Copenhagen Culture Night

an extraordinary experience for all ages

Charlottenborg at Copenhagen Culture Night © Astrid Maria B. Rasmussen
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October 3rd, 2018

Copenhagen Culture Night is the biggest one-day event in Copenhagen with over 250 participating museums, churches, theaters, institutions, companies, universities etc. inviting you in after closing hours. The city unfolds as several venues that are usually not accessible open their facilities to the general public. Eat among the animals in Copenhagen Zoo, bring the kids to the UN building and test your knowledge on the Sustainable Development Goals and the human rights, experience a silent disco at Glyptoteket, see the city lights from above at City Hall or the Round Tower, get a historic tour at Christiansborg Castle, play lasertag at KU.BE, etc. – as you can tell, the possibilities are endless. This gives all temporary citizens of Copenhagen an extraordinary opportunity to go on a cultural journey.

Copenhagen Culture Night at Christiansborg Slott © Maria SattrupChristiansborg Castle | © Maria Sattrup

The night begins at 17.00 and continues until midnight. All entrances are free as long as you have the culture pass. Copenhagen Culture Night always takes place the Friday where the Autumn Holiday begins in Denmark, meaning October 12th this year. How lucky that we have a special Autumn hotel discount for you. If you stay at one of our hotels in Copenhagen between October 12th and 28th, you get a 25% discount on your stay. Just use the offer code FALL when booking.

From art museums to banks

The event takes place all over Copenhagen; from Amager to Østerbro and from Sydhavn to Nordhavn. As the name of the event gives away, many cultural attractions are open for an extended time, for example museums like Glyptoteket and The National Museum as well as multiple theaters and other creative stages. Besides this, many completely unexpected companies and institutions open their doors and invite everyone inside to get an experience that is usually not possible. For example, you can visit the world’s largest shipping company, A.P. Møller-Mærsk, the UN building, or the broadcaster, TV2, for an unforgettable night after closing hours. Many universities and dormitories, ministries and institutions are hosting workshops, tours and other fun activities. Banks, shopping malls, the university hospital, embassies, and NGOs are all open for the public to take part of special events – many of which aren’t usually open to outside parties, so grab the opportunity during this once-a-year packed event in Copenhagen.

Copenhagen Culture Night at the National Museum © Maria SattrupThe National Museum | © Maria Sattrup

Copenhagen Culture Night does not only take place behind walls and under a roof; a big part of the night’s events is light installations and outdoor activities. Many grand buildings, such as Tycho Brahe Planetarium, Thorvaldsen Museum, Gammel Strand Museum, Glyptoteket, and Frederiksberg City Hall, are all lit up in spectacular colors, portraying the facades in an entirely new light (pun intended). Not to mention The Black Diamond, Denmark’s Royal Library, where a light show beyond all others will be put on inside – we highly recommend that you do not miss this!

Copenhagen Culture Night at The Royal Library Garden © Maria SattrupThe Royal Library Garden | © Maria Sattrup

Note that you need the culture pass in order to get free entrance to all sights and free transportation in the entire region all night.

The story behind the event

Copenhagen Culture Night has existed for more than 25 years. The first event was held in October 1993 and was, for a first time event, quite a success. There were 45 different organizations that participated and they sold 4.000 culture passes to the public. Since, the Culture Night has been an annual event and has grown immensely; from 45 participating organizations to over 250, and from 4.000 sold culture passes to 80.000. But despite the enormous growth and time that has passed, the original concept is still the same. The goal of Copenhagen Culture Night is to open up the city to the public and to create the opportunity of experiencing amazing cultural events together. It also gives the participating companies and institutions the opportunity to show their talents and the type of exciting activities they offer. All the profits from the event go directly to organizing next year’s Culture Night in Copenhagen, ensuring it is independent of sponsors. The only sponsor of the event is DOT, the public transportation system, which provides all guests with a culture pass to travel in the region for free all night. But with so many culture passes being sold, we also know from experience that the hotels are in high demand, so we highly recommend booking a hotel in Copenhagen as soon as possible.

Copenhagen Culture Night poster of 2018© Kulturnatten

Free and easy to get around the city

As mentioned, you get free public transportation from the beginning of the event until early next morning, making sure you can get around between the sights you want to experience. Besides this, Culture Night also offers a free shuttle bus that goes through all of Copenhagen’s inner districts, taking you to many of the main attractions. The shuttle bus goes every 5 minutes so there’s no need to stand in line for a long time. You can also get around the inner city by water as the free boat tours take you on a trip along the canals. It’s a hop-on-hop-off concept with a set route where you can step aboard or get off at several stops.

Zleep has many hotels in Copenhagen, and the most central one is Zleep Hotel Copenhagen City in the middle of Vesterbro, minutes from the central station. When staying here, you have the option to rent a bike; what easier way to get around the city than on two wheels, just like the locals? Our other hotels in Greater Copenhagen are all in close proximity to public transport, making it easy to get to and from the city – and as mentioned, you have free transportation all night with the culture pass. For example, Zleep Hotel Ishøj is in the same building as Ishøj city mall, which is connected to the train station, so you can get from Ishøj to Copenhagen City in just 20 minutes.

Canal Tour in CopenhagenCanal Tour | | © Strömma

Don’t forget to eat

With so much to see and a rather tight schedule, it is important not to forget to eat to regain your energy for the late night. Fortunately, many of the sights offer delicious food options with something for every taste and the opportunity to keep exploring whilst eating. Copenhagen Zoo turns into a street food mecca during the night with food from all corners of the world. Eat among the animals and experience the predators being fed, discover endangered species, see the sand sculptures, and admire the light shining upon the new playground.

Denmark is filled with great street food places, and the biggest one in Copenhagen is the newly opened “Reffen” on Refshaleøen. They are ready to welcome you with their many different food trucks, offering everything you can think of, upcoming artist performances, design and crafts exhibitions and, of course, music all night.

Reffen “Reffen” | © Daniel Rasmussen

Another place to get your hands on some food, whilst still experiencing the cultural evening, is Visit Carlsberg. The cellar where J.C. Jacobsen and his men would brew beer during their working days in the 1800s is open for curious visitors. When you come back up, the courtyard is shining with spectacular lights, the grill is lit and the DJ is set up to play tunes all night. Obviously, there will be lots of beer, probably the best in the world.

Tips for the night

Copenhagen Culture Night is a huge event with over 250 museums, institutions, theaters, churches etc. participating in the city. And with more than 80.000 participants, there are some very important things to take into consideration before heading out into the night:

  1. You need the culture pass. To be able to get in at all sights and use the free transportation possibilities, you have to be able to show your culture pass, otherwise you will not get in. It is not possible to purchase the pass at the venues. You can buy it at several locations all ready two weeks before the event – find all retailers on the Culture Night’s webpage.
  2. Have patience. There will be a lot of people at the attractions and using the public transportation. Be ready to stand in line or re-plan your route. When purchasing the culture pass, you will receive a map of all events, making it easy for you to see what other sights are close by.
  3. Plan ahead. Do your research and look up what attractions you are interested in and where they are located. Make a schedule for where you want to go and what you want to experience. It’s recommended that you don’t exceed 6 attractions as it might be too stressful and you won’t get the most out of the experiences. Alternatively, you can stick to one enclosed area and discover more attractions there – and come back to Copenhagen another time to see more.
  4. Be aware of registrations. There are some activities that require that you register your visit beforehand. Again, do your research on what sights you will be visiting and make sure you are registered if it is required.
  5. Keep warm. Copenhagen in the evening in the middle of October is seldom warm and cozy. Check the weather report and dress accordingly.
  6. Book early. Copenhagen is a popular destination to visit, and many things are going on in the city. When we add another 80.000 people that will attend the Copenhagen Culture Night, we know that demand is high. Make sure to book your hotel in Copenhagen well in advance to ensure your place to sleep after the Culture Night.

Copenhagen Culture Night at Gl. Strand Kunstmuseum @ Sattrup og HostGammel Strand Art Museum | © Maria Sattrup

Copenhagen Culture Night is an annual event filled with extraordinary attractions both inside and outside, for young and old. We can almost guarantee a grand experience for everyone. If you want to see more of Copenhagen’s art scene, not just during this one night, then take a look at our blog post: Discover Copenhagen Through Art.

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Hurry and book your hotel

Culture Night is a popular event and people from all over come to experience this once-a-year attraction. Make sure you book your stay in time.