The Shooting Range Garden

Drive along Istedgade or Vesterbrogade, and you’ll get an impression of endless rows of buildings with little green space. Vesterbro is one of Denmark’s most densely populated areas. But tucked away between the streets, like lush secrets, lie parks and gardens. The Shooting Range Garden is the largest and most popular of them.

From the outside, it’s almost invisible. Approaching from Istedgade, you encounter nothing but a massive wall. The actual entrance is via Vesterbrogade, behind Absalongade and the Museum of Copenhagen. Once you’ve found it, it’s like stepping into a completely different Vesterbro, one with green lawns, sunbathers, tables and benches, flower beds and space for reflection.

However, it’s not completely peaceful – the area usually echoes to the sounds of happy children. One half of the large garden is a playground with lots of play equipment and a paddling pool in summer. It is staffed on weekdays and offers a wide range of activities. The Shooting Range Garden has been a haven for Vesterbro’s many children since 1946.

A door leads to another, quieter green area on Otto Krabbe’s Square. Come here on a weekend morning or when people are leaving work during the week, and the atmosphere resembles that of similar small green areas in New York: locals meeting, taking kids and dogs out for some air, walking, talking and drinking coffee from one of the area’s many cafés.

The actual Shooting Range Wall was set up in 1887 to protect Istedgade residents from stray bullets when high-society types used the area as a shooting range. The garden was originally linked with the building that now houses the Museum of Copenhagen, which is really worth a visit. It was built for the Royal Copenhagen Shooting Society in 1787.

Photo: Martin Sørensen

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