Copenhagen's Beautiful Parks: Queen Louise Bridge & The Lakes, Nørrebroparken, Superkilen & Langelinie
Denmark regularly battles its Nordic neighbors for the top spot on the World Happiness Index. It is ranked as the 2nd happiest country in the world, with Finland clinched the top place, based on the recently released World Happiness Report 2022. After I visited it recently, I completely understood why. It has the perfect size, you can go everywhere on foot or bike, it is not overcrowded and it is so relaxed, while at the same time one of Europe’s gastronomic, design and cultural centers.
But, one of the things that impressed me the most, are its beautiful parks. Here, you can find a wealth of natural areas, which attract both local Copenhageners and tourists looking to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. I came to realise that Copenhagen is a city with a strong spiritual connection to nature, evidenced in its enhanced eco-consciousness. Wherever you go, many places are enclosed by greenery. Besides Frederiksberg Gardens (read my post here) which is one of my favourites, there are other fantastic green areas all easily accessible by foot or bike.
Queen Louise Bridge (Dronning Louises Bro) & The Lakes
Queen Louise's Bridge is an essential city meeting spot, spanning the three Lakes between Nørrebro and the city centre. The bridge (named after Queen Louise, wife of King Christian IX), whose wide cycle lanes are crossed by a steady stream of cyclists, is probably the only place in the world, where the bike trail is as wide as the main road. I recommend it for people visiting Copenhagen.
The three long lakes here once formed a natural stream. Having served as reservoirs in the 18th century, they are now integral to local leisure.
Because of the views, the bridge is a popular gathering place. You can even join the locals and jog, cycle and, on weekends, rent a swan-shaped pedalo from the booth near the end of the bridge.
Queen Louise Bridge has three arches. Cast iron railing is decorated with four identical bronze cartouches depicting the coat of arms of Copenhagen, surrounded by weapons, helmets and lions. The railing has eight lantern pillars and four flagpoles.
I was lucky enough to visit when the weather was perfect. After seeing lots of other people do it, I walked from one side to the other next to the bridge. There is a long walking path on a lakes shore where you can sit down on many benches and have a snack to watch people pass by the lakes - the best experience to get a taste of everyday life in the Danish capital.
Spotted the Tiberen Sculpture (a.k.a. Tiber river god statue) from 1901 at the Queen Louise's Bridge modelled from a statue in Rome around 100 BC.
The moment I entered this park, I was very amazed how beautifully it was made. I enjoyed strolling around the park very much. The best thing about the park is that it is surrounded by fences and safe for smaller kids as they wouldn't run towards the road. There is cycle trail around the park for those who enjoy cycling.
The Danish Consultancy firm, MONSTRUM (who designed the Crooked House playground in Brumbley, read my post here) participated in a renovation of the park some time ago and designed a mysterious playground in Nørrebroparken, meant for older children particularly to explore. Who flew this plane? What happened? The body of the plane is hollow for the kids to venture through. They can climb into the cockpit and further out on the wing, where they can test their balance skills high up in the air and use the climbing grips to help them on their way.
This is an award-winning park located in the district of Nørrebro, which is one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in Copenhagen. The Danish name "Superkilen" can be translated to “Giant Wedge”. Since its inception in 2012, Superkilen has been a source of inspiration for other public space projects. It has attracted tons of local users as well as tourists and is very likely the most photographed urban space in Copenhagen.
Superkilen consists of three zones, which exist around a long path and cycleway, following a colour code that somehow creates a connection between very diverse objects.
1) The Red Square: The Red Square focuses on recreation and modern living. It’s stimulative colours – bright red, orange, pink – encouraging activity and energy. The edges and lines create a beautiful pattern on the floor.
2) The Black Market: The Black Market is more of a calming area, a place where people can meet up and interact. There are barbecue grills, tables for playing chess and an intriguing Japanese playground. The white lines on the floor create a cool optical illusion of movement.
3) The Green Park: The Green Park is the place to go for a picnic or take the dog for a walk after work. It has green hills, a big lawn area and sports facilities where children can have fun – a perfect family area.
As the park is intended to celebrate cultural diversity, it is filled with objects from around the world to represent each nation. Each one was either imported from the home countries or replicas were made based on the originals. When walking down the park, it feels like travelling around the globe as you are confronted by neon signs from the US, swings from Iraq, Brazilian benches, a Spanish bull sculpture, a fountain from Morocco, a boxing ring from Thailand, English litter bins and even Palestinian soil. All objects have a stainless plate with its identification and description. To create a public space to please everyone in such a mixed context is a great challenge, however, the collaborative work of talented Danish professionals made it possible. The designers travelled around the world to really get the feeling of each country to be represented in the park.
I must say that the sensitivity of the designers is very inspiring as they could capture that emptiness you feel when you are miles away from home, a very relevant issue in a multicultural neighborhood. Those who have experienced being homesick know how reinvigorating it is to have a haven where you can just relax and feel back home (even if for just a while).
The Langelinie Park has a connection with the expansion of the harbour of Copenhagen. It is a very deep basin and thus very large oceanic ships can dock here. This means that on average a new cruise ship arrives here every other day. The harbour front runs from the Gefion fountain, which is the biggest fountain in Copenhagen and all the way to the outer pier and the industrial warehouses.
Somewhere around the middle of the Langelinie Park sits The Little Mermaid looking dreamily towards the shore.
The Little Mermaid
You'll have to be up at the crack of dawn to commune with the mermaid on your own: the wee statue, now backed by the wind turbines and industrial structures of Rafshaleoen, is very much on the tourist trail, and the rocks on which she sits are generally thronged.
The bronze statue was created by Edvard Eriksen in homage to Hans Christian Andersen's 1837 fable, in which a mermaid falls in love with a human prince. Her decision to surrender her marine existence to be with him has tragic consequences, which may come as a shock to those familiar with the Disney version of the tale. The male mermaid statue of Han can be found at Helsingor, click here to view my post.
The Little Mermaid sits in the water on the Langelinie promenade, walking distance from Østerport train station. Just follow the signs for Den Lille Havfrue to get to the Little Mermaid statue.
As mentioned, Denmark has been declared to be one of the most liveable cities in the world many times. The Danes work some of the fewest hours in Europe, and one of the few countries in this world to place a big emphasis on well-being. One of the best activities for improving mental health is walking, and beautiful parks in Copenhagen are plentiful. Regardless of where you live or choose to stay on a visit to the Danish capital, you’ll never be far away from a large park and let yourself be impressed by the big, beautiful trees in any of these parks !