update - Lille Langebro

Lille Langebro is almost complete with final work on the hard landscaping on the quay at at each side almost finished.

This is the new bridge for cyclists and pedestrians that will cross the harbour from Christians Brygge, from the quayside opposite the end of Vester Voldgade, to the Christianshavn side and lining up with Langebrogade.

Current traffic surveys suggest that there are around 40,000 cycle journeys a day across the main road bridge - an astounding number - and planners hope that at least 16,000 cyclists a day will change there route to the new bridge and also avoid the heavy and relatively fast road traffic along Hans Christian Andersens Boulevard.

The official opening is set for the Autumn but opening and closing of the new bridge is already controlled from the tower of the main bridge so presumably the wait is for safety tests.

There was a post on this site when the sections of the new bridge were lifted into place but Realdania have since posted a time lapse record of that work over two days when the four sections were delivered by barge from where they were manufactured in the Netherlands and were lifted into place by a giant crane.

post on Lille Langebro in September 2017

lifting the sections of the bridge into place April 2019

the harbour and the future of Nyholm

The Danish Navy maintain an important though reduced presence in Copenhagen - with the main naval bases for the country now in Frederikshaven and Korsør - but there are plans for much that is still here to be moved away from the city and recently there have been discussions to decide on the most appropriate use for the historic naval buildings on Nyholm.

This is an important part of the harbour and not simply because Nyholm is prominent on the east side of the entrance to the historic inner harbour but also because the island has an important and symbolic place in the history of the city. On the emplacement at the north end of the islands are guns for official salutes to mark royal and national occasions and the flag flown here has huge significance.

When the royal yacht returns to Copenhagen, it is moored immediately north of Nyholm.

There are important historic buildings here including two of the most extraordinary buildings in the city … the Mast Crane that is an amazing example of maritime engineering and the Hovedvagt or Main Guard House with a feature on the roof that looks like a giant chess piece. Both date from the middle of the 18th century and both are by the important architect Philip de Lange.

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photograph taken from the harbour ferry as it pulled in at the landing stage just below Skuespilhuset - the National Theatre.

Nyholm is the island between the Opera House and Refshaleøen and at the centre of this view is the distinct silhouette of the 17th-century Mast Crane

the cormorants are on an artificial reef that was created in 2017 to encourage biodiversity in the harbour. The University of Aarhus has produced a report …

Restoration of Stone Reefs in Denmark


looking across to Nyholm from the south - from the canal to the east of the opera house

Spanteloftsbygningen looking across the canal from the south east

The Mast Crane from the south with the low but wide Drawing Building to its east

Søminegraven - the canal along the east side of Nyholm from the south

Hovedvagt - Main Guard House or ‘Under the Crown’ from the east designed by Philip de Lange

Workshops at the south-east corner of Nyholm built in the late 19th-century


Lynetteholmen - a new island across the harbour

Included by ministers in the launch in January of their 52 point Capital Initiative was a major project for a large, new island to be constructed across the entrance to the harbour. Work could start in 2035.

Under a heading Room for Everyone it was, in fact, the first point of the 52 - but already the proposal seems to have generated a fair amount of criticism.

The island, to be called Lynetteholmen, could have housing for at least 35,000 people and eventually work for as many and would include coastal protection measures to stop surges of storm water entering the inner harbour but it would have a fundamental impact on the character of the inner harbour by closing off views out to the sound and would restrict the routes of access into the harbour for large and small vessels.

Although the new cruise ship terminal at Nordhavn is outside the proposed island, the drawing shows further quays for large ships on the seaward side of the new island so it is not clear if these would replace the present berths for cruise ships along Langelinie Kaj.


Politiken published an article on the 3 March with comments from a workshops with architects and engineers and planners where it was suggested that the island, as shown in the drawing first presented by the Prime Minister in October, is too close to the Trekroner fortress and is too large with several critics suggesting that it should be broken down into a series of smaller islands. No further decisions can be made until tests of the sea bed are completed and until related projects are confirmed including the plan for a major road link across the east side of the city that would have to cross the harbour and the proposal for an extension of the metro through a tunnel between Refshaleøen and Nordhavn.

looking down the harbour


Walking over the new bridge from the Christianshavn or Opera House side of the harbour to Nyhavn, on Sunday afternoon, this was the view down the harbour looking towards Knippelsbro.

It was mid afternoon so the light was dropping and the buildings were reduced to silhouettes - almost to a series of planes - as if they were the scenery flats of a giant theatre. 

It is curious to see which buildings are obvious and which are not. On the left is the warehouse that for now is the home of the Danish Architecture Centre. The outline of the towers of the bridge - of Knippelsbro itself - has been lost against the scale of the more recent buildings that are set on either side beyond but the beautiful curve of the bridge arch stands out. The distinct mass of the Black Diamond - the national library just beyond the bridge on the right  - has been lost in the gloom but the bright fractured cubes of the new BLOX building beyond, almost in the centre of the view, is caught in the sun reflected up off the water. This will be the new home of DAC from next Spring. The red-brick apartment building in front of the bridge - between the harbour and the 17th-century Bourse - is oddly a distraction and even from this distance the superstructure on top of the hotel tower looks a mess.

Perhaps most people crossing over the harbour do little more than glance at the view but that does not make it any less important to make sure that new buildings do not intrude or distract … new developments should not be dramatic or iconic or challenging or brave … just simply a good neighbour that slots into the view down the harbour rather than dominating it. 

Autumn at Islands Brygge


Autumn seems to have come early to Copenhagen this year. Nobody was swimming in the harbour baths at Islands Brygge today although I have seen some - the hardy or the foolhardy - swimming there on much much colder days than this.

But the park was still being used … by a group being put through an exercise regime and by a group huddled under umbrellas having a picnic and there was a group on bikes being given a lecture … my guess … this was one of the events for the 850th anniversary of the city being celebrated this week and next.

The quay here was a bustling part of the port through into the 1950s and 1960s with cranes and gantries and railway lines for loading and unloading the ships. Some of the evidence from that working port survives but not much. 

The park is crowded in the summer with people laid out in the sun … and watching people laid out in the sun ... and being seen ... a really good example of the way the city has been very careful about providing good space for people to colonise and use.

Even if it was a bit cold and wet today, this really is Our Urban Living Room ...... the subject of a major exhibition at the Danish Architecture Centre back in January.

The quay of Islands Brygge in the early 20th century - before the construction of Langebro.

The apartment buildings on the right and the buildings of the sugar factory - the ornate gable in the distance - and some sections of the gantries and parts of the railway track survive

a new bridge over the harbour

Work has just started on a new bridge over the harbour for cyclists and pedestrians that will curve across the water parallel to and north of Langebro to provide a new route from Christianshavn or Islands Brygge to the city centre so that cyclists can avoid the heavy road traffic of H C Andersens Boulevard by encouraging people to use the quieter road - Vester Voldgade - that runs parallel up to the city hall.