Under the world at Cistererne

I have lived here a long time and I have lost count of the times I have said that we must visit the Cisterns in Sondermarken. So this summer we finally did it.

The Cisterns (Cisternerne in Danish) are a former subterranean reservoir which once contained the sole supply of drinking water for Copenhagen and could hold as much as 16m litres of clean water. As the city expanded and other solutions were found for water supply it is no longer used in this way. For many years it has been a venue for art exhibitions and events.

It is an interesting space to visit and at the same time fascinatingly creepy. It takes a little time to adjust to the darkness when you first enter but there are sections of natural light in places, which are often utilised by the artists. You should remember to bring a warm layer as it is chilly in the caves.

When we visited the current exhibition was The Cisterns X Sambuichi, a Japanese artist (you can read more about the exhibition here) and this runs until February. In conjunction with the exhibition there are also associated events.

We walked around three times when we visited as the first time you need to get yourself adjusted to the darkness and also the pathways. We noticed different parts of the exhibition each time we went around. We will definitely be returning to see the next exhibition.

For more information visit their website here

Photo credit for photos 1 and 3: Jens Markus Lindhe

Exploring Nørrebro

Nørrebro is an area of Copenhagen that if I am honest I normally pass through on my way to somewhere else or I go to a very specific place. You can see it is very different from the neighbouring areas of Frederiksberg and Østerbro. The biggest difference for me is the amount of graffiti. Graffiti in Nørrebro

I took the morning last week when the sun was struggling to show its face to have a cycle around Nørrebro to get more of a feeling for the area. The highlight for me was Jægersborggade (even though it is undergoing massive street reconstruction at the moment) and Grød. This street has been likened to Berlin. The only real parallels I see are the cobbles on the road and the graffiti. I witnessed a quick drug deal on the corner and in a very Danish way the dealer was on a pedal bike! I loved all the little individual shops along this street and when I was here in the summer, there was a great atmosphere. (photo top left below).nørrebro 4Right across Jagtvej from Jægersbrogade is Assistens Cemetery where HC Andersen is buried and there is a board showing many other famous Danes’ graves here. I love the avenue of tall trees running from the entrance and the bright yellow walls running around its parameter. (Top right photo above)

Finally I completed my little tour by cycling down Norrebrogade (bottom left photo above) to Dronnings Louise Bro (Queen Louise Bridge), one of the busiest cycle routes in the whole city. I took a quick detour down Elmegade and Blagårdsgade – two interesting, quirky shopping streets.

There is a great mix of shops along Nørrebrogade from little coffee bars and ethnic grocers and vintage clothes shops. The other streets mentioned also have lots of interesting little places to explore. I would definitely spend more time exploring this area in the future.

I would love to hear any Nørrebro recommendations from you.

Exploring the city – Old Valby

Old Valby is defined as the area close to Valby Langgade and was once the countryside outside the city until the Carlberg Brewery was founded on the top of Valby Bakke. Much of Valby now is very modern and not particularly attractive but I enjoyed a morning stroll around the yellow terraced houses that constitute Old Valby.CIMG3071

There is a story that when the country people came into the city to find prosperity centuries ago they scrapped the country mud from their clogs and created the only hill in Copenhagen, Valby Bakke. Every morning as I cycle my son to school up it, I wish they had come into a different part of the city!old valbyold valby 2 CIMG3077

Exploring the City – Vibeke Vang

As the majority of homes in central Copenhagen are in apartment buildings, I love to explore the little pockets of row houses dotted around the city and they all have a bit of special history associated with them. I was recently in Nørrebro visiting my husband’s workplace and I stumbled upon another small area of row houses called Vibeke Vang in the Haraldsgade area.vibekevang4The houses were build in 1926  as social housing to enable workers to be more self sufficient in where they lived and gave a healthy environment. The homes are now in private ownership. There area is a little more run down in parts than other row house neighbourhoods such as the Potato Rows and Brumleby but still an interesting change from the typical Copenhagen apartment buildings.vibekevang3

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Exploring the city – The Potato Rows (Kartoffelrækkerne)

I had been visiting a friend’s home in this little district of houses close to Svanemøllen Station for a while and was very curious about the history of the area. Then another friend wrote an article in an online publication Heart Home about this place and I was even more fascinated (read Rochelle’s article on page 68 of the Summer issue here)
The area is known as the potato rows as it was build on former potato fields and follows very straight rows of construction. These workers’ homes were build in the late 19th Century and now are super popular places to live – in fact the Danish prime minister lives in one.
There are so many bright flowers in all the gardens and a lovely community feel. In the summer the semi pedestrian streets hold neighbourhood flea markets and community days. I took a walk around with my camera on a sunny Sunday morning and there were people sitting in many of the little enclosed front gardens eating breakfast and relaxing. Most called out a jolly greeting to me.
I loved the feel of the neighbourhood and in my dreams I would live here. If you would like to see more of what these gorgeous little homes looks like inside, this interiors website has a great feature on one of them.

Kolonihaven (Danish Allotments)

I expect most people have spotted the little collections of small, dark wooden houses clustered along the metro route to the airport and perhaps assumed they were summer houses. You can see them all over the city and other cities in Denmark.They are in fact allotment sites which starte to spring up in Copenhagen from the 1890s to give working class families space to grow vegetables outside the dense inner city areas.
There are around 62,000 allotments today,and although they no longer sit outside the city limits, they are much desired properties to own. Each has a little house designed to shelter in but they are now so much more, Owners are only allowed to stay in the little buildings between April and October and just a quick look at them shows how much they are valued as space to grow and be outside in the summer months.
I would love to have one of these gorgeous little places.
The photos here are from the Kolonihaven close to the Green Cycle Route in Frederiksberg

Exploring the city – Brumleby

If you are travelling along Østre Alle and Østerbrogade your eye may well be caught by some unusual white and yellow terrace houses. This unique little housing area is known as Brumleby and was one of the first social housing areas built in Copenhagen between 1852 and 1872 after the cholera epidemic. 

Workers were moved out of the city and  the grim and unhealthy conditions in tenements there. The houses here were no bigger and had shared outside toilet facilities (which you can still see today although their use has changed since the homes now have their own private facilities) but were in a fresher environment. The houses are still social housing (with a waiting list) and there are less homes and they are now larger than in the early days. 

It is a lovely area to wander round as long as you respect people’s privacy and gives the feel of a homely and friendly community. There are well tended little front gardens, children’s toys scattered around and hollyhocks galore in the summer. I love the little quirky play area (in the background of the first picture), which is made up of scaled replicas of the houses.
It is so unlike anywhere else in Copenhagen and I am delighted that it is now a protected area.