The Southern Field
A young runner has worked up a sweat and doesn’t have the strength to glance up at the squirrel scampering in the tree above. The Southern Field, with its hills and ravines, is one of the most challenging running routes in Copenhagen. The new ‘light hare’ provides an even tougher test for runners.
Choose your own pace and keep up with the signals from the ‘hares’ – lights on poles that line the route. Out here there are also plenty of other ways to test your fitness, including balancing on tree stumps and jumping on trampolines.
The light hare is just one way in which new life has been breathed into the once-ageing people’s park. The Life and Light project has given one of the most popular green spaces in Copenhagen a facelift – but this is more than mere modernisation. The project has also recreated some of the park’s best-loved buildings and monuments, which had been lost or neglected.
The Norwegian section has been rejuvenated. This Nordic wilderness, with its little waterfall and narrow bridge over the stream, now serves as a base for Frederiksberg’s nature guides. And there are plenty of natural phenomena to look at in the Southern Field, especially insects. Small areas of wetland are being created and recreated to provide habitats for an even larger number of animal and plant species.
If you take a quiet stroll beneath the big, ancient trees, you will be following in the footsteps of the poet Adam Oehlenschläger. The son of the palace steward at Frederiksberg Palace, he spent much of his childhood here, soaking up inspiration for many of his later poems. One of them is even called ‘Søndermarken’. Now that the original buildings have been brought back to life, visitors are able to share his love of the Hermitage (Eremithytten) and the Chinese Pavilion.
Photo: Scanpix/Mads Nissen
DATA & LINKSSøndermarken
(The Southern Field)
- Running, including the interactive ‘light hare’
- Peace and quiet
- Cultural history
- Nature guides
- Exercise courses
- Area where dogs are allowed off the lead
- Picnics (barbecues are prohibited)
- Open around the clock
- Søndermarken was originally part of the park system to Frederiksberg Palace and only reserved for nobility. The garden was built by the era's ideals of the Romantic style, which replaced the strings and symmetrical French garden style. Now the gardens imitate nature, and also drew elements from distant places into, whether it was Greek temples, Chinese pavilions, Norwegian log cabins or statues, antique stil.
- In 1852 it was opened to the public and has since been a genuine public park, has been the center of both concerts, political rallies and demonstrations over the years.
- The poet Adam Oehlenschläger have a statue in the park. He spent the son of slotsforvalteren at Frederiksberg Castle a large part of his childhood here and took inspiration for his poems. One of them is called 'Søndermarken' and now the buildings are brought back, so you can recognize his joy in the hermit and the Chinese pavilion.
- The Southern Field once played an important role in Copenhagen’s water supply. Today, its cisterns serve as atmospheric underground exhibition spaces.
- Denmark’s only stalactite cave is also found here.
- The Southern Field and Frederiksberg Gardens were originally one park, but Roskildevej separated them. Today, The Southern Field is a wild, romantic garden, while the park is more orderly.
- Some parts of the Southern Field consist of natural woodlands full of old trees, including beech, lime and chestnut.
- Squirrels are a common sight.
- Foxes thrive here too, but keep themselves to themselves.
- In the summer, bats swoop through the air, feasting on the park’s many insects.
- Some of the flatter footpaths are suitable for wheelchair users, but please note that the area is hilly.
- No disabled toilet.
- Restaurant Bjælkehuset serves lunch – it is said that the famous dessert deep-fried Camembert and jam was invented here.
- A row of small, old-fashioned lunch restaurants lines Pile Allé.
- You can also bring a packed lunch, but barbecuing is forbidden.