The Yellow Town

Birds singing from the treetops, peaceful Sundays in the blooming gardens, children playing and sunshine on the yellow façades. It could be a Danish village, but it’s not! Named after the colour of the houses, the Yellow Town – known as Chinatown in less politically correct days – is located in the most unexpected place in Copenhagen.

Between Vesterbro and Kalvebod Brygge is DSB’s huge central railway workshop. This no-man’s-land, about the size of 70 football pitches, is littered with railway tracks, wild flowers, scrapped wagons and large workshop buildings. And then – in a corner of it all – you come across the idyll that is the Yellow Town.

The houses were built for railway staff in 1909, so they could be on the scene in just a few minutes in the event of a derailment or broken tracks. Alarms were installed in each of the homes to guarantee a rapid response.

Once one of Copenhagen’s biggest workplaces, today there is an air of abandonment here on Otto Busses Vej, named after a former director of engineering who played a key role in the development of the steam locomotive.

One of the entrances to the Yellow Town is via a low tunnel from the busy Enghavevej. Entering this graffiti-lined passageway is like disappearing down a rabbit hole in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and popping up somewhere completely different. Squinting in the darkness, you make out a yellow light at the end of the tunnel.

Don’t expect to find much in the way of activities in the Yellow Town – though there is a small playground and picnic tables – but do expect to feel that you have discovered a quite special spot in Copenhagen that time has forgotten.

Photo: Søren Rud

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