Tivoli Gardens

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Tivoli Gardens
Tivoli Gardens 4.jpg
The entrance to Tivoli
Location Copenhagen, Denmark
Coordinates 55°40′25″N12°34′06″E / 55.67361°N 12.56833°E / 55.67361; 12.56833
Opened15 August 1843;180 years ago (1843-08-15)
OwnerTivoli A/S
Operated byTivoli A/S
General managerLars Liebst (current)
Susanne Mørch Koch (from 1 September 2020) [1]
Attendance4.6 million in 2016 [2]
Roller coasters4
Water rides2
Website www.tivoli.dk OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg

Tivoli Gardens, also known simply as Tivoli, is an amusement park and pleasure garden in Copenhagen, Denmark. The park opened on 15 August 1843 and is the third-oldest operating amusement park in the world, [3] after Dyrehavsbakken in nearby Klampenborg, also in Denmark, and Wurstelprater in Vienna, Austria.


With 4.6 million visitors in 2017, [2] Tivoli is the most visited amusement park in Scandinavia and second-most popular seasonal amusement park in the world after Europa-Park. Tivoli is also the fifth-most visited amusement park in Europe, behind Disneyland Park, Europa-Park, Walt Disney Studios Park and Efteling. It is located in downtown Copenhagen, next to the Central rail station.


The amusement park was first called "Tivoli & Vauxhall"; [4] "Tivoli" alluding to the Jardin de Tivoli in Paris (which in its turn had been named after Tivoli near Rome, Italy), and "Vauxhall" alluding to Vauxhall Gardens in London. It is mentioned in various books, such as Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, and was also used prominently in the 1961 science fiction film Reptilicus .

Tivoli's founder, Georg Carstensen (b. 1812 – d. 1857), obtained a five-year charter to create Tivoli by telling King Christian VIII that "when the people are amusing themselves, they do not think about politics". The monarch granted Carstensen use of roughly 15 acres (61,000 m2) of the fortified glacis outside Vesterport (the West Gate) for an annual rent. Until the 1850s Tivoli was outside the city, accessible from the city only through the Vesterport.

From its beginning Tivoli included a variety of attractions: buildings in the exotic style of an imaginary Orient: a theatre, band stands, restaurants and cafés, flower gardens, and mechanical amusement rides such as a merry-go-round and a primitive scenic railway. After dark, colored lamps illuminated the gardens. On certain evenings, specially designed fireworks could be seen reflected in Tivoli's lake, a remnant of the moat surrounding the city fortifications.

Composer Hans Christian Lumbye (b. 1810 – d. 1874) was Tivoli's musical director from 1843 to 1872. Lumbye was inspired by Viennese waltz composers such as the Strauss family (Johann Strauss I and his sons), and became known as the "Strauss of the North". Many of his compositions are specifically inspired by the gardens, including "Salute to the Ticket Holders of Tivoli", "Carnival Joys" and "A Festive Night at Tivoli". The Tivoli Symphony Orchestra still performs many of his works.

Aerial photo of the park Tivoli Gardens 3.jpg
Aerial photo of the park

In 1874, a Chinese-style Pantomimeteatret (pantomime theatre) took the place of an older smaller theatre. The audience stands in the open, the stage being inside the building. The theatre's "curtain" is a mechanical peacock's tail. From the very beginning, the theatre was the home of Italian pantomimes, introduced in Denmark by the Italian Giuseppe Casorti. This tradition, dependent on the Italian Commedia dell'Arte, has been kept alive; it portrays the characters Cassander (the old father), Columbine (his beautiful daughter), Harlequin (her lover), and, especially popular with the youngest spectators, the stupid servant Pierrot. The absence of spoken dialogue is an advantage, for Tivoli is now an international tourist attraction.

In the late 19th and early 20th century, Tivoli also hosted human exhibitions. [5]

In 1943, Nazi sympathisers burnt many of Tivoli's buildings, including the concert hall, to the ground. Temporary buildings were constructed in their place and the park was back in operation after a few weeks. [6] [ page needed ]

Tivoli is always evolving without abandoning its original charm or traditions. Georg Carstensen said in 1844: "Tivoli will never, so to speak, be finished", a sentiment echoed just over a century later when Walt Disney said of his own Tivoli-inspired theme park, "Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world". [7]

In Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish, the word tivoli has become synonymous with any amusement park.


Dragon Boat lake and Daemonen roller coaster in the background Tivoligardens2.jpg
Dragon Boat lake and Dæmonen roller coaster in the background

The park is best known for its wooden roller coaster, Rutschebanen, or as some people call it, Bjergbanen (The Mountain Coaster), built in 1914. It is one of the world's oldest wooden roller coasters that is still operating today. An operator controls the ride by braking so that it does not gain too much speed during descent of the hills. It is an ACE Coaster Classic. [8]

Another roller coaster, The Demon (Dæmonen), features an Immelmann loop, a vertical loop, and a zero-G roll all during the ride time of just one minute and forty six seconds. An old roller coaster, The Snake (Slangen), was removed to have enough space for The Demon. In 2017, Tivoli Gardens added an optional virtual reality experience to the ride, simulating a flight through ancient China, along with encounters with dragons and demons. The Demon is situated next to the concert hall.

A well-known swing ride, The Star Flyer, opened in Tivoli in 2006. 260 feet (80 metres) high and built by the Austria-based Australian company Funtime, it offers panoramic views of the city. [4]

On 1 May 2009, Tivoli Gardens opened the new ride Vertigo, a looping plane ride where the rider pilots the ride, able to control the plane. This ride had extremely low capacity and suffered significant downtime. The ride was removed in 2021.

A Zamperla Air Race ride, Aquila, opened on 11 April 2013. It is a giant swing and spinner with centrifugal powers up to 4 g, named after the constellation of the Eagle. [9]

The newest attractions include Fatamorgana and Tik Tak. Fatamorgana opened in 2016. This is the world's first Condor 2GH, which offers two separate seating arrangements, one milder version with two-seater gondolas, and a thrilling version in which riders are slung around at high speed while seated in a ring and facing away from the center. [10]

Tik Tak opened in 2018 and is the first permanent installation of a Mondial Shake R5. This model is slightly less aggressive than the traveling model and is spectacularly themed.

Roller coasters

Ride nameTypeOpened inManufacturerAdditional information
The Camel Trail (Kamelen)Steel sit down2019 Zierer Reaches a speed of 26 km/h (16 mph) on a 60.2 m (198 ft) long track and a height of 3.3 m (11 ft); age limit 2 years old. Small Tivoli model, train 2x6. This replaced Caravanen which operated from 1974 until 2018. Kamelen follows the same layout but with new track and a new train.
The Demon (Dæmonen)Steel floorless2004 Bolliger & Mabillard Reaches a speed of 77.2 km/h (48.0 mph) on a 564 m long track (1850.4 ft) and a height of 28 m (92 ft) with 3 inversions (loop, Immelmann, zero g-roll); height limit 1,32 m. Floorless Custom Coaster, train 4x6. The ride operated with virtual reality from 2017 until 2020 (possibly due to COVID-19 for hygiene reasons).
The Milky Way Express (Mælkevejen)Powered2019 Mack Rides Reaches a speed of 36 km/h (22 mph) on a 312 m long track (1025.4 ft); age limit 2 years old. Custom Powered Coaster. It replaced the Odinexpressen, which closed in 2018 to allow it to be built in its place, with a slightly longer layout but significantly reduced speed. [11]
The Roller Coaster (Rutschebanen)Wooden sit down1914Valdemar LebechThis classic coaster reaches a speed of 50 km/h (31 mph) on a 720 m long track (2362.2 ft) and a height of 12 m (39 ft). Themed around a mountain, train 2x12.

Other rides

Kiddie rides

Former attractions

Other attractions

In addition, there is a Halloween Fest in October and Christmas Holidays in December. During the summer the park has fireworks shows each Saturday. In 2022 the firework season runs from June 4 to September 24, and the firework will take place on the roof of The Concert Hall to the tones of The Barber of Seville by Gioachino Rossini. [13]


There is one on-site hotel at the park: Hotel Nimb. The Tivoli Hotel & Congress Centre is affiliated with Tivoli Gardens only by name, but close cooperation does take place.

Performing arts

Harlekin and Columbine at The Pantomime Theatre Harlekin Columbine Tivoli Denmark.jpg
Harlekin and Columbine at The Pantomime Theatre

Besides the rides, Tivoli Gardens also serve as a venue for various performing arts & as an active part of the cultural scene in Copenhagen.

Tivoli Concert Hall

Tivoli Concert Hall is a classical concert hall featuring concerts with some of the largest names in international classical music.

The Pantomime Theatre

The Pantomime Theatre is an open-air theatre designed by Vilhelm Dahlerup, also known for the design of the Royal Danish Theatre. It is a toy-like historicist built in Chinese style and noted for its mechanical front curtain that takes five men to operate and unfolds like a peacock's tail. As indicated by the name, it is primarily a scene for pantomime theatre in the classical Italian commedia dell'arte tradition, which is performed daily with a live pit orchestra. Besides this original function, the theatre leads a second life as a venue for ballet and modern dance, performing works by choreographers such as August Bournonville, Dinna Bjørn, Louise Midjord and Paul James Rooney.

The Tivoli Youth Guard

The Tivoli Youth Guard is a formation of boys and girls aged 8–16 dressed in uniforms reminiscent of those of the Royal Danish Guard complete with bearskins. It was founded in 1844 and gives concerts, makes parades, stands guard at the garden's buildings and monuments at special occasions and represents the gardens at various events. It is composed of a Corps of drums, a military-styled marching band and an honor guard platoon.

Pop and jazz music

During the warmer summer months, Tivoli also features a live music series dubbed Fredagsrock (Friday Rock), which in the past has featured Roxette, the Smashing Pumpkins, Sting, the Beach Boys, Pet Shop Boys, Kanye West and 5 Seconds of Summer, and also popular Danish acts such as TV-2, Nephew, Hanne Boel, Raveonettes and Thomas Helmig.

During the Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Tivoli Gardens is one of the many Copenhagen localities that serve as venues for concerts. [14]

See also

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  13. "Lørdagsfyrværkeri".
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