22 July 2017

Chopped liver

The Danish parliament is situated in Christiansborg, a castle facing the canal in central Copenhagen. It is known to most Danes, as this is where we gather to fight for democracy and let our voices be heard, when those in the castle forget who they work for. As they tend to do.

While the castle itself may be off limits to mortals, the square in front belongs to the people. It is shaped like a half-circle, in an intricately laid pattern of sett stones in granite, flanked by two elevated islands of trees. One with a beloved statue of a resting pig. How could I not have told you about the resting pig? Oh.

First, it pains me that I have to use an image from Wikipedia, but I have not been able to catch the bigger picture at this altitude (spoiler: and now it is too late).

Perfection to the left. The safety rocks were added at a later point.

Island with the resting pig.

Christiansborg Slotsplads, endangered trees

A perfect bench for weary tourist legs, and for taking in the scenery. During demonstrations the small island turns into a playground for children, and the trees provide much needed shade.

Resting pig on Christiansborg Slotsplads

Hey pig. ♥

When terror entered the vocabulary, large rocks were placed in the outer perimeter of the half-circle to prevent vehicles from accessing the square. The rocks along with the elevated islands of trees have been doing the job perfectly, but someone in the castle had the bright idea to pretty it all up. And here is where it all goes wrong.

Never mind the sum involved to fix something that already works (50 mill. crowns of public hard earned money). What they have come up with is nothing short of a disgrace: The historical sett stones laid out in intricate patterns and colors, will be replaced by pale grey granite. Ten big trees are to be cut down, in the name of the new floor. The islands flattened, and the rocks replaced with pale grey balls. It is beyond bland. A vanity project initiated by a small but powerful elite of mediocre taste, with zero understanding of- or respect for Copenhagen history.

Look at this magnificent floor? My heart.

With an evil fence in the way, so I had to include the crappy piece of paper. Unsee that, if you can.

 The stories this floor could tell.

I shot this on the day I was aiming at the trees, of which several had already been chopped down (this disaster has so many levels of pain). Sett stones in granite dated between 1895 and 1922. Half of the square was in shade at the time, so I planned to return another day. Little did I know...

This week they proceeded to disassemble the most beautiful square in Copenhagen. 

Strategically timed, as those with the power to question and possibly put a stop to this insanity, like media and professionals, are off on vacation. Their return will be brutal, as I expect so will their verdict, but they will of course be too late to make a difference. 

I bet you are eager to see what this will all be replaced with? I give you:

Chopped liver by GHB Landskabsarkitekter. Note the pedestrian island to the left? This is the one:

For no good reason at all, these big trees, providing shade and traffic safety, were not incorporated into the design and will be cut down. Along with the two on the far right corner. 

Expect follow-up posts on this atrocity, including color samples of the light floor, freckled with gum, food, stickers, wear, dirt, paint and pollution. Because there is no way this will stay clean for a minute longer than opening day. Where have we heard this song before?


  1. Hej, Sandra!

    So far, you can still see the plaza as it was, using Google Earth.

    It is sad to see the work of true craftsmen being torn up for no good reason. The building addition on the castle's north side I'm sure it had its critics when it was new, but it did serve a purpose. What purpose does this new project have? Maybe the cobbles are too difficult for handicapped people to walk over?

    I love the photo labeled "the stories this floor could tell." Not just that it captured the stones' pattern (how much planning and skill and labor did that take?) but your shadow looming over it gives it a sense of foreboding.

    Happy to see a new post, even if it's not all good news.

    1. It all boils down to a small group of people at the very top, who thought as the arrangement with the rocks to "messy". It is about keeping the square safe from vehicular terrorism, which the set up above did, but they wanted a "neater" solution. So instead of following the recommendation of the city, and adding a different shape of stones, preserving the historical design, they decided to demolish all and start over.

      And it now turns out, they did not ask the city's permission for this bland disaster. It was a direct order to approve it. The city had no choice, which goes against every democratic procedure. Worth noting: The new design will not be any safer, it will just look different.

      This is a case of gross abuse of power. The very top of the government (led by the far right queen Pia Kjærsgaard), just decided to leave a skid mark on our city, forcing their bad taste on Copenhagen and robbing the nation of a historical landmark.

      I hope this will be properly investigated by the media, and not just accepted and swept under the rug, like every other atrocity from that team.

      Also very happy to be back on the blog, even though it took a disaster. : )

    2. What is it that Copenhagen has against trees? This is indeed bizarre behaviour, and that's saying something! The lack of trees just makes one see more easily the mess everywhere else. I know it's some kind of joke to say 'when will Copenhagen be finished', but it's become beyond ridiculous. I've lived here for 18 years, and I think in that time I've seen Kongens Nytorv free of all building work for a total of about six months!

      I work at Gentofte Hospital, a place that used to have a really friendly, old fashioned look about it. Trees and shrubs everywhere, almost like being in the country. Until they cut them all down for no apparent reason. Now it looks like Bispebjerg!!

      Rant over. Good to see you back :)

    3. Hi Paul,

      Thank you for this rant! This is something that just keeps escalating, even though they now claim to recognize the importance of trees and urban nature. The ignorance and cynicism is extreme. And this is what makes me cringe when people refer to Copenhagen as green. Green my *ss!

      Very sad to hear about the trees and shrubs by Gentofte Hospital. A beautiful wilderness and biodiversity takes years to achieve, any promise of timid "replacements" are not valid. If they are even attempting that?

      I truly believe that the last and only chance urban nature has in Copenhagen, is if the citizens stand up and make a lot of noise. Unbelievable that we don't even have our green infrastructure mapped. Unworthy of a modern city like Copenhagen.

      I could go on. Dammit. Do leave more rants here, I would love to hear more about how you see Copenhagen and the challenges we face. : )


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