The prettiest place in Copenhagen is Nyhavn Waterfront. The canal 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 houses were built along the canal and the area became synonymous with beer, sailors and prostitution. The once busy commercial port lost its importance as ocean-going vessels increased in size. By the end of World War II Nyhavn Waterfront was all but deserted.
In the mid-1960s, the Nyhavn Society was founded and tasked with the redevelopment of the area. 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. 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.