As many of you will know I am a huge fan and advocate for libraries. One of the most important elements of the library system here in Copenhagen is the essential role they play as community centres as well as a place to borrow books.
With the new Ring Line opening last autumn more of the city seems to be easier to reach. Visit Copenhagen did a bit of a promotion drive about the areas around the new metro stations. It was through this that I saw pictures of Nørrebro Library and I just knew I had to get over there to take a look. I will say that this part of Nørrebro is not new to me as my son has his piano lessons in this area.
The library building is attached to Nørrebro Hallen, close to Den Røde Plads and ￼￼￼￼only opened in August 2019. It is housed in an old tram depot and has been designed as an inviting space with huge windows bringing in light and featuring massive colourful murals on the walls by the artist, Eske Kath.
The design of the seating and shelving really invites people to relax and stay in the library. I had a chat was the librarian before Christmas and she told me that this library has the largest footfall of all libraries in Copenhagen, which is quite impressive for a new library. They also run many events, classes and workshops in the library bringing more of the community into the place (you can see more about these and the library on their Facebook page)
Walking through the library to the connecting space with Nørrebrohallen, you come across a cafe area with long tables for more community type eating. When I visited the space was busy with a mixture of people from parents with babies, older people and students. It was certainly place which attracts the real local community.
The cafe is called Send Flere Krydderier and is a social enterprise business. The concept started in 2013 at an immigrant women’s centre in Nørrebro. It started small with bike deliveries of food created by the women based on their home cuisines with food from all over the world including Pakistan, Lebanon, Somalia and Morocco . As a social enterprise the idea was to create jobs that met the challenges that limited women from ethnic minorities becoming part of the labour market in Denmark. Statistically this group has the lowest employment rates in Denmark. Send Flere Kryderier understood that this wasn’t due to lack of motivation rather the fact that these women lacked Danish language skills, education and work experience that would have given them a way into employment. Rather than focusing on what they couldn’t do the focus was turned to what they could do and utilised the skills they already had around delicious food production. Send Flere Krydderier now has two cafes and a catering business. Twice a week at Nørrebrohallen there is a community kitchen between 5pm and 8pm where the food costs 65dkk for adults and 35dkk for children under 10. You can see the menu on their Facebook page.
When I went in I chose their tapas plate and I was astounded by how much you get for your money. I was not surprised to find every part of it absolutely delicious. As it was lunch time when I went in it was very busy so if you plan to go I’d make sure you’re not in a rush. I went back a second time with my son in the early evening and he had a very hearty vegetable soup/stew with a big salad and bread, again delicious and generous. I can’t recommend this whole place, the library, the cafe and the leisure centre, enough!