Copenhagen Green

Last Summer there was an outdoor exhibition of photographs on Nytorv in Copenhagen, the large square in front of the old 18th-century town hall, and then later, from the 18th August, it was moved to the other end of the Walking Street onto Højbro Plad where it remained until 30th October.

On Nytorv there was more space and, ironically, fewer trees so the large display panels formed interesting groups and spaces and the square is slightly quieter so there was more chance to look carefully at the photographs and read all the accompanying text and information. On Højbro Plads the space is slightly more constricted and the exhibition spilled out of the square to the south and along the edge of the canal with its views over to the Parliament buildings.

The aim of the exhibition was to “strike a blow for the good city life and for the city’s green and sustainable places.” Photographs selected showed 100 sites around and just outside the city and showed all seasons … so from well-used public spaces like Frederiksberg Have (Frederiksberg Gardens) and the Søerne or lakes, that arc around the city centre to the west and north, to less well-known areas of green and planting like Kineserbyen (or the Yellow Town) and roof-top vegetable gardens of Østerbro and from the Spring blossom of Bispebjerg Kirkegård (cemetry) to the Winter frost covering Pinseskoven forest.

The photographs were stunning, particularly at the size they were printed, but the information and back stories of the long labels were also interesting and important … for instance there was one photograph and panel about the history of the distinct dark green paint used in the city for gates, doors, windows and benches. There were also clear location maps for finding the places profiled.

One obvious theme that ran through the photographs was that many if not most showed the citizens of Copenhagen using, enjoying and having fun in these open spaces from an amazing air view of two boys playing football on the urban sports area of Plug N Play to a young woman quietly sitting on a bench in the sun reading in Holmens Kirkegård (Holmen’s Cemetery)

It was worth spending as much time as possible looking at the photographs and reading the information panels but I have also bought the book that accompanies the exhibition because, as I have only just moved to the city, there can't be many better ways to get to know the place than by using the book as a “bucket list” for places to visit and explore over the coming seasons.

Copenhagen Green - 100 green things to see and do in Copenhagen, Susanne Trier Norden and Poul Arnedal, for Foreningen By&Natur (June 2014)

There is also a fantastic web site, Discover Green Places in Copenhagen, with the all photographs and text but also maps and route directions ... you can simply browse from your armchair or plan a tour or start from where you are, if you are in Copenhagen, and look for nearby places and use the map and route directions to explore the city.