Considered one of the best universities in Europe and the oldest research institution in Denmark, the University of Copenhagen has four campuses in and around the capital city, which stretches across two islands with a maze of interconnected canals. The university’s headquarters in central Copenhagen reflect the aura of its original stately campus, founded in 1479. Cobblestone streets and ancient palaces mix seamlessly with contemporary urban culture in edgy Copenhagen, spilling over into its university district.
Originally part of the Copenhagen University Library, the 17th century Rundetaarn tower and observational observatory features an equestrian staircase and helical corridor leading to sweeping views of the city and is a surreal place to take in an evening concert. The Latin Quarter near campus beckons students and visitors with its artsy cafes, vintage boutiques and second-hand bookstores, while lively shops string like colourful kites throughout the iconic Nyhavn neighbourhood on the canal. Short canal tours offer a chance to view Copenhagen’s ancient ships, the famous Little Mermaid statue and Amalienborg Castle, home to the Danish royal family.
Copenhagen has one of the most user-friendly public transportation systems in Scandinavia, especially in and around the inner city and university regions. Buses, trains and metro subways are quick, easy and comfortable, but increasing numbers of students, businessmen and tourists choose to use the vast network of cycling paths to pedal their way around the city. Companies such as the Donkey Republic, with 20 locations in Copenhagen, let users book bikes on their mobile devices, locate them via Bluetooth, and electronically open the smart locks upon arrival at the bike’s location.
The cosmopolitan culture of the University of Copenhagen is a far cry from its deep roots in theology and religion. Once a centre of Roman Catholic theological study, the university was re-born in 1537 as an Evangelical Lutheran seminary after the Lutheran Reformation. It is now, in the 21st century, a bastion of academic diversity and innovative scientific research.