Tucked quietly in the Fredriksstaden district is the historic row of houses of the Royal Danish-Norwegian Navy, part of Copenhagen’s colorful heritage and a tourist attraction. Amidst the unassuming neighborhood, the 17th century military barracks still stands proudly – the distinctive bright yellow houses with their red shingled rooftops are a reminder of the city’s strong naval forces and its history as a fortified city.

It was commissioned by King Christian IV and from the start was intended as an exclusive area for Denmark’s seafaring men and their families. It had its own hospital, schools, a guardhouse and even a jailhouse. Those who had the privilege to live in Nyboder were consigned to perform military duty for a maximum of 20 years. And in its heyday, the area was home to more than 6,000 residents with over 200 houses built. Today, the residential structures are still being used by the Ministry of Defence for its enlisted personnel, extended to include even the army and the air force branches.

However in 2006, some of the houses were also opened for sale to the public. The yellow colour used for the houses is so distinct that in Danish it has become a generic term for a specific hue of yellow – the “Nyboder yellow.” Visitors to the place can also see other historic structures such as the towering St. Paul’s Church ( a stone’s throw away from the housing area such that it is also referred to as the Nyboder’s Church), and the monuments of Christian IV and Vice Admiral Edouard Suenson, commander of the Naval Fleet during the 1864 Battle of Helgoland.

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