Strøget is a carfree zone in Copenhagen, Denmark. This popular tourist attraction in the centre of town is the longest pedestrian shopping area in Europe.
The street is bound on the west by The City Hall Square (Rådhuspladsen), the central town square by Copenhagen City Hall, and on the east by Kongens Nytorv ("The King's New Square"), another large square at the other end.
But the Strøget area is actually a collection of streets that spread out from this central thoroughfare.
These streets, in order from Rådshuspladsen to Kongens Nytorv, are as follows:
Gammel Torv / Nytorv
Many of the city's most famous and expensive stores, such as Illums Bolighus, Magasin du Nord, the Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Factory, and chain stores, are located along the strip. There are also a multitude of souvenir shops and fast food outlets. Strøget was created in November 1962 when cars were beginning to dominate Copenhagen's old central streets.
During the 1950s the street had closed to traffic for a couple of days at Christmas. In 1962 the closure was "half disguised" as an extended holiday closure, but the road has remained closed since. The idea was controversial, some people believing that the Danes did not have the mentality for "public life" envisioned by such a street, and many local merchants believed the move would scare away business.
However it proved a success, and the area soon boasted more shoppers, cafes, and a renewed street life. Building on Strøget’s success, the network expanded piecemeal – another street and a few more squares were emptied of cars in 1968, and further closures took place in 1973, 1980, and 1992.
From the initial 15,800 square metres of the Strøget, Copenhagen’s pedestrian network has expanded to about 100,000 square metres. The idea has become a model often emulated elsewhere. Danish architect and urban planner Jan Gehl has been instrumental in the creation of this pedestrian zone.
About 250,000 people use Strøget every day at the height of tourist season in summer, and about 120,000 do so on a winter's day.
For many years in the late 20th century, tourists on Strøget enjoyed the spectacle of a large man in full Viking costume, directing them to one of the sweater markets. Today, there is a variety of street entertainment.
The west end of Strøget at The City Hall Square is a short walking distance from Tivoli Gardens and Copenhagen's Central Train Station. At the east end of Strøget at Kongens Nytorv are the Royal Danish Theatre and the exclusive Hotel d'Angleterre. Kongens Nytorv is close to the popular Nyhavn area, Langelinie and Amalienborg Palace, the royal residence.