There are moments when Denmark appears quite homogenous, but all stereotypes are broken in Nørrebro, one of Copenahgen’s most diverse neighbourhoods. It’s a vast area to the north-west of the centre (where we rented our apartment) best explored by bike. So, we set off on two wheels. Ken cruised along on a sleek, forest green city bike, while I hustled on a rickety kids mountain bike—sadly no cruisers small enough for my 5′ frame. “Not so great for pictures”, the guy we rented from warned me. Ha.
On our map we spotted a bike path that trumped all bike paths, Den Grin Sit (The Green Path), a route that curves diagonally through Copenhagen for 10km. It cuts through parks and residential blocks, school campuses and busy commercial hubs revealing a cross-section of Nørrebro.
Our destination was Superkilen, an award-winning urban space I’d been reading about for years. The public park, created by the innovative artists’ group Superflex, is “intended to celebrate diversity. Filled with objects from around the globe, it is designed as a kind of world exposition for the local inhabitants, covering over 50 nationalities, who have been able to contribute their own ideas and artefacts to the project.” It’s a sort of architectural United Nations, yet very Danish in its democratic approach, with swings from Iraq, benches from Brazil, a fountain from Morocco and signage from Russia.
On paper the combination sounds forced and muddled but in person it comes off like a block party of colour and form. Area residents young and old seem to embrace Superkilen and use every one of its colourful corners to skate, swing, slide…
Our afternoon ended on Jægersborggade street, which in recent years went from sketchy to thriving. Today it’s home to about 40 storefronts, from galleries and design studios to organic produce shops and diverse restaurants. We shared a bowl of warm delhi daal from Kød (though we ordered it from the cafe across the road) and happily pedalled off into the fleeting Copenhagen twilight.
Aerial photograph of Superkilen by Iwan Baan.