Exploring the sustainable capital of tomorrow
3 // FOREWORD
3. “Prediction is very difficult,
especially about the future.”
Niels Bohr, Nobel Laureate in Physics
The Sustainia Guide to Copenhagen 2025 builds on the existing plans for
Copenhagen. Although we have added a few teaspoons of creativity and
imagination, the book is a realistic scenario of a not so distant future – and
not an utopian experiment. However, the future is yet to be written. New
technologies may emerge and others may fail. Alternative solutions may
appear and plans may change. But one thing remains certain: Our future
destination depends on our course today.
4 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
36 PEOPLE AND CULTURE
48 GETTING AROUND
104 24/72 HOURS IN COPENHAGEN
114 COMING BACK IN 2050
5 // FOREWORD
5. “A CITY
OF A GOOD
6 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
to Copenhagen 2025
Sustainia is all about making what may seem impossi-
ble possible. Turning dreams into reality. Making inspiring
visions into concrete and achievable actions. Actions that
will take us to the fascinating destination Sustainia – a de-
sirable and achievable sustainable future.
Allow us to take you on a journey:
Copenhagen in the year 2025.
We hope this journey will excite and inspire you. Open
your eyes to the fascinating opportunities of living in a
The Sustainia Guide to Copenhagen 2025 builds on the
existing and extensive plans for Copenhagen. We visualise
7 // FOREWORD
7. these plans and make them tangible for visitors and citi-
zens. Therefore this Guide isn’t an utopian experiment but
a realistic image of a not so distant future.
By 2025, Copenhagen will be carbon neutral. However,
the city is already a beacon of sustainability. It is part of
the city’s sense of self, woven into the heart, soul and mind
For decades, the city has pursued sustainable policies.
Copenhagen is evidence that a sustainable city is not only
a cleaner and greener city – but also a city with a high
quality of life. A smarter, healthier, happier city. And a
more prosperous one. Sustainia is about just that: a better,
happier, healthier, smarter – and more enjoyable - world.
The journey to that world is fuelled by excitement and the
appeal of the destination.
In Guide to Sustainia, we explored the sustainable soci-
ety of tomorrow. We developed the first version of the Sus-
tainia City Principles. Since then we have developed them
further, and we will continue to do so as we move along.
The Sustainia Guide to Copenhagen 2025 is the first in
Sustainia’s series of city guides, in which we envision the
cities of tomorrow. By looking through a sustainable lens,
we experience these principles in real life.
Let the journey begin! We
welcome you to Copenhagen in
the year 2025. Enjoy the ride.
8 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
1 All citizens should live within a 5-10 minute walk to green areas
2 Citizens should have access to fresh food and clean water
3 The city should work to improve energy efficiency in existing buildings.
4 New buildings must meet energy efficiency standards– such as LEED
5 Attractive spaces between buildings invite citizens to interact
6 Walking anywhere in the city should be easy and safe
7 Easy and efficient public transportation
8 Clean rivers, harbours and beaches.
9 Educational opportunities to ensure a young a vibrant atmosphere
10 Public electric car hires and plenty of charging stations will reduce air and
11 Well designed bike lane infrastructure
12 Engage citizens in making cities sustainable – ownership and empower-
ment through education
13 City leaders should recognize sustainability as a driver for innovation,
creativity and prosperity
14 Sustainable cities improve the quality of life for its citizens
9 // FOREWORD
When you explore the different
architectural attractions of
Copenhagen, remember to
take in the best piece of Danish
design – the city itself.
Copenhagen is designed for
people. A city designed to be
convenient, creative, efficient
and fun. A smart city.
10 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
10. Smart city
Spotting all of the smart improvements can
be difficult. In order to explore this hidden side
of the city, take notice of what is missing. Be on
Public transportation is integrated, convenient and fast.
Flexible systems allow energy to be stored until needed.
Green roofs, canals and pocket parks help absorb cloud
Many cars run on electricity and are nearly silent.
Less random use
Appliances such as washing machines respond to infor-
mation and start when energy prices are low.
Intelligent traffic systems adjust the streets of the city to
avoid traffic jams.
New sustainable buildings ensure low maintenance
costs and low total cost of ownership.
11 // ARCHITECTURE
If you have the chance, take the Metro to Nordhavn and
explore the new district that boosts Copenhagen’s image
as an sustainable metropolis. You will discover how sus-
tainability and quality of life go hand in hand.
In the dense urban environment at Nordhavn, the natu-
ral choice for residents and visitors is to walk, cycle or use
public transport, rather than travel by car. Take a stroll
through the intimate, compact neighborhood and take
in the architecture where old meets new. Notice how old
buildings, such as the silos, have been retrofitted and to-
day are modern office buildings.
Make sure to look up, too, as some older buildings have
been outfitted with additional stories – building new atop
the old. The rubble and gravel from the old buildings that
were demolished have been reused in the construction of
Sustainability is an innate part of the district’s design.
Efficiency is a top priority, and the neighbourhood is pow-
ered by several kinds of renewable energy, including solar,
wind and geothermal. Every drop of rainwater is used lo-
cally to maintain green elements such as rooftop gardens,
pocket parks and green boulevards.
The water promenade in Nordhavn is a great place to spend a
sunny day. If you get too hot, cool off inside, where seawater in
the district cooling system holds temperatures down. Or, bring
your swimsuit and dive into the clean harbour water. Soak up
the warmth from the rocks situated in the water resembling
13 // ARCHITECTURE
13. This city is made
The area is designed on a five-minute-city principle.
Short distances from housing and workplaces to public
transport, bicycle paths, green areas, public institutions
and shops provide resource efficiency and an interesting,
inviting and lively urban landscape.
It takes five minutes to walk
four hundred metres. Installing
conveniences such as shopping
and public transport within this
distance promotes walking and
Little Venice. Nordhavn is a district of small islets with kilometres of
coastline. It is characterised by houseboats, water sports, canals, harbour
buses, a water pocket park, artificial islands, a marina, a harbour bath and
direct access to water from the boardwalks. If you arrive by sea, you will
see the neighbourhood. It is also home to the dock for cruise ships. When
the cruise ships dock at Copenhagen they no longer pose the same envi-
ronmental hazard as before. Previously, cruise ships burned diesel while
in port to generate power – but today the shore to ship system provides
cleaner energy from power plants and wind turbines of the city.
14 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
16. If you rent a bike, make
sure you ride over the
Two Tower Bridge at
Marble Pier and the
point of Langelinie.
Cycling 65 metres above
sea level while ferries
pass beneath you is an
and shows you to what
lengths – and heights
– this city will go for its
17 // ARCHITECTURE
17. 1,800 employees work in UN City – a state-of-the-
art sustainable building that opened in 2013. The
building has solar panels on the roof, is LEED (Lead-
ership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold
certified and an EU Green Building Partner. Due to
security concerns, it is situated on its own island.
18 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
18. Tip for the business traveller
Explore business opportunities in the biggest urban development
project in Northern Europe.
Nordhavn is still under construction, and the city is looking for busi-
ness partners within smart energy, shore-to-ship technology, electric
cars, district cooling, street lighting, smart houses and geothermal
When completed in 2060, Nordhavn will be home for 40,000
residents and another 40,000 workers. In 2060, the green loop –
containing a super bicycle path and public transport – connects all of
Nordhavn’s neighbourhoods, enabling cyclists to get to their destina-
Name: Noah Adamsen
Age: 36. Occupation: Project Manager, UNICEF
How do you get around Copenhagen?
I bike almost all year round. I love the trip
along the waterfront from my home in Islands
Brygge to UN City. Often, I have meetings
around town and go by bike as well. If I go with one of my
colleagues who commute by car, he or she borrows one of
the company bikes. On rainy days, though, I might take the
Metro to Nordhavn and catch up on iNews. On weekends,
my family and I love to spend time in our beach house. It is
a two-hour drive from Copenhagen, so we have a weekend
subscription to a shared car service.
19 // ARCHITECTURE
Make sure you set aside a whole day to visit the Carls-
berg district. Situated where the Carlsberg brewery was es-
tablished and produced most of its beer for 150 years, this
“new” part of town is now a cornucopia of cultural activi-
ties, history and city life. The district is also a frontrunner
in sustainable urban planning.
Getting around Carlsberg requires nothing more than
your two feet. This part of town has been specifically de-
signed for the locals who enjoy experiencing the labyrinth-
like charm of “secret” pathways and small green parks on
Should you feel tempted to join the locals on the bike
lanes, take the Carlsberg Route, which connects the clas-
sic district of Valby with the downtown bohemian dis-
20 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
20. Old historic buildings combined with modern architecture surround the
public squares at Carlsberg. This combination of old and new creates an
urban atmosphere favoured by Copenhageners during night and day.
trict of Vesterbro. Carlsberg has an extended grid of bike
lanes, including shortcuts and passages between the
buildings, which make biking the fastest way of getting
In the Carlsberg district, you will notice how modern ar-
chitecture builds upon the remains of the old brewery. In
fact, 15 pct. of all the buildings in the area today date back
more than 175 years; they tell the story of how hop, yeast
and water built the foundation of one of Denmark’s largest
These buildings have been retrofitted and modified into
energy-efficient structures that today host theatres, con-
certs and exhibitions. All new buildings in the area have
been built to meet stringent energy requirements.
21 // ARCHITECTURE
21. Aesthetics and
In Copenhagen, sustainability
has in no way compromised
aesthetics – the city is as
charming as ever. When walking
around Carlsberg today, it can
be hard to spot what energy
efficiency and carbon neutrality
actually looks like. The fact is, it
is all around you.
Beneath your feet, large pipes transport hot water thro-
ugh the environmentally friendly district heating system,
which is connected to all buildings in the area. In the walls
surrounding you, a modern smart electric grid distributes
clean electricity from wind turbines off the coast of Co-
penhagen and biomass power plants in the city.
This “covert” sustainability means that creating a car-
bon-neutral district did not have to affect the architectural
aesthetics of the urban environment. Today district heat-
ing, clean energy and environmentally friendly transpor-
tation are such common pieces of everyday life here that
no one thinks about them.
22 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
22. Tip for the urban
- Life before buildings
In the transformation from industrial use to residential
area, urban planners focused on creating life in the neigh-
bourhood before building new houses.
Early on, Carlsberg hosted various kinds of cultural
events. This meant that by the time new residents started
moving into the area, Carlsberg was already a popular des-
tination for culturally aware Copenhageners.
1 The old Bottling Hall Tap 1 proved to be a great venue for
concerts, and quickly became one of the favourite music
venues in Copenhagen. Tap 1 is still active today – make
sure to check out the program while you are in Copenhagen.
A youth environment
2 Storage Cellar 3 was rebuilt into rehearsal rooms and a
student café for the local music high school Sankt Annæ.
This fostered a creative environment for the younger gen-
erations and made the Carlsberg district a big part of the
students’ everyday lives.
3 In one of the old large garage buildings, the Royal Danish
Academy of Fine Arts moved in and began hosting exhi-
bitions from upcoming artists. When you visit Carlsberg,
stop by – you might be lucky and get a glimpse of the next
Picasso or Van Gogh.
23 // ARCHITECTURE
23. The Old Town
Strolling around parts of old Copenhagen in the Decem-
ber cold you will not only see the shimmering lights from
window decorations, you will also notice how the city roof-
tops are covered by a layer of snow.
The snow serves as a reminder that Christmas is around
the corner, but the fact that it remains on the roof and
doesn’t melt tells a tale of an Old Town whose buildings
have been modernised, insulated and optimised to ensure
maximum energy reduction.
– an important
On average, only 1 pct. of buildings are replaced per year.
Therefore, it wasn’t enough for Copenhagen to merely fo-
cus on energy requirements in new construction on the
path to becoming carbon neutral. The city therefore initi-
ated numerous retrofitting initiatives for old buildings.
Retrofitting is the technique of modernising old build-
ings with the aim of making them more energy efficient.
It has a significant and measurable impact on energy con-
sumption and the indoor climate in buildings.
24 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
25. 3 Key benefits
of the Copenhagen
In Copenhagen, retrofitting alone accounts for a de-
1 crease of more than 20 pct. in heat consumption and 30
pct. in total energy consumption when comparing 2025
with 2010. Citizens save money on their energy bills with-
out changing their lifestyle.
The average EU citizen spends 90 pct. of his time in-
2 doors. Research shows that improved day lighting and air
quality in retrofitted buildings enhances productivity and
has a positive impact on public health.
The investments in retrofitting have positively affected
3 the economy of the city:
* Overall energy consumption in Copenhagen de
creased, raising the productivity per kWh consumed.
The construction sector experienced a much wel-
comed boost in demand for their services.
The value of retrofitted energy-efficient houses has in-
creased, giving homeowners an economic gain.
26 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
26. Old spots
become hot spots
Make sure you visit some of the trendy old industrial ar-
eas of Copenhagen such as Carlsberg, Nordhavn and vari-
ous spots along the waterfront. Here you will get the im-
pression of a city with an authentic historical charm that
caters to the needs of a modern city focused on sustain-
ability and livability.
In Copenhagen, the focus has shifted from primarily
the buildings to the spaces in between, too. An essential
question has been: How does the city landscape help raise
the quality of life for citizens while contributing to more
sustainable development. In other words, how do old spots
become hot spots?
This mindset has brought with it creative initiatives that
continuously find innovative uses of old city spaces for
new recreational purposes. The former industrial areas of
Carlsberg and Nordhavn serve as good examples of suc-
cessful revitalization of old city districts.
Another interesting case is the harbour baths located
Since the water in the
Copenhagen harbour throughout Copenhagen. Many years ago, the city decided
was cleaned many years to clean up the water in the harbour; since then, new har-
ago, several public baths
have been built along the bour baths have sprung up all along the waterfront. To-
harbourfront, revitalising day, the harbour fronts are some of the trendiest spots in
old industrial areas and
bringing cafés and urban Copenhagen. You will see couples strolling along the pier,
life with them. One of businessmen and women having a swim after work, and
these harbour baths is
the Coralbath in South
exam-tormented students tanning while cramming in the
Harbour heart of the Danish capital.
27 // ARCHITECTURE
27. The Sustainable
– 10 must-see sites
If you want to experience
the diversity and creativity
of sustainable Copenhagen
architecture, we recommend
visiting these 10 sites. Each
of them, in their own way,
represents the innovative ideas
that have helped shape the
carbon-neutral Copenhagen of
Do as Copenhageners do, hop
on a bike – all 10 sites are easily
accessed via the green bike-
routes covering town. Bring
nothing more than a bike and a
camera and prepare for a day
full of sustainability impressions.
28 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
28. 9 AM: SOLAR PANELS AND
Start the day by enjoying a coffee and a famous Danish pastry at the
harbourfront while observing UN officials from all over the world enter UN
City to start their workday.
Besides being a remarkable architectural icon shaped in the form of a
star, UN City was one of the first buildings in Northern Europe to meet
the requirements of LEED Gold certification (Leadership in Energy and
Not only is the entire roof covered by solar panels that harvest the energy
of the sun, but architects added rainwater tanks connected to the toilets,
ensuring that all 1,800 employees flush with rainwater.
10 AM: WATER COOLING
After enjoying the morning sun at UN City, grab your bike and ride across
the Two Tower Bridge – or The Handshake as the locals call it - to Langelinie.
Here you will find “The Warehouse,” a modern office building built after the
principles of an old warehouse – with warm-coloured bricks and windows
in varying shapes, giving the building a vivid and informal expression.
Breathe in the fresh sea breeze and enjoy the view of the water surrounding
Langelinie - and in this case water is not only pleasing to the eye. In fact,
water is used for cooling down The Warehouse during warm summer days,
as it is pumped from underground and circulated through the building.
11 AM: BOATS, KIDS AND
From Langelinie, continue along the bike-designated Harbour Route, which
provides a nice view of the Copenhagen harbourfront. Eventually you will
come across an unusual building that is literally dipping its toes into the
This is the South Harbour School, a public elementary school with more
than 800 pupils and a special maritime focus. Besides being an elementary
school, the South Harbour School offers specialized classes in sailing and
Take a moment to look at how the older kids sail small boats around the
harbour and learn to appreciate nature, or how the younger ones sow car-
rots and water them in the school’s kitchen gardens, giving them firsthand
experience in food production and ecology.
29 // ARCHITECTURE
29. The ArchitecTOUR
3 PM: The Osram House
1:30 PM: Green roof terraces Birkegade
NOON: The Korsgade Sports- and Culture Centre
11 AM: The South Harbour School
8:30 PM: The Valby Water Culture Centre
30 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
30. 9 AM: UN City
10 AM: The Warehouse
5 PM: The Arsenal
31 // ARCHITECTURE
31. NOON: LUNCH ON THE HILL
From the South Harbour School, bike paths lead you through bohemian
Vesterbro to the Lake Route, following the scenic Copenhagen lakes. Close
to the third lake, you’ll come to the next stop: Korsgade, a small local street
Feeling hungry? Grab a sandwich and enjoy lunch on an urban green hill.
The citizens of dense Nørrebro wanted both a recreational spot and a sports
and culture centre. With free space scarce, architects had to be creative.
The result is found underneath your feet. The Korsgade Sports and Culture
Opening hours Monday- Centre literally “grows” out of the ground, forming a green hill. Sports
Thursday: 7.50AM-11PM, courts are inside; a green roof and walls on the outside offer locals a place
Friday: 7.50AM-9PM. to relax and enjoy themselves in the sun, or for kids to go sledding down in
the winter. The green roof is also an efficient climate adaptation, insulating
against extreme heat and cold, and collecting excess rainwater, which
relieves the sewage system during heavy rains.
1:30 PM: GREEN ROOF
When biking through the streets of Nørrebro in the afternoon we would
usually urge you to watch the traffic on the road. However, also make sure
you look up every once in a while – you just might be lucky and spot one
of the attractive green roof terraces. One of the most remarkable ones is
found not far from Korsgade, in Birkegade.
When the roof of a local apartment building started leaking and needed
renovation, residents decided they wanted more than just a new roof –
they wanted better and greener conditions for their children in the densely
The solution came in the form of a 490-square-metre roof terrace contain-
ing a small playground, a green hill and an observation post, giving visitors
a panoramic view of the Copenhagen skyline. Residents now have a place
to enjoy the outdoors away from the busy streets below.
3 PM: DAYLIGHT INSTEAD OF
Continue your trip on the wide, pleasant bike paths of Nørrebro towards
the Osram House.
Opening hours Monday-
Friday 9AM-10PM, make
sure to book tour in
32 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
32. A characteristic of Copenhageners is how much they enjoy spending time
outside in the sun during summer. The next stop on the tour is an experi-
ment in how much of the sun’s natural light can be brought indoors.
The only light bulb factory ever to exist in Denmark, the Osram House
was an iconic choice for a case study in how much of a building’s energy
consumption could be displaced by daylight.
Today, energy-efficient windows, skylights and glass walls ensure optimal
exploitation of daylight and create natural heating of the building through
sunlight. Note how electronic displays in the building, which functions as
a neighbourhood cultural centre for nearby residents, present the energy
consumption in an easily readable manner, making it simple and motivating
for users to track and improve their environmental impact.
4 PM: AN INSPIRING STUDENT
In the afternoon, stop by the science faculty campus at the University
of Copenhagen, in the corner of the University Park, and experience the
vibrant student environment. The Green Campus initiatives started many
years ago ensure that today sustainable thinking is an integrated part of all
academic programmes and the students’ daily lives.
A tangible example of the sustainable thinking is The Green Lighthouse, a
university building built in 2009 as a result of a successful public-private
partnership between governmental institutions and private partners. It was
also the first public carbon neutral building in Copenhagen.
Inspired by a sundial, the building’s shape ensures maximum exploitation of
sunlight, giving a sun lit, inspiring environment for students. Furthermore,
To book a tour of the sunlight has been carefully incorporated into the building’s energy system
Green Light House go to through solar panels, and excess solar energy is stored as heat under-
www.greenlighthouse. ground to be used later when the sun is weaker or at night.
5 PM: SUSTAINABLE
From the youthful student environment, we now bike back to the harbour
and through history.
In the late afternoon sun, the yellow buildings of the old military installation
“The Arsenal” look pretty as ever. Built in 1740, these buildings for many
years served as part of Copenhagen’s defences and today represent a city
landmark. The buildings underwent comprehensive renovation in 2012,
which lowered the energy consumption by 20 pct.
Being a historic landmark under protection of the National Heritage
Agency, the key to retrofitting the buildings was making inconspicuous
changes. Besides new energy-efficient windows, one of the creative ideas
was to store heat-emitting electronic equipment in an old underground
bunker, ensuring a pleasant climate in the offices inside.
Take a stroll around the buildings and enjoy how a city does not have to
lose its historical value to become sustainable.
33 // ARCHITECTURE
33. 6 PM: DINNER IN THE OLD
The Long Bridge close to The Arsenal will take you to Islands Brygge. On
a summer evening, make sure not to miss the vibrant atmosphere of this
historic commercial harbour, which many years ago was revitalized and
became a hip part of town. We recommend enjoying a barbeque with local
Copenhageners, with the two old soy-cake silos as background.
Being part of the cultural and industrial heritage of Copenhagen, it was de-
cided that these two silos should remain after commercial activities in the
harbour ended. They were transformed into residential buildings. Worth
noting is how the apartments are “hanging” on the outside of the silos, giv-
ing them an iconic look while staying true to their industrial history.
Arrive early in the evening to find a spot for your barbeque; this place is a
favourite spot for Copenhageners during the long summer evenings.
8:30 PM: TIME FOR
What better way to end a day of biking around town than by treating your-
self to a visit to the spa?
Our tour concludes at the Valby Water Culture Centre, which was early
proof that sustainability did not have to come at the expense of well-being.
The Centre houses an indoor swimming pool area with room for play and
relaxation – and caters to the well-being of visitors in a sustainable manner.
While relaxing in the hot water, note how the walls of the building are tilted
inward. This, with the solar panels on the roof, ensures maximum reflection
of cold wind and efficient use of sunlight to heat the building. These mea-
Opening hours Monday, sures, combined with recycling of excess heat from shower water to heat
Wednesday and Friday the pool area, enables the Valby Water Culture Centre to consume 30 pct.
until 9.30PM. less energy than comparable swimming facilities.
34 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
34. Urban planning
– the Sun Clock
Danes love to enjoy the sun. However, being a northern
country, the annual number of sunshine hours is limited.
The architects and urban specialists who designed Carls-
berg knew that high density was essential to create lively
neighbourhoods. But they also wanted to make room for
sunlight in the district. They found inspiration in an old-
fashioned sun clock.
After carefully studying the path of the sun, parks and
squares were located just like the hours on a sun clock. At
any time, residents can find shaded areas to cool down or
spots to enjoy the sun.
The parks and squares of Carlsberg are carefully located according to the
sun’s path over the sky. Enjoy the morning sun in one park, and the evening
sun in another. This is also a great excuse for seeing various corners of the
35 // ARCHITECTURE
35. PEOPLE AND
When visiting Copenhagen,
make sure you observe
the locals. They are central
growth of to the city’s identity, and
People living in
the personification of the
Copenhagen, Copenhagen sustainable lifestyle.
Copenhageners are curious and open towards new ini-
tiatives, and have many times taken it upon themselves to
come up with innovative new ways of living. In aspects cov-
ering food to fashion and exercise, many Copenhageners
2010 2025 have embraced sustainability and the green way of living.
36 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
36. facts about
PEOPLE & CULTURE
+ 1 hour
640,000 Time zone
Bike rental price
Best view in Copenhagen
Grab one of the public bikes
Read more in the Architecture chapter
Best way to annoy a
Average yearly household Walk on the
spending on bikes
area per person 44m2
37 // PEOPLE AND CULTURE
37. MEET THE LOCALS
– CHARACTERISTICS OF A
ARE FINDERS AND
The Danes are a tribe of finders and keepers. Are you
looking to update your favorite chair, or do you need that
special little gizmo for your electrical device? When walk-
ing around in Copenhagen you will encounter shops selling
spare parts from bikes to electronics and even furniture.
Urban mining is also big business, as valuable materi-
als are harvested from old electronics. Fifteen years ago,
Danes were the second-largest waste producers in the EU.
But the financial crash turned past trends of happily using
and throwing things out into a new mindset of finding and
Even the fashionistas of Copenhagen have embraced the
concept of finding and keeping. New designers are mak-
ing clothing that will last years instead of seasons. This
doesn’t mean being boring, but sticking with what Copen-
hagen designers are famous for: the design, the materials
and the edgy yet elegant Scandinavian feel.
38 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
38. PEOPLE & CULTURE
Copenhageners are crazy about local food. So, if you are
a foodie, try eating local.
Copenhagen restaurant Noma, the No. 1 restaurant in
the world, started an international trend when they pop-
ularised the concept of local food, in 2003 – serving food
made entirely from the Nordic countries. A region known
for anything but food. Saving carbon by eating an apple in-
served in public
stead of a mango that has been transported from the other
end of the world is now common sense. Community gar-
90 dens, farmers markets and a renewed focus on personal
health and organic, locally produced food has become a
68 part of everyday life and habits. As early as 2012, 77 pct.
of public institutions, from daycare centres to retirement
homes, served only organic food.
If you want to eat like a local, try an App – Locavore –
which tells you what veggies are in season and grown in
your area. It also shares recipes that you don’t have to be a
2010 2015 Michelin Star chef to prepare.
39 // PEOPLE AND CULTURE
Each year, at the end of May, thousands of Copenhageners
participate in the Green Marathon. The Green Marathon is a
42 kilometre track that never loses touch with the green el-
ements of the city. It runs within the city boundaries along
tree-filled boulevards, and through many of Copenhagen’s
green parks. When September comes, even more people
gather for the DHL run – a 5-km route on which companies
compete against each other. It is not unusual for more than
100,000 people to participate in this event.
Besides running, Copenhagen-based companies also en-
gage in bike-to-work campaigns encouraging employees to
bike to work through inter-organisational competitions.
Last, exercising is even considered an accepted treat-
ment method – and the local doctor might prescribe a paid
gym membership rather than medication to improve your
40 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
40. Guerrilla Gardening
Ever wonder why flowers grow in the strangest places in Copenhagen?
There is a fair chance that this could be the result of the phenomenon
known as “urban guerrilla gardening.” This modern graffiti is conducted
by preparing so-called “seed bombs,” and then venturing into the night
to sow them in small cracks in the street, or on empty spaces of dirt.
This phenomenon has become increasingly common in the city over
the years; you can even find small underground movements doing it
PEOPLE & CULTURE
Previously, living in downtown Copenhagen would have
precluded the option of having a garden, but not anymore.
Urban gardens have sprung up all over town, and Copen-
hageners are enjoying spending ever-more time maintain-
ing them. These gardens are for present generations what
summer cabins were to generations before – a place to re-
lax and enjoy the outdoors.
Today, urban gardens can be found in many variants
and at many altitudes – some between buildings, some on
balconies and some atop roofs. To Copenhageners, these
gardens represent a personal desire to mix the chic urban
life with green living – despite living in the city, you can
still grow your own carrots and tomatoes.
41 // PEOPLE AND CULTURE
Studies show that Danes rank in the top 3 of the most
IT-literate countries in the world. Dealing with computers
is no longer just for work and play.
One time at which Copenhageners have embraced mod-
ern technology is when they are sick. Instead of leaving
home when they are ill and perhaps not as mobile, tele-
medicine can offer patients better and more cost-efficient
medical treatment while cutting emissions. Copenhagen-
ers, young and old, now talk to their doctor in front of their
web camera, and measure their blood pressure, pulse and
weight with the data transferred directly to their doctors.
Telemedicine not only saves Copenhageners multiple
visits to the doctor, research shows that it leads to fewer
hospital visits and saves hundreds of tons of carbon.
42 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
42. PEOPLE & CULTURE
Twenty-five years ago, a now-famous global study was
conducted. Scientists left 1,100 wallets on the streets of
33 countries. Each wallet contained up to $50 in local cur-
rency together with the name and address of the wallet’s
owner. In every country but two, the money disappeared.
In Denmark and Norway, all of the wallets were returned –
with the money intact.
The study illustrates why Danes are considered among the
world’s most trusting people. Danes avoid transaction costs
because trust replaces written agreements, and reducing
the number of expensive legal cases. Danes also have great
trust in their government and are positive towards public-
private partnerships and triple helix models (see Economy
chapter). Trust also makes it is easier for the public sector to
marshal agreement for new projects and goals.
43 // PEOPLE AND CULTURE
LOVE THEIR BIKES
Copenhageners are born and raised into a biking cul-
ture. As kids, many Copenhageners are carried on a par-
ent’s bike – either in one of the famous Christiania cargo-
bikes or in a children’s seat on the back.
A few years later, kids are for the first time set free on
their own two wheels – usually in one of the many pocket
parks all over town. By the time these young Copenhagen-
ers start school, most are confident enough in biking that
they bike the short route between home and school each
This culture explains why more than 50 pct. of Copen-
hageners commute to work or school by bike. When asked
whether they might consider buying a car, many Copen-
hageners simply reply “What would I need a car for? I’ve
always biked everywhere. Biking is a much faster and more
convenient way of getting around.”
4 4 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
44. Bike like a
PEOPLE & CULTURE
1 Smile. Cyclists are more likely to experience enjoyment than bus riders
or car drivers.
2 Insist that your cargo bike can hold your two kids, dog and groceries for
an entire week – and prove yourself right.
3 Secretly pity people driving SUVs around town. A year’s worth of parking
fees will easily cost them more than the price of your bike. Not to mention
the time spared on searching for vacant parking spots.
Practice a facial expression mixing lenience and slight annoyance for
4 when people step in front of you on the bike lane without looking.
Signal anticipated actions. Point to the right or left if you plan to turn;
5 raise your hand if you plan to stop. If others fail to do the same, apply step 4.
6 Expect to live longer. Half-hour of daily cycling increases life expectancy
by 1-2 years.
7 Remember to look great. In Copenhagen, cycle chic is always in style.
Bikes are no excuse to leave the suit or cocktail dress at home.
8 Familiarise yourself with cyclist shortcuts: cross the water on bike bridg-
es, cycle both ways on one-way-streets and go right on red.
9 Make the 2-kilometre trip from the Nørrebro Runddel to Nørreport in 6
minutes flat. Don´t worry, the cycle super-highway and green wave ensures
an effortless average speed of 20 kilometres per hour.
10 Develop a secret crush on your bike. Longing to be close to it will make
you want to sit next to it on the train.
45 // PEOPLE AND CULTURE
45. VISITING THE COPEN-
HAGEN SMART HOME
Imagine coming home and the lights turn on automati-
cally, the temperature is perfect; the washing machine is
already done cleaning your clothes, the apartment is full
of fresh air and best of all; everything has happened with
minimum environmental impact. Retrofitted buildings
with new windows, new insulation and modern technol-
ogy is the reality of the Copenhagen smart home.
The smart home not only tracks the consumption of the
resident, it also ensures that energy usage is always as ef-
ficient as possible, while not forcing people to change their
lifestyles. Residents tell their smart home how “green” they
want to be, and it will guide them through their options.
In many ways, the smart home is an energy butler making
homes as energy efficient as possible.
Energy Water basin
and A water basin next to the building
collects rainwater for use in toilets
Heating and washing machines. An aver-
age citizen uses 33 litres each day
to flush the toilet and 19 litres for
The building receives its
washing clothes. Instead of using
outside energy supply
pure drinking water for these
from wind farms off the
purposes, a big portion is replaced
coast of the city and
by the rainwater.
biomass facilities. Heat-
ing is supplied through
the district heating
system, where excess
heat from biomass and
is transported to homes.
A shared electric car is parked in front of the apartment building, which is
attached to a local charging station integrated into the building. The car is
shared by the building’s residents, as is the electric bike pump that makes
it easy and convenient for residents to keep their bikes ready for the road.
46 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
Windows facing north are thicker and more heavily insulated to keep out the cold while windows facing
south are thinner to allow natural heating from the sun. Skylights ensure maximum exploitation of day-
light in buildings – following the mantra “daylight instead of light bulbs.”
Green roofs Solar
PEOPLE & CULTURE
Green walls, green roofs and even rooftop gardens are a natural
part of building design in Copenhagen. The benefits of greening colleCtors,
buildings are manifold: added insulation, reduced stormwater
runoff, absorption of air pollutants, natural habitat for birds, AND photo-
bees and butterflies, and green recreational spots for Copenha-
Rooftop solar panels in Copenha-
gen are a mix of solar collectors
heating water for the buildings
and photovoltaic panels providing
Smartpanel electricity. During hours of excess
demand, solar power is supple-
A Smartpanel just outside the building entrance shows the mented by wind farms or biomass
energy, water and heat consumption of the whole building. This facilities. Conversely, during times
allows for easy tracking of the energy efficiency of an apartment when solar power systems are
block, and is used for community energy-saving initiatives. For producing a surplus, electricity
Copenhageners, there is a certain amount of pride in being is sold back into the grid or heat
energy efficient. is stored by modern heat pumps
under the building for later usage.
LED lighting ensures that
the home is consuming
minimal energy from
sensors built into lamps
in each room control the
need for lighting based
on: occupancy in the
room, type of activity in
the room (e.g. reading or
watching a movie), and
the amount of daylight in
47 // PEOPLE AND CULTURE
City of cyclists
A young couple riding side-by-side talks intimately while
a large group of businessmen pedals past at full speed in
the fast lane of the bicycle super highway on Nørrebroga-
de. The intelligent traffic control system detects the front
of the large group of cyclists and switches the light at the
Going the upcoming intersection to green.
Copenhageners Perhaps the biggest thrill you can experience in Copen-
combined bike a hagen is joining the hordes of cyclists on Copenhagen’s
day, mill. km. busiest bike corridor during the morning commute. Thou-
sands of cyclists pass here every day – businessmen in
suits, kids in cargo bikes, women in stilettos and couples
1.2 in love.
For Copenhageners, bicycles are the most popular form
of transport. Fifty percent of trips in Copenhagen are made
by bike – a world record, and part of the reason why Copen-
hagen achieved carbon neutrality this year.
The environment is not the main reason for the popular-
1995 ‘09 2025 ity of the bike. For most, it is the transportation of choice
simply because it is the fastest and the cheapest way to
48 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
48. Bicycle trips a year in copenhagen
1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2025
designed the city to
make people happy
- not cars
49 // GETTING AROUND
NEFITS OF GETTING
The bridge over the inner harbour opened in X and is one of
The bridge over the inner
GO The Royal
harbour is one ofEthe
many bridges in Copen- E
hagen designed for The
bicycles and pedestrians The Royal Opera
Kongens Playhouse The National
Nytorv Film School
50 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
50. Benefits of getting
Increases your life expectancy. According to the
British Medical Association, a half-hour of cycling
daily increases mean life expectancy by 1-2 years.
Increases your quality of life. Cyclists are more
2 likely to experience enjoyment from their rides
than do bus passengers or car drivers.
Reduces traffic jams and congestion.
Reduces the cost of accidents and wear and tear
5 on infrastructure.
Improves air quality and atmosphere in the city.
Combined – accounting for the total cost of air pollution,
accidents, congestion – the city saves 0.06 € for every kilo-
metre travelled by bike instead of by car.
51 // GETTING AROUND
51. Tip FOR the business traveller
Networks exist for businesses and institutions working with bicycles.
Contact: The Cycle Secretariat at the City of Copenhagen at
www.kk.dk/cityofcyclists. Or the Cycling Embassy of Denmark at
Dedicated and prolonged efforts have improved the con-
ditions for cyclists in the city. Shortcuts have been created
across water and over railroads and squares, enabling bikes
to beat cars on several routes. Special “green wave” traffic
lights allow cyclists to trigger green lights when travelling
at a certain speed. Bikes, unlike cars, are allowed to turn
right on red and travel both ways on one-way streets. Ex-
tra-wide bicycle tracks have been created – 80 pct. of the
most popular bicycle routes have three lanes – so overtak-
Copenhageners ing even cycling couples holding hands is no trouble.
prefer the bike:
Daily commuters Because of these efforts, the average travel time for cy-
going to work clists has been reduced by 15 pct. since 2010. Bicycle tracks
and places of are kept in good condition, people feel safe on bikes, and
education by accidents have been reduced by 70 pct. in the past 20 years.
50 Only 10-15 years ago, cycling to work was reserved for
those fortunate to live close to the office. Today, bike rides
of 10-20 kilometres are not just for athletes. A combination
of electrically assisted bikes and bicycle highways has ex-
tended what is possible for two-wheeled commuters.
52 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
52. Bikes are
Easy to park +
Low cost +
Low noise +
Better for your
= Giving you a higher
quality of life
Over the past 20 years, Copenhagen has topped the
rankings when it comes to livability. All of the surveys cite
the city´s bike culture as one of the reasons.
For Copenhageners, the road to improved quality of life
is best travelled on a low-cost, healthy, safe transportation
alternative that provides easy parking and offers fast and
direct transportation from A to B.
53 // GETTING AROUND
53. Getting around
Remember to look both ways when stepping out from
curbs toward the street in Copenhagen. Electric cars are
surprisingly quiet and are increasingly part of the vehicle
fleet in the city.
Electric vehicles – or EVs – make life in the city more
livable and sustainable. Fewer Copenhageners experience
noise- and pollution-related health problems, and the cars
function as a giant battery for renewable energy in the city.
Around 10 pct. of the private vehicle fleet in Copenhagen
is electric, hybrids or running on biofuels or hydrogen. For
the City of Copenhagen fleet, the figure is 85 pct. Large ve-
hicles such as garbage trucks are increasingly running on
anything but diesel.
Several factors explain the popularity of these cars.
Green cars were exempt from the hefty Danish car tax,
and free parking existed for electric vehicles when they
first appeared. Today, taxes on cars are linked to the level
of pollution. All municipal tendering and procurement
have fossil-free transportation demands. City zones for
green cars only are established. Equally important, the
range of most EVs is 300 kilometres – far more than the
average daily commute.
Copenhagen Clean Cab: The fleet of electric vehicles in Copenhagen functions
One way to experience
the sound of silence
as a giant distributed battery allowing the city to make
while getting around in the most of the renewable energy. Most electric cars are
Copenhagen is to hail
charged at night, when wind turbines often generate sur-
one of the city’s many EV
taxis. Notice the energy- plus power. Energy is retrieved from the batteries during
efficient behaviour of the peak-demand hours to meet the daytime power needs of
drivers – as eco-driving
courses are mandatory. Copenhagen. (See Shopping chapter)
54 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
54. A Danish fairytale
Princess Evie and
the Knight of Wind
Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of Denmark, the
Knight of Wind was loved by the people as he would often
help them cook their food and wash their clothes.
But on stormy nights – when he wanted to help the
most – no one needed him and no bed existed in which the
Knight of Wind could rest. This left him exhausted by the
next morning, when the people needed him once again. So
the people were forced to burn oil – even though they had
very little of it left – to cook and wash their clothes.
Then, one stormy night, a princess arrived; a princess by
the name of Evie. That night, the Knight of Wind was once
again weary and looking for a place to rest. When the fair
princess saw this, she offered him a large battery on which
he could sleep.
The next morning, the knight had slept well and was full
of energy. All day and every day thereafter, he would help
the people wash their clothes, cook their food and drive
their cars. And Princess Evie and the Knight of Wind lived
happily ever after.
55 // GETTING AROUND
55. A vacation
– for your
ears, heart and
Most car owners charge Today, because of the popularity of e-mobility, bicycles,
their EVs at home, but
due to a national action public transportation and ambitious environmental poli-
plan for EV infrastruc- cies – such as environmental zones – Copenhagen enjoys
ture, you can also charge
at stations throughout reduced traffic noise and pollution.
Copenhagen. Most ho-
tels and some car parks
also feature charging
However, only 20 years ago, a two-hour bicycle ride dur-
stations. ing rush hour in Copenhagen, could be detected in your
blood. Particles from traffic and woodstoves accounted for
hundreds of premature deaths each year in the city. In fact,
more people died because of air pollution than in road ac-
Today, fewer people suffer from health problems such
as hearing loss, lung cancer, asthma, stress, heart disease
and sleep disruption caused by pollution.
56 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
56. Getting Around
– by public
Don’t bother hailing a cab when you arrive at Copenha-
gen Airport. The Metro will take you to the heart of the
city in 14 minutes. Use this time to get acquainted with the
extensive public transit system in Copenhagen.
Buses arrive on time and at frequent intervals, transfer
Number of stations are easy to navigate, and an integrated ticket sys-
passengers tem allows you to transfer between Metro, train and bus
travelling on the – on land and water.
metro per year,
millions All stations feature intelligent information systems – of-
130 fering riders transit and real-time arrival information for
easy use of different modes of transit. Stops are easily rec-
ognizable, featuring the same red and white symbol – for
the Metro, trains or buses. Notice how the Metro stations
are designed to allow natural light to shine below ground
52 – creating a pleasant, well-lit setting and achieving energy
34 and maintenance savings.
Besides allowing hassle-free transportation, the transit
2004 2010 2018
system is also cited as a reason for Copenhagen’s impres-
sive air quality. A large share of the buses in the city run on
alternative fuels such as electricity or biofuels. These ef-
forts have reduced the carbon emissions of the bus service
in the city by 70 pct. in the last 15 years.
Tip for the traveller – BIKE ON BOARD
We recommend that you experience Copenhagen by bike, which can
easily be combined with public transport. Bring your bike onboard
trains for free. In especially designed bicycle compartments, you will
find bicycle pumps to inflate your tires. The City of Copenhagen works
continuously to improve the bike-public transportation connection as
an attractive alternative to cars.
57 // GETTING AROUND
57. Quality – above
When planning and designing larger infrastructure
projects in the Capital, there is a great opportunity to use
the project to enhance neighbourhoods at the same time.
Therefore citizen involvement is encouraged. In order to
increase the quality of the area above the metro stations,
locals were involved in the design of the cityscape.
The metro stations in Copenhagen, are designed to ensure maximum
usage of daylight. Furthermore, they are designed to blend in well with
the surroundings. Here we see the Metro station at City Hall Square.
58 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
58. The CITY ring Nordhavn
The Metro City Ring (the
blue line) opened in 2018 Trianglen
and knits the capital
even closer together. Østerbro
Getting from Øster-
bro (Trianglen) to the
Generation Z stronghold Frederiksberg Nørreport
Vanløse Kgs. Nytorv
at Vesterbro (Enghave
Plads) is a 10-minute
ride. From Vesterbro,
you can get to vibrant
Nørrebro (Nørrebros Enghave Plads
Runddel) in 6 minutes.
Right next to the Metro,
you’ll find Hans Christian
Andersen’s final rest-
ing place at Assistens
Cemetery. Vest Amager
Name: Oliver Bech
Age: 40. Occupation: Bus driver
Do you have a green job?
I actually never considered whether my job is
green or not, but it is green– very green. I’m a
bus driver in the city driving a bus that runs
100 pct. on electricity, there is no exhaust, no particles pol-
luting the air and no gasoline consumption. The amount of
traffic in the city centre has been steadily declining over
the past 10 years; there are almost no large trucks left here
– my job has never been easier.
When my day is over, the bus is hooked up to the city
electric grid, feeding it with energy from the wind turbines
off the coast of Copenhagen – I guess I truly have a true
zero-emission job! The best part is that the more efficiently
I drive, the larger is my bonus.
59 // GETTING AROUND
Bike lanes in COPENHAGEN
km A unique attribute of Copenhagen is how the city has
successfully managed to create an urban environment
that combines functional, sustainable and wonderful.
During the past 15 years, targeted investments in a green-
er and better urban landscape have helped develop a city
that not only is green, but also enhances the quality of life
of its citizens.
When visiting the city during spring, it becomes obvi-
ous that for Copenhageners spending time outside equals
the good life. Notice how, as soon as daytime temperatures
1980 2010 2025 pass 10 degrees Celsius, parks, sidewalk cafes and city
squares are richly populated by Copenhageners enjoying
60 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
the sunshine and making up for the winter’s lack of vita-
To accommodate this need to get outdoors, the city of-
fers Copenhageners a multitude of recreational areas to
choose from. Since 2015, Copenhagen has vowed to ensure
that at least 90 pct. of its residents can reach a recreational
area on foot in less than 15 minutes. Today, small parks
known as pocket parks, harbour baths and green roofs can
be found all over town offering a diverse variety of recrea-
tional experiences for Copenhageners and visitors alike.
Dive into the urban environment of Green and Blue Co-
61 // ENVIRONMENT
61. THE GREEN
- POCKET PARKS,
GREEN ROOFS & URBAN
With a population that has increased by more than a
100,000 during the past 15 years, Copenhagen doesn’t offer
much room to create new big parks and recreational areas.
Therefore, two new phenomena, inspired by cities such as
New York and Zürich, emerged in the city: green roofs and
Green areas in pocket parks.
Copenhageners A pocket park is a small urban green spot usually locat-
that live within ed adjacent to surrounding streets. It is a spot where Co-
15 min walking penhageners meet, drink a take-away coffee, play sports,
distance of a or simply just take a break from the fast-paced city life.
public park, pct.
Each of the 14 pocket parks in Copenhagen has distinct
characteristics – ranging from green and flowery gardens
to a parkour playground for urban youngsters. The com-
mon denominator for the parks is that they were trans-
63 formed from unused urban spaces to green spots bring-
ing together Copenhageners. They are great places to kick
back and watch the Copenhagen way of life.
62 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
62. Besides the 14 pocket parks, Copen-
hagen has a number of green bicycle
routes enabling Copenhageners to eas-
ily reach recreational areas.
Green bicycle route
Gadekæret Litauens Cirklen
63 // ENVIRONMENT
63. Besides pocket parks, Copenhagen has sought to improve the conditions
of existing urban squares, turning them into recreational spots. Israel’s
Square, in downtown Copenhagen, for instance, was once a worn-out
square. Today it flourishes, with Copenhageners enjoying sports facilities,
and it completes the corridor between Ørsted Park and the Botanical
64 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
and the Urban
– INSIDE TIP FOR URBAN
The urban heat island effect is a phenomenon that oc-
curs when black roofs and grey pavement absorb and then
release heat that raises the ambient temperature in the
immediate area. In 2003, research conducted in London
showed temperature differences of up to 10 degrees Cel-
cius between rural and urban areas due to the urban “heat
Despite only occurring seldom in Denmark, these ex-
tra degrees result in overheated buildings and exacerbate
summer heat waves, making homes, workplaces and pub-
lic transport uncomfortable. Furthermore, increased tem-
peratures have a significant impact on the health of citi-
zens – especially the elderly. Lastly, higher temperatures
raise the demand for artificial, energy-consuming cooling
such as air-conditioning.
In Copenhagen, several solutions have been implement-
ed which amongst other things help minimizing the urban
heat island effect:
Green roof gardens on the buildings of Copenhagen have
significantly lowered the heat storing capacity of build-
ings in the city as excess heat is vaporized by water in the
Leaves on trees and plants absorb heat from the sun by
vaporizing some of the water they contain during the sum-
mer. Copenhagen’s many trees and green walls contribute
to keeping temperatures down
66 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
66. The more plentiful green areas in Copenhagen help keep temperatures down in summers with heat waves.
Green open areas generally have lower temperatures and higher humidity than paved parts of the city. And
if parks are elevated compared to the surroundings, cooler air from the parks will during night time “tum-
ble” downhill into surrounding neighbourhoods, pushing hot air upwards – nature’s own air-conditioning.
– GREEN OVER GREY
Historically, Copenhagen has been a city of green roofs.
Many of the official historic buildings – Parliament, the
Stock Exchange and churches – were built with copper
roofs, which due to patina, turned green over time.
However, the green roofs of “modern” Copenhagen tell
a very different story. As the population grew and density
increased, new ways of bringing ”green” into the city had
to be found – a vision of green over grey was born. The first
green roof gardens were built 15 years ago, when it was
decided that all new buildings with flat roofs should have
gardens. Since then, many have followed. When looking at
Copenhagen from above today, you can spot hundreds of
small rooftop gardens all over town.
Being a city in the north, Copenhagen experiences its
fair share of heavy showers and snow storms. Green roofs
do not just make the city look pretty, they provide several
advantages. They collect precipitation, minimize the ur-
ban “heat island” effect and extend the life of the roof sig-
nificantly, as plants and dirt protect against UV radiation,
wind and water.
67 // ENVIRONMENT
67. The Urban
Although many rooftop parks are private, some of the
most interesting ones are open to the public. One worth
visiting is the Urban Green Corridor at Kalvebod Brygge.
Stretching across the roofs of The National Archives, a
bank headquarters and a 4-star hotel, this flowery corridor
for pedestrians and cyclists is a green short-cut, providing
Copenhageners with an alternative to the car-filled streets.
The Urban Green Corridor was a forerunner within the
green-over-grey vision, inspired by the High Line in New
York, and shows how to optimize the usage of urban space
in a busy metropolis.
Bees in the city
When walking around Copenhagen, you might spot bees
flying from roof to roof cross-pollinating garden flowers.
This used to be a rare sight in Copenhagen, but the green
roofs have provided habitat for more insects, bees among
them. There are even examples of apartment co-ops host-
ing beehives and harvesting the delicious Copenhagen
68 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
68. THE BLUE
PROMENADES AND HARBOUR SWIMMING
Previously, the Copenhagen harbourfront was dominat-
ed by commercial districts that divided the city between
the “mainland” and the island of Amager. Today, this area
has been revitalized with green promenades, harbour
swimming pools and cafés that bring Copenhageners liv-
ing on both sides of the water together.
The first Copenhagen harbour swimming pool opened
in 2002 at Islands Brygge. It quickly became a huge suc-
cess. Visit on a hot summer day and you will find families,
students and businessmen alike enjoying the promenade
and the water – enjoying the best of the green and the blue
The harbour in Copenhagen wasn’t always clean. At one
time, it was considered a health hazard to go for a swim in
it. Like many other big cities around the world, the harbour
functioned as a back up when sewers flooded. More than
100 overflow channels fed wastewater into the harbour.
The key to revitalizing the harbour was closing the over-
flow channels and constructing underground delay pools
capable of easing the pressure on the sewage system dur-
ing heavy rains.
Feel like cooling off
on hot summer days?
Look for the lollipop-
coloured towers along
the harbour marking a
public swimming pool,
and feel free to take
a swim in the clean
The swimming pool
on Islands Brygge was
the first of these and
opened in 2002.
69 // ENVIRONMENT
hot spots of
Today, you can walk down Copenhagen Harbour along
promenades stretching all the way from the Valby Beach in
the south to UN City in the north. Several public harbour
pool areas offer you a place to cool down in the water, or
enjoy a coffee at shore.
70 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025
70. Kalvebod Wave
1 Kalvebod Wave is located just across from the popular
Islands Brygge neighbourhood, and is a wave-shaped pier.
Here, kayak-loving Copenhageners and visitors can rent
kayaks to tour the canals of Copenhagen, or enjoy cultural
activities at the new theatre scene established adjacent to
2 This recently established beach marks the southern tip of
the Copenhagen Harbour area. Make sure you visit in late
July when the annual “Green Concert” takes place. The musi-
cal event attracts thousands of Copenhageners who swim at
the beach during the day and listen to rock concerts in the
adjacent Valby Park at night.
3 swimming pool
Nordhavn is one of the city districts, and a place where
you can experience the lifestyle of Copenhagen families.
The local harbour swimming pool here is definitely worth
a visit. It has been built to resemble Swedish skerries, and
is made up of large pieces of rock placed in the water.
4 This old military installation used to be part of Copenha-
gen’s defence towards the sea. Today, a newly established
beach lets you go for a swim, and on a clear day you can
spot the Swedish coast on the horizon. Grab one of the har-
bour buses, and bring nothing but a towel and your swim
trunks and visit this new Copenhagen hot spot.
5 The floating
When walking along the harbourfront, you might come
across a large, strange floating device. This is the new
floating swimming pool, which moves from place to place
during the summer. A day spent in this swimming pool
can take you past various sights, and let you see Copenha-
gen from the seaside while cooling off in the pool.
7 1 // ENVIRONMENT
71. 5 Characteristics of
the green and blue
The city adapts to the climate. In Copenhagen, climate
change has resulted in more extreme weather. Intense
summer heat waves and occasional heavy rains flood city
sewers, streets and basements. Pocket parks and green
roofs adapts the city to this new climate, as parks cool
down the city, and green roofs collect as much as 60 pct. of
the yearly precipitation.
The city has healthy and productive citizens. The avail-
2 ability of recreational opportunities affects how inhabit-
ants of a city function. Research shows that a lack of rec-
reational spaces has a lasting detrimental effect on people,
weakening their active participation in society, their pro-
ductivity at work and their health.
The city creates local economic growth. Real estate val-
3 ues of housing close to parks and harbour swimming pools
have increased significantly compared to other areas, add-
ing value for local residents. Furthermore, the activity gen-
erated by recreational areas creates a foundation for local
businesses such as cafés, restaurants, and bars that did
not exist before..
The city creates quality of life. Aristotle once said: “A
4 city exists for the sake of a good life – not for the sake of
life only.” It shouldn’t be overlooked that recreational areas
have a significant impact on the liveability of a city and on
the quality of life for its inhabitants.
The city is aesthetic. With rooftop gardens and pocket
5 parks all over town, Copenhagen shows off a new and
interesting look. Dominated by grey and black surfaces
before, the city is now a pallet of green natural colours,
changing form and expression along with the seasons.
72 // GUIDE TO COPENHAGEN 2025