Refshale Island

Once, this was a workplace for 10,000 people. Today you can choose to see Refshale Island as a monument to its former glory, but the peninsula is also a breeding ground for some wild ideas and activities.

This rough industrial area is rapidly changing. Danish machinery and world-class ships were once produced here, but you will now find galleries, concert halls, sports facilities, beach bars, restaurants, space-rocket production… it’s as if just about anything is possible on the peninsula. And this includes organising the Eurovision Song Contest in a vast, deserted shed once used for shipbuilding.

Visitors can water-ski (for a fee) on a course at the entrance to the island, try their hand at go-karting, climb the world’s highest indoor climbing course, go kayaking, play beach volleyball – even indoors – or attend one of the many cultural events that take place here throughout the year. The metal festival, Copenhell, is the most high-profile.

But it’s also a great place to walk or ride a bike and observe the changing face of Copenhagen. Buildings come, buildings go. Where once was asphalt, plants are now popping up. Where once were plants, buildings are emerging.

On a cold winter’s day, when the place seems deserted, let your imagination run wild and try to picture thousands of people working in the gigantic B&W shipyard. The world’s first ocean-going motor ship, Selandia, was built here in 1912.

The shipyard closed in 1996. Today, the island is Copenhagen’s version of a frontier town, but the idea is that housing will eventually be built here. The former shipyard island will also be Copenhagen’s first CO2-neutral district.

Photo: Scanpix/Jens Nørgaard Larsen

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