A few short decades ago, Islands Brygge was a rundown industrial area. The residents had other ideas, however, and now the quayside along the harbour is one of the most desirable places to spend the summer in Copenhagen. Not only that, but Islands Brygge has become a popular place to live.
Throughout the summer, the harbour park is the setting for concerts and other cultural events, swimming, barbecues, ball games, pétanque and sunset walks with views of both new and old Copenhagen.
A time traveller from the 1950s would barely recognise the place.Back then, the place was full of industrious activity, but today you’re more likely to see people relaxing and soaking up the sun. Where once stood mountains of coal, there is now grass. Bicycles have replaced the railroad, and the thousands of locals hard at work have given way to even greater numbers enjoying summer pursuits.
Traces of the past are still visible in the Harbour Park, and are used to highlight its history. Railway wagons, rail tracks, remains of ships and equipment have been incorporated into the park. Many of the old buildings are now used as homes, and preserved foundations used to screen areas off.
In the late 1970s, active local residents of the area had already started to plan the transformation of this derelict and contaminated area into an urban park. They created the first part of the park themselves, financing it with their own money. That was in 1984. The council accepted the plans, and ten years later the harbour park was expanded.
Since then, a cultural centre and harbour bath have been added, making the place even more popular.It hosts events from March to October. The Kulturhavn (Culture Harbour) summer festival is particularly well attended.
Photo: Thomas Rousing