Tourists visiting Copenhagen, Denmark usually go to Tivoli Gardens amusement park since it is well known and in the heart of Copenhagen. However, there is another amusement park which is the 2nd most popular attraction in Denmark. It is the world’s oldest operating amusement park and is known as Dyrehavshakken or The Deer Park Hill referred to as Bakken or The Hill. It is located near Klampenborg which is about 8 miles north of Copenhagen.
In 1583 Kirsten Piil came upon a natural spring in a large forest park called Jaegersborg Dyrehave or Dyrehaven located north of Copenhagen. At this time the quality of water was very poor and the inhabitants of Copenhagen were glad for this spring. The spring water was thought to have medicinal properties and therefore large crowds of people came to Piil’s spring. Since these crowds also brought out entertainers and hawkers it became the basis for amusement parks as they are known today.
The only problem was that the area surrounding the spring was on royal hunting grounds and therefore not open to the public. Then in 1669 King Frederick III and his son Christian V set up an animal park which Christian V enlarged when he became king. However, this park was not open to the general public and it wasn’t until 1756 when this area was once again open to the public. The crowds returned to Dyrehavsbakken along with all the entertainers, hawkers and innkeepers. Once Bakken became known in other places throughout Europe more entertainers and artists came. One of them was the clown Pierrot who is still a fixture at the park today. When railroads and steamships came along it made it much easier to reach the park and poets, as well as authors, gave this place much publicity.
Once Bakken had become quite popular the Dyrehavensbakken Tent Owners’ Association was set up in 1885. This was done to ensure trash collection, restroom facilities, water supply, publicity and finally electricity. Anyone operating a business within the park is expected to join this association today. By the time the 20th century arrived the park also started offering moving rides which have been improved and modernized throughout time.
Today Bakken has five roller coasters with the most famous being the Rutschebanen (Danish for Roller Coaster) and it is a wooden roller coaster that opened in 1932.
There is also the Mariehenen a family-style roller coaster, the Mine Train Ulven (Danish for Wolf’s Mine Train), Racing a wild mouse style coaster and the Tornado also a wild mouse style coaster but with enclosed, spinning cars.
The park also offers carnival-style games, slot machines, and dancing. Children love the park’s mascot Pierrot the clown who performs every day. There is the Bakkens Hvile music hall which offers visitors cabarets as well as the Circus Revue which is a live circus-style performance. All over the park are lounges and bars which also provide live music performances. Restaurants within the park range from the usual amusement park street food vendors to buffets and fancier type of wine and dine restaurants.
Danish style hot dogs
The food offered is varied one can get hamburgers and cotton candy, traditional Danish cuisine such as Pelser (Danish hot dogs), Ebleskiver (Danish pancakes) and Smorrebrod (open-faced sandwiches). International cuisine is available as well. Popular Danish beer is served such as Carlsberg and Tuborg.
Bakken operates from the end of March to the end of August. Admission to the park is free but money is required for the rides and attractions. There are discounted coupons, wristbands and season passes that can be bought.