Gentofte Lake/Brobæk Bog

Gentofte Lake is quite a surprise. As the crow flies, it is just eight kilometres from City Hall Square and has a busy motorway on one side. Yet this is one of the country’s cleanest lakes, and the nature here is unusually rich and varied. Neighbouring Brobæk Bog is a conservation area, with an alluring, jungle-like atmosphere.

Brobæk Bog is often colloquially called ‘Insulin Bog’, because it has been used as a recreational area for diabetes patients at the Nordic Insulin Laboratory, now part of Novo Nordisk.

The forest in the northern part of the bog has not been cultivated by humans for half a century, but has been allowed to develop naturally. This has given plants and animals good conditions in which to thrive – several rare orchids are among the natural riches that grow here.

The bog was originally part of Gentofte Lake, but the lake was drained and used for peat extraction, so is much smaller nowadays.

Runners know that the route around the lake is 2.5 kilometres, and can be expanded by straying from the path. With beautiful vistas along the way, it is a popular route for runners and walkers.

The old Gentofte village once stood by the lake. Few traces remain, apart from some old yellow buildings from 1795. These were part of the hosiery factory belonging to the Scot, Alexander Mitchell.  He built his factory by the lake because it needed large amounts of water for dyeing and bleaching stockings.

The lake also provided drinking water for Copenhagen right up to 1959, and the water is still very clean – in fact, it is one of the ten cleanest lakes in the country. You can hire boats on the lake, and fish from them if you have a permit. Fishing permits are available from the council.

Photo: Scanpix/Anders Tvevad

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DATA & LINKS

Gentofte Sø/Brobæk Mose
(Gentofte Lake/Brobæk Bog)

  • Running
  • Play (there is a playground at the southern end of the lake)
  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Boat rides
  • Nature
  • Bird watching
  • Gentofte Lake was formed during the last Ice Age, and people have lived here since the Stone Age. The ‘Gen’ in Gentofte is thought to mean ‘the giving’ and referred to the lake’s abundance of fish. The location was ideal, with ample access to clean water and plenty of food.

  • Later, Gentofte grew into a village close to the lake, but there are not many traces of it left. The area is now part of Greater Copenhagen.
  • Over the years, Gentofte Lake has been used for industry, peat, water and reeds, and its banks have been used for grazing. Today, however, it is used exclusively for recreational purposes.
  • Carp from the lake were served at Christian IV’s court. Some specimens here can grow as large as 10 kg.
  • Many birds and insects. During summer, many small birds inhabit the scrub, including songbirds such as the nightingale and song thrush. A wide range of web-footed birds and waterfowl are found at the lake.

  • Around Brobæk Bog, nature is allowed to take care of itself. As a result, a jungle-like atmosphere is emerging, with toppled and dead trees that provide good habitats for both birds and insects.

  • The area also boasts an unusual number of orchid species.
  • The path along Gentofte Lake is wheelchair-friendly.
  • None, but the lake and the bog are popular picnic spots.
1 km

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