Carlsberg Byen: tapping into the past

Update, June 2016: we’ve been visiting Carlsberg Byen (‘city district’; currently no English) for nearly three years – in fact our 2013 trip marked one of our first Sunday outings to look at buildings. With Carlsberg Station due to open on 1 July a turning point has now been reached and it’s all systems go in attracting tenants, both private and commercial (meaning that a lot of links I had used below were broken, dårlig stil). No more Vores By/Our Town – it’s all about property development, after all, and the storytelling is rather different from the end result. A troika of press stories reflects a distinct tone of disappointment (Berlingske | Børsen | Politiken).

The narrative around the Carlsberg dynasty and the turn of the century buildings (not my period) will be preserved, if not stories such as the use of the cellars by the resistance during WW2, but there is a fair amount of collateral damage around the later buildings (404 for a map revealing the 85% of buildings to be demolished, but here’s a list of historic buildings, including the twisted chimney), the temporary activities which sprang up during the financial crisis while redevelopment was on hold, and, not least, trees. See Flickr album for pics.

On a not entirely unrelated note, Subterramania paid some visits to the cellars under Carlsberg back in the day (2011 | 2015) – presumably the achingly on-trend UrbanWineBox occupies some of this space.

This Sunday took us to Carlsberg Byen (Wikipedia), site of the former brewery now being done up as yet another shiny new area based around the experience economy. Development started in 2008 when the last of the brewing moved to Fredericia. The size of 50 football pitches, it’s all really nicely done and sure to be a tourist magnet – Carlsberg Visitor Centre, close to the zoo, etc.

The DAC podwalk starts at Ny Tap Plads, ie the Vesterbro end, where a lot of workers would have arrived. Ny Tap itself has now been pulled down, and Enghave station is to be rebuilt as Carlsberg station.

Tap E Plads houses a 1920s mineral water factory, now occupied by DanseHallerne. Walk through to JC Jacobsen’s hemmelige have (secret garden), closed to the public for 160 years, and gawp at De hængende haver (hanging gardens, 1967), where 22 forskerboliger (houses for visiting researchers) are planned.

Personal hits were populist choice the Elephant Gate at the Valby end, Slottet (The Castle; a warehouse with big yellow discs on the side) and the little houses around Jerichausgade, aka Humleby.

As reported last week our beagle walks can be a bit of a challenge, but we are hoping for gradual improvement in excitement levels. The highlight this week was Oscar demonstrating both the beagle howl and the chicken noise, on the trail of some passing dray horses.

I’m sceptical about these big planned developments. Despite earnest claims that it will be a diverse area reflecting the make up of nearby Vesterbro and Valby, at the moment it’s mainly fleamarket concepts, Klatreskoven and the inevitable arty types (see Saturn II) rather than the everyday. But maybe time and (surely) lack of money will lead to more organic development.

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