Copenhagen[a] (Danish: København [kʰøpm̩ˈhaʊ̯ˀn] (About this soundlisten)) is the capital and most populous city of Denmark. As of July 2018, the city has a population of 777,218 (616,098 in Copenhagen Municipality, 103,914 in Frederiksberg Municipality, 43,005 in Tårnby Municipality, and 14,201 in Dragør Municipality). It forms the core of the wider urban area of Copenhagen (population 1,320,629) and the Copenhagen metropolitan area (population 2,057,737). Copenhagen is situated on the eastern coast of the island of Zealand; another small portion of the city is located on Amager, and it is separated from Malmö, Sweden, by the strait of Øresund. The Øresund Bridge connects the two cities by rail and road.
Originally a Viking fishing village established in the 10th century in the vicinity of what is now Gammel Strand, Copenhagen became the capital of Denmark in the early 15th century. Beginning in the 17th century it consolidated its position as a regional centre of power with its institutions, defences and armed forces. After a plague outbreak and fire in the 18th century, the city underwent a period of redevelopment. This included construction of the prestigious district of Frederiksstaden and founding of such cultural institutions as the Royal Theatre and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. After further disasters in the early 19th century when Horatio Nelson attacked the Dano-Norwegian fleet and bombarded the city, rebuilding during the Danish Golden Age brought a Neoclassical look to Copenhagen's architecture. Later, following the Second World War, the Finger Plan fostered the development of housing and businesses along the five urban railway routes stretching out from the city centre.
The oldest section of Copenhagen's inner city is often referred to as Middelalderbyen (the medieval city). However, the city's most distinctive district is Frederiksstaden, developed during the reign of Frederick V. It has the Amalienborg Palace at its centre and is dominated by the dome of Frederik's Church (or the Marble Church) and several elegant 18th-century Rococo mansions. The inner city includes Slotsholmen, a little island on which Christiansborg Palace stands and Christianshavn with its canals. Børsen on Slotsholmen and Frederiksborg Palace in Hillerød are prominent examples of the Dutch Renaissance style in Copenhagen. Around the historical city centre lies a band of congenial residential boroughs (Vesterbro, Inner Nørrebro, Inner Østerbro) dating mainly from late 19th century. They were built outside the old ramparts when the city was finally allowed to expand beyond its fortifications.
Sometimes referred to as "the City of Spires", Copenhagen is known for its horizontal skyline, broken only by the spires and towers of its churches and castles. Most characteristic of all is the Baroque spire of the Church of Our Saviour with its narrowing external spiral stairway that visitors can climb to the top. Other important spires are those of Christiansborg Palace, the City Hall and the former Church of St. Nikolaj that now houses a modern art venue. Not quite so high are the Renaissance spires of Rosenborg Castle and the "dragon spire" of Christian IV's former stock exchange, so named because it resembles the intertwined tails of four dragons.
Copenhagen is recognised globally as an exemplar of best practice urban planning. Its thriving mixed use city centre is defined by striking contemporary architecture, engaging public spaces and an abundance of human activity. These design outcomes have been deliberately achieved through careful replanning in the second half of the 20th century.
Recent years have seen a boom in modern architecture in Copenhagen both for Danish architecture and for works by international architects. For a few hundred years, virtually no foreign architects had worked in Copenhagen, but since the turn of the millennium the city and its immediate surroundings have seen buildings and projects designed by top international architects. British design magazine Monocle named Copenhagen the World's best design city 2008.
Copenhagen's urban development in the first half of the 20th century was heavily influenced by industrialisation. After World War II, Copenhagen Municipality adopted Fordism and repurposed its medieval centre to facilitate private automobile infrastructure in response to innovations in transport, trade and communication. Copenhagen's spacial planning in this time frame was characterised by the separation of land uses: an approach which requires residents to travel by car to access facilities of different uses.
The boom in urban development and modern architecture has brought some changes to the city's skyline. A political majority has decided to keep the historical centre free of high-rise buildings, but several areas will see or have already seen massive urban development. Ørestad now has seen most of the recent development. Located near Copenhagen Airport, it currently boasts one of the largest malls in Scandinavia and a variety of office and residential buildings as well as the IT University and a high school.