The Ørestad Canals

Kayaking, cooling off in summer, ice-skating in winter – the canals are the lifeblood of Ørestad. The blue thread that runs through Copenhagen’s new district on Amager isn’t just there for show. Visitors can go boating on the canals or relax by their banks and enjoy the reflection of modern buildings and blue skies in the water.

Ørestad rises like a miniature Manhattan over Amager Common and West Amager. Where once were flat ground, landfill and military training facilities, there are now exclusive and innovative homes, right next door to Amager Common and West Amager – and everything is linked together by the canals, which wend their way from north to south. These waterways have their own ecosystem, and are home to ducks, herons and fish.

In summer, kayaks and small boats throng the canals, which are made for sailing. Boats and kayaks can be borrowed by over-15s at a number of locations, including the 8-Tallet café in Ørestad South by West Amager and Kong Kaffe in the University area.

The canals are not just there to look pretty; they serve an important practical purpose as part of Ørestad’s flood defences. Excess storm water is discharged into the canals, which lead out into the harbour mouth. And should there ever be more water than the canals are able to siphon off, the lakes and wetlands on Amager Common and West Amager are easily capable of taking up the slack.

All of this is controlled by the Ørestad Water Guild, which also monitors the thickness of the ice on the canals in winter. If the ice is thick enough, the canals are swept for skating.

Photo: Scanpix/Christian Lindgren

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