summer especially, this place is constantly jammed with tourists. You can eat in the many restaurants lining the canal, have drinks, ride in some of the boats, or simply sit and relax and take in this splendid site that epitomizes Copenhagen.


The mood is extremely relaxed. Everyone is just sitting around, socializing, and taking in the sites.

How Light?

How Quick?

How Cheap?

History & Background

The canal was dug from 1671-1673 to allow ships access to Kongens Nytorv. Hans Christian Anderson lived here during the early half of the 19th century. Even until 1950, Nyhavn had a bad reputation of being a kind of red light district with seedy bars, tattoo parlours, and strip clubs. Only one strip club now remains and you could not pick it out between all the gorgeous buildings and cute cafes and restaurants.

Related Links & Sources


*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.


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