Copenhagen is the capital, as well as the most populated city, of Denmark. It has an urban population of 1,263,698 as of January 2015 and a metropolitan population of 2,013,009 as of October 2015, with a geographical area of 33.28 square miles. Copenhagen is located on the eastern coast of Zealand, 17 miles northwest of Malmö, Sweden and 102 miles east of Odense.
Denmark’s capital was founded in 1167 by Bishop Absalon, who built a fortress on Slotsholmen Island to bolster a small and unprotected village on the harbor. Copenhagen Castle was constructed in 1376 as an additional Slotsholmen fortification and in 1416 King Erik of Pomerania inhabited the castle, which marked the beginning of Copenhagen being the capital of Denmark.
Today, Copenhagen is a favorite tourist destination among many travelers. From the many notable museums to the Royal theater, there are many attractions to see in this beautiful city. Cozy cafes during the day turn into hip bars at night, and the vast amount of nightclubs thump into the early morning. Copenhagen is a cosmopolitan city that no traveler should miss.
Amsterdam has De Wallen, and Copenhagen has Vesterbro District. Located west of the city center at the old Western Gate, Vesterbro is home to Copenhagen’s famous red light district. The once dangerous and squalid district shows little reminisce of its past. While hip cafes and cool stores have taken over, the popular Danish word “Hygge” (pronounced “hooga”) comes to mind. “Hygge” roughly means coziness and is one of the most desirable states to attain in Danish culture.
In 2014, Vesterbro was ranked the #4 Hipster neighborhood in the world by Thrillist magazine. This beautiful area of the city provides a stark contrast between the cobble stoned streets and the colorful waterside houses, with local residents donning colorful Fjãllraven backpacks and nearly all black attire. Once in Vesterbro, head to Istedgade street to find all types of adult entertainment. The street is located in the center of the district and begins with budget hotels and tourist attractions, but transforms into rows of sex shops, gay clubs, and street prostitution. While this area might be described as “hygge” during the day, it certainly anything but cozy at night. There are many strange people wandering at night, bars that are full with jolly folk, and lots of red lights. In addition to the sexual tourism that can be found here, there are plenty of places to eat and sleep. This is the ideal place to go out for a good time.
History of the RLD
Vesterbro has undergone major renovations in recent years. It has always had a reputation as an area for drug trafficking and prostitution, where only the poorest would live. In more recent years, it has become a trendy area with an exciting nightlife, but remnants of its past can still be seen in the red light district. Today, almost all of Vesterbro has undergone a gentrification. Cool cafes and hip stores have popped up everywhere, with real-estate prices having risen faster than in most of Copenhagen.
How to Reach the RLD
Copenhagen’s RLD can be found situated between budget Amager and ritzy Frederiksberg, behind the Copenhagen Central Rail Station, and getting to the RLD is quite easy. From Copenhagen's International Airport, you can take a direct train to the Central Station. Trains depart several times every hour and the 12-minute ride only costs DKK 31 (4 Euros). From Central station, take the left side exit next to the police station and walk down Istedgade. If you are already within the city, you can take a bus or taxi to Vesterbro and head into the Meatpacking District. Once on Istedgade, everything one could desire is within walking distance.
Copenhagen is relatively safe compared to other cities of the same size, and this goes as well for its red light district. That being said, Copenhagen does experience its share of crime. While criminal activities are mostly non-violent, such as pickpocketing and petty theft, you still need to be vigilant. Take the normal precautions of being aware of your possessions and not walking down dark, empty streets, and you shouldn’t have any trouble while enjoying all of what Copenhagen’s red light district has to offer.
Copenhagen’s slew of adult-style entertainment is comparable to the infamous Amsterdam. This city offers a variety of vibrant and vivacious places to party and relax. Some of the stimulating entertainment you can expect in the Danish capital are strip clubs, escort services and agencies, brothels and sex clubs, erotic massage parlors, swingers clubs, and adult cinemas.
There are many places that have signs that say “BIO” or “CINEMA” that show regular movies, but they also show adult movies. One telltale sign is if the cinema is located near or within a sex shop. Additionally, there often are red lights over the doors or windows. One example is the 19-booth Hawaii Bio, located on the fifth floor, right above an adult sex shop at Vesterbrogade 75, Copenhagen 1819 V. Although the selection is not as plentiful as in Amsterdam, they are around and won’t disappoint.
Skelbækgade, located just off Istedgade, is Copenhagen’s most popular street prostitution area. Many girls working the night can be found roaming around these streets. The average price for a quickie is 300-800 KR and is highly negotiable. It is recommended to have a car, but if you don’t, most girls are willing to perform their services in a back alley. Just be careful for your own security.
Escort Services and Agencies
Sometimes going to a brothel can seem overwhelming, and finding a prostitute on the street doesn’t seem safe either. In this case, using an escort service is the best way to go. There are many escort services online, two of them being Escort Playgirls and Mermaid Escort. The prices typically follow this format: the first hour usually goes for 1000-2000 KR, and the following hours are 500-1500 KR. These services allow you to see pictures of the girls as well as secure a fixed rate beforehand.
Prostitution in Denmark was decriminalized on March 17, 1999, partly because it was easier to regulate a legal trade than an illegal one. Prior to this law, a person was allowed to engage in sex work as long as prostitution was not his or her primary source of income. This new law legalized buying and selling sexual services, but third party activities such as pimping and operating, or profiting from, brothels are still illegal. The legal age of consent in Denmark is 15, but any person who wishes to undertake or purchase sex work should be at least 18 years old. The penalty for anyone profiting from prostitution, or inciting a person under the legal age, is anywhere from a simple fine to no more than four years of imprisonment.
Specific Laws for Gays
Denmark has become one of the most socially liberal countries in the world, with Copenhagen being frequently referred to as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world and is known for its annual gay pride parade. Same-sex sexual activity was legalized in 1933, and the age of consent was set to 15 in 1997. In 1989, Denmark became the world’s first country to recognize same-sex unions as legal registered partnerships. This law was replaced by a same-sex marriage law which became effective on June 15, 2012. Discrimination based on sexual orientation was prohibited in 2004, and same-sex couples have been able to jointly adopt since 2010.
Copenhagen offers a wide variety of places to party and relax. The Meat Packing District is probably the most famous part of Vesterbro and boasts fine dining and renown nightclubs. If you’re looking for some cheaper entertainment, take a stroll down Strøget. This lively street has plethora of street performers entertaining onlookers and musicians serenading the crowds, just make sure to drop them a dollar if you stopped to watch.
Whether you are looking to sample the city’s variety of micro-brewed beers, dance until the early hours, or pay for a little love, Copenhagen has something for everyone. Don’t expect to start the night early, especially if you’re going clubbing. It is usually around midnight before people start leaving the bars to head to the clubs. So pace yourself and be prepared to stay up until the early hours in the morning. Below are some nightlife highlights, listing great possible activities for a night out in the city center and Copenhagen’s coolest districts:
Copenhagen has been largely reputed as the number one most gay-friendly place on the planet. The first gay bar opened over 80 years ago and the gay life has been well integrated into the city’s culture. Copenhagen has a very vibrant gay scene, and because of the cities relaxed mentality toward the community, you won’t find typical gay streets or areas. From dance clubs to saunas for gays, there’s plenty to do in the wonderfully tolerant city of Copenhagen.
General Attitude Towards Gays
Copenhagen is a beautiful and laid-back city, and attitudes towards gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered persons are liberal and open-minded. Members of the LGBT community have a tendency to mix more openly here compared to other large cities around the world. Copenhagen was the first country in the world to recognize registered partnerships for same-sex couples, and the mentality towards the gay community still continues to be as relaxed and open-minded as ever.
Location of Copenhagen’s Gay Scene
The Copenhagen gay scene is very much concentrated in the old city center, around the main shopping street of Strøget, with all the gay bars and clubs within walking distance to each other. It is home to some of the oldest gay bars in Europe, as well as some newer
Dance Clubs for Gays
Due to the laid-back mentality of the Danes and their commitment to human rights, there’s no surprise that the gay club scene is so vibrant in Copenhagen; even the city’s official tourism site promotes gay life in the city. Here is a list of some of the popular nightclubs within the gay community:
Saunas for Gays
If you’re looking for a great place to sweat, Amigo Sauna is the place to go. Boasting as Copenhagen’s only gay sauna, claiming that Body Bio is more of a cruise club, the facility is spread out over three floors. Amigo features a steam room, dry sauna, maze, cabins, dark room, internet corner, video room, and adult shop. This sauna is also conveniently located close to the main gay bars.
There are a number of transsexual escorts available in Copenhagen. Also known as “T-girls,” they will often advertise on the internet and will generally charge 1000-1500 kr for half an hour or 1000-2500 kr for an hour of their service.
It’s uncommon to find transsexual prostitutes on the street, but sometimes, Asian massage parlors will have ladyboys giving massages. If you are looking to find something for free, the gay clubs are the way to go, although some trannies ask for money even at the nightclubs.