Cityringen / The City Ring

Today - Sunday 29 September 2019 - Cityringen / The City Ring - the new metro line in Copenhagen opened with a ceremony on the square in front of city hall. For the afternoon and through to midnight transport around the city was free and people were out in large numbers to see and to use the new stations and the extended train system.

Construction work started over eight years ago so citizens are now reclaiming large parts of the streetscape and squares of their city that have been fenced off behind high green hoardings as the seventeen new stations were constructed.

Bus routes too will alter drastically on 13 October with fewer buses actually crossing the city … buses will come in to a station on metro City Ring and then head back out again or will run around the edge of the city centre rather than cutting across. So, inevitably, over the coming months and years, the ways in which people move around and through the city will change.

There will be major interchanges at Kongens Nytorv and Frederiksberg where the existing lines and the new metro circle line intersect and major interchanges to other forms of transport at the new metro stations at existing stations for suburban and country-wide trains at Østerport, Nørreport and the central railway station.

All these new stations have extensive areas for leaving bicycles at street level or underground so it is clear that people will make their journeys by swapping from bike to metro to foot to bus or whatever combination makes for the best or the easiest or quickest route.

The engineering work - constructing over 15 kilometres of tunnels and huge excavations below street level for the new stations much of the work below important historic buildings, below residential area, under the canals or under existing infrastructure of water pipes, sewage pipes and so on - is clearly very very impressive but, and quite deliberately, the new stations follow the form of the existing stations so are relatively low key at street level with simple glass boxes over the lifts to the platforms and simple steps down and, for most stations, glass pyramids that throw light down into the station concourses below.

But that does not mean that the stations will not have a huge impact as most have been constructed along with dramatic improvements to the squares and streets around the station so, over the coming years, the real change will be in the ways that the metro will revitalise and transform some areas of the city - areas such as the newly renovated square and the streets around Enghave Plads or the area around Trianglen - and the metro will mean quicker and easier access to and from the densely-occupied residential areas of Vesterbro and Nørrebro and - with the next phase of work - the new residential areas of the north and south harbour …. planning that has been described by the newspaper Politiken as “binding together the suburbs.”.

the Copenhagen metro

the impressive new concourse below Kongens Nytorv and the area to leave a bicycle below street level at Marmorkirken / The Marble Church

you can be certain that it will never be possible to take a photograph like this again ….. that is with the cycle store empty


Enghave Plads

Vesterbro - the part of the city immediately west of the central railway station - is a densely-occupied area of apartment buildings with most dating from around 1900.

This was a strongly working class part of the city with the main rail line forming the southern boundary and with the meat markets, gas works and the harbour presumably supplying much of the work and the Carlsberg brewery was, until a few years ago, to the west.

The street pattern of the district is complicated with two main roads - Istedgade and Sønder Boulevard - running out at an angle from the railway station at the north-east to the south east but with secondary cross streets of traditional apartment buildings running north to south and there are also several streets running across the area from south east to north west so it a complex pattern of a grid but overlaid with a Saint Andrew cross so some streets meet or cross at odd angles.

At the south end of Istedgade is Enghave Plads - a large open square much wider east to west than the distance across from north to south and it narrows at the centre. This square is where several tram routes met so it was always an important point in the area and immediately to the west is a very large square with a major public garden - Enghave Parken - that has large apartment buildings on the north, west and south sides so the two spaces run together though divided by a busy main road - Enghavevej.

Enghave Plads is the site of one of the major new metro stations on the new circle line that will open at the end of September. The east end of the square and some of the surrounding streets have been boarded off for about a decade with major construction work for the metro but the boarding has just been taken down and the space with it's new landscaping opened officially.

There are large areas for leaving bicycles across the north or darker side of the entrance steps to the metro station but across the south side of the metro entrance there are raised beds with Corten edging and long raised bench seats and then to the west more open space for events. This area has striking new seating that has deep red slats on a black metal frame and these form great bold curves though the initial reaction to the seating has been mixed - some asking exactly why people would want to sit next to each other in long rows even if they are curved. Mature trees to the west, along the main road, have been kept and provide a baffle against the sound of traffic and shade for more seating and an area that is fenced for ball games.

Copenhagen Metro

Vesterbro with the main railway line to the south, the MeatPacking district in the cirve of the railway and the main railway station top right
Enghave Plads just left of centre and Enghave Parken towards the left side

Enghave Plads from the east with the square of Enghave Parken beyond

tram leaving the square and heading along Istedgade towards the railway station … the area between the buildings and the central space has been paved over and the main through traffic has been restricted to the north side of the square


the new circle line of the Copenhagen Metro to open 29 September


The major new extension of the Metro in Copenhagen - the circle line round the historic centre - will now open on 29 September.

Above is the important new station at Trianglen at the south-east entrance to Fælledparken. It shows that much of the new hard landscape in place but the planned avenues of trees along each road edge are still to be planted and architectural features - such as the glass pyramids that will throw natural light down onto the platforms - are still to be installed.

Most of the new stations are at about this stage of completion above ground but the main reason for delay appears to have been caused by late delivery of the trains and the postponement of mechanical, electrical and safety testing.

Photographs of the station platforms and various designs and the different and specific colours for tiling, appropriate for the particular neighbourhood, have been published in some newspapers and show not just different and specific schemes for each station but mark a clear departure from the consistent design and the concrete finish of the existing stations on the first two metro lines that were constructed at the beginning of the century.

update - Gammel Strand


the official site for the city Metro has news, general information, drawings and a short description of the new stations along with pdf plans of the area around each station at street level

Work is moving forward fast on the hard landscaping at street level above the new metro station at Gammel Strand … a station on the new circle line that will open later in the summer.

The steps down to the platforms and the glass covered lift tower are in place and setts are now being laid in the traditional scallop pattern across the main area so the new arrangement for this important historic street is becoming clear.

There was consultation with local businesses and local residents. Vehicles will be excluded, apart from deliveries, so the only through traffic will be a new narrow bike lane but with markings showing lanes to cycle in both directions.

The existing road, now being removed, runs parallel to the building frontages with just a narrow pavement so with little space for outside tables and chairs for the restaurants here. With the bike lane set forward closer to and parallel to the canal there should be much more space for people to sit outside and the gentle curve of the bike lane takes that bike traffic along the side of the canal further west rather than running as the road does now through in a straight line to Snaregade.

There will be steps down from the street level of Gammel Strand to a lower canal-side level for access to boats but as a sun trap it will certainly be used by people simply wanting to sit and watch what is happening on the water.

read more


new metro station at Orientkaj

A couple of trips out to Nordhavn recently meant an opportunity to look at progress on the new metro station at the top of Orientkaj. This is just beyond the point where the metro track emerges from underground and trains will move up onto an elevated concrete track. It is difficult to judge the design of the station but it is clearly very different from the well detailed steel and glass work of the stations on Amager on the two lines at the south end of the existing system.

Here at Nordhavn there are hefty square concrete frames set across and supporting the track and what appears to be a large box or presumably a large container suspended over the platforms that is presumably a reference to the container port here.

Just beyond the station, the elevated track stops abruptly but it should continue on to the Oceankaj Terminals where the largest cruise ships now dock.

top left - view from the south showing the track from the metro rising up from underground just before the station. Tow views of the station from the Orientkaj and - bottom right - the view across the construction site from the west.



The large building to the east of the new metro station at Orientkaj - on the north side of the dock - is the new Copenhagen International School designed by CF Møller and completed in 2017. The scheme for swimming and water sport facilities is also by CF Møller.

When the first stage of new metro line M4 out to Nordhavn opens then the trains will leave the circle line at Østerport and head out towards the harbour and, after a new station at Nordhavn, will climb up onto elevated track and a new station at Orientkaj.

Here, as the trains pull into the station, to the right, looking east towards the sound, there will be a view down one of the largest docks in this part of the harbour with a line of large brick and concrete warehouses along Orientkaj itself … most dating from the second half of the last century and most bonded warehouses. These face across the dock to the new Copenhagen International School designed by CF Møller and completed in 2017.

CF Møller have designed a scheme for the dock itself with a series of islands and boarded walkways in front of the school for swimming areas, an area for water sports, - including kayak polo - and changing rooms and a sauna with facilities to be used by the school but also by the local community.

The impressive scale of the dock will be broken and the area takes another step away from its immediate past with nearly all evidence for the container port - the very reason the dock is here - lost but, and again it is a big but, it is schemes like this that will bring at least some nature back down to the quay side and will make the water a strong part of life in this area rather than simply a dramatic backdrop.


next lines for the metro in Copenhagen

construction work where the new metro line at Nordhavn emerges from underground and rises up to the new station at the start of the elevated section of track

the new station from Orientkaj

Even before the new inner-city circle line of the metro in Copenhagen has opened, there are ongoing discussions about the stage after the next stage - if you follow what I mean!

Construction work is progressing fast on the spur line of the metro that will go out to Nordhavn - the north harbour district - and, eventually, on out to the cruise ship terminals and, in the other direction, the south spur down to the south harbour - the Sydhavnslinjen - is also moving forward fast with the green boarding up around the site of the excavations for the new station at Enghave Brygge near the power station. That line will continue on to Ny Ellebjerg where it will link with the main suburban train lines and both these metro lines should open in 2025.

So, the next new section of metro, and still at the planning stage, could be an M6 line to form an arc across the top of the island of Amager. It would link the two original metro lines that head south down through Amager - so the M1 down to Ørestad and Vestamager through Islands Brygge and the M2 line down to the airport through Amagerbro - but will also continue west and through a tunnel to re-join the circle line and to the east, beyond a new station at Refshaleøen, the east end of the new line will also go under the harbour - either to form a link back to the new circle line at Østerport or to run north to Nordhavn.

Even more ambitious are proposals for a further new line out from the M6 - an M7 line - that could take the metro under the Øresund to Malmö in a new tunnel some 22 kilometres long to be excavated on a line north of the Øresund Bridge.

From Copenhagen central station to Malmö central station would then take about 23 minutes and the line could be finished and opened by 2035.

Obviously, this will be another amazing engineering project in the city but, more than that, such major infrastructure will influence how the city will work in the future - so which areas will prosper and change because of these new fast transport connections - and it will form the framework for major developments and major expansion of the city through to the middle of the century and on.


the metro, the bus and the harbour ferry in Copenhagen


With the start of a new year this is clearly a time for new plans and new schemes in the city. On the 24th January, the government launched a reorganisation of public transport in Copenhagen.

Metroselskabet - the company who now control the city Metro - will be combined with Movia who run city bus services and the Havnebuser or harbour ferry service.

The new overarching organisation is to be called Hovestadens Offentlige Transport / Metropolitan Public Transport or HOT for short and will cover the provision of transport across 34 municipalities.

Will HOT replace or at least change the responsibilities of DOT - Din Offentlige Transport / Your Public Transport that was set up in 2014? This was formed by DSB - the operators of regional trains - with Movia and Metroselskabet in order to coordinate strategy and to provide a single access point for passengers who need information about ticketing and times and so on across the system.

The reorganisation appears to be a sensible attempt to coordinate transport across the city and certainly at a sensible time … so before the completion and the opening of the new inner ring of the metro. Metroselskabet was set up by the city and by the port authority and has been organised primarily for the construction work and for the completion and opening of the metro system and not for the ongoing running of the metro system.

However, there has already been criticism - not least from Movia.

Current transport is organised across the region - so across Sjæland - and includes the suburban rail system but at this stage, as far as I can see, the S trains will not be included in the remit of the new body. Some have also been critical because this does not include any new money so seems to be simply about co-ordination and synchronisation and does not tackle capacity or improvements as such with no provision for additional equipment. This is important because the current metro line is running at almost full capacity … good in terms of the economics but not so good for passenger comfort.

To be fair, it may well be better to make further decisions after the new metro line opens this summer because the new line is bound to establish very different travel patterns for people in the city … at the very least it creates important new interchange points for swapping between one mode of transport and another and in the months after the opening will certainly reveal new congestion points in the system.



Back in June, Movia announced that new harbour ferries will go into service in January 2020. These will be electric - recharging overnight but also topping up batteries at both ends of the route at Refshaleøen and Teglholmen. The new service will run every 30 minutes. As the service carries 425,000 passengers each year, this is an important and - with so many new apartments being built at the south harbour - a significant part of the city transport system.

new information panels on the Metro


Metro stations in Copenhagen are to have new flat-screen information panels on the platforms and these are part of a new information system.

The first of these new signs were installed at Vestamager and Ørestad at the end of 2018 but all the old-style signs will be replaced in all the stations over the next few months.

This is part of the preparations for July this year when Cityringen - a new inner city line - is to open.

It will be interesting to see not just how platforms and linking staircases are laid out at the new main interchanges - Kongens Nytorv will be an exceptionally busy station where the exiting lines and the new line cross - but also interesting to see where signs are placed and how signs and graphics will be used to control and direct the movement of people.

Commuters tend to move fast on auto pilot but at Kongens Nytorv, but also at Nørreport and at the new station at the City Hall, commuters will come up hard and fast against huge numbers of tourists who are new to the city and its transport systems and that's where that interface between design and human behaviour is crucial.

Can anyone explain why people stop in their tracks at the most inconvenient places - like immediately at the top of an escalator or the bottom of a flight of steps - to look at a map or gaze up to the ceiling? Are they looking for divine intervention?

There should be a new code of conduct … if you are lost step to the side.

And actually the same should apply when your mobile phone rings. Watch. It's amazing just how many people either stop walking wherever they are or at best slow down noticeably when their phone rings. I'm not sure that signs with even the cleverest graphics could deal with that problem.

new metro hoardings


Around the city, the final stages of work on the new metro line means that the high hoardings around the engineering works for new stations have come down and work on new paving and hard landscaping has started but the extension of the metro out to the south harbour is not due to open until 2024. 

New hoardings have gone up around the site of the new station at Enghave Brygge and the paintings, in 12 sections on the theme of Evolution, are pretty amazing extending for nearly 500 metres … said to be the longest continuous graffiti in Europe.

The artists are Ulrik Schiødt, Peter Skensved, Michael Wisniewski og Caligr Oner står bag rekordmaleriet med deltagelse fra graffitikunstnerne Balstrøm, Welin, Sabe, Crema, Tonek, Toms, Name, Debs, Code, More, Then, Dae og Even.


a new metro station at Trianglen

gravel area at the entrance to Fælled Park ... hoardings have been taken down but there is now a wire fence around the excavations and remaining equipment of the engineers for work to complete the new metro station here ... the park is to the left and Trianglen immediately to the right ... the post office building to the left was designed by Thorvald Jørgensen and completed in 1922 and Østre Power Station, on the far side of Øster Allé, was designed by Ludvig Fenger and Ludvig Clausen and built in 1902



The main engineering works for the new metro station at Trianglen are finished and the high hoardings around the site have been taken down so once more it’s possible to appreciate the size of the open space here at the south-east corner of Fælledparken / Fælled Park.

A local plan for this major work was adopted in 2011 and published in 2012 … one of 14 local plans drafted for the 14 new metro stations that are to be built in the city with the construction of the new metro line.

In the introduction to the report it was stressed that the "layout of the station space must be in interaction with neighbouring areas around Øster Allé and Fælledparken."

This was an important policy because the space, in front of the main entrance into the park, acts as an area of transition from the busy area of Trianglen itself to the open green space and the trees of the park but this area of gravel has also been used in the past as an open space for various events such as markets so no new buildings were proposed apart from the concrete steps down into the station and necessary vents and roof lights and these, along with spaces for parking for bikes, have been kept to the two outer sides along Blegdamsvej and Øster Allé and will be screened by being set within double lines of trees. 

The steps down into the metro station fit rationally with the main directions from which people will approach the station or their main destinations as they leave … so steps at the corner, on the axis of the entrance to the park, are angled towards Trianglen; steps just inset from Blegdamsvej will be used by passengers heading to or coming from the Red Cross building, the Masonic Hall or, further on, the hospital and the east steps will serve people going to the post office or heading up Øster Allé towards the football stadium. 


These outer edges of the space will have hard paving - traditional Copenhagen setts or cobbles - but the central area will be returned to a level gravel surface. The planting of trees reinforces the simple symmetry of the layout of the space but also acts as a visual barrier between the open gravel-covered space and the road traffic beyond.

Improvements are not restricted to the area immediately around the metro station for there will also be new planting of trees and changes to the hard landscaping at this south end of Øster Allé and along Blegdamsvej that, with planting and improved paving, is rapidly becoming one of the most attractive of the boulevards in the city.

photograph and drawing from Metroselskabet

a new metro line


In March it was announced that a contract has been signed for work to start on constructing a new metro line - Sydhavnslinjen or South Harbour Line - with new stations at Ny Ellebjerg, Mozarts Plads, Sluseholmen, Enghave Brygge and Havneholmen. 

There will be a major transport interchange with the suburban railway at Ny Ellebjerg and the line will serve the large area of housing to the south of the western cemetery before running in a long arc through the new development of the South Harbour and from there to Enghave Brygge - just to the south of the power station - and then on to a new station at the west end of the shopping centre at Fisketorvet which is to be enlarged and remodelled.

Just to the west of the main railway station the south line will join the new metro line - Cityringen - the new metro line that opens next year. 

The new metro line from Ny Ellebjerg will be finished in 2024 and it has been calculated that each day there will be 29,000 journeys along the new line so around 9 million passengers a year.


work on the new metro stations from the air

Kongens Nytorv - photograph from MAGASINET KBH


Last November the online site MAGASINET KBH published an amazing set of aerial photographs of the nineteen metro stations now being built for the new City Ring in Copenhagen. These show just how extensive the major engineering project has been but they also hint at just how much the new metro stations will change so many parts of the city. 

Of course the obvious change will be in how people will be able to move rapidly and easily from one part to another but the new stations will also revitalise areas and for key interchanges will influence how people use the surrounding streets and buildings and how they move around; how often they go to an area and how long they stay. 

Just how much change these patterns of movement will bring can be seen in the effect at Nørreport. There was a major train station there on the railway running east to west, from the old terminal at Østerport to the main central station, dating from the early 20th century, so long before the first stage of the metro was completed. Initially the metro station below the railway, serving a metro line running north south, seemed simply to reinforce routes taken by people as they arrived at or left the station … most people were heading into the shopping area. So it seemed to be more a matter of the number of people rather than what they were doing or where they were going. But the extensive remodelling of the street level by COBE has completely revitalised the area. 

Surely there will be a similar impact at the new stations on the new line - particularly at major transport interchanges including the square at Kongens Nytorv; at the square in front of the City Hall at Østerport and at Frederiksberg but other new metro stations are at key public open areas … particularly Trianglen - close to Fælledparken and the national football stadium - Nørrebro, at the centre of perhaps the most diverse and densely occupied part of the city; the station at the corner of the cemetery, Assistens Kirkegård, at Nørrebros Runddel and at Enghave Plads, out to the west of the central station, which will be an access point to the massive redevelopment on the old site of the Carlsberg brewery.


The photographs also include the engineering works for the spur line that will run out from the ring to the north harbour and there will be a second spur down to the south harbour.

the hoardings are coming down


Work is moving forward to complete the new City Ring of the metro in Copenhagen. One of the main new interchanges with the existing metro lines will be at Kongens Nytorv and there, after six years of being fenced off, the high green hoardings that have kept traffic and people to the fringes of the square are coming down. For now there are wire fences around the works but already the square seems larger and more open.

The next stage at ground level will be replanting all the trees and the reinstatement of the stone paving.

The equestrian statue of Christian V has been at the centre of the square since 1688 and remained there through all the works.

more metro hoardings


looking across the centre of the engineering works for the extension of the metro station at this key point of interchange ... the equestrian statue of the king Christian V survives in isolation - high hoardings face outwards all round the works - the view was taken from the gate to the site but there are also glazed panels in the hoardings and a viewing platform so people can see work progressing


On the high green hoardings around the building sites for the new metro there is usually art work - either by local artists or or by local community groups - and as the hoardings are moved or adjusted for a different section of work then new art work appears.

The sections on the north and west sides of Kongens Nytorv at the moment are particularly good. Art can be pure decoration but usually it gains in significance if it makes you look at something familiar in a different way or challenges you to rethink an assumption or brings you hard up against something you had never thought about before.

So here on three long adjoining sections of the hoarding are all three:


For Copenhagen List, the photographs of familiar features from the city are part of the celebrations to mark the 850th anniversary of the founding of Copenhagen. Because the prints are large and isolate the subject you see things that you see so often that you stop seeing them or you are surprised because a visitor comments. The Christiania bikes loaded with kids or shopping or both and a dog are a common site although it’s best not to not see them as in a bike v pedestrian clash it’s clear who would come off worst. These are not light-weight frames by a long shot and get up a surprising speed surprisingly quickly. Never under estimate a Christiania.

People have been asked to vote on which photos represent the city best and I still think my vote is for the Copenhagen bench ... good to look at and better to sit on but then I like people watching.

To follow the result go to kø


The photographer Kiên Hoàng Lê lives in Berlin but he studied in Denmark. His photographs that were taken in 2016 are superb. The series is about the problem of identity … about feeling Vietnamese in Germany where he grew up or feeling German when he returns to Vietnam but then despite that displacement understanding that people have more in common than they realise. Curiosity - for a start - is universal.


On Mirror Wave by the artist Frederik Hesseldahl, the boldly curved reflecting panels give a distorted image of the familiar scene in part because the overpainted design fragments the view but the curved reflection also adds a weird speed or whip to how the brain registers what it is looking at … so focus on trying to work out which part of which building you are actually looking at and the reflection of someone walking behind you or even someone cutting in front changes pace as the image goes in and out of the hollows and, of course, as you move your own image distorts and changes.

People can upload their images of this work to an Instagram page @MIRROR_WAVE or a Facebook page @MIRRORWAVE.CPH


As always, when I’m taking photographs in a city, I was checking quickly to see if anyone was about to walk into the frame. Sometimes I realise a person will add scale or context so delay just a second or two until they get into the picture but sometimes someone just off frame is the last person I need so I wait and then sometimes I catch sight of the perfect person for that photo coming along and they stop and apologise and walk round behind me. Here I just caught a glimpse of this scene as I was about to take a photo of the hoarding to the left and I turned and pressed the shutter as I turned because I knew I was about to loose it. Certainly not a good photo technically but the young girl, imitating the wing span of the swans, dropped her feet back to the ground as I took the shot. It was only when I downloaded the photos that I realised the young boy, presumably her brother, was not only trying to ignore her - he muttered something as he walked away - but also he was doing the Copenhagen Walk - keeping to the smooth stones.

Copenhagen Metro

Work on the new Metro line in Copenhagen is progressing and the stations are being completed. The Danish paper Berlingske has just published a set of 25 photographs of some of the tunnels and of the new station at Frederiksberg. It looks as if the overall design of the stations will be close to that of the existing metro stations with a large, long, top-lit space above the platforms with the tracks on either side and steel escalators up inset from the walls. The big difference seems to be that where the present stations are lined with raw concrete, Frederiksberg Metro Station appears to have walls lined with stone or tile in a soft buff colour ... so giving the station a slightly warmer tone but retaining the strong, clean and functional feel of the spaces. The long  tiles are laid as vertical bands rather than laid with a brick pattern of overlapping courses. 

Nu får metroen personlighed Berlingske 3 December 2016