green and open space in Vesterbro


Nej Carlsberg Vej from Sønder Boulevard

Because Vesterbro is such a densely built up residential area, green open space with grass and trees seems, somehow, much more important but when compared with other districts of Copenhagen, there appear to be few large open areas here.

Skydebanehaven, in the centre of Vesterbro, is perhaps the most important open space. Its a large, long and narrow rectangular park with the backs of apartment buildings on both sides so that in some ways it is more like a large courtyard. On the site of a private shooting range, dating back to the 18th century, originally it was, presumably, just grass or perhaps gravel but now has fine mature trees. At the south end It has been extended and opened out to the west but it still seems like a well-kept local secret, hidden away behind the apartment buildings, and from the north entered through a narrow gateway beside a school and from the south, from Istedgade, approached through a doorway in a forbidding high blank brick wall that closes off a short street of apartment buildings. 

The entrance to Skydebanehaven, the old Shooting Gallery, from Istedgade


Looking south from the Shooting Gallery towards the screen wall and the gateway to Istedgade



To the west of the shooting gallery, Saxopark was created relatively recently by a rationalisation of gardens and footpaths around a new apartment building as part of a major urban regeneration scheme and has been linked through to the Shooting Gallery by demolishing some blocks of what had become slum housing at the south end.

looking along Saxopark from the south

Otto Krabbes Plads


apartment buildings at the south end of Dannebrogsgade demolished and street opened up towards Skydebanehaven


looking east from Westend towards Skydebanehaven across the line of Dannesbrogade where apartment buildings were demolished

Enghave Park

In the 1920s Enghave Park was laid out at the west end of the area on what had been allotments to form a large square, with large new apartment blocks on the north, west and south sides of the park … presumably part of the expansion and growing importance of the Carlsberg brewery that covered a large area beyond the park. A bandstand on the west side of the park is an early work by Arne Jacobsen.


Halmtorvet and Sønder Boulevard

Running out from the railway station across the north side of the meat market, Halmtorvet has been repaved and laid out with water fountains and with trees along a central area that is used for flea markets, food stalls and sports. This, the widest street in the area, and Sønder Boulevard, the extension on westward, are the route of the new metro line so at the moment they are disrupted with hoardings but trees and again a mixture of sports and play facilities will be reinstated to create an important green spine to the area and presumably this will also be a major route not just for people using the metro, so walking to and from the new stations, but for cyclists going to and from a large new development area beyond Vesterbro that is growing up on the site of the Carlsberg brewery which has been relocated.

The first work to improve Sønder Bouleard was completed in 2007 when the far end was closed to traffic to stop it being used as a cut through used by traffic to drive in and out of the city. The width of road surface along either side was reduced to restrict traffic further and that meant that the central grass area could be made wider and planted with trees and there was also room for play areas for children along with outdoor games and exercise equipment.

Much of the meat market itself has been converted - with new restaurants and bars and with open-air food stalls at weekends through the summer - although fortunately some of the wholesale traders have stayed to give the area a much more honest and open feel than many similar gentrified wholesale markets in other cities. However, although the space is certainly open it is not very green.


Halmtorvet looking west towards the start of Sønder Boulevard


Sønder Boulevard towards the centre, looking across to Absalon church on the south side


the west end of Sønder Boulevard looking east, back towards the centre of the city

There are also some relatively small squares around Vesterbro with mature trees in front of major churches - the Eliaskirken facing onto Vesterbrogade, the church at the east end of Knoldens Plads, almost in the centre of the area, and Kristkirken on Enghave Plads on the east side of the park.


Ungdomskirken on the east side of Litauens Plads


looking east across Enhavevej from Enghaveparken to Kristkirken on the north side of the square

With all these recent changes Istedgade has attracted better shops and new bars and restaurants although fortunately some of the older companies have survived in part reducing the impression that the area has been scrubbed clean. With two new metro stations serving Vesterbro from 2018, improvements will certainly continue and presumably quite rapidly.