03 November 2010

The Youth House revisited

The legal aftermath of the Youth House eviction in 2007 has reached supreme court level. At the time the police stormed the place, like something out of an action movie, helicopters and all, a handful of people was still inside the house. They all surrendered without a fight, but were still charged with obstruction. I have not really been keeping an eye on the development, but last week a familiar face popped up in the media. It turns out that Tallbike Hans (as we know him), was one of the occupants that night, and now among those awaiting the final say on November 5th. And as coincidence would have it, I ran into him again this weekend.

When I first met Hans, I was so mesmerised by the tallbike, that I did not think to ask him what else he does. If I had, I would have learned that he was the resident photographer, documenting everything in the Youth House from the inside. Something that I never got to do. I am pretty sure they would have looked at me funny if I had tried, but then I may be wrong. Fortunately Hans has allowed me to show some of his pictures, and I have been picking out my favorites:

Beer and pogo. Now.

From one of the many demo's, with the history of the house on a banner.

The story of the house (ultra light version):

The house belonged to the City, but because it had been unoccupied since the 1960s, the rights to use it was given to the youth. But later the City sold the house anyway (without clearing it first, that is) for 2,6 million crowns, to a company subsequently taken over by the worst case scenario: a religious sect. (Skipping the part of endless negotiations, demonstrations and burning cars here) The foundation raised to assist the Youth House offered to buy the house for 15 million, but were turned down. The house was then cleared, torn down the same night and the lot immediately put up for sale. The price, you ask? 15 million (!). But with no takers, and the Youth House Foundation's offers repeatedly turned down, it was not until spring this year that it finally sold for 8 millions. But we all paid a much higher price than that, and Copenhagen ended up with a 72 million crowns headache.

The ground floor café.

The basement cafe.

The Youth House stays!

This show of support was visible from windows around the city. Other than the fight for the climate during COP15, which was not exactly an all Danish operation, this is the last time I can remember anyone standing up and fighting for what they believe in, in Denmark. Which made it all the more heartbreaking when the house was finally demolished.

And the icing on the cake?

The icing on the cake is how the religious fanatic having robbed Copenhagen of an irreplaceable historical venue and a cultural mecca, has managed to land herself a spot on TV stuffing her face in the company of other "celebrities". Surely entertainment has hit rock bottom by now? I want to ask who rewards this madness by watching the show, but then I really don't want to know. I just like it better when my world makes sense.

All pictures in this post is taken by Hans Joergensen. 

For more pictures you can visit his website here.

The Youth House on Wikipedia: here.


I have heard so much about how street artists had decorated the stairways in the house, and Hans has send me som more info. Perhaps these shots will bring you out of that terrible coma that I inadvertently put you all in. First a peek at the second floor, with the balcony Royal Theatre style (3rd floor).

And below the small stage in the basement, also known as "Spejlægget" (the fried egg).

And finally, some of the stairway decorations that made my heart skip a couple of beats:

 I don't know about you, but this picked me right up.

Fingers crossed for Hans on friday! 

Final update:

I really dragged my feet on this update, because the news are not good... but in case you were wondering: the supreme court upheld the verdict. Our streets will be the poorer for it.


  1. Sandra you are making me sad :(

  2. Oh, no, I am sorry. I will try to make you happy again soon.

  3. you are making me sad too!

  4. That was so not my intention. Now I am sad too.

  5. don't be...it was just a really lovely post about a house, that ment a lot to me!

  6. and now me. hopefully youth is resilient, it never stops and some other place can be taken over.

  7. I hope you all notice the fantastic extra's Hans send me. It should turn things around again.


  8. This place looked awesome :-/

  9. I know. I never went, so I am really happy to get a chance to see these pictures. Hurra for Hans.

  10. That's a great project. The whole subject reminds me of Berlin in the 80s - when people started squatting empty houses and all the demonstrations and fights with the police that broke out. My parents were terrified that I took it up as an after-school occupation to have myself sprayed with tear gas. Sadly not many of these communes have survived.

  11. Hi Sabine, I read about the Berlin development recently, that all the affordable/free spots occupied by creative people are dying out. They have all made it so attractive that the wealthy now wants to live there. It is always the same story, no matter the city and the country.

    Even if you relocate people, a community takes time to grow. By the way, Berlin is another place I have not been exploring, and it is so close. Maybe it shold be my next destination.


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