Little Bits of History

August 15

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 15, 2017

1843: Tivoli Gardens opens. Located in Copenhagen, Denmark, it is the second oldest operating amusement park in the world. The oldest is also in Denmark. Tivoli is the most visited park in Scandinavia (almost 5 million people per year) and the fourth most visited in Europe, behind Disneyland Paris, Europa-Park, and Efteling. It was originally called Tivoli & Vauxhall, alluding to the Jardin de Tivoli in Paris and Vauxhall Gardens in London. Georg Carstensen was granted a five-year charter from King Christian VIII with the task of creating the park. The King noted that when “people are amusing themselves, they do not think of politics” and therefore granted about 15 acres for the project.

The land was originally outside Copenhagen in the fortified glacis outside the West Gate. To get to Tivoli, patrons had to travel through Vesterport. The park, even from the very start, had a variety of amusements. Buildings were erected in an imaginary Orient style and housed a theater, band stands, restaurants, and cafes along with flower gardens. There were mechanical rides even in the early days and at opening, there was both a merry-go-round and a scenic railway. After dark, colored lamps were lit in the gardens making them a stunning attraction. On special days, a fireworks display could be seen overhead as well as reflected in Tivoli’s lake.

There have been many upgrades over the nearly two centuries of entertainment. The first in 1874 saw The Pantomime Theatre (also built in a Chinese style) taking over many smaller venues. Even now, Columbine and Harlequin perform and since it is pantomime, all audiences can enjoy the show. In the 19th and early 20th centuries there were human exhibitions included. In 1943, Nazi sympathizers burned many of the buildings, including the concert hall. Temporary buildings were used until replacements could be built within a few weeks’ time. In 1914, a wooden roller coaster was added to the park and remains in operation today. Rutschebanen has an operator controlling the speed so it remains safe to ride. It’s top speed in 31 mph.

Rutschebanen is joined by three other roller coasters with the last built in 2004. The Demon has a top speed of 48 mph. Aquila was added in 2013 and is a giant swing generating centrifugal power generating up to 4G. Fatamorgana, a Condor ride, was added in 2016. There are also many kiddie rides available to amuse the younger crowd. There are other attractions with a Tivoli Festival held yearly from May 14 to September 8 with more than 50 different events included. Also on site are a number of performing arts venues offering a range of productions. The park also offers a Halloween Fest in October and Christmas Holidays in December. The builder declared it would never be complete and new things are being added continually.

Tivoli will never, so to speak, be finished, – Georg Carstensen, in 1844

The way I see it, love is an amusement park, and food its souvenir. – Stephanie Klein

In an amusement park, you can go on a roller coaster that carries you up and down, or you can go on another kind of ride that whirls you around in a circle. Similarly, there are different sorts of entertaining experiences in the theater. – Wallace Shawn

I’m not here for your amusement. You’re here for mine. – John Lydon



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