Nokken is unique. Weird, whimsical houses and sheds nestle in gardens that reflect the wildness of nature – there’s no dull domesticity here! A bottle of beer on a bench in the sun overlooking the harbour and the high walls and tall chimneys of Ørsted Power Station. Small jetties for boats. And a little general store where residents gather in the summer, greeting the day trippers.

Nowhere else in Copenhagen is there such a sharp contrast to the strict, carefully planned urban development in new neighbourhoods like Sluseholmen, Havneholmen and Islands Brygge.

The allotment gardens at Nokken are an untamed idyll. The small plots, of which there are more than 100, actually started out as an informal shacks inhabited by fishermen and labourers in the 1920s and ’30s. Since then, the area has evolved naturally and has never been subject to modern legislation.

In future, Nokken’s distinctive character will be safeguarded by a local plan that stipulates that the area is reserved for allotments and can’t be used for modern housing. Unusually, the plan doesn’t include requirements for what the buildings should look like.

They just need to be fireproof and below a certain height. Otherwise, room is left for experimentation, which means Nokken will continue to be a strange hodgepodge of architectural styles.

There is also a public area down by the water that is open to visitors. A new path is planned along the water’s edge, as well as a cycle path through the area, which will connect Nokken with Copenhagen’s other cycle paths.

Photo: KontraScanpix/aframe

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