Denmark’s largest birch forest is a little piece of Sweden on Danish soil. Called Pinseskoven, it lies in the middle of West Amager. Birch seeds have floated over the Sound from Sweden, landed and taken root here ever since the land was reclaimed during the Second World War.
The name stems from the former warden Mardal Jensen’s tradition of bringing his family here to eat Whitsun lunch. He called it Pinseskoven (literally ‘the Whitsun forest’), and the name stuck.
The forest is particularly beautiful in early summer, when young green foliage stands out against the white tree trunks. In the autumn, the leaves turn to gold, while in winter the trunks are striking due to the bright light. The birch forest is worth a visit in any season, and you may be lucky enough to see herds of deer among the trees.
Special permission has been given to allow Pinseskoven to grow freely without human interference, so the trees are closer to each other than is usual in planted Danish forests. It’s a wild forest, yet close to the capital.
Go out there one morning in mid-May, and listen to the cuckoo and nightingale as the sun rises between the slender trees. If the wind is blowing in the right direction, you’ll even hear the clock strike on City Hall Square. That’s how close this piece of wilderness is to the heart of Copenhagen.
Photo: Martin Rivero
DATA & LINKSPinseskoven
- The Danish Nature Agency’s guide to West Amager (in Danish)
- Instagram : #pinseskoven
- Cooking over an open fire
- A night in a shelter
- Walks in the woods
- Picking berries and mushrooms
- Horse ridingg
- History of the forest: West Amager was dammed during the Second World War as a job-creation project, partly to prevent men being shipped to Germany as forced labour. West Amager has long been used as military training facility, and a lengthy and difficult clean-up was required to remove fragments of ammunition from the area. It was 1984 before the forest could be opened to the public. West Amager and the Pinseskoven forest, which is about 50 years old, were made the subject of a preservation order in 1990.
- In the first season of the television series The Killing, the corpse is found in the Pinseskoven forest.
- Fallow deer. Birds, including nightingales, chaffinches, cuckoos and pheasants. Hares and other rodents. Reptiles, including grass snakes and several species of frog. No fewer than eight of Denmark’s 14 amphibian species are found in West Amager, close to or in the Pinseskoven forest.
- Several fascinating species of insect, especially butterflies such as the comma, mourning cloak, blue underwing and the lesser purple emperor.
- Silver birch and common birch. Several rare plant species, including the purple northern marsh orchid.
- INo, but many of the paths are suitable for wheelchairs. It is 3-4 kilometres from the car park at Nature Centre West Amager.
- No dedicated facilities.
- There is a water supply at the shelter, co-ordinates @55.578675, 12.558033.