Maundy Thursday and a silence descends on Copenhagen as the city goes into Easter holiday mode. For a nation that is probably the most secular in the western hemisphere, the Danes do have a sacred devotion to their religious holidays. As the city’s residents head for warmer destinations, the streets and neighborhoods are free to roam and explore only occasionally interrupted by inquisitive tourists hunting down a decent cortado. My destination is that sliver of land and water between two urban identities, Holmen and Christiania. Holmen, once a part of The Royal Danish Navy base, now a residential, commercial and vocational community faces its neighbor, Christiania in a nonchalant stand-off. Between these two contrasting urban identities is Refshalesvej and from this narrow cobbled thoroughfare the views of Holmen are captivating, especially of the gun-boat sheds built in the 1830’s and preserved and remodeled by the Danish architectural studio, PLH Architects in 1998. It was during this period, I was fortunate enough to have worked at one of the converted gun-boat sheds and experienced the significance of light shimmering its way into a wonderfully redesigned interior space. Further down Refshalevej, with the gun-boats and Christiania at my back, a unique part of the former naval dockyard comes into view. Today, this nook is a mix of refurbished barges, design and architectural studios and restaurants, such as Restaurant 56°, housed in the impressive former gunpowder house. I left this corner of Copenhagen to the sight of migrating geese heading north and enjoying the stillness of this Maundy Thursday,
Photo credits: Phillip Mills
For related articles, maybe you will enjoy this piece featuring Refshaleøen. Refshaleøen, Flying Under Copenhagen’s Radar.