The Nyhavn Waterfront in Copenhagen, Denmark was once a busy commercial port. It was ordered dug by King Christian V in the 17th century to facilitate the shipping of goods and off-loading of fishermen’s catch. Over the next century, wooden townhomes were built along the canal and the are became synonymous with beer, sailors and prostitution. Nyhavn’s importance as a port gradually diminished due to the increasing size of ocean-going vessels. By the end of World War II Nyhavn Waterfront was all but deserted.
Among the many reasons to rescue this historic area was the fact that the famous children’s author, Hans Christian Andersen, had occupied three different houses that fronted the canal. While living at number 20 Nyhavn, Andersen wrote The Tinderbox, Little Claus and Big Claus, and The Princess and the Pea fairy tales. In the mid-1960s, the Nyhavn Society was founded and tasked with the redevelopment of the area. The quay was pedestrianized, the Veteran Ship and Museum Harbour museum was opened, and historic wooden ships were anchored in the canal. The 17th and 18th century wooden townhomes were painted in bright hues and leased or sold to restaurants, bars, and shops. Today Nyhavn Waterfront is the most popular entertainment venue in Copenhagen.