Tivoli Gardens are a Copenhagen icon. They are an outcome of the concept of public pleasure gardens which became increasingly popular in European cities during the 18th century. Typically, these combine flower gardens and green areas with walking paths, quiet pavilions, restaurants, and stages for music and other forms of entertainment in a delightful setting and ambiance.
In 1843, Georg Carstensen, a widely traveled and quite enterprising man, obtained royal assent to establish a pleasure garden for the citizens of Copenhagen. The design of Carstensen’s Tivoli & Vauxhall Gardens was based upon one he had seen in Paris. Although Tivoli was built in an area that was, at the time, just outside the city’s 19thcentury boundaries, over the years Copenhagen has grown; now covering nearly 21 acres, the park provides an oasis of fun and pleasure in a busy 21st-century city.
The gardens have been modernized periodically; new amusements have been introduced and old ones updated, and numerous restaurants have been added. Thankfully, though, these additions and upgrades have been accomplished in a manner that respects the traditional style of the original gardens. The concept remains unchanged, and many time-honored favorites – such as fireworks, performing artists, pantomimes and the world famous Tivoli Boys Guard – date from the garden’s early years. Tivoli truly is magic, its ambiance created by both chance and inspiration. There is no single theme to Tivoli. It is exotic, romantic and devised to evoke an atmosphere quite different from day-to-day life. In sum, expect to find the unexpected. It’s a reflection of the Danes’ desire to enjoy themselves in pleasurable surroundings, a place for all generations to be together and have fun. As such, it is Denmark’s most visited attraction, with around four million visitors annually, one-third being non-Danish. This makes it the third most visited amusement park in Europe behind Disneyland Paris and the Blackpool Pleasure Beach in England.
Entertainment at the Tivoli Gardens
Entertainment at Tivoli abounds; a variety of theaters provides an arena for an impressive diversity of events, from hosting an array of international stars to providing one of the few remaining venues for the Commedia dell’Arte tradition of pantomime theater. Visitors can get their thrills on any or all of 25 large rides, over half of which are intended for children. The popular roller coaster, the Turbo Drop, dates from 1914; it plunges downward from a height of 63 m (206.6 ft) at a speed of 40 mph, exposing those brave enough to try it to a body pressure of 1.5G. The long-time-favorite try-your-strength machine provides an opportunity for buff young lads to impress their lady companions. Evenings are often lit by fireworks shows, an institution at Tivoli, and these are produced and manufactured by Tivoli’s own pyrotechnists.
There is no lack of choices for food or drink, with over 38 restaurants (some of gourmet standard) and any number of snack bars, cafés, and beer houses. Alternatively, you can bring a smørrebrød (sandwich) from one of the Vesterbrogade shops to a restaurant by the lake, where you may purchase coffee and freely use their plates, cutlery, and napkins.
Tivoli's Gardens, Walking Paths, Food and Drink
Surrounding all this entertainment are gardens and green spaces. An average of 400,000 plants will be in bloom at any given time and, after dark, trees and pathways are lit by over 110,000 incandescent lamps whose low intensity produces a soft, warm glow. It is impossible to adequately describe Tivoli in words, as the intent of the pleasure garden is to create a feeling. That it most certainly does, and the feelings evoked here reflect wonderfully Danish priorities – namely to eat, drink and be happy in a peaceful and pleasant ambiance.
Over 1,600,000 bottles of beer are consumed each year at Tivoli. In other countries, so much free-flowing alcohol would be sure to cause problems, but they are infrequent here and, when someone does get too rumbunctious, the inspectors (Tivoli’s own uniformed security guards) take care of the matter swiftly and quietly.
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