Nyhavn is a 17th century waterfront, canal and entertainment district in Copenhagen, Denmark. Stretching from Kongens Nytorv to the harbour front just south of the Royal Playhouse, it is lined by brightly coloured 17th and early 18th century townhouses and bars, cafes and restaurants. Serving as a "heritage harbour", the canal has many historical wooden ships. Danish author Hans Christian Andersen lived at Nyhavn 18 for some years.
Nyhavn was constructed by King Christian V from 1670-73, dug by Swedish war prisoners from the Dano-Swedish War 1658–1660. It is a gateway from the sea to the old inner city at King's Square (Kongens Nytorv), where ships handled cargo and fishermens' catch. It was notorious for beer, sailors, and prostitution. The first bridge across Nyhavn opened on 6 February 1875. It was a temporary wooden footbridge. It was replaced by the current bridge in 1912.
As ocean-going ships grew larger, Nyhavn was taken over by internal Danish small vessel freight traffic. After World War II land transport took over this role and small vessel traffic disappeared from the Port of Copenhagen, leaving Nyhavn largely deserted of ships. In the mid-1960s, the Nyhavn Society (Nyhavnsforeningen) was founded with the aim of revitalising Nyhavn. In 1977, Nyhavn was inaugurated as a veteran ship and museum harbour by Copenhagen's Lord Mayor (Overborgmester i København) Egon Weidekamp.
The northern side of Nyhavn is lined by brightly coloured townhouses built with wood, bricks, and plaster. The oldest house, at No. 9, dates from 1661. The southern side of Nyhavn has lavish mansions lining the canal, notably Charlottenborg Palace at the corner of Kongens Nytorv. From the foundation of the heritage harbour in 1977, the south side of the canal has been reserved for museum ships owned by the Danish National Museum, which received a donation of carefully restored ships from A. P. Møller, while the northern side of the canal was put at the disposal of the Nyhavn Society and privately-owned, still usable wooden ships.
Along its northern, sunnier side, Nyhavn is lined with bars and restaurants facing the harbor. Even in cooler weather the heartier types sit outdoors with a beer and a blanket over their legs, provided by the restaurant on each seat. Nyhavn serves as a hub of canal tours.