Horses. Rabbits. Lambs. Hens. Today, the farm is next door to a culture centre that features rehearsal rooms and hosts live music and a variety of events, but it used to be well outside the city limits. Karen’s Minde in Kongens Enghave has its roots in Danish farming culture, but it is also a story about living well in the big city.
The Children’s Animal Field gives local children the chance to share a horse, keep rabbits and look after chickens. The idea is for urban kids to interact with nature and animals – and the many youngsters who come here amply illustrate its popularity. Close contact with animals is appealing, especially for those who live on the fifth floor in an urban area.
It is not only children who take care of the animals. Adults are able to join the new Sheep Guild, which takes care of a flock of sheep (including slaughtering them when necessary). The sheep graze on the nearby nature reserve, South Harbour Tip, where they help to keep unwanted plants under control.
Adults are always welcome to help out at the Children’s Animal Field. It is run entirely by volunteers, who provide the children with a haven where they can learn about nature, the environment and ecology – and they get to hang out with adult role models as well.
The neighbouring Karen’s Minde Culture House, the ‘South Harbour Castle’, is the district’s oldest listed building. Originally, in the early 1800s, it was a farm owned by a pharmacist who cultivated medicinal herbs on site. In 1880, the building was turned into a mental asylum.
The last residents were sent to other institutions and group homes in 1987, and active local residents in the area fought to keep the site as a culture centre. They succeeded, and Karen’s Minde is now the active heart of the green part of the South Harbour (Sydhavnen).