As locals know, behind this long, yellow wall lies great beauty. Assistens Cemetery in Nørrebro is no ordinary graveyard. It is also a public park and a cultural treasure trove, where you can explore the history of Denmark, sunbathe on the lawns and relax with friends under the trees.
For decades, young people from Nørrebro have studied for exams or picnicked in the company of Søren Kierkegaard, Hans Christian Andersen, Peter von Scholten and H.C. Oersted, among the cemetery’s nooks and crannies, trees, ivy, rhododendron bushes the size of houses and ancient, picturesque tombs.
As soon as the sun shows its face, families with young children, joggers, retirees, cyclists and lovers flock to the cemetery’s many green corners. This unique oasis has been compared to the famous historic cemeteries of Paris and London, and with good reason.
The old chapel has been converted into a culture centre that tells the story of the cemetery’s 250-year history, the many famous people buried here and its unique nature. Assistens Culture Centre organises tours of the cemetery, and its schools service provides educational resources based on the cemetery and its history.
The cemetery is still in use, and the graves, both old and more recent, display highly personal touches. The cemetery is now under a conservation order, so this national treasure will be protected from new development projects and continue to fascinate visitors.
Photo: Scanpix/Nikolai Linares
DATA & LINKSAssistens Kirkegård (Assistens Cementery)
2200 Copenhagen N
Tel./fax: (+45) 35 37 19 17
- Walking and jogging
- Peace and contemplation
- Open from April to September, 07:00–22:00. October to March, 07:00–19:00.
- Assistens Cemetery was established in 1760 when the graveyards inside the city walls ran out of space. It was created to ‘assist’ with new burial plots – hence the name.
- More recent cultural personalities buried in Assistens include Michael Strunge, Dan Turèll, Ebbe Kløvedal Reich, Thomas Koppel and Natasja, Jens Jørgen Thorsen and Ib Spang Olsen.
- Weeping ash and weeping beech, the classic ‘mourning trees’.
- A number of exotic trees such as Caucasian walnut, Manchurian cherry, snake-bark maple, ginkgo, sugar maple, bitter orange, Persian ironwood, almond tree, dove tree, dawn redwood, tulip tree, magnolia and cork tree.
- Squirrels, sparrow hawks, wood pigeons, jays, woodcocks, passerines and titmice.
- Many of the paths in the cemetery are wheelchair friendly.
- Plenty of shops and food and drink outlets on Nørrebrogade.