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The New York Times, May 24, 1880, p.2:




    OFF CRONSTADT, May 7.—Here we are at last before the front door of Russia—as Cronstadt Island may be fairly termed—and certainly no pains have been spared to bar it securely. Five more forts have been built across the South Channel since 1854, the smallest of which is as formidable in size and weight of metal as those which then confronted Sir Charles Napier.
    The defenses of the North Channel have been increased by a powerful battery, planted on the long spit of land which juts out from the Finnish coast, just opposite Cronstadt, while the works along the front of the island itself, commanding the seaward approaches, have been strengthened with movable turrets and shields of iron-plating, at a cost of more than $600,000.

    In addition to all these, St. Petersburg is protected by the extreme shallowness of the 17 miles of water that lie between it and Cronstadt. This is so great as to make the channel impassable save by vessels of the lightest draught, all freight steamers being obliged to go up to the capital in ballast, after discharging at Cronstadt; but the recent cutting of a canal through the Gulf itself—a scheme which I heard M. Putiloff advocate in a very able speech, as long ago as 1872—will considerably facilitate their approach.

    Such precautions tell their own story. Russia has not forgotten the days when Napier's men-of-war lay like great castles upon these bright, peaceful waters, with their grinning broadsides ready to blaze into death-dealing thunder at any moment, a sight of ever-present terror to the eyes which peeped timidly forth at it day after day from the dark woods of Oranienbaum on the opposite shore.
    And what has happened once may happen again. Germany has a fleet in the Baltic which, if inferior to that of Russia in actual number of ships, is superior both in men and metal. Moreover, the planting of such sentinels as Kiel and Wilhelmshaven at the entrance of the "Russian lake" must needs be distasteful to an Empire which has been lavishing her blood and treasure for nearly two centuries in gigantic efforts to break the shackles of the Sound on one side and the Bosphorus on the other.

    Not without reason has the Golos, the ablest and most far-sighted of Russian daily papers, again and again advocated the establishment of a second naval station at Helsingfors [Helsinki], (the capital and chief port of Finland,) so as to place any hostile fleet between two fires. But in Russia, as in other and more civilized countries, talking of a thing seems to be the recognized substitue for doing it.

    I must not forget my promised description of Copenhagen, which, however dwarfed by the mighty magnificence of Paris, Vienna, or St. Petersburg, has a quiet beauty of its own far beyond their oppressive splendor.
    To right and left extend the curving shores of Zealand, with their rocky islets and white villas and rustling woods, framed in a broad band of purple sea. In front stand the dark-red batteries of Amak Island, which once held their own for four hours against the best of Nelson's "hearts of oak," and drew from the great sailor the comment that "the officer who commanded them ought to be made an Admiral."
    In the innermost hollow of the blue sunlit bay nestles the beautiful city itself, above whose clustering trees rise the tall square tower of the Fru-Kirke, the twisted spire of the Exchange, and the broad, flat, grayish-white summit of the famous "Round Tower."

    Were one disposed to be critical, one might note in the Danish capital the same fault which mars the imperial city of Peter the Great, and from which Stockholm is so magnificently exempt, viz., an utter want of elevation. But once within the town itself, the enchantment is complete. Nowhere save in Iceland or the Faroe Isles have I seen the peculiar charm of Denmark's simple old-world life at all paralleled.
    In Russia there is an air of uncomfortable civilization, suggestive of Robinson Crusoe's "man Friday" trying on European clothes for the first time. In France and Germany everything has a savor of drill and pipe-clay, as if national progress itself could only advance in time to a military march. But the Danes display their simple habits as unaffectedly as the ancient buildings of Copenhagen display the date of their foundation.

    From the homely, comfortable-looking palace of Christian IX., smaller than many a railway hotel, down to the red-tiled cottages of the Zealand peasants, with their clean, white floors and flower-decked windows, the same air of pastoral simplicity and quiet, unpretending neatness meets you at every turn. As you saunter past the gray, many-gabled Exchange, (founded by Christian IV. in 1624,) or look up at the vigorous old age of the Nicholas Church, with its hale brick-red complexion unmarred by the storms of three centuries, or watch the red-capped fishermen spreading their nets on the shore as in the time of Olger Danske, you feel ready for any marvel of the Old World. You would hardly wonder to see Andersen's storks protesting against the libelous ditty caroled in their dishonor by the naughty boys of the Nytory, (New Market,) or the Snow Queen flashing past in that glittering ice-chariot, "whose horses are the four winds of heaven," or rosy Hjalmar floating seaward in his toy boat, and crunching gleefully the ever-renewed candy of Fairyland...

    Little need be said about the principal "lions" of the city, viz.: The Royal Picture Gallery, the far-famed Tivoli Garden, the turreted lozenge-windowed Exchange, with its fantastic spire of intertwined serpents; the sturdy, unadroned homliness of the Round Tower, and the Thorwaldsen Museum, where the great sculptor sleeps amid his noblest works. Like everything worth seeing, they have often been described and never done justice to. Indeed, most of those who see them do so amid the screeching of those birds of prey who for "tree shilling de day" will hurry you round the town against time, in the hottest hours of noon; take you with scrupulous accuracy over all the sights which you do not want to see, with just enough time over each to tire without enlightening you; volunteer confused explanations, couched in English, to make them doubly unintelligible, till you fully sympathize with the poor French Professor who, after a severe course of "splendid views," said meekly: "Aimez vous les beautes de lat nature? Pour moi, je les abhorre!"

    But the real "sight" of Copenhagen is not the Museum, not the Picture Gallery, not, in fact, any of the long catalogue of curiosities so industriously pieced together by Mr. Murray's Koran in red binding; it is Copenhagen itself.
    One half hour in the Oestergade (East-street) on a fine Summer afternoon is worth a whole day of so called "sight-seeing." Picturesque groups, indeed, are here—rosy-cheeked school-boys on a bird's-nesting crusade, in all the boundless enjoyment of a "whole half-holiday;" stalwart laborers, whose muscular development might have satisfied the most critical Viking of old time; spruce, handsome soldiers in dark blue, looking pleased with themselves and the world in general, ruddy, shock-headed apprentices; making the air ring with broad jests and responsive peals of laughter; sallow, white-capped Russian sailors, staring about them as eagerly as children at a show, elegantly-dressed ladies eyeing the new fashions in the surrounding windows with true scientific appreciation, and perhaps a few travelers from the far West, looking reverently at the tall corner-house from whose door (till death came and knocked at it in 1875) used to issue, observed of all observers, the long, gaunt figure and bright dreamy eyes of dear old Hans Christian Andersen.

    All are thorough specimens of that quaint, shrewd, daring, indomitable Danish race, which nine stormy centuries have left unchanged since the days when Ragnar Lodbrog chanted his death-song amid the gnawing vipers, and Hubbo of Odinsee hewed Ella in pieces before the gates of York.
    In such company one may well echo the words of that rough, manly song which you hear in every street of Copenhagen, and which is to Denmark what Old John Brown is to America:

And we must do our best, you know, for if we slink away,
The Germans will come in on us, and for us make our hay;
    And so with all my might,
    Like a soldier brave I'll fight,
    Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!

    Of the environs of Copenhagen it is impossible to speak too highly. On the east, you pass at one stride from among the quaint old nine-storied houses, which stare at you from their arched windows as from uplifted eyebrows, to the green, open country, rich in stately trees and blossoming hedgerows, in busy windmills, perched on grassy knolls, and clear, smooth streams, alive with darting fish. On the west, the breezy promenade along the sea-wall, in full view of the harbor, leads to a high rampart of turf, from which you survey as lovely a panorama of field and forest, sunny hillsides and shadowy dells, winding shores and blue, sparkling waters, as ever gladdened the eye of an artist.
    No wonder the roads are thronged, all the Summer through, with many seated cars and substantial omnibuses, freighted with shouting children, well-filled lunch-baskets, and the most jovial holiday-makers in all Europe.

    Fredensborg, the Central Park of Copenhagen, is probably the most frequented of its suburban resorts, and certainly not without reason. Lying within easy reach of the city, it offers a choice of attractions sufficiently varied to meet all tastes. Those who are fond of solitude may find secluded nooks and shady paths which Spenser himself would have commended.
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    Once the seat of Viking raiders and later a major north European power, Denmark has evolved into a modern, prosperous nation that is participating in the general political and economic integration of Europe. It joined NATO in 1949 and the EEC (now the EU) in 1973.
    However, the country has opted out of certain elements of the European Union's Maastricht Treaty, including the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and issues concerning certain justice and home affairs.
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slightly less than 2x the size of Massachusetts

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    Those who admire fine scenery may survey at a glance Copenhagen itself, the distant coast of Sweden, and the blue expanse of sunlit sea between, from the brow of the hill upon which Fredensborg Palace stands. The more practical spirits, who seek only fresh air to brace their jaded nerves, and the creature comforts of good tea and bread and butter, may count upon an ample supply of all three.

    The palace itself is a homely-looking, whitewashed building, more like a big farm-house than a royal residence, but very clean and comfortable withal. At the foot of the hill upon which it is built lies a small artificial lake, the favorite resort of the late King, old Frederick VI., who was as fond of boating as Louis XVI. of lock-making, or the Czar Nicholas of drilling soldiers.
    On this lake his Majesty was wont to display the nautical skill which he thought he possessed, by steering a pleasure-boat rowed by the Crown Prince and the officers of the court. To enjoy this august spectacle, the loyal Danes crowded into the park by thousands every Sunday evening, and clustered around the spot where their King and Governor was thus amusing himself.
    On one occasion, however, the royal steersman was graciously pleased to handle his craft so awkwardly as to run her violently aground, with a shock which sent the oarsmen sprawling; whereupon, a naval officer in the crowd, with more wit than prudence, shouted in a stentorian voice, "Ship ahoy! Shall I send a pilot on board?" This commentary so enraged the stranded monarch that he sought out the offender and cashiered him, as a warning to all irreverent folks whos should presume to make sport of the little weaknesses of their superiors.

    It would be an endless task to enumerate the countless other beautiful spots, rich in historical and legendary associations of every kind, which abound in every part of Zealand. But if one spot is to be held sacred above all the rest, let it be, for the sake of those qualities which men have reverenced and women have loved since the beginning of time, the Soldiers' Grave-yard at Copenhagen. The great cemetary beside it may be showier and more spacious, but it lacks the simple pathos which gathers around "those who died in harness." In the cemetary are trim marble crosses and stately granite obelisks; the soldiers' ground displays only plain wooden tablets, all bearing the same terribly significant date, (1864,) and the brief, touching inscription, "Fell for the Fatherland." A fit epitaph, indeed, for these nameless heroes, who knew at least how to die when success was hopeless. Not a single man buried here was over 35! Picked men indeed were these, Denmark's best and bravest; "rare food for powder," as the imperial artillerist used to say of his own legions.
    They lie here in native Copenhagen, with the sweet Spring flowers blooming above them, and bright-eyed children, who were unconcious infants at the time of the great conflict, bringing their little cans of water to sprinkle the graves of the fathers and brothers whom they never knew.
[unsigned, but likely written by DAVID KER.]

The New York Times, March 30, 1919:

Copenhagen a Contender for Baltic Supremacy

Danish Capital Hopes to Supplant Hamburg,
Shipping Centre of German Commercial Domination in That Region
Free Port Expanded and Improved

By Albert E. Hasse.
    Copenhagen, with a commercial history of 800 years, for ages the leader of Scandinavian trading cities, has thrown a challenge to Hamburg for supremacy in Baltic trade; a territory which includes Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Russia, and part of Northern Germany.
    Although the geographical position of Copenhagen should have made it the receiving and distributing point for the Baltic regions many years before the world war, it was unable effectively to assert itself. This was true despite the fat that Denmark's capital possessed one of the chief requisites of a world-trading centre, a free port. Hamburg was then a world crossroad, possessing a free port, too, and offering excellent banking facilities. It was German financial domination and Copenhagen's lack of banking conveniences which prevented real competition and caused the commercial world to forget the existence of a free port in Copenhagen.
    Copenhagen's ability to express its aspiration to be a world-trading centre may be ascribed to good fortune, which is good luck combined with good sense. In this case the good luck was the war; and the good sense the initiative and ability displayed by the business men of Denmark.

    The war made Copenhagen a clearing house for Europe. As the capital of one of the most important neutral European countries, it became a political centre of great significance. Changed conditions brought prosperity, and a new class of business men assumed control. The financier supplanted the producer.
    Denmark's financial system was, even before the war, sound. Her methods for mobilizing her credits had long been accepted by the financial world. Old banks expanded, and new banks came into existence. It is reported that deposits grew to almost four times their pre-war amount. Insurance records of old Denmark were shattered in a manner that had never been thought possible; for Copenhagen became the place in which American and European insurance companies placed their reinsurance, a business which had once gone to the Central Powers.
    On the heels of this increased financial power came a positive assertion of initiative on the part of the Danish business man. Worldwide trading organizations came into being, and Copenhagen became the home of these organizations, the branches of which were chiefly in the countries at war with Germany. Among these organizations is the Transatlantic Company, which was started in 1916 to compile information regarding foreign trade and to invest capital in firms engaged in foreign trade. This organization has, so far, succeeded in associating itself with seventeen importing and exporting companies. Another important organization is the General Commercial Company, Ltd., started in 1917, which differs from the Transatlantic Company only in that it is concerned chiefly with Russia and South America.

    Though increased financial power and strong commercial organizations free from German influence are sources of strong assurance to the Danish trader, yet the free port has been the foundation of the confidence upon which they have placed their hopes. Their confidence in Copenhagen's free port has not been lessened by the constant warnings that Sweden and Norway will not stand with folded arms while Denmark attempts to gain supremacy in the Baltic trade. Again and again the warning is made that Malmö and Gothenburg in Sweden, and Bergen and Christiana in Norway, are planning free harbors. The Dane knows that more cities of Scandinavia will be needed to handle the enormous resulting traffic, yet he is well aware of the fact that the geographical position of either Malmö or Gothenburg is not as favorable as that of Copenhagen.
    Norway's claims do not loom large, for Bergen and Christiana cannot be placed in the same category with Gothenburg of Malmö. Bergen is fairly disconnected from the rest of the world. Situated among the mountains, its only connection with an important point in Norway is a single track railway to Christiana. Christiana's free harbor, because of its foggy and winding entrance, would be of service only a few months of the winter season.

    The port of Copenhagen has been free for more than twenty-five years. For a period of years it was not improved, but during the war changes have been made and a real development has taken place. It has been estimated that more than $10,000,000 has been spent thus. Its tonnage capacity, reported to be 1,600,000, has been pronounced as inadequate for the traffic which Copenhagen may expect. This condition, however, may be easily overcome, since the free port, being north of the city, is at a point where it may be engaged to twice its present capacity. The opportunity for development is not limited to the northern neighborhood of the city; for recently all of the unused land at the southern end of Copenhagen was purchased by two Danish companies, who intend to erect factories, assembling plants, and warehouses at that point. It is interesting to recall rumors printed in Danish papers that this move was made in order to counteract the efforts of German capitalists, who planned to purchase this land.
    The free port is a semi-official institution, and is in close connection with the Danish Customs Department. In fact, it is an agency of that department. Like all other free ports, it offers certain advantages to the foreign manufacturer. Goods may be stored in its buildings free of duty for any length of time. Thus the privilege is afforded to the Baltic distributor of having a convenient storehouse for his goods, which may accumulate during a slack season. When the demand becomes heavy, the Baltic trader is in a position to meet the wants of his customers immediately. The cargoes of oceangoing vessels may be unloaded at Copenhagen and distributed by the smaller steamers which call at the less important Baltic ports. These steamers would return to Copenhagen with the exports of the Baltic regions, which would form the return cargo of the oceangoing vessels.
    The convenience which the Copenhagen free port affords the foreign manufacturers is not confined to the Baltic territory alone; for Copenhagen may well take Hamburg's place for all Europe. As Hamburg was at one time so Copenhagen is now a terminus for many ships calling at all parts of the world, and chiefly at European ports. Hence it offers the same service that Hamburg did in former years, that is, quick and cheap transshipment of all goods, when the demand is heavy, to all European ports.
    If Copenhagen should score this latter victory over Hamburg, there are some who believe that its free port would not be sufficient to enable it to realize permanently the fruits of the victory. But the entire island of Sjaelland can be used as a storehouse and as a harbor. A foreign manufacturer interested in the free port of Copenhagen will find numerous points on this island where he may establish a warehouse, factory, or assembling plant. That the Danish Government would willingly make such establishments part of the free port, if the business involved was on a sufficient scale, is the opinion of one well informed on questions of the Copenhagen port.

    While the Danes believe that an official economic boycott of Germany by the Allies would aid Copenhagen in its struggle with Hamburg, yet they do not wish Copenhagen to be chosen because, after Hamburg, it is the next best choice, but because it is logically the best choice. They show that support of Hamburg and neglect of Copenhagen by the Allies means a gradual drifting back to the days before the war, when, with the aid of ports such as Hamburg, Germany was slowly creating a vast contiguous economic empire composed of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Russia. They believe that the commercial future of the Allies, particularly of America and England, in the Baltic territory depends upon the choice between Copenhagen and Hamburg. Copenhagen is prepared.

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