20 December 2011


Going to Vesterbro from Nørrebro I almost always cross through Frederiksberg. It is only a ten minute trip, but even just passing through you clearly get the difference between the three. From the outside the transition appear seamless, but don't be fooled: everything is different. If you have ever seen the classic Danish TV series Matador, you know what I mean when I call it Korsbæk. It is the old world, neatly groomed, with only the faintest trace of graffiti or street art. Dog poop (delivered by small to medium sized dogs only) is properly disposed of, and should you ever forget, there are polite signs to remind you and little stations with complimentary dog-poop-bags on every other corner.

If Frederiksberg was a relative, she would be the distinguished elderly aunt, who eats from the fine china and keep up appearances at all times. She may not have a great sense of humor or even pretend to understand you, but she belongs at the table as part of the family.

Creme de Cafe...

...also known as Creme de Nial.

Worlds collide. In passing I thought this was painted blinds, haha. Such an unlikely mix.

The tiniest hint of rebellion. Maybe we are related after all?


  1. Yes, Frederiksberg is very groomed. I heard the local mayor say (in an article about what seperates Frb. from the rest of Cph), that they had a zero tolerance to any kind of streetart or graffiti. If spotted, the graffiti removal team is there like cops on a homeless person.

    I really liked your metaphor with the distinguished elderly aunt - Frederiksberg itself has a lot of elderly citizens, of whom the majority don't exactly cherish artistic expression on their fine streets. Some might even call Frederiksberg the most conservative part of town, only challenged by my previous neighbourhood of Østerbro. Yawn!
    A funny thing that I found out is, they can't keep it 100% graffiti free, simple because of all the workers shacks (roadworks) and vans, who are often tagged or have actual 'pieces' on their side. These shacks and vans are mobile, hence the graffiti moves in, whether the city wants it or not ;) And the shacks are then parked for months, while workers do construction or dig the road (Copenhagen is always dug up various places, ever notice?).
    See the below photo to see what I mean - the tagger "Alt Gr" on a mobile workers trailer, parked in Frederiksberg:


    I find things like that amusing, but like you I like other things in Frederiksberg, like the old preserved architecture, the Frederiksberg Garden (prettiest park in Copenhagen i.m.o.) and all the odd stores (-I mainly chuckle at the titles of the stores or bars, but rarely actually do any shopping). But they have a lot of specialized crafts shops, I'm happy for those that survive in these challenging and competitive times, where big corporations eat up the little man :)

  2. Er Frederiksberg mon Københavns Fyn? Kunne godt tro det.

  3. Hi Drumstick, the absence of street art is not devastating to me, it is nice with a break for the eyes once in a while (and this is why I prefer a clean Assistens Cemetery wall too). But there seems to be a lack of life, somehow. One thing they do have in abundance is traffic, crossing HC Ørstedsvej is the creepiest experience on bike because they love their sacred parking places so much that they would rather risk a few fatalities once in a while than give them up. That mentality I could do without.

  4. Hej knaptsaauniktsnefnug, jeg tænker det er lidt Østerbro/Hellerup/De Gamles By/Korsbæk'ish. Der ligger nogle ordentlige drømmekasser ned ad de små veje, og nogle herskabs lejligheder med uhyggeligt højt til loftet. Man ser jo et og andet når man passerer dagligt. Men det frister ikke, jeg elsker Nørrebro.

  5. Hehe, jeg tænkte mere på, at Frederiksberg er et bump, der bare skal passeres.

  6. It's interesting how different areas develop like that. In Portland, the "Old Town" of the city (the original center of the city) is a bit run down, with a lot of homeless people, etc - and then right next to it (just 8-10 streets away), in what used to be an industrial warehouse area, is the wealthiest part of town - loft apartments and condos build in the old warehouse buildings, expensive shops and very new, clean, construction mingled with the old warehouse buildings. Streetcar lines running through, and residents who can afford to go into a kitchen store with no intentions of buying anything, and walk out with a $3,000 espresso machine.

    I would say Portland (the city itself, and not the suburbs) overall is a very middle-class city, and rather unconcerned with appearances - almost nothing is completely pristine, and much of the city, even in areas with non-poor residents, feel well-worn, much like a teddy bear that has a few small holes in him :)

    It's a good thing, I think.

  7. Frederiksberg is considered a very attractive neighborhood, they take extremely good care of their own, with shorter waiting time for childcare and so on. And if your marriage is in trouble, they offer you free counseling. Last I heard, anyway. Still, I feel much more at home in areas like Nørrebro where I live now, or if absolutely forced to move, Vesterbro.

  8. Certainly, every city needs its well-groomed neighborhood - and it's great that they have an interest in the people who live there, and aren't just "the rich neighborhood" or whatever (which is what happens here).

    I also find it interesting how Copenhagen neighborhoods really seem to be somewhat autonomous in terms of operation, and even in terms of society.

    That doesn't really seem to happen here in Portland, anyway. There are very distinct neighborhoods, but about the only distinct administration or sort of sense of community they have is a neighborhood association, which usually has few members, and basically just organizes volunteer help cleaning up parks and sometimes interacts with the city government to give opinions on projects in their neighborhood.

    It's kind of cool to me that the neighborhoods of Copenhagen operate a little bit more like small, autonomous communities in some ways.

  9. You have to admit that Frederiksberg has the best window knick-knacks... the ones that only little old ladies can display ;)
    I also appreciated the absence of dog poop on the sidewalks!

  10. Hi Celena,
    Absolutely they have a way with window displays in Korsbæk, it is like going back in time. And even if this area is not my favorite, I like that we have room for all kinds of people in Copenhagen. :-)


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