Carlsberg Byen: tapping into the past

Update, May 2017: we’ve been visiting Carlsberg Byen (‘city district’; currently no English) for nearly four years – our 2013 trip marked one of our first Sunday outings to look at buildings. A turning point was reached with the opening of Carlsberg Station on 1 July 2016, and it’s now all systems go in attracting tenants, both private and commercial – see my Flickr album for more of the changing face of the district.

Back story: opened to the public in 2009 after the final departure of brewing activities on the site, pre-financial crisis an ‘our town’ approach encouraging temporary uses was adopted, but many pop-up activities opened in 2010 were closed in 2015, and the trees in Klatresloven and in Carl Jacobsens Have were felled, causing widespread disillusionment (Berlingske | Børsen | Politiken). The storytelling is rather different from the end result; now it’s all about property development, with a narrative built around the Carlsberg dynasty and turn of the century buildings.

New linkage:

This Sunday took us to Carlsberg Byen, 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 the workers would have arrived for work. 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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