The bridges of Copenhagen

Update, April 2018: what’s the collective noun for bridges? Scroll to the foot of this post for details of bridges big and small that have opened since I wrote this post.

A thorough rewrite is called for before the next new bridge, the very Danish Lille Langebro (more | more2 | more3), opens alongside the already derided BLOX. Situated where the original Langebro crossed the harbour (more), this is another of Realdania’s ‘gifts to the city’, or rather to its cyclists and pedestrians. You will be able to “exchange the car-filled HC Andersens Boulevard for Vester Voldgade, which buzzes with life rather than the noise of cars”, says city functionary Morten Kabell.

Due to open in autumn 2018, I couldn’t spot any signs of life when I checked out BLOX, and it turns out that there is a serious delay (Politiken) – parts of the bridge were damaged beyond repair when being loaded onto a barge in Rotterdam. It will take at least a year to remake the parts.

More bridges: the bridges of NewcastleBridge in London7 iconic English bridges

Easter, which kicked off yesterday hereabouts, heralds the start of Denmark’s bank holiday season. There’s a total of seven public holidays between now and 5 June, a good opportunity for some more challenging outings with the beags.

Copenhagen has surprisingly few bridges, with only two, Knippelsbro and Langebro (light project), carrying motor traffic across the main stretch of water in the city centre, joined in 2006 by Bryggebroen for pedestrians and cyclists.

In December two new bridgelets opened after the usual delays, joining up some of the dots between Christianshavn and the islets (holme) created for naval or industrial purposes on Holmen itself. The half moon shaped pasty of Christianshavn, with its crenellated edges, was created from reclaimed land from the early 17th century onwards. Previously occupied by the army and navy, it was opened to public use as late as 1991.

We tend to visit Christianshavn on bank holidays, when the only people about are tourists, so it’s maybe a little unfair to criticise it for lack of buzz, however the area does have a sleepy frozen in time feel, perhaps due in part to the fact that the area was – and still is – characterised by inaccessible corners. But it’s a nice place for a wander with some well preserved warehouses and other industrial architecture, and if you stand in the right place on the vold (rampart) you can catch a half decent city vista.

The two new bridges, funded by AP Møller Fonden with the council coughing up extra due to the lengthy delays, have separate lanes for peds and bikes (one each way). Designed by French studio Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes neither is exactly a feast for the eye, but Tranggravsbroen is a pleasing amuse bouche, a three legged construction connecting Grønlandske Handels Plads, Trangravsvej and Islands Plads. Canal tour boats and smaller motor boats can pass under, and two of the legs can be raised for taller boats, as long as you put in your request four hours in advance.


the three legs of Tranggravsbroen

The Proviantbroen bridgelet, presumably part of the deal to make a route from Christianshavn to the Opera without any form of deviation, sits parallel to Danneskiold-Samsøes Allé – previously you had to take a (not huge) detour.

2015-04-02 11.53.06

Proviantbroen – if you squint you can see the road behind in black

Oh, the beagler i byen attracted a lot of attention and behaved pretty well, all things considered.

2015-04-02 12.08.56

flags and a small beagle outside Nordatlantens Brygge

Sources: Politiken, Magasinet KBH, You want more? Politiken (again) comes up with the interesting factoid that the original plan for a bridge from the Royal Theatre to the Opera was vetoed by Mærsk McKinney Møller, more history from, plus a piece on Islands Brygge and Bryggebroen.

New-ish bridges not covered above:

  • Cykelslangen (pic) – opened June 2014, and now with no peds! signs; a mini ped equivalent opened March 2016); ‘iconic’
  • Cirkelbroen (pic) – another of those mysterious ‘gifts‘ to the city, photogenically situation across the water from the Black Diamond, a trophy bridge spanning the rather shorter mouth of Christianshavns Kanal in an anonymous location somewhere between Islands Brygge and Knippelsbro as another piece of the jigsaw creating an unbroken route around the old harbour area; focused as much on show as function, its role is as much one of public space as bridge, with passers-by encouraged to slow down or take a break (albeit without any form of seating; rather than a conventional bridge it’s a shiplike construction with five masts, a reference to the ships which previously lay at anchor at the warehouses on the wharf, costing DK 80 million and taking three and a half years to build, due to two of the contractors going bankrupt and objections from a local resident; it is expected that around 5000 people will use the bridge every day, although how many for transit purposes and how many for recreational purposes is not known; opened in August 2015; see Magasinet KBH | Morten Birk JørgensenPolitiken
  • Inderhavnsbroen – opened on 7 July 2016 after over three years of delays, creating a direct connection between Nyhavn and Christianshavn, but sheesh, it’s ugly and in the wrong place

Other planned bridges:

  • Albert Nobels Bro – connection between Sluseholmen/Teglholmen and Enghave Brygge at Frederiksholmsløbet, eta 2018 (soft traffic) and 2023 (cars)
  • connection between Nokken and Amager Fælled
  • a key project for eager cyclists is a ‘super’ route through Christiania, facing extensive delays due to protests from the locals

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