27 September 2013

Burn bridges, burn

With the upcoming local elections, people are in all seriousness asking me if I plan to run for office. The answer is no, of course. The main reason being I have zero faith in the political system, and believe I stand a better chance of making real changes from my current position. Besides, if I did, I would not be able to say what I am about to say: our city is being run by the incompetent. From the cleaning department to the mayors office. The current lord mayor is a man not native to Copenhagen, whose idea of progress is adding more cars to the mix. He is anything but a visionary, and under his supervision my beautiful city is being gutted, and stripped of all vegetation. New projects are financed by selling off our harbour to real estate developers, allowing them to fill it up. It is as bad as it gets.

And then there is the cleaning department. I have personal experience with them from the test tube project (it ended by them laying it to rest, as "we have no cup litter problem”, did I even tell you about that?). Keeping the city clean is something that really interests me, I observe, document it and talk to street cleaners frequently. The cup litter denial thing is not news to them. On Vesterbro they pick up 600 kilos of syringes a year, but the official line is “there is no syringe problem”. New ideas are not taken under advisement, and the general approach is denial.

So how do they tackle the cleaning problem in Copenhagen? Instead of acknowledging that the trashcans are outdated, and not covering the needs of a big city, they take a condescending approach:

Giant Vipp

Is it an advertisement for a beautiful piece of Danish Design? Or do they really think we are idiots?

Ground control

With loud yellow footprints leading up to the trashcans, they sort of answered that, didn’t they?

They uglify:

Vandalism (no, I am not talking about the chair)

Every single trashcan in the city is covered with this crap. Try this out: cover the green part with your fingers and see how much nicer it looks, instantly. Seat of the nice chair chained to the bench:

Place to wait for the future  
(Seat reads) Place to wait for the future.  Unfortunately we can't afford to just sit around and wait.

The garbage situation, the construction mess gutting the city, congestion and pollution, the insane amount of advertising screaming at you from every angle, I can handle all that. But what happened yesterday, broke my heart. Our local construction site beautifier Bert, left a note in the comments section of the last post, urging me to check out the National Museum of Denmark. The spot with the giant lilacs:


I got a really bad feeling...  and it was warranted: the ancient trees, the giant lilacs, the wilderness and beautiful garden was gone.

Statens Museum For Massakre

The same spot before, below. It is not a joke when I say, that if you want to see Copenhagen nature, you need to go on Google Street View.

I got there in time to see the last standing tree. To get an idea of how big it was, check the man standing at its foot. If you are curios to see exactly what they destroyed, check out this link to google street view (if you allow it to load, it will switch to street view and the right angle, although you may want to skip the exercise altogether, as it is utterly depressing).

Det sidste træ / The last tree

And why did they rip it all up, at this busy intersection, with eight lanes of cars on each side? To create a new museum garden, consisting of a lawn with a water mirror. For this mirage, they destroyed an irreplaceable piece of Copenhagen nature:

En græsplæne ud til en motorvej

Note the convenient and total absence of cars or bikes in the rendition, facing a highway. I am convinced that future generations will hold us accountable for this massacre. Especially since the only old trees they will ever get, are the ones that are here now. Newly planted trees have not developed the resistance of the old ones, and as such they tend to succumb early, in the toxic urban soil. The expected lifespan of a newly planted urban tree is seven years. Seven.

This is one of those posts that you are advised against publishing. Do not piss off the wrong people, and all that. But I say: burn bridges, burn!


  1. The job of politicians is to make things as ass-backwards and complicated as possible. They aren't called bureaucrats for nothing ;) I still think that it would be awesome if you ran for office- just the fact that you are SO different would make them totally crap their pants ;) Haha! So sad about the trees around the museum... there is not much greenery in that area and it is a big loss! Hugs to you!

    1. It is kind of a sad thing for democracy, when you get to this point. Although I do belive in the concept, we just need to find a new way. Perhaps starting with the elected being forced to practice what they preach(-ed). Imagine that. : )

  2. All of that makes me feel a little sick. I'm so sorry :(

    1. I realise I may be bringing everybody down with this post, especially with the last part. But it had to be said, you know? I am sorry my sadness rubbed off on you, ugh it took me days to get over that horrible heavy feeling in my heart. How can they treat this beautiful city with such disrespect? Next post will cheer you up again, I promise. <3

    2. Don't worry about it, it's reality, and it's important to express it and make it known and it's not like we need to be happy all the time. A lot of times the world sucks, it's normal and natural and it's ok to acknowledge that, as long as you don't dwell on it unreasonably and become depressed.

      It's never a good sign when someone is willing to treat any life that casually.


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