Like a phoenix, Israel Square has risen from the concrete desert as Copenhagen’s brand-new urban space. It started with the popular Torvehallerne. Now, the southern part of the site has also undergone a renewal process, re-emerging with trees, play, ball games and recreational areas that form a poetic link between Ørsted’s Park and the rest of the city.
When Torvehallerne opened at the north end of the square in 2011, this part of Israel Square became a new hub for many locals and visitors to the city – not just for gourmet shopping, but as a place to meet over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.
This has given the whole of Israel Square an international air. Despite its modernity, it still has historical roots in the old vegetable market and the ramparts that used to stand here. The raised part of the square seems almost to hover above the ground, and is home to old Danish tree species such as oak, maple, chestnut and beech, a green grass rampart, a waterfall and a sunken playing field for street basketball, and so on.
At night, the square is illuminated, which emphasises the feeling that you are up on a flying carpet. The open platform provides direct access to and a link with Ørsted’s Park.
It is a place that, with its soft rounded shapes, invites ball games, tranquility and reflection, romantic picnics, and a sense of being in the middle of the city and yet, not quite.
Photo: Søren Rud