Yesterday we visited Refshaleøen, a wilderness area just over the water from the Little Mermaid. An artificial island dominated by an abandoned shipyard, the area is being shined up in the name of the experience economy. As part of Kulturhavn, a harbour festival and the latest of a seemingly endless parade of same in CPH over the summer, there were guided walks and free waterbuses on offer.
Kulturhavn as a whole was nicely done, with events over the weekend at six harbour/dock locations:
- Refshaleøen | map | fotoreportage – the harbour’s rough diamond; secret tours in the old docks, guided with Annette Skov and self guided
- Admiral Kai | map – fairytale voyages, including to secret parts of the harbour (tall ships sighted)
- Islands Brygge | map – the heart of the festival, with dance, music, sport, street, children…
- Kalvebod Brygge | map | fotoreportage – the future recreational pearl (maybe work on that) opposite Islands Brygge, with Kalvebod Bølge due to open on 30 August; DAC offered an uneasy combination of sport and architecture, with an exhibition, podrun races and guided tours
- Enghave Brygge | map – culture in the raw/meets machine in the Diesel House
- Sydhavnen | map – waterbuses, houseboats and canals/childrens’ workshops, water sports, Sunset Lounge
After collecting the route map we went for the self guided walk option. Or rather beagle guided – drifting with beagles is often on their terms, and on a hot day compromises have to be made so they don’t completely exhaust themselves. One of our beagles is a horror in the car but a deep thinker at heart, and after some initial pulling paces himself to take it all in. The other one seems to do his thinking in the car, where he is happy looking out of the back window, but once he gets out it’s all systems go until exhaustion hits, when he lies down and won’t budge.
We pretty much followed the designated Shipyard Route – see Værftsruten for details of the 15 locations – but will have to come back on a cooler day to take in the details. As a whole the ‘island’ has a bit of everything – views across the water to Copenhagen ‘proper’, industrial chic, a trendy beach bar (Halvandet), windmills/fishing, although access is an issue. Copehagen’s heritage as an industrial harbour city is an interesting one, rather different from the fairytale image.