“The first words we heard at the Custom House were as follows: Woher kommen Sie? Was bediene Sie? The German reception once made a French officer, who made the journey with me from Helsingborg to Helsingør, so astonished that he said, ‘My dear Sir, what country have we arrived in now?’” The Norwegian Peter Kold about arriving in the city by ship, in 1738.
Wanted or Unwanted in Copenhagen
Throughout history, Copenhagen has been characterised by continuous immigration. By far the majority of this immigration has taken place unnoticed. But some immigrants have received special attention: either because they had special abilities or because they stood out from the rest of the population by way of religion, skin colour, or cultural practice. Sometimes the same groups have been simultaneously welcomed in some contexts and excluded from others.
In the exhibition theme wanted-unwanted, we take a closer look at different groups of immigrants: the Dutch on Amager, the Jews, the Reformed, and the migrant workers. At the presence of German language and culture, the unwanted Roma people, and Arab Nørrebro.
Highlights from “Wanted-Unwanted”
Stories from the exhibition theme:
The last Nap Hat in Copenhagen
Dutch family in front of the church in Store Magleby, 1904. The Amager Dutch came to Copenhagen at the beginning of the 16th century.The characteristic costumes with Nap Hats for the men and special dresses and headwear for the women were still in use in Copenhagen right up until the 1890s. Afterwards, the costumes were only worn on special occasions.
In the exhibition you can learn more about The Amager Dutch and see more photographs
of wanted and unwanted immigrants.
Amager Common and the Roma, 1972
In 1972 69 Roma were allowed to settle on Amager Common. The group came from Poland via Norway. In the wake of the residence permit, there followed a number of debates about how and to what extent the Roma and they way of life could be integrated in Danish society. Finally, the Roma were granted asylum and live today in Helsingør.
Photo: Julie Rønnow.
In the exhibition you can see more historic photographs of Romas in Copenhagen throug
Moritz Pheifelmann (1720-1805) known as Obligirt
Moritz Pheifelmann was Jew and he made his living from selling ribbons for wigs and other knick-knacks to passers-by in the district around Læderstræde and Højbro Plads, calling everyone who bought something from him ‘Sir’. Trading ribbons and used garments, the production of tobacco and selling jewels belonged to the kind of trades that the Jews were allowed to do. However, they were excluded from the craft guilds (until 1787) and universities. The Jews also had their own poor relief, butchers and, from 1779, their own policeman, intended to keep an eye on illegal immigration of poor Jews.
In the exhibition you can learn more about the Jews in Copenhagen.
Other exhibition themes
Read more about the Museum of Copenhagen’s previous special exhibitions.
at the Custom House were as follows:
Woher kommen Sie? Was bediene Sie?
The German reception once made a
French officer, who made the journey
with me from Helsingborg to Helsingør,
so astonished that he said, ‘My
dear Sir, what country have we arrived