The field of dreams – and the stands around it
A 38,000-seater, the Parken is the venue for Denmark’s qualifying fixtures and the home ground of FC Copenhagen (FCK), who own the place. It is also sometimes used by provincial clubs for European games, such as Nordsjaelland’s campaign in the Champions League 2012-13, and was selected as one of 12 venues for Euro 2020.
The opening game proved to be more dramatic than expected when Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen collapsed with no Finnish players or teammates around him, although everyone immediately rallied to will him to survive as medics rushed to his aid.
The popular star pulled through, the home side overcoming the terrible shock to beat Russia in another vital group match as the Parken stadium rocked. As, quite amazingly, Eriksen rebuilt his illustrious career, no-one who was watching the incident will forget where they were as the drama of June 2021 unfolded.
The place also has a history far beyond the concrete walls and car-park-like exterior: Parken stands on the site of Denmark’s ramshackle but much-loved Idraetsparken from 1911 onwards.
For FCK and Denmark games, older fans occupy the Nedre (Lower) C Tribune, more boisterous younger ones the Nedre B, the Øvre (Upper) B for bigger games. D Tribune is divided between families and visiting supporters. For Denmark games, the standing, singing Red Wall is set up in the Lower B.
In 2014, the ground became sponsored by mobile operators Telia, who installed free and fairly dependable wireless internet. The official name of Telia Parken didn’t really catch on but the WiFi has proved pretty popular. The stadium has since reverted to its regular name.
For a view inside the ground on non-match days, walk through to the back of the FC Copenhagen shop, where a door leads to a viewing platform. Note also the statue of revered commentator Gunnar Nu Hansen, on the square of the same name just outside the ground.
Going to the stadium – tips and timings
Copenhagen’s metro circle line, the M3, opened in 2019, ideal for match days, as Parken is underserved by buses. Get the metro from Rådhuspladsen or Central Station to Trianglen or Vibenshus Runddel, the two stations at either end of Øster Allé, each a five-minute walk from Parken. A word to the wise: Vibenshus Runddel is less used – avoid queues and full trains at Trianglen by getting on the clockwise train into town (via Østerport) from there after the match.
Alternatively, get the 14 bus from Nørreport Station to Trianglen. Or walk all the way there – the stadium is pretty centrally located in Østerbro right outside the city centre, a brisk 30mins from Nørreport.
Buying tickets – when, where, how and how much
The main ticket outlet is at the FCK Fanshop at the park end of the stadium – see FC Copenhagen for details. A Dkr40 charge is added on match days when tickets can also be bought with cash or cards outside the ground. They’re usually placed either on Øster Allé, or at the corner of the A and B Stands for all tickets – except for the away fans’ section. Those are available at a booth outside the D Stand at the park end of the ground.
Alternatively, book tickets online at Billetlugen, that has a rudimentary English version and lets you print tickets at home.
For national games, visiting fans get a variable chunk of the D Tribune. Advance tickets (225kr-500kr) are available at the Danish FA site. There’s an English-language version, but ticket information is in Danish and requires registration. Friendlies are cheaper, and on-site mobile booths are in operation at the ground unless the game’s a sell-out.
Where to Drink
Pre-match beers for fans and casual visitors
Parken’s central location and the residential, moneyed nature of surrounding Østerbro mean that there are bars and restaurants everywhere. As you emerge from Triangeln metro station, a stately building running across one side of the square houses the local post office and the Enigma café, open until 6pm weekdays, 4pm weekends. Along with stamps, you can buy Danish craft beers by the bottle.
On the other side of the square, Halifax provides Trianglen’s finest burgers, including the recommended Zürich, with a hash brown for a top bun – wash it down with a No.16 Ale and you’re full. There are more meaty offerings a few doors down, at Østerbros Originale Burgerrestaurant, at the corner of Odensegade.
There are plenty of other options along Østerbrogade, near the grandiose main entrance to Østerbro Stadion. Alongside, Frankies Pizza and Madklubben are evening-only eateries, one tasty yet standard, the other classy. Opposite at No.112, the Park Pub is the current incarnation of Magraths Irish Pub, a functional yet extremely popular pre-match bar with deals on bottled Carlsberg and plenty of TV football action.
To one side of the Park Pub, on the church square of Sankt Jacob Plads, chintzy Le Saint Jacques, owned by top French chef Daniel Letz, is where you go to impress a date or a client. Opposite, the PS Bar & Grill is a nice mix of restaurant and pub, where you can plot up at the bar and order a Yakima IPA or Tuborg Classic on draught, with perhaps a Talisker chaser from the whisky selection, or opt for the gameday menu of rib-eye steak or pan-fried salmon.
Behind the church, Østerbros Perle (Nordre Frihavnsgade 28) is hardly the ‘Pearl of Østerbro’, more a basic Danish neighbourhood bar with draught and bottled beers, and cheap shots of Underberg bitter.
To the other side of the Park Pub, at the corner of Viborggade, Tap10 offers ten Nordic craft beers on tap – quality if quite expensive. Back on the stadium side of Østerbrogade, behind the statue of legendary radio commentator Gunnar Nu Hansen, the Kafe Kapers offers standard Danish draught beers and a large terrace, ideal for summer. If brunch there is too pricy, Kim’s Pølser will sort out a classic hotdog from a little van. Further down Serridslevvej, right by Østerbro Stadion, the Copenhagen Diner & Steakhouse goes to town on big-match nights, with barbecue grills set up outside.
At the stadium, match-day choices for FCK fans include Central Park, at the corner of the B and C stands, a loud, fun and sometimes pretty riotous bar aimed at the younger drinkers. Expect football anthems at full blast. A Carlsberg-run megapub may take its place for Euro 2020. Alongside, Game Time isn’t a bar but an eSports venue, while Fan Club is more an office and storage facility for FCK members.
On the other side of the ground, near the Fanshop, the Eventyr kiosk has been selling ice creams to locals since 1923 – Tuborg too, particularly on match days, but watch out for cyclists when you’re standing in the queue. Opposite, Hjørnet serves coffee and healthy snacks, but no booze. On the other corner of the home end, Geranium is fine dining by reservation only and for serious money – although the views up here on the eighth floor are sublime.