Since my day of hygge I’ve been enjoying some slow days in Copenhagen. Of course there has been no shortage of good food, with my personal favorite being brunch at Mad & Kaffe:
Free Town Christiania made for an interesting visit. Everything I read was a bit different but it’s generally a self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood housing about 1,000 residents. It’s mostly known for its cannabis trade which may or may not be legal (I honestly couldn’t figure it out from my research). Most accounts say “pusher street” within the Green Light District was shut down after a police involved shooting in 2016, but it sure didn’t appear shut down or hidden to me, as there must have been at least 50 cannabis kiosks (all with customers) within a short block. You aren’t supposed to take pictures but I did sneak a couple (the bottom right sign, which is on your way out, says “You are now entering the EU”):
The Danish Jewish Museum is beautifully designed with nice exhibits on Jewish immigration to Denmark in the early 20th century and Denmark’s treatment of the Jews during WWII. I found these two events interesting when put together as they show very different ways of thinking only 40 years apart.
In 1903 and 1904, 3,000 Jews fled to Denmark from Russia in response to anti-Jewish riots and the Russo-Japanese War. There was already a small but well-established Jewish community in Denmark, many of which held high-ranking positions. You’d expect the Danish Jewish community to immediately welcome their fellow Jews who were fleeing religious persecution. However, these “new Jews” were different; they were poor, they only spoke Yiddish, and many were ultra orthodox, and the existing Jewish community was initially afraid they would negatively impact the relationship they already had with the Danish population. They did eventually take steps to help the “new Jews” integrate into society by teaching them Danish and setting up a community center to help keep their Yiddish culture alive.
To make a very long story short, when the Nazi’s came to deport the Jews in 1943, Denmark managed to evacuate 7,220 of the 7,800 Jews in Denmark to Sweden, and in the end over 99% of the Danish Jewish population survived the war.
I find it interesting to think about how in 1904, the “old Jews” were hesitant to welcome the “new Jews” because of their social status, their language, and their strong beliefs, but 40 years later these differences didn’t matter; whether wealthy or poor, reformed or orthodox, Jews were Jews in the eyes of the Nazis, and the country of Denmark came together to save nearly all of them.
Tivoli Gardens is said to be what inspired Walt Disney to build Disneyland. It’s founder, Georg Carstensen, is said to have gained approval for the amusement park by telling the King at the time, Christian VIII, that “when people are amusing themselves, they do not think about politics”. After having just read about Trump’s plans for DACA, I thought a trip to Tivoli was just what I needed and was pleasantly surprised by how beautiful the amusement park was, especially at night:
Some other things I did:
Climbed the spiral tower of the Church of our Savior (400 steps!):
Visited the Royal Library:
Rented a bike and rode over the Cykelslangen (Cycle Snake):
Took some walks in the rain:
Tomorrow I’m flying to Amsterdam for Julian and Small’s wedding – excited to see some familiar faces and to let someone else plan my days for a little while!