One of the worlds oldest amusement parks. Tivoli dates from 15 August 1843, when Georg Carstensen first opened the park after being granted permission by the King.
Originally it consisted of exotic and enchanting gardens that amongst other visitors so impressed one Hans Christian Anderson that he was inspired to write the fairytale, the Nightingale.
1844 The Tivoli Boys Guard
Constantly on the lookout for new ideas, Carstensen introduced the Honorary guard. From small beginnings this grew to not only become a cultural icon, but also evolved into a musical education centre for children.
Carstensen sadly only ran the park for five years. Leaving in 1848 when he enlisted to fight in the war against Prussia. This led to him being fired by the Tivoli board citing breach of contract. On his return to Denmark in 1857 he founded a rival park at Alhambra in Frederiksberg in competition with Tivoli. He didn’t actually get to see this one in operation, dying from pneumonia at the age of 44.
1874 The Peacock Theatre
Erected in 1874 the current theatre is the oldest building in the park, and protected by law. A bit like our listed buildings. The theatre has the motto “Shared joy with the people”, engraved above the stage in Chinese letters.
Hans Lumbye, the composer was in charge of the music from the start of the park. A violinist and prolific composer, he put together some 800 pieces of music. Known in some places as the ‘Strauss of the North’, he composed the world famous Champagne Galop. Touring with his orchestra during the Winter months, he sadly died the same year the theatre opened.
The Restaurant WIVEL, later called Wivex became a notorious water hole for a group of infamous First World War profiteers. Later the national broadcaster used it to broadcast dinner concerts. Eventually it closed in the 1960’s.
1914 Tivoli Roller Coasters
Tivoli had a roller coaster in 1842, a seven second thrill ride.
In 1914, the new coaster was opened. Called Rutschebanen (or roller coaster in English), this is still operating today, making it one of the oldest wooden coasters in existence. Up until the installation of moderner cars, it actually had brakemen riding in each car to slow it on turns and downhill.
During World War Two, the park suffered two unfortunate instances of sabotage, when pro Nazi Danes snuck into the park after it closed and planted a number of fire bombs. Extensive damage was caused and the park was closed for two weeks whilst the damage was rectified.
1951 Walt Disney Visits
The first Disneyland was opened in California in 1955. Walt Disney, its founder paid a number of visits to the Tivoli park in 1951. He enjoyed the ambience of the park and was hoping to impart something similar to his own park.
Today the park has in excess of four million visitors per year. Making it the second most visited seasonal amusement park in the world, and the biggest in Scandinavia.