★ THE GREATEST HITS

The greatest hits. Or, in the words of Google: the most viewed posts.

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Cykelslangen

It’s a big day in Copenhagen, with the opening of “Cykelslangen” the missing link connecting the harbour bridge and the evil highway by Fisketorvet. For years cyclists have struggled with their bikes up and down steep stairs, or taken ridiculous detours to get to the bike-bridge, but finally it is here. The smooth, curvy, orange ride in the sky, named after the inner tubing in our wheel. Slange is the same word we use for snake, so my best guess is that foreigners will refer to it as the Bikesnake (or maybe the Snakebridge?). It looks like one too, wriggling its way through glass and steel, liberating us from all the obstacles underneath. Almost like riding the back of a mythical creature. Oh, can you tell I’m in love?

Cykelslangen bike bridge

I sneaked in before the grand opening today, to get some clean shots.

Cykelslangen bike bridge

Nothing begs for bending quite like rules, eh?

Cykelslangen bike bridge

Cykelslangen bike bridge

Cykelslangen bike bridge

Leading right up to the dream ride (ahead) over the water, connecting Vesterbro with Islands Brygge.

Of course some people only do as they are told. Here's one still pushing her bike up the stairs on the slide, because the sign says the connecting bike bridge are not officially open. Never mind it is only a day away. 

Cykelslangen bike bridge

This only confirms that progress is not made by those who don't push the boundaries. They have the rulebreakers to thank for that. You are welcome, lady.

Cykelslangen bike bridge

Cykelslangen bike bridge

Cykelslangen bike bridge

It makes you want to scream: what took you so long? And then you want to hug it and ride over it back and forth and back and forth like a lovestruck fool. Trust me.


Links:
Cykelslangen on DAC (architectural details)
Cykelslangen on Google maps: here.



UPDATE:
I made a small video of the ride today, just for you:

 

I think I may have stressed out the little boy in blue. Sorry, little guy.

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We love our bikes

We start at an early age...

Plus one

... and we take passengers too.

Tricycle w. passenger seat!

Friends

All kinds.

We never get too old to ride...


...and we are always up for a challenge.

Copenhagen bottle hunter


Untitled

We love our bikes.

Always have.


Always will.


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BaNanna Park, last bite
When I spotted the extended mural behind the climbers arch in BaNanna Park, my heart skipped a beat. It is made by a group of street artists with each their style, collaborating on making this piece for the children. And as a rare sign of respect it has been left untouched since it was made in September of 2007. All of my childhood heroes are represented, plus a few that came later, advocating the right to play freely and more power to the children.

There is something about it that just leaves me soft and happy. Kaj and Andrea (frog and parrot) sucks me right in of course, but so does the abundance of color and details, Frederik (best friend of Cirkeline) stuck in the sewer, the black and white grown up's as the three monkeys, the pink bike and the Dala horse in the window. It is not just a mural to me... it's a family portrait.




The last man, not listening, is by American street artist Mac, master of photorealism.




Going from left to right:



I am distrustful of people who say they have no regrets. I regret ridding myself of my giant Dala horse once upon a flea market, sigh.





Frederik (or it could be Ingolf, I can never tell them apart), best friend of Cirkeline, the girl in the dotted dress who sleeps in a matchbox.





Fozzie, Cirkeline and Kermit. Please don't make me pick a favorite.





Not all of these guys makes my heart swell, but I still recognize them: Kylling (Chicken/half of Bamse & Kylling), Mumitrolden (Moomin), Lotte or Anna (super annoying highpitched girls, haha) and a Fraggle. I think. Sign reads: free play.





Moomin with sign that reads: more diversity. Bamse (Bear/other half of Bamse & Kylling), Snuden (the Snout) and a Fraggler in a Kaj and Andrea sandwich.






Andrea presenting the artists: redie, dnye, tiws, el mac, zone, soten and crema. 




The collaboration was masterminded by Copenhagen Cruise, and I have been trying to find out more about them, but they are a secretive bunch. From what I can gather they bring street artists together and make events and collaborations on mural work. As I was digging, I learned that the balloon girl mural widely credited to Anne Sofie Madsen is a collaboration between three artists, brought together by Copenhagen Cruise. And now my interest is seriously peaked. I have to wonder what else have they been trying to sneak by me? Copenhagen Cruise, I am on to you.

Was this good, or what?



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A roof party
Just because you don't have kids doesn't mean you can't be moved by a good playground. Every penny spent on children's wellbeing is a good investment in my book, and this one is crazy good. I stopped by the park Fælledparken last week to get my shots, and a few parents and children had already jumped the fence to check it out. The grand opening was today, so they may have added a few things since last week, but I really can't imagine anything topping this:

Tårnlegepladsen / The Tower Playground

Copenhagen Stock Exchange

Copenhagen Stock Exhange (or as we call it: Børsen)
 
City roof

Marble Church dome

Famous dome of Marmorkirken, the Marble Church. The tall building in the back is Rigshospitalet (also known as the place I was born, or Riget/The Kingdom), with the helicopter landing pad.

City Hall and Round Tower slide

City Hall and the Round Tower slide.

This is quality stuff, a sign of respect. I have a hug for whomever built this, come and get it!

Rundetårn

Our Savior's Church/Vor Frelsers Kirke, with spiralled tower and ultra narrow stairs. Just like the real thing.

The Round Tower

Skyline on the playground

I know, this one is picture heavy, just one more:

City Hall

Let the roof party begin!

Practical stuff:

There is a manned building (actual size, haha) open from 10-15.30. In the summer months from April to October you can borrow toys, and outside the building there are tables, benches and a barbecue grill. Bathrooms (including handicap friendly ones) are open from 9-17, and the address is Frederik V's Vej 4. 



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Cover your ears
It is official: Copenhagen is coming out of its coma. I know it sounds crazy, but I had almost forgotten how sweet this season is. Is it that I see more, or that there is more to be seen? On the bicycle highway, also known as Nørrebrogade, this sign has been left hanging warning us about falling ice. Like we need a reminder that we just spend six months in the dungeon? Finally, someone put a twist on it:

Watch out for falling ice

Watch out for falling ice (spring edition).

And in the construction bonanza right across from the Parliament, this one caught my eye. I never noticed how the Danish word for control spelled backwards is "enough crap". Priceless.

Kon trol (lort nok)

Cargo mover

..and nobody even raises an eyebrow. What? The guy is moving a couch on his bike? Big deal.

But absolutely nothing beats this:



(cover your ears, my heart is about to explode)


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I love you honey bunny
Few things are harder to get decent shots of than parked bicycles, but in this case I just had to try. They were like the perfect couple, not identical, but rather complementing each other snuggled up in the coolest of streets Jægersborggade (expect an elaborate post on that one later). Initially I was drawn to the fronts, then my eyes wandered to the chopper handlebars, and by the string decor and the duct tape seat I was sold.

His and hers















Chopper with a twist.

Duct seat





High-strung





By the way it is stormy and crazy cold like fall here, where do I complain? 



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Shepard Fairey
We are only one day in, and August is already shaping up to kick Copenhagen into orbit. Forget about the comatose state of July, and what little summer we had, this month is bringing it. I want to find the time for all of it: the electronic music festivals Strøm and Stella Polaris, Copenhagen Fashion Week, the international street theatre festival Metropolis, Copenhagen Cooking, MAD Foodcamp... but best of all the five day bonanza that is Shepard Fairey generously gracing Copenhagen with no less than five giant pieces.

Fairey is in town for the opening of his latest show Your Ad Here in V1 Gallery, and he has hit the ground running. Yesterday the crew was working on the lot of the old Youth House. Ever since they tore it down  (here and here), it has been like an open wound refusing to heal. The lot is something between sacred and haunted, and up until yesterday no one had even dared touch it. And then came Fairey. This is the best if not only solution, and it is almost like the ground have started healing overnight. Street art is mighty.

Shepard Fairey in Copenhagen

Ground Control, Fairey inspecting the progress.


Perfectly orchestrated.


 Instructions from Ground Control: pinch it if you have to.

Peace 69 and a good laugh

The paint is barely dry, and never mind the hovering lift, take my picture. Fairey is amused.

Obey

Obey. How can you not?

Jagtvej 69, finally at peace

Jagtvej 69 today, finally at peace.

Five more days to go... you haven't heard the last of it yet, I promise.


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The Jante Law
Honoring evil with attention is a merely a way of enabling it. For this very reason I have been avoiding the most obvious of subjects, when it comes to Denmark: the Jante Law. Nothing pains me more than even speaking its name, or spelling out the ridiculous commandments, but despite my efforts it flourishes like never before, so let's face the sucker head on:

The Jante Law

1. Don't think you are special.
2. Don't think you are as good as us.
3. Don't think you are smarter than us.
4. Don't tell yourself you are better than us.
5. Don't think you know more than us.
6. Don't think you are more than us.
7. Don't think you excel at anything.
8. Don't laugh at us.
9. Don't think anyone cares about you.
10. Don't think you can teach us anything.

You encounter the effect of these "commandments" on a daily basis. When someone makes it big in for example sports, music or movies they are saluted. For all of five minutes they are one of us. And then it hits: one misstep and they get their nose rubbed in it forever. The full extent of the Jante Law is especially felt by those returning after years abroad, who quickly learn that speaking of ones accomplishments is simply not done. It is considered as rude as farting in public. If you want to blend in and build a network, you must understate everything and if need be practice false modesty.

It is not like we are the only ones enforcing the Jante Law, apparently it is widespread in our fellow Scandinavian countries too, and in other parts of the world it is known as the Tall Poppy Syndrome. But it is almost religiously enforced in Denmark. In many ways it is the complete opposite of the United States, where people cheer you on, and where tooting your own horn is even encouraged. Success is shared, and is rigthly considered contagious. But here?

August 11th 2011

Intet glemt, intet tilgivet

Jagtvej 69

Don't think you are special, don't tell yourself you are better than us, don't think you can teach us anything...

It was so beautiful.

Link to Obey's own footage at the Street Art News blog.


(Warning: getting through it without violating the eighth commandment is impossible)

***** for the record*****

I am and have been for preserving the Youth House every step of the way. Selling and tearing it down was a disgrace, one of the biggest and arguably most expensive mistakes the city ever made. Previous posts on the Youth House here, here, here and here.

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UPDATE:

Following his attack Shepard Fairey set things straight with a two post recap of his trip to Copenhagen.

Part one, good (on ObeyGiant)
Part two, bad (on Huffington Post)
 

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Nuclear Power? Na, nee, nej, no, non, nie, nao...
With the recent developments in Japan, my concern about nuclear power is renewed. Copenhagen have a clear view of the nuclear power plant Barsebäck on the shores of Sweden only 20 kilometers away. It was built in 1975 and growing up I remember the protests, and the image of the ever present smiling sun with the message: Nuclear power? No thanks. Since that I can't recall a single issue uniting so many Danes. Only recently was the plant shut down entirely, but the destruction of the facility will be another nine years, awaiting the construction of yet another facility for the waste. Adding to that an estimated seven years of transport and neutralization. Of course I am deliriously happy that Barsebäck is finally shut down, but with another ten nuclear plants in Sweden, drawing a sigh of relief seems premature.

Atomkraft? Nei takk

Nuclear power? No thanks

The other day I passed this beautiful van and I had to stop and greet my old friend The Smiling Sun. The message turned out to be in Norwegian, and I got curious about the origin. It turns out that the sun was made right here in Denmark in 1975 by activist Anne Lund, and today it speaks no less than 45 different languages. It has become the symbol of the fight against nuclear power. How cool is that?








The image of The Smiling Sun is as powerful as ever and it seems only right that it survived Barsebäck.

Nuclear power? Na, nee, nej, nei, no, non, nein, nie, nao...


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True Love
Oh Lego, my first true love. I can't tell you how many hours I spend assembling Lego bricks, and the rush it was every single time when the pieces clicked together perfectly. Being one of the biggest export successes we have ever had, it seems strange that we had to wait this long for it, but now it is finally here: the flagship Lego store.

I found myself filling a bucket of Lego, completely ignoring the inner voice asking me why? Because they are pink, don't you see? And some of them have eyes, and there are antenna's... shut up. Okay so I am actually slightly embarrassed to admit I bought (myself) a box of Lego. But I did. So there.




True love never dies.









The Lego bicycles, of course. It is Copenhagen after all.




See that big dragon worming its way through the walls? I'm not so giddy about the box-sets lining the walls all the way down the long, but narrow space. But when you reach the end, you get to fill the buckets, like in a candy store. Only better.

(Seriously: I could easily go and fill another bucket right now, haha)

The Lego store:
Vimmelskaftet 37
Mon-Thurs 10-18 (10am-6pm)
Friday 10-19 (10am-7pm)
Saturday 10-16 (10am-4pm)

and first Sunday of the month 12-16 (12pm-4pm)

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A hot tip
Way back in November a fellow tweeter was the first to tip me about a nice piece of street art (how cool is that?!), attaching a treasure map and everything.



It was not far from my house, so I immediately went looking but as far as I could tell, it was gone already. Still, in the back of my mind it bugged me that I missed it, especially because it was a knitted piece, and those I don't see too often. And then yesterday I found it!

Sometimes I think of life as a hunting ground, you must stay alert at all times, and tuned into what is important to you, otherwise you might miss it. Some things ask a little more of you, that you slow down, look harder, look at it in a different context or from a different angle. It puzzles me that I have passed this particular piece for over a month, and only see it now. But I am happy that I finally did.



A traffic light on a traffic light. 



...happiness (lykke)


Soft happiness (Blød lykke)

Thank you for the tip Alberto!


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Copenhagen au naturel
Copenhagen is hosting the Road Cycling World Championship this week and in so many ways it doesn't affect me, except for a very important one: for the first time since the introduction of the automobile, the centre have been sealed off and a large part of Copenhagen have been car free. I knew it was going to happen, but I had no idea how different my city was going to feel without the constant roar of traffic. It resembles a feeling of being liberated, I have no better way of describing it. As I was taking my pictures in the middle of the road, fighting the twilight (holy crap daylight goes fast already), an old woman came up to me and started a conversation. That never happens. We both had on big smiles as we agreed how the peace was unreal, the air so clean and how there was a total absence of a tension that we hadn't even noticed before it was gone.

I bet you that by next week most drivers have forgotten whatever nuisance this may have been, but I doubt that anyone who experienced Copenhagen in the nude will ever forget.

Portrait of my bicycle

Portrait of my good friend. A once in a lifetime opportunity seized on HC Andersens Boulevard.


No parking

Not just no traffic: no parking. 









Gothersgade



Leave the car because you can ride your bike


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Call of the wild
Fall is turning out to be everything summer was not, sunny and breathtakingly beautiful. The other day on my way home, the lakes demanded I made a stop on the bridge. Since they first put up three benches on the sunny side, it has been packed every night at sunset. Now we are up to fourteen benches, but a lot of people still sit on the ground, it is just a different feeling that way. On that day it was cold, but the light was special. Soft, but temperamental somehow. I stayed for half an hour to take it in and went home with frozen fingertips.




And then the sky exploded. It was like it happened in a moment, everything went pink and orange. I had to grab my camera and ride like a mad person to make it back to the bridge before it was all gone. This was all I got:















One of my favorite things about these rare orange sunsets are the way the windows on the other side of the lakes turn into burning mirrors. Crazy beautiful and near impossible to catch on camera. 











Next time I get a feeling like that, I am going to pitch a tent and camp out.


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