In some cultures, graveyards are for one purpose only, to give the passed-away loved ones their final place to rest. In Copenhagen, this usually isn’t the whole story.
Assistens Kirkegård (Assistens Cemetery), a huge 25 acre graveyard in the middle of the neighborhood of Nørrebro, was established in 1760 to ease the crowded situation of the cemeteries within the city area. Originally the cemetery was meant for the poor, but later on became the burial place of many famous Danes, such as Søren Kierkegaard, H.C. Andersen and several others.
Of course, Assistens Kirkegård was originally – and still is- a functioning cemetery, but it has also been a place for the citizens to escape the busy city life, to spend a moment or two relaxing in the nature. At the end of 1780′s the common Copenhageners also came to the cemetery with picnic -baskets and drinks, at some point even so much that all consumption of food and alcohol was prohibited for a while. Nowadays, especially on sunny days, the grass planes of the cemetery are more or less filled up with people enjoying the sun in the peace and quiet of the cemetery.
There is a lot to see in the cemetery culture-wise, and guided tours are organized, especially during the summer. But personally, I have to say, the best thing about Assistens is the nature: an innumerable amount of different types of trees, flowers, plants and such create one of the most beautiful places in the city.