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Top 10 activities in Copenhagen for the spirit this September – all for DKK 100 or less
Whether you’re just about to start your first semester here in Copenhagen or you’re returning from the summer vacation, this will help you dip into Copenhagen’s cultural life without dipping into your bank account.
Why not take a break from a hectic start to the semester, make the most of the remaining sun and get to know Copenhagen a little better?
What better way to kick off a guide to culture than with an annual, city-wide festival running from the 4th-20th September. This year’s Golden Days Festival, titled ”Important Shit”, explores our notions of cultural heritage in the broadest sense. Expect lively debate, as everything from computer games to influential Danish philosopher Grundtvig, is considered.
Hello Heritage 18th-20th September, a mini three-day festival for visitors and expats, is part of the Golden Days Festival. With guided tours of Karen Blixen’s home, tours of Copenhagen’s subterranean water reservoirs and a series of events celebrating the sexual revolution in Denmark, there’s plenty to get stuck into and try. Most of the events are free and many offer student discounts.
Copenhagen Blues Festival 23rd-27th September, while not as popular as its jazzy older brother, aims to celebrate and promote blues music and its related genres, in Copenhagen. The festival attracts international, Scandinavian and Danish artists. The Copenhagen Blues Festival (15 years) is still relatively young compared to the Copenhagen Jazz Festival (37 years), nevertheless the festival keeps on growing and getting better and better.
This year the festival will take place in bars and clubs across Copenhagen, with many having free entrance. We recommend Mojo and Kind of Blue. Even if slide guitar or harmonica solos aren’t your thing, it’s worth going along just for the atmosphere and free live music. You might even be inspired to pen a blues song of your own?
Christiania has a special place in Copenhagen’s cultural history. Originally an abandoned military area, this part of the city evolved into a vibrant and lively environment. As an officially recognized commune, Christiania has its own official flag and even an anthem, which reflects its chequered past.
We recommend taking a stroll around the neighborhood, exploring the many open art studios and visiting the Christiania Bike Workshop. The Christiania Bike’s iconic design is synonymous with Copenhagen, so why not take a peek into the workshop and see where they are made?
Copenopen arranges open poetry slam events at student friendly prices. On 28th August they will host the annual International Poetry Slam Championships in Copenhagen. Poetry slam embodies the spirit of competitive performance poetry. Performers use all the tricks of storytelling, songwriting, theatre, stand-up and poetry to score as highly as possible. Poetry slams are not passive performances and the audience is encouraged to take part as much as possible.
While this event doesn’t quite take place in September, we felt that it was too good to leave out. With the European, Swedish and Danish champions all set to attend, this promises to be a great contest. Whether you are a fan of Kate Tempest, an aspiring poet or just curious, this is definitely worth attending.
Sidse Babett Knudsen has done a lot to make Danish politics sexy. For fans of the TV series Borgen or those curious about politics, the Danish Parliament offers free guided tours of the building. Denmark is a constitutional monarchy with eight political parties currently represented in parliament.
Christiansborg is a dynamic environment, with politicians and journalists closely working side by side. Gain an insight into how Folketinget (the parliament) functions on an everyday and see democracy in action. Now that the excitement over the recent elections has died down and the new MPs have settled in, its the perfect time to visit. Tours run on the 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th September, and last around 45 minutes. Maybe you’ll run into Birgitte Nyborg?
Copenhagen, the beating heart of Scandinavian cuisine, has a reputation for being cutting edge and hip. From Papirøen to Noma all tastes (and budgets!) are catered for. Copenhagen Food Festival 21th-30th September, celebrates regional and international food, while highlighting that Copenhagen is one of world’s best culinary capitals.
The festival is perfect for those missing their home cuisine or wanting to sample some traditional ‘dansk mad’ (Danish food). Events range from coffee tasting, a cake competition and a community kitchen challenge. There’s also a Sunday hangover party if you’re in need of a little relaxation after a night out on the town.
As a student in Copenhagen, sooner or later you’ll run into the Royal Library or Den Sorte Diamant (The Black Diamond), the largest library in Scandinavia. Situated on the Copenhagen waterside, this impressive building functions as a library, study space and also hosts international authors, music events and art exhibitions.
This September, the Egyptian-American journalist and author Mona Eltathawy, the Swedish author Fredrik Sjöberg and the Icelandic author Sjón are on the programme. In the past the International Authors’ Stage has attracted the likes of Karl Ove Knausgård, Siri Hustvedt, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Caitlin Moran and even the ex-python and explorer Michael Palin. Recommended for those looking for a literary fix.
Fancy having dinner with a Dane? Need a break from ‘havregrød’ (oatmeal in Danish)? Dinner with a Dane gives you that opportunity. The concept, run on a voluntary basis, is where a Danish family will host you for dinner, free of charge. Read our report on this great social initiative here.
Why not take the plunge and sign up this month? Dinner with a Dane is a great way to dive into Danish culture and customs, while enjoying a proper home cooked meal. Nothing can really compare to a home cooked meal, especially as a student. It is also good for international students looking to make some contacts and get to know Denmark. Remember to say ‘tak for mad’ (thanks for food in Danish) after you finished eating!
September is the last month in Copenhagen where you can catch some of that elusive Scandinavian sun. Why not make the most of the autumn sun and enjoy a day outdoors with friends, on a ”parkcrawl”. Buy a six-pack or a bottle of wine (for under 100 DKK!) and start your day off in Kongens Have, mosey on over to Assistens Kirkegård or Superkilen and then finish up in Frederiksberg Have.
This is one of the best ways to explore the city and get to grips with Copenhagen culture. For all the deep philosophical conversations you want to be having but haven’t yet found the setting for, we recommend Assistens Kirkegård, just near the grave of famous Danish existentialist Søren Aabye Kierkegaard.
It is inevitable that a cultural guide to Copenhagen will mention at least one of the big museums: the Statens Museum for Kunst, the Glyptoteket or the Nationalmuseet. We’ve given in. To conclude the September edition of Budget Culture we end with a classic: the Statens Museum for Kunst (SMK).
The current exhibit at the SMK, titled The Naked Magician, calls itself a ”workshop-like immersive installation”. The exhibit is housed in the SMK’s x-rummet, a space for experimental and contemporary art. However, if you don’t feel like immersing yourself in an installation, the SMK also has an impressive collection of more traditional international and Danish art.
So there you go! Have anything else you would like to recommend for newcomers to Copenhagen on a shoestring budget? Write it in the comment field below.
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