Nykøbing Falster (originally named Nykøbing) is a city in Southern Denmark. It is the seat of the commune of Guldborgsund (Guldborg Strait) and it belongs to the region called Sjælland (Zealand). The town lies on the island of Falster, which is connected by the Frederick IX Bridge (295 m long), over Guldborgsund. The commune includes the satellite town of Sundby, just on the other side of the strait, on the island of Lolland.
Nykøbing Falster counts a population of 16.500 (and around 2800 for Sundby).
Nykøbing Falster is the largest city of Lolland-Falster. It is often called “Nykøbing F.” to distinguish it from at least two other cities in Denmark with the same name : Nykøbing Mors and Nykøbing Sjælland. Not to mention the town of Nyköping in Sweden, which means the same but in a different language.
From 1970 to 2006, Nykøbing was the administrative seat of the former county of Storstrøm as well as the Nykøbing Falster municipality. On the 1st of January 2007, the former Nykøbing Falster municipality merged with Nysted, Nørre Alslev, Sakskøbing, Stubbekøbing, and Sydfalster municipalities to form Guldborgsund municipality.
Nykøbing Falster was founded around a 12th-century medieval castle. At the end of the 12th century, in order to protect the town against the Wends, fortifications were set up on the peninsula on Guldborgsund, which became Nykøbing Castle (Nykøbing Slot). The city developed all around these fortifications. After the Reformation, widowed Danish queens came to live in the castle. And as several queens were of German descent, many Germans also came to live in Nykøbing Falster.
The castle and the entire crown land on Falster were put up for sale in 1763 to help improve the poor state of government finances. The castle was set up for demolition, and most of its stones were used to build several other places in the region. Today, only the ruin of one of the towers, Fars Hat (Father’s Hat) is in existence today. You can see it at Slotsbryggen (The Castle’s Dock), in front of the cinema Nordisk Film Biografer.
You can also see a small model of the whole castle at the Lolland-Falster Museum in the center of the town.
In the year of 1716, Peter The Great, Czar of Russia, came to Nykøbing Falster. He ate at the inn (and probably stayed the night), which is an old wood and bricks house from 1580. The house has been since name Czarens Hus (The Czar House) in his honor. Today, Czarens Hus is the main attraction of the town, as the building holds both the little museum of Lolland-Falster, and Den Gamle Købmandshandel (The Old Grocer’s Shop), which is also the Tourism Information Office. In front of Czarens Hus lies a famous and very iconic fountain, Bjørnebrønden (The Bear Well), built to commemorate the Russian Tsar visit.
Since 1885 at least, the seal of Nykøbing Falster is a ship. You can find it in different places in the town, the most visible being on the ground and at Klosterkirken (The Abbey Church).