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The secret book of secret places – CPH Marcelo Lerer + Annette Skov

Secret places are a strategy for survival Thomas Boberg – the first journey Kirsten Hammann Thierry Colonel Malene Landgreen Khaled Ramadan Mette Sia Martinussen Anna NEYE POULSON Christoffer Boe Tuva Semmingsen Underwerket Thomas Boberg – the second journey

Secret places are a strategy for survival This secret book reveals the secret places in Copenhagen that ten artists have shared with us. The ten artists are leaders in their particular field and they are united by the strong feelings they have about the city they live and work in. Asking for access to someone else’s secret places is not all that difficult. Granting access – handing over the key – is a gesture. The key that opens magic doors to a Copenhagen we do not know and to stories we have not heard before. Our thanks to the artists who have generously donated their secret places to us. Thank you for some unforgettable journeys through Copenhagen, under ground and over ground. On foot, by bicycle, on buses and in old cars. We have borrowed your senses and your places. Thank you. Without you, there would be no secret places.

Our thanks to Peter Lassen We would like to thank Peter Lassen, founder of Montana, who believed in the book from the outset and provided financial support and encouragement. Without you, there would be no book. The fact that art is necessary because it transports us to new – secret – places is an insight you already base your business on every day.

Our thanks to the Ministry of Culture We would like to thank the Ministry of Culture, which approved the project and supported the book with lottery funding. Without lottery funding, there would be no book. This book is a dream that unfolds. We would like to thank our families and friends who have lived with us while the dream took shape. Without you, there would be no book.

Let go of your secrets Experiences, memories and stories are intertwined with the places in this book. They are loaded with value, packed with significance to the storyteller – and also to us, as we read and observe. To seek and find places of significance is a way of creating space and meaning. To revisit such places is a way of recreating and re-telling your world. To find the secret places, cultivate them – and let go of them – is a catharsis that opens the way for new secrets. Secret places are a strategy for survival. Now we know. Try it! Enjoy your secret journey Marcelo Lerer & Annette Skov The Secret Company

The First Journey, May

Thomas Boberg Dybbølsbro

I have now returned to Copenhagen – not to live here permanently, but to be here now and again. I live on Krusågade, close to Dybbølsbro Bridge, and there’s something wonderfully anonymous and strange about going to bed at night and falling asleep to the sound of trains passing by all the time. They are constantly in motion and it reminds me that I have not yet found a place where I want to live permanently.

poet, born in Roskilde in 1960. Made his debut in 1984 with “Hvæsende på mit øjekast” (“The Hissing on my Glance”). Since then, he has produced 12 collections of poems, three travel books, and essays. His most recent work is the “under uret” (“under the XX”) from 2006. Thomas has lived in Peru, Spain and the USA, but has now returned to Copenhagen. More information at

When I cross Dybbølsbro Bridge, I think of Istanbul and Lima, which also have some bridges like this straddling the backbone of the city. From here, you can see right across Copenhagen, and it could be anywhere at all, anywhere in the world. All nationalities meander over this bridge. For better or worse, what you see here is the future, I believe, which is why I want to be here for a moment. I live here right now.

Dybbølsbro Bridge Copenhagen V

Today I see the world for the first time I want to get to know the whole world. When I get out and realise that I’m in a different place – a new, foreign place – I am more aware of myself, as if it were the first time I’d seen the world.

I’ve always been attracted both by unspoilt countryside and by the big cities, where everything is so concentrated

Once I saw a UFO in Classensgård I was living with my mother in Classensgård up this tower on the fifth floor. In here, on the ground floor, lived a Jewish butcher and his cheeky daughter Danielle, who stood there swishing her skirt so that you could see her knickers as you passed by. I played in this courtyard; an enormous world opened up to me. I ran around between the bushes and imagined the big wide world. We sat in and hung from the old tree there until the scary, hunchbacked caretaker, who rummaged in the dustbins, sawed off the branch to stop us climbing up there. Once, my mother and I saw a UFO in here – a great big ball just hanging there. My stepfather got extremely angry because he was sure my mother had been telling me porkies. Everything is like itself. The same glass mosaics, the smell, the back yard, where we crawled over the planks, the same Jewish family, but I’ve heard that Danielle moved to Israel. Some girls who got the bus with me lived in the cream-coloured building. One of them had a crush on me when I was 11. I blushed terribly about it, but I was flattered, too – enough that I can still remember it!

Classensgade Copenhagen Ø

Østerbro has good little things

Shall we have a quick beer at Kastellet? During my childhood, some of the children’s parents came to this pub, and my mother did, too. I remember once how Søren’s stepfather, who was a shipbuilder, tripped on the threshold and broke his leg because he was rolling drunk in the afternoon. Hey, the pub obviously isn’t there any more – but it still has that terrific name.

I often used to walk through the cemetery on my way to play chess in the library. I didn’t know what it was called – as far as I was concerned, it was just the cemetery. I played here on my own, as if to perceive my own unease about being in the garden of the dead. To confront myself with death. The amazing stillness frightened me. The world wasn’t very big in those days, but to me it was massive, and here at the cemetery I was almost at the uttermost reach of the earth. Østre Anlæg was the final boundary; I couldn’t get much further than that when I was 10.

Garnisons Kirkegård

Garnisons Kirkegård Dag Hammarskjölds Allé 10 Copenhagen Ø

Now is an eternal moment

My school was Johannesskolen in Frederiksberg, close to Søndermarken. I came here a lot. To an 11-year-old, Søndermarken was enormous – almost a forest that you could disappear in.


Now, many years later, I’ve just returned here; it’s autumn and soon there won’t be much left at all. The park has been completely pared back. And then there’s an exhibition of sculptures, where I find an incredibly beautiful wrought-iron sculpture constructed like a see-through house. The artist’s name is Tina Maria Nielsen. See if you can spot that balcony, inclined inwards. It’s as if the balcony is beckoning you to look inside, but in reality it’s transparent, so you can see outside and inside at the same time. It’s incredibly beautiful and magical. The light in here is absolutely fantastic and there are also the dark colours that I remember from one time when I sailed down a river in Central America, went into the forest and found a Maya temple. I was all alone. I get this feeling here, even though it’s a modern sculpture. It’s got something primitively magical about it. The sculpture stands here beneath the tall beech trees. It’ll be gone the day after tomorrow or in ten days’ time when they take it all down. It’ll disappear from here, like the leaves, and it will be winter. Everything about this place will be changed completely. Now is an eternal moment.

Søndermarken Roskildevej 1, Frederiksberg


This is where I lived in my early 20s. The people living there now are called Hansen and Andersen. Back then, I had to go up to Sverigesgade to get paraffin. It was freezing cold in winter and the smoke billowed out of the stove. I shared the flat

with my sister then, and we always ate grilled Chinese food from Cheung’s Burger og Grill. Let’s see if it’s still there. Now I really feel like some old codger digging up my past! Yes, it’s there, but it’s closed.

Cheung’s Burger og Grill Hollænderdybet 22 Copenhagen S

Kom igen

Sundholm was very old-fashioned when I worked there, cleaning and preparing food for the patients. The staff had truncheons and went about hitting the patients. Those were old-fashioned methods and the patients were old, roaming alcoholics – seemingly beyond redemption. They used to frequent the Kom Igen (“come again”) pub, and I went there too.

Kom Igen Sverrigsgade 22, Copenhagen S

Danish meatballs at “Den Franske Café”

Every time I returned from Peru over a ten-year period, my mother and I would come here and eat Danish meatballs with potato salad. Then my mother died. The last time I came here was one evening when I was skating past on my inline skates, downed a double draught beer and skated on home, drunk as a lord. I wouldn’t advise it.

Den Franske Café Sortedam Dossering 101 Copenhagen Ø

By the harbour

I had the privilege of getting to know the artist Søren Georg Jensen before he died. We sat down and talked about Johs. V. Jensen in Italy. And now here are his sculptures; they are very beautiful because they are so unobtrusive. Jørgen Haugen Sørensen, the sculptor, says that artists’ sculptures stand in front of the banks barking like guard dogs. But these sculptures are behind the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and they only bark discreetly. One is called “The Cyclops” and looks like the eye of a needle; one is called “The Galleon Figure”, and look, if you stand here, it is a prow, and we’re sailing – nice one! A third sculpture is called “The Long Journey” after a novel by Johs. V. Jensen. A new journey could begin here. The harbour with sculptures Strandgade, Copenhagen K

Kirsten Hammann,

author, born in Århus in 1965. Made her debut in 1992 with the collection of poems “Mellem tænderne” (“Between the Teeth”) and her novel “Vera Winkelvir” was published the following year. Since then, she has published a poetics, a children’s book, poems and novels. Her latest work is the novel “Fra smørhullet” (“The Diary of a Cozy Corner”), 2004. For further information, see

My courtyard is the most secret place of all I have lived in Copenhagen since 1990 – and this is where my story about places begins. I spent a lot of time walking around Copenhagen and at that time the city was in a bit of a

state. Almost every day, I’d take a long walk and stop for lunch somewhere en route. In many places, I’d find a refuge where I could just walk out into the wilderness and be alone. It was wonderfully remote. But after much renovation, our courtyard has become a paradise where I often eat my lunch now – my most secret place of all.

Sankt Pauls Plads is peaceful and delightful – like one of those old postcards of Copenhagen

Sankt Pauls plads Copenhagen K

Krusemyntegade is ærøskøbing in the heart of Copenhagen. I make my way towards cobbles, trees, peace and flowers – and find this here in the heart of the big city

Krusemyntegade Copenhagen K

to 1996

Kirsten, Kyo


Kongens Have

Kongens Have the king´s garden Copenhagen K

The Japanese cherry trees envelop my favourite bench with fragrance. Looking up into the blossoms is wonderful – reading under here is fantastic. Look at the blue sky; sense the fragrance that envelops me here in this floral space. A utopian élan of spring and absolute beauty in a house of flowers. I’ve been to Japan and it’s a huge event there when the trees come into blossom. The Japanese can’t stop taking photos of it. Cherry blossom doesn’t last long at all – only one week. It’s a fascinating and unique fact that the blossom fades so quickly. It’s a reminder of how transitory life is. The delicate, pretty blossom has an exclusiveness, but absolutely no utility value.

Kastellet Copenhagen Ø


I pretend I live in the country

Kastellet fortress and grounds is one of my favourite places in Copenhagen. I go for

walks here to observe the course of the year – and it’s at its very best when everything’s flourishing. In summer, growth is in full swing, and the slopes completely go wild. The wild flowers are beautiful. I don’t see dandelions, poppies or pure hedgerow paradise anywhere else in Copenhagen. This is incredibly beautiful. Look at the trees, the red houses, the

fluttering flag, the blue sky. The big city is hidden and you could swear it was a village. I pretend I’m in the country. Not because I want to move to the country; however, I always seek out places where the city is hidden and I can pretend I live in the country.

There’s no gunpowder in the cannons

You must not walk on the grass, eat your packed lunch or walk on the slopes. I did one day and a soldier was there in a flash. They’re quite strict. It’s an active military zone with the changing of the guard and loaded weapons. This is for real.

sweet. Now I’m thrilled to bits at the sight of hogweed – it proves there’s a little bit of wildness left.

I can weep here

I like it when I see poisonous giant hogweed

In a city, I sometimes feel a bit constrained. There are always proper paths; people are looking at me and I have to look composed. I don’t slop around in clogs, old clothes, with greasy hair and without makeup here, where Magasin is my local shop. I’m constantly in an urban environment with other people and I’m being observed. My friend from Sorø gets completely exhausted here because she notices everything and everyone. You stop doing that when you live here because you can’t take all the impressions on board. We become more reserved in the city, but we’re always conscious of the possibility that someone could be watching us.

Years ago, Kastellet was closed and wild – full of little hiding places; chaos, a shambles. Now, however, I think the place has become too cute, too manicured, with a la–di–da bridge, too open and pretty and aesthetic in the wrong way – too sickly–

But Kastellet is a breathing space. When I’m here, I can open up a bit again. I don’t need to keep a check on myself. Where else can you go around blubbering in this city? There aren’t many places. You can walk along the pathways here on a rainy Tuesday morning and weep.

Places change – but we change even more

Encounters with nature in the city speak to me at the deepest level and bring memories of my childhood into focus. I feel at home with the trees here and it takes me back to the trees of my childhood. When I’m here, I’m reminded of personal stories and memories of being unhappy and then happy again. My story is linked to places. When I come to the places where I have experienced something special, I think, Phew, it’s all over now! I remember an absolutely dreadful storm, a violent thunder storm, with the horizon blurred – I ran around Kastellet, I was unhappy and cried beneath the trees as the storm shook them. There was a great release in the whole scene. I remember this when I’m back at Kastellet.

I like being one of the locals

I’m so happy when there’s good weather. I think: Oh, this is great for the tourists – how lovely for them that they’ve picked such a good week to come here! I like being one of the natives that they stop and ask for information. They look at me in the same way as I look at the locals when I’m travelling: look, there’s a local women pushing her bike.

“The leafy glades are gleaming” A few years ago, I learnt lots of Danish songs off by heart and walked about here singing them and reflected on how, as a child, I went about with my mother, singing through the countryside. “Denmark, the pale night now takes a nap” and “The leafy glades are gleaming”. The words are as magical as the silver lining of a cloud, snowdrops, bays, hills and beaches. I sing joyfully of summer as I walk about here observing all the greenery. But I don’t feel like singing if other people are listening. That’s why the pathways here are ideal – there’s no one listening.

The marina We might get sunburnt here, but it’s worth it!

The marina is a very secret place. The locals often bring a cushion for sitting on the bench and I’m here to eat my lunch and relax. This is a sun–trap as soon as the first faint sunshine of spring peeps through. You can sit here early in the year and enjoy shelter and warmth. Other people wrap up warmly, but here you can peel off a layer or two long before the start of the season. A great place in the spring and an unmissable place when your evening walk is all about ice cream, which I’m wild about.

Langelinie Lystbådehavn Langelinie Copenhagen Ø

I can’t go for long without writing, but I always want to get away I always take a notepad with me when I go out – I’ve often suffered from writer’s block and it’s a relief to get away from my desk and think about something different. I don’t write for long periods at a time – no more than half an hour; then I get up, do something else and go back to it. I remember a bursary trip to Spain when I sat indoors writing, but the desire to get out was so strong that I kept running in and out all the time. A large part of the dynamic of the work is trying to escape.

For the first few years, I loved to write. It was an absolute joy when I was very young. But now it’s not. I can’t go for long without writing, but I always want to get away. Still, getting away is only fun once I’ve done the work! A fantastic day is when I’ve been working all morning. Then I deserve to get out. Maybe it’s a basic condition that it’s lovely to contribute something and use your talents. It’s necessary in order to make life whole.

I’m really hungry now

The water creates an expanse. The world is out there. But I have no desire to sail; I don’t want to venture out onto the water and I hate to think what’s down there. I prefer to walk along the beach back home in Risskov, where you can walk long distances and enjoy the view out towards Mols.

The water I like best is the water that comes in and drowns everything and can flatten you. The beach is better than the sea. The water here at Langelinie is a cheap imitation, but it’s better than nothing and I often come here for an evening walk.

Langelinie Copenhagen Ø

I’m happy now I often used to have bad moods, but I feel much better now and I’m happier. I have a son; life has more meaning for me and I think my life is just perfect. I can go to ground, live my life, write, and no one interferes.

Statue of a woman at Kongens Nytorv This sculpture is associated with night–time cycle–rides. When I’m cycling home from the city on a summer’s evening, she’s standing there glowing and I always greet her and think how good she is!

That’s all in the past now! Many of my favourite places from my early years in Copenhagen have changed. Where things were desolate, messy, overgrown and wild, there’s now order. The places have changed – the old things have gone! But I’ve changed, too, and I’ve changed even more than the places have. Now there’s no such thing as going for solitary walks in the wilderness and the places are gone, too.

Thierry Colonel

Born in France in 1961. Interdisciplinary artist. Self-taught. Moved to Denmark in 1985. Many different individual and group exhibitions since 1990 in countries including Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Scotland, Switzerland and Norway. Modes of expression include video installations, film, books, manifests and happenings.

det kongelige bibliotek I seek out places with lots of light because the streets are very depressing these days. Here at Diamanten, it’s very warm, and I can get away with wearing a little T-shirt as if I were on the beach. There are people all around you in little T-shirts. At the same time, I’m indoors, in the heart of the city; I have a view of the water and the streets, and there’s a warmth in the light. the royal library Søren Kierkegaards Plads 1 Copenhagen K


It’s still dark, but I like to stop here on Knippelsbro Bridge. Sometimes I hold meetings here, or on the Dronning Louise Bridge. This is the middle, and look, there’s a mechanism between the mainland and the island. I can move around freely and from the mainland to the island in just one step. And this is the best excuse for being late. You can say the bridge was up; it’s like saying you got a puncture – it’s an excuse for being an idler. If the bridge is up, everyone has to stop. It forces people to enjoy something together and to look at the ships, because there’s no sun to look at. I enjoy this place and often take photographs of people here because there’s a mix of the worker, the diplomat, the man from Greenland, the Yuppie from Christianshavn and the businessman on his bicycle. This is an opportunity to observe the whole of society at a glance. It’s one of the few places in Copenhagen where there’s anything like an incline in the road. No one expects to be looked at here. I hate Nyhavn because everyone expects to be looked at there. But no one expects it here. It’s really fascinating; I learn a lot by observing them. Look at that man cycling very slowly; he’s stoned; he comes from Christiania. I look at the water, the buildings, my father-inlaw’s house, Magasin. I can see the whole shit. A perfect place to keep an eye on the city. The social and human landscape – it’s all here. It’s dark, but a nice sort of dark, like in London, like Pink Floyd. For a moment this could almost be London – and if it rains too much, I can go under the bridge. Knippelsbro Between Copenhagen and Christianshavn

Magasin If it’s a dull day, I feel like I’m living in an arse! I’m constantly on the look-out for places with light. And look, inside the Magasin department store, it’s just like a sunny day! I wander from one door to the next and back again. A long walk in the sun, where everything is so clean and pretty. Things are relaxed and beautiful. The light is strong on the shiny floor; I don’t have time to keep the floor shiny at home. The makeup ladies smile at me and it’s a nice feeling – almost as if I were at a clinic where the staff were only there to take care of me. If the rain doesn’t stop, I go out the other way in the light. Everything feels good – except for one problem: the doors. People don’t hold the door open for you. Can you believe it? Well-educated people in Scandinavia don’t hold the door open for you. On the basement level, I can look at magazines from all over the world and read French newspapers. It’s one of the only places in Denmark where you can touch things.

Magasin Kongens Nytorv, Copenhagen K

Urinal This is a very private place to take a break. Actually, I come here quite often

Urinal Nytorv Copenhagen K

Amagertorv Private in a public place If it’s a dull day, I stay in the city centre. Otherwise I’d soon commit suicide. Here, I feel the warmth of other people. I used to walk from Kgs. Nytorv to Rådhuspladsen the Town Hall Square) at least once a day – it’s like watching television. There are lots of people around me; they keep me warm, entertain me and give me inspiration, yet they don’t disturb my thoughts or the enjoyment of my walk. Here again, I can be private in a public place. A good day is a day when I come here – if I don’t spend some time here, something has gone wrong with my day. Just like some people feel there’s something wrong if they haven’t watched the TV news.

Amagertorv Strøget

Corridors for classes

When I come here, I get to know about everything that’s going on in the world. Just by observing the square here, I know what’s in the air. Whether people are stressed out, in a good mood or afraid. This is where I really like to be. Where cultures meet and part. The rich people come from over there and go this way. Middle-class people don’t go where the rich people go. The poor people come from there and leave the square the same way. Here are corridors for the rich, the poor and the middle class – you may find some subcultural, trendy folk who violate the codes, but there aren’t many of them. All sorts of people sit on the benches and in the tourist season you might get the feeling you’re in Japan. Here, you’re everywhere with all values from everywhere.

Illum In Denmark, it’s as if one size fits all

I go in here to ride the lift. It’s open all year round – it’s like going to Tivoli. I meet fun people in the air; I get butterflies, I can take in the whole shop and it’s like Christmas shopping all year round. A mixture of Tivoli and Christmas. I like taking my children into the city, but they hate it – unless I promise them that we’ll take the lift. They like that – perhaps ten rides and then ten times on the stairs. Then we don’t notice how dull it is outside. Denmark is so flat. I miss the feeling of being at the top of something, the sense of overview and seeing people like little ants. In Denmark, it’s as if one size fits all. But you can see people of different sizes here. And there’s a huge amount of light, don’t you think? Music, light and people in a good mood, and I feel good here, too.

Illum Østergade 52, Copenhagen K

Vor Frue Plads I must be here on Sunday night I like sitting here. It’s a good name: Our Lady’s Square. We’re in Rome, the colours whisk me away to Rome, the colours are not grey, but tinged with red, like in Toulouse; this is French light, like Paris in the old days, an old-fashioned atmosphere, but open, and the church is massive. There’s a sense of grandeur and there are no cars here. The streets remind me of the possibility of starting a revolution in Denmark, because they are cobbled. We’re in the university area, so if Danish youth wanted to start a revolution, it would have to start here – but I can’t see it happening right now. I must come here one Sunday night – the colouring is fantastic; I’m not interested in people here, perhaps because the atmosphere is more pervasive than the people.

Vor Frue plads Copenhagen K

Playground at Helligåndskirken Shit, it’s closed today Most playground designers don’t consider that adults have to spend hours there. They’re depressing places, only for junkies. But this playground is very good – a great place if the city gets a bit too much for you. The view is fantastic. I come here with my children, and if it wasn’t suspicious and taboo, I’d come here on my own. Look at the tables. I can sit here and write just like in a private garden. This place is like an abbey, away up in the mountains, deserted, even though it’s in the city centre. The church is very beautiful and it reminds me of France.

Playground at Helligåndskirken Valkendorfsgade 36, Copenhagen K


Here we are in the middle of something – at a crossroads. It’s not that I like this place, but when I’m here, I think maybe I’ll get a job. It’s a place where independent people like me hang out – here, I could become a part of a freelance society. It’s a place to meet people; people are funny here. There’s an air of

authenticity, artistry... maybe that’s what it is. Some days, I could actually believe it’s authentic. You might get the sun on your face, if it’s sunny, but it’s difficult to sit here. This evening, there’s nobody here – it’s depressing.

Pisserenden Copenhagen K

Malene Landgreen

Artist, born in Copenhagen in 1962. Studied at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts 1984–91. Recently exhibited a reinterpretation of Matisse at the Danish National Gallery. Embellishment projects include Frederiksberg Gymnasium and Aalborg Airport. She is now working on a major embellishment of DR-byen segment 3 at Ă˜restaden. www. and

Malene Landgreen Statens museum for kunst Creating large-scale art in situ Once, long ago, I lived in an old printing works with big rooms. I had a sudden urge to make direct use of my surroundings. I papered the walls and started painting. I’ve always been fascinated by large formats and had a strong desire to fill out the room – to work at a ratio of 1:1. When you do things in situ, the moment and the space are manifested in a different way. The encounter with the moment becomes more concrete and the present becomes the highlight of the experience. Ghosts My first embellishment project was Viborg Stadionhal, where I was commissioned to colour coordinate everything that was already in the room and everything that was added. I became aware of everything: chairs, panels, doors. This means that, starting with my first assignment, I learnt to bring together all the elements of the room I’m embellishing. I always consider what sort of place it is, what it could become and how I would like it Statens museum for kunst The Danish National Gallery Sølvgade 48 – 50, Copenhagen K

to turn out. Everything – the function, architecture and atmosphere – is important in terms of creating something holistic, a large, harmonious composition. Of course, there’s a big difference between painting and working in situ. I have a different kind of freedom when I’m creating my own works because then I only have to be true to myself and I’ll maybe even dare to see a ghost. The preparatory work is completely different for embellishment projects that are fixed assignments; your knowledge of the place and what it is used and intended for comes into play. Still, the last part of the process involves the need to release myself.

Like acting

I’m very much aware of what happens between me and the place – what happens when two meet: two items, two colours, two people. It’s invigorating. Before starting my work here at the gallery, I had defined lots of things, but something always happens when you enter the space to put your plans into effect. The proportions and the colours are different – and the fact of up-scaling the painting to a ratio of 1:1 makes it very different. I really appreciate Matisse and being involved with his work has been exciting in the extreme. It’s lovely to have expended lots of energy and time on something and then to hand it over somewhere where the attention of so many people is focused. It’s like acting: there’s immediate feedback.

Frederiksberg Have There’s a lovely autumnal feel and a chill in the air today. It’s exactly the right time for a walk in Frederiksberg Palace Gardens. I like to go for walks here to see my favourite trees, and I play a game with myself: I see myself reflected in the most upright tree. You can learn a lot from a tree like that; it’s a confrontation and it’s so edifying. I feel so upright myself afterwards. A place where you can really disappear and get away from it all Isn’t it lovely to get out for a walk? We’re taking a particular route now; my favourite route, which can vary, of course. For a long time, I used to go for a walk here every morning for 1 1/2 hours. It’s very therapeutic and I love it when life’s intense. To do something and do it a lot makes life very simple, because that way there is something you have to do. The walk becomes a space that you can count on subconsciously and enjoy being in. It’s unpredictable, too, because nature is never the same.

Frederiksberg have Frederiksberg Palace Gardens, Frederiksberg Runddel, Frederiksberg

I really prefer to walk – or skip. I rediscovered skipping ropes this summer. My daughter Embla and I skipped to the baker’s, around the gardens here and here, there and everywhere. But I hardly ever cycle – I’m so absent-minded, and in Copenhagen you’re practically taking your life in your hands on a bike. I’m a dawdler and I like it when things move slowly. It suits me very well when things come to me slowly. I set the pace myself. I like to go for long walks and that automatically gives me time to adjust. I also have an old car that can only do 80 kilometres an hour. This summer, we drove to Sjællands Odde – it took all day.

intention spiller en rolle. Men i den sidste del af processen mü jeg sÌtte mig selv fri – ellers er det ikke kunst, jeg skaber.

Afterwards, we can come back to my place and have a cheese sandwich

Malene Landgreen Statens Museum for Kunst

? s e n rdi

a s e k u li

At lave kunsten på stederne i det store format Da jeg kom ind på Kunstakademiet og netop var flyttet ind i et gammelt trykkeri med store rum, var det en pludselig indskydelse at bruge omgivelserne direkte. Jeg beklædte væggene med papir og malede. Jeg har altid været fascineret af det store format og haft en stærk lyst til at fylde rummet ud – at arbejde i størrelsesforholdet en til en.

o y o D

Når man laver tingene direkte på stedet - in situ - så manifesterer det øjeblikket og rummet på en anden måde. Mødet med nuet

bliver anderledes konkret, og det nærværende bliver oplevelsens højdepunkt. Spøgelser Min første udsmykningsopgave var Viborg Stadionhal, hvor jeg skulle farvesætte alt, der var i rummet i forvejen, og alt der blev tilføjet. Jeg blev bevidst om det hele; stole, paneler, døre. Det betyder, at jeg allerede fra den første opgave lærte at indtænke alle elementer i de rum, jeg udsmykker. Jeg tænker altid på, hvad det er for et sted, på hvad det kan blive til, og på hvordan jeg gerne vil have det skal blive. Alt – funktionen, arkitekturen og stemningen - er vigtigt i forhold til at skabe en helhed, en harmoni, en stor komposition. Der er selvfølgelig stor forskel på at male og at arbejde in situ. Jeg er anderledes fri, når jeg laver mit eget værk, for der skal jeg kun være tro mod mig selv og kan måske endda turde se et spøgelse. Der er et helt andet stykke forberedelsesarbejde til udsmykninger, som er bundne opgaver, hvor din viden om stedet og dets brug og

Sankt Thomas Plads We are absolutely enchanted here! A beautiful, timeless square with a stillness that’s so different from the big city just around the corner – all around us, in fact. But this is a special, beautiful, calm square. We often come down here and sit on a bench, and in the summer we went down to read by the spring. Everything opens up; I never cease to be amazed that it exists here among all the hustle and bustle. A pocket where all’s quiet, without traffic, so you can cross the square with your eyes shut. I grew up just over there and now I live 200 m from my childhood

Sankt Thomas Plads Frederiksberg Allé Frederiksberg

home. Funny to think I’ve moved back here. I take Embla to exactly the same shops that my mother took me to, and I took the hairdresser’s dogs for a walk in these streets over there. I’m delighted to have ended up as a native, knowing the whole place like the back of my hand, but I’d never have believed I’d end up living here.

I thought I’d live in Amager or abroad

Once I left Denmark and I believed it was for ever. First, I worked as a goatherd in the French Alps, looking after the goats on a cheese farm. A positive experience. Then I hitch-hiked to the South of France for a theatre festival and visited a friend, but it wasn’t all that much fun. Then I came back home and lived in 20 different places before I moved in here, right beside by childhood home. My mother is buried in Frederiksberg Kirkegård towards the end of the street.

Kwik Spar I’m well impressed with this shop. I’d like to buy everything. If I ever had my own shop, I’d want to sell all these things, too. French goat’s cheese, espresso coffee, fresh chicken, Hanegal pizza, Naturbageren bread, lots of good fruit and vegetables. It’s packed with organic produce – a huge selection, and it’s open till 8 pm, even on Sundays. Being here is sheer inspiration – a little surprise. It’s rather cool, don’t you think?

Kwik Spar Frederiksberg Alle 53 Frederiksberg C

The Tango salon It’s a bit like going swimming in winter – a mystical world that many people are attracted to even though they don’t take the plunge I love all kinds of dance. I heard the music of the tango for years and wanted to learn the dance. Now I’ve been having lessons for four years and I’d been to loads of beginners’ classes before I plucked up the courage to dance in the salons. Now I dance anywhere I get the chance to. For the first few years, I was absolutely consumed by it; I completely immersed myself in it. I couldn’t go out with anyone because all I thought about was dancing the tango.

I’m shy, you see

Tango-salon Christianshavns beboerhus Dronningensgade 34, Copenhagen K

It’s all about dancing

Gunner runs the tango salon once a month at Christianshavns Beboerhus. I love community centres. They’re fantastic places because so many different people meet there – like the tango environment. At 7 pm, there’s a beginners’ class, and after that, the Milonga opens up – that means the place where you dance the tango. There’s always someone there who’s just had his or her first lesson, someone who’s new to the scene. There’s always something to look at here in an exotic world far removed from everyday culture. It’s intense, sensual, very beautiful, sheer living, a mixture of emotion and intellect.

Fat and thin, young and old

The tango is a fantastic setting for meeting people – of all ages and backgrounds. The tango is for fat people and thin people, tall and short, the very young and the very old. The couples link up in all sorts of ways. You can dance the tango all your life. It’s lovely to be in an environment where you’re just a human being. We don’t talk about who we are or what we do; we just dance. There are as many men as women, which is rare nowadays, because so many activities are divided along gender lines. This is probably most like a bar – except no one’s drinking. A truly alcohol-free zone! Restaurant owners don’t want tango people chartering their restaurants because we basically only drink water. You can’t dance the tango when you’re drunk – you have to be so controlled.

Every dance is a new dance

The men ask you to dance and generally you accept the offer – it’s rather sweet, actually. The man leads and creates the dance as you go. The steps are not difficult, but the improvisations and combinations require a lot of imagination and concentration. You’re so close to another person; you are partners together, you have to be responsive, and the only thing you can count on is the music.

Do you know the tango called Malene?

I took a break from the tango for a while when I got divorced recently and was feeling far too vulnerable. It was like having to start my life all over again – it was unbearable. You really have to be aware of the context of the dance, and if you’re feeling down, it can be emotionally difficult to keep things compartmentalised, but now I’ve started dancing again.

My old, worn-out dancing shoes accompanied me to Buenos Aires

A few years ago, I went to Argentina for a fortnight of dancing. A super experience. We had lessons during the day, danced in the salons at night and experienced how the tango has made such a comeback in Buenos Aires; it’s taken on a new status – it’s become an infrastructure with a social and spatial environment of its own. It’s all-pervasive. You meet for lunch and dance the tango. Many people turn to dancing in turbulent times. My beloved, worn-out dancing shoes accompanied me to Buenos Aires. Actually, I was thinking of getting rid of them on the trip, since I’d just bought a new pair, but that endeared them to me all the more. I cut peep-toes in them myself because it was so hot in Argentina in October – so hot that all the trees bloomed while we were there – it was lovely.

The tango is a fantastic place for disappearing When you dance with a good dancer, you hardly need to be able to dance yourself

When I dance, I’m in a lovely place – close to myself and in touch with my emotions, and close to another person. It’s like those moments of great openness when you just sit there and let your thoughts flow.

Khaled Ramadan

 Artist, painter and architect, was born in Lebanon in 1964 and came to Denmark in 1985. He has a Ph.D. in art history and studied at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture. He creates paintings, sculptures and installations and has exhibited in many parts of the world including the USA, Lebanon, Germany, the United Kingdom, Denmark and the other Nordic countries.

Amager Faelled

Amager Fælled Copenhagen S


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Here I can hear cars and I’m  still in the city, or rather on the  edge of town, and that makes  me feel safe.  These places on  the edge stand out from so many  other parts of the city because 

they are at the same time  a part of the city and yet  show where the town ends and  somewhere else begins. In  one direction there’s verdant  countryside and in the other,  there’s modern semi-industry. 

I can still hear the town and feel that I’m  close to it, but within myself, I’m far, far  away from it. Here is Fish Lake, as I call it.  My little niche, almost an oasis, which I’ve  had a hand in organising. Look, I’ve planted  mint to make peppermint tea. I feed the birds,  I write here and do a lot of sketches, and  I go fishing, although I don’t eat fish, but it’s a  good excuse to get out here.  I come here when I’ve finished work and I feel  as though I’m miles away from the hustle and  bustle of the city.  There’s nothing happening here, but that’s  precisely it: a place might mean something to  you, but maybe not to other people. We need  places where we feel safe – places where we  feel inner peace. All people have places of  their own. 

This was my light

I came here a few years ago. I was depressed; I was almost  40, which is a significant age for most men involving much  contemplation about where you’re headed in life. I was here by  myself at about 5 pm and it was summer with a completely clear  blue sky. I’m standing right here, looking this way, and I see a  light from the heavens, a very, very powerful light, white and  strong. There may be a thousand possible explanations for it,  but one thing I know: it was my light, lit up just like a projector  for about three seconds, perhaps. I looked on for several  minutes – would it happen again? Since then, I’ve had that  light within me, and whenever I’m here, I wonder: will I see that  light again? Maybe today’s the day – maybe this summer... But  no – it came only once, in the year 2000, as if the spirit of the  place wanted to confirm that it is a special place. To me, it’s as if the place is vibrating – and that’s OK – it’s nice.

The bridge The city is all about planning and  efficiency, but a few metres away, it’s chaos.  In one glance from the bridge here, I can see  them both at once.  Here, a huge number of activities are going on; at the  same time, the city is just lying there. Harbour workers and  fishermen are at work. Cars drive by. They’re like ants,   and you can’t hear them very much because of the distance.   Two waters meet here in a turbulent current. The waters at  Langelinie and Sydamager sea lash towards each other...  The landscape is a big mixture of city, industry, sport, countryside and water.  It all comes together here, so close to the city. I look at the city with fresh eyes  when I see it from here. The bridge represents movement from one place to the other  – instability – and I get a feeling of things in transit as I look towards the city. This my public secret place where I am very visible – I can’t hide when I’m standing here on  the bridge. On my travels, I usually choose a destination with a harbour front. I can’t survive in a place without  water; I become paranoid – maybe because there’s no way out.  The bridge slusehavnen copenhagen sv

I pray to my African God to make me a good Christian

Let’s talk about all the things we have in  common; otherwise we’ll end up with conflicts. What  we have in common is how we develop as people, how we  communicate, how we use the resources we have on this  planet. This is what we have – there’s nothing else   – the planet is our place.  

Istedgade, Konya kebab This is actually a star-rated restaurant in the  city. The food tastes fantastic and different  because they use a char grill instead of gas or  electricity. Many immigrants eat here because of  the authentic taste.  I like the Oriental atmosphere and the kitsch  plastic flowers, the music, the décor. Nowadays I  consider kitsch to be aesthetic. Previously, I was intellectually very critical if  places weren’t the way I thought they should be.  My norm – my standard – was all-pervasive. But  fortunately, this has changed over time. A group  of restaurant owners from a Turkish village, who  grew up with plastic flowers, are not going to  change here. If you criticise the flowers, you’re  criticising his identity and traditions; you’re  saying his places and the things he adds to them  are unacceptable. But you must accept his places,  not re-make them; you mustn’t be condescending.  This is aesthetics, too, and it is to be respected;  we shouldn’t barge in and want to change  everything or moan and say it’s ugly or primitive.  We must accept it at face value because there’s  quality in this kind of aesthetics too.  Some immigrants copy high trend and create  modern cafés. To me, there’s a lack of  authenticity about that.  I need this place and I’ve been here a good few  times to eat meat. I consider myself a vegetarian,  but here I eat hazid, Turkish pizza, a food culture  that the Turks brought to the Middle East.

Konya kebab Istedgade 47, Copenhagen V

Amager Fælled Copenhagen S



Konya kebab

My Turkish grandfather Recently, my parents told me that my  grandfather was from Turkey. So we’re not  Arabs, but Turks. I don’t speak the language  and my family has lost contact with Turkey.  I know that the Turks have been in the Arab  world for 4–500 years and have influenced Arab  culture profoundly, such as with music and the  water pipe.  Whatever you do, whoever you are, wherever you  grew up – if your parents suddenly inform you  that you’re originally from somewhere other  than you thought, you quickly come to sense that  the place is a part of you. That it, too, is you.  We perceive it; we mull it over. This is the first  time I’ve come out and said this. Maybe that’s  why this place does me good. Here, I can take  in the Oriental atmosphere, which I also need in  order to satisfy my original identity. I sit here  reminiscing.  

Kunstakademiets g rd It’s a very nice day to die 1989. I was 23 the first time I went through this gateway and it’s a day I’ve never  forgotten. I was impressed with the Late Classical architecture. It’s like Oxford. I looked  around; an elderly man pointed and asked: See those windows up there?  They’re not real. They’re a drawing of windows. I learned that a window can  be an expression of a window. I took my application along to The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and  I thought, I want to be a part of this. It was a lovely day. It’s always been  good weather whenever positive things have happened in my life. It’s a very  nice day to die was what went through my head. I’d prefer to die on a nice  day! Architecture, painting, immigration or out there in the labour market? I  didn’t know which path I should choose, but I was very ambitious, too, and  desperate to advance my career as an artist. They have to take me; I’ll  have to go in through that door. I’ll have to go the distance, I thought. To  hell with language difficulties and cultural differences. As long as I can be  part of it – as long as I get in. This gateway was the difference between  in and out. 

det kongelige danske kunstakademis gård Courtyard of The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Kongens Nytorv 1, Copenhagen K

Canada can wait

Suddenly, there I was, holding the letter that said I’d been accepted.  At the same time, I’d received an immigration permit for Canada  and my visa was in place. Which path should I choose? Canada can  wait, but I must get my education now, I thought. And Canada is still  waiting.

I have ritualised the place Being part of life here was magnificent. Can you sense  the security of this courtyard? City life is in full swing  just a few metres away, but you’re always safe here. It’s  a safe place in Denmark for me.  I’ll never forget the day I stood here with my  application. Whenever I come here, I relive that moment.  I’ve decided never to forget the courtyard and what it  means. I’ve ritualised the place and I can still feel the  sensation. I’ve never tried to naturalise the courtyard.  No matter how many years go by – how many times I  come through the gateway, I always feel that this is a  special place, because this is where my dream came true.  It was so difficult and so important for me to get in and  to become a part of life here in order to progress in my  own life. To me, this is much greater than a courtyard.  This is where my dream was perfected as a reality, my  deep, secret story. 

Mette Sia Martinussen, chef, born in Copenhagen, 1972. Trained as a chef under Claus Meyer in 1993. In 1998, she opened the “Ester & Soya” restaurant in the old Soya Cake Factory on Islands Brygge, and in 2000 she opened the doors of her own restaurant “” (“first floor on the right”) in an old residence on Herluf Trolles Gade. In 2001, she embarked on a culinary tour of Denmark and as she went, served food to guests in a large refreshment tent. The trip gave rise to the “Mettes Gæstebud” (“Mette’s Banquet”) cookery book. In 2006, she opened “madeleines madteater” (“Madeleine’s Food Theatre”). For more details, see and

det kongelige biblioteks have

To me, this is a particularly calm place. It’s close to my restaurant and when I have a couple of hours to spare, I find a special sense of peace here. There’s no commotion and no one dives topless onto a towel on the grass – quite the opposite: there’s something spiritual here, almost like being in a church. The gardens are an open space for unwinding in. I can get away from the kitchen, enjoy the fresh air by the water and just empty my mind of thoughts. The evocative atmosphere stimulates creativity. When you let your thoughts wander here, something happens – something beautiful and delightful descends on you. A zest for life, I believe.

No one dives topless onto the grass here det kongelige biblioteks have The gardens are behind the Royal Danish Library Søren Kierkegaards Plads 1 1016 Copenhagen K

Old and beautiful

I’m not an architect, but this is one of those places where I think, “wow!”. Here, my own city has space for a vision of something old and beautiful. It’s one of the few places in Copenhagen where I can encounter grandeur and wonder. I’m always taken aback to realise that this exists in my own city – every time I come round the corner. It’s a powerful discovery. I’ve only ever had this feeling abroad before. It was in Paris, where the squares are so beautiful that I just wanted to enjoy my time there and be still.

Kastrup Fort

I’ve been coming here since I was five. My childhood home is nearby and I used to cycle here to run, sweat, play and play ball games. There’s a feeling about this place of hide-and-seek, brilliant games of hide-and-seek, cowboys and Indians and the desire to be a child. We had a lot of fun here – and I still do! I run and go for walks here in this piece of classic Denmark, in the peace and quiet. The grass here makes an excellent picnic spot, too. The coast is pretty; Sweden is over there in the mist and the Copenhagen skyline looks lovely from here.

Kastrup Fort Amager Strandvej 246 2300 Copenhagen K

great for hide-and-seek

The allotment There’s something typically Danish, something wonderful about allotments – a cosy combination of being a city-dweller and yet going out to grass. Allotments have been a part of my life since the day I was born. My grandfather died when I was six, but I have strong memories of life in his allotment garden house. It was the most terrific free space with the very best of stories. You could feel the grass between your toes. And there were bitter gooseberries, curled parsley, rhubarb and plums; the four ingredients I value most to this day.

At my place,  I sip lemonade on the patio

When I was given the opportunity to have an allotment garden house, I jumped at the chance, because of all those happy memories from long ago. And I still sip lemonade on the patio and grow beds of curly parsley.

I love to try things I’m not good at

Each year, when I pick the year’s first damsons for marinating, my grandfather is there in my memory, clear as a bell, so I’m scarcely aware of whether it’s then or now – and that’s what taste and scent can do for you. Preparing food brings memories into focus.

MITT After many years of standing out there at the back preparing food in the white bathroom – that is, the restaurant kitchen – I got fed up of never meeting the people I cooked for. The chef at one of my favourite eateries feels the same way. At his restaurant, MITT, the interaction of guests and chef is paramount.

Restaurant MITT Ægirsgade 46 Copenhagen N

Life’s project has to be the dawning realisation that you are a unique being and that you need to identify your needs

Running a restaurant is driven by the ambition to make the hairs stand up on people’s necks and give them goose pimples four times a week – the very thought brings tears to my eyes

At MITT, the guests book the whole restaurant, which consists of a table to seat 6–14, and the presence of chef Jesper Paustian is part of the package. He takes care of everything: he serves the food, talks to the guests, pours the wine – it’s a key part of the event. The guests at the table are his constant focus, because there are not ten other tables demanding attention and service too. I go there with close friends from time to time when I feel like getting away from pots and pans. It’s an exclusive, fantastic and utterly unique experience to be served world-class food and wine and be close to your friends – in a pleasant room with the chef and host in attendance.

Food for people When a chef realises that he or she is preparing food for people, something magical happens – suddenly, the objective of preparing food is not about outdoing yourself or other chefs in the city’s creative environment. It becomes an attempt to create space for a group of people who have chosen to spend this evening together. To do your best to add something. The chef of MITT and I both want to prepare food for people – and not to please ourselves. I admire colleagues who dare to consider what it means to be a chef and who choose to reinvent the framework instead of just opening a new restaurant.

Christiania The world can sustain us

Wow! This is too beautiful for words –

Christiania Copenhagen K

This absolutely fantastic place is home to a lady who has given me massages for the last 12 years. She is my second mother

Christiania is something Copenhagen needs

Here is a wonde rful alternative. Space for a bit chaos. There’s of real a touch of the z any here, a red of fun and ridic nose, a bit ulous tomfoole r y . We are in the w we believe orld, and

that the world can sustain us.

And here is all the chaos that I don’t have in m there’s somethin y own life. The g very spiritual mess is so lovely here, too. I ofte the lake and ob and casual, and n come here, en serve the people joy a soft drink . on the bench by

They revel in ingredien The free city’s ap proach to mea ts

ls is really beyond spend time here. the pale, and I fin They revel in ingr d it very inspirin edients, cook over have cool eating-h g to an open fire, thin ouses; they’re curi k organically and ous and they’re no things in the way t afraid. They ar they prepare thei e open to new r food; they welc ome the world.

I want tO be a whole person I endeavour to bring cohesion to my world. I’m a hard-nosed businesswoman, rushing around getting ideas, and I work hard. But I also seek the spiritual side of life and the occult. I have a strong desire to be a whole, balanced person, but there is no easy answer. I want to be a culturally creative, full-speed person and I want to be able to meditate with bare toes, relax and empty my mind of thoughts. I work at finding a balance and I am enthused about the Life Project. We are made up of so many different layers; I don’t want to skim over any of them; I want to experience them all.

den kongelige afst bningssamling This museum fascinates me because there’s a tremendous sense of grandeur about it. I’ve never done the homework, so to me, it’s a huge, chaotic room full of amazing plaster casts. I don’t need any explanations and I haven’t read up about the place; I digest my impressions visually, in the same ingenious way as a child. Here, there is everything from small, handsome bodies to creepy, scary-looking heads. Melancholy, old, wistful. The cool thing about it is that they’re just here, not doing anything. In this place, I can be idle – experience something – simply be. I discovered this place on my own; it’s a well-kept secret – hardly anyone else knows about it, and I usually come here on my own. It’s marvellous that there is a secret place like this at the heart of Copenhagen, open for two hours on a Wednesday.

den kongelige afstøbningssamling The Royal Cast Collections Vestindisk Pakhus Toldbodgade 40 Copenhagen K

You cannot isolate mealtime from any of the other senses. It activates your eyes, ears, nose and sense of touch. All meals are affected by our other experiences. Dramatic developments take place during a meal. And it’s possible to work with that. How about having The Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir sing as you eat your dessert?

Anna Neye Poulsen, actress and scriptwriter, born in 1969. Graduated from The Arts Educational School of Acting, London, in 1995 and from The National Film School of Denmark in 2005. Theatre assignments at, for example, Dr. Dante and Aveny-T; co-founder of the Mucca Divina theatre company. Co-author of and performer in the satirical programme Normalerweize on DR2. Currently working on the next season of Normalerweize.

I don’t have any places where I go to relax or get ideas. No regular, nice places. But I do have places with lots of memories.

The patisserie in Rådhusarkaden

The pedestrian crossing by Rådhuspladsen and Rådhusarkaden are secret places for me. I haven’t been there for many years, but let’s go for a coffee and see what’s become of it.

Conditori H C Andersen Vesterbrogade 1B 1620 Copenhagen V

Twenty years ago I moved from North Zealand to Copenhagen. The city was very, very big and new and I was very, very sad. The feeling of being very tiny in the huge city was massive. I lived in a flat on Nørrebro with my mother but went to school up in North Zealand. I couldn’t be bothered going to school, so I went to the cinema during the day. I had to leave the flat at about eight in the morning so no one would find me out, and I hung out in this arcade, especially in the patisserie. I completed Year 10 without attending classes. Here in the patisserie, I could sit for hours on end and observe lots of people. I’ve always been fascinated by that. This was my regular café when I was 16. My days were simple: I spent my time in the patisserie and at the pictures. I often watched the same films several times over at the Palladium. And at the Dagmar, the Palads and the Grand, which are all nearby. My favourite films were the French ones, and then there was “Out of Africa”, which I saw seven times, because it was full of black people.

The world was too big You can just go straight in here. There are no doors to open; no smart guys. I wasn’t sure how to get into a real café and I was too shy to go into the shops. The world was too big, but in here everything was nice and tidy, like in Irma, the supermarket.

My regular café when I was 16

Sweethearts on the pedestrian crossing During my first six months in Copenhagen, I didn’t know anyone. But one day as I was crossing the road to go to the Palladium, half way across the pedestrian crossing, a young man asked me where I was going. I answered: to the cinema. Then he asked if he could come too. I didn’t like to say no, and that’s how he became my boyfriend. We went out together for three months when I didn’t have any other friends. I’m not a tart, but everything just flowed and there were no boundaries. If I had to take a bus, I didn’t like to ask, “Where’s Bispebjerg Torv?”, so I’d just ride along and end up in strange places. In Tingbjerg, for example. Then I’d just get on another bus because I was too embarrassed to stay on the same one.

What the hell are you staring at? This place hasn’t changed at all. It’s an old-fashioned patisserie. Everything is the same, the glass cases, the cakes – nothing’s changed. Cream puffs were my favourite. I remember clearly once when I was sitting out in front of the patisserie. Two girls were eating, but they left a lot of food behind. When they left, a tramp came along and carried on eating as if it had been his own food. I was absolutely horrified. The waitress came to clear up and I just stared at him, but he stared back at me as if to say, What the hell are you staring at? It was completely surreal.

The province in the heart of Copenhagen I hated living in Hørsholm and I couldn’t wait to get away from there. But now it strikes me there’s something awfully provincial about this patisserie. It’s all enclosed; it’s as claustrophobic as the suburbs. It’s funny to think I was so preoccupied with escaping from provincial life, but as soon as I got close to the big city, I hid in a mini-province because the capital was too scary. n, pyha.

The No. 5A bus from Rådhuspladsen to Nørrebros Runddel We’ll catch the No. 5A bus to Nørrebros Runddel. This bus route is really very special. Mostly because of the people, but also because it goes right along Nørrebrogade. A fantastic route that I’ve travelled many, many times. And you sit here for yonks waiting for the lights to change. Why is it so slow? Down Memory Lane I took the bus from Østerbro to Nørrebro the other day, and it was a trip down Memory Lane. While I was on the bus, suddenly I was back in a particular period of my life and for a fraction of a second I experienced all sorts of feelings and memories of that time. Places take on new meanings because life goes on, but they still represent periods of your life.

N rrebros Runddel A strange place

This is a secret place. It’s completely different from Nørrebrogade down by the lakes. Here, it’s sad; there’s no room for smartness or sushi take-aways. My maternal grandmother told me there used to be a dance hall over there; it’s difficult to believe that today. When I was little, this is where we got off the bus to visit grandma. Look, there’s Basses hot dogs. And Kvickly. I bought a lot of cakes there. My youth was full of sugary things. Nørrebros Runddel Copenhagen N

Another secret place is the painted gable end, because it helped me find my bearings. We came all the way from Hørsholm, and when I saw the painted gable end, that meant we were nearly there. It’s not far at all, but I was only little and I remember thinking we had to walk miles from the bus stop. This really is a strange place. Tagensvej and Jagtvej with the main roads for through routes. It’s not really a place, and yet there are people here. There’s nothing cool to look at here. I just think it’s so sad. I’ve spent a lot of time between the two sets of traffic lights. It’s a secret place, but I think it’s dreadful.

Claustrophobic I went to theatre school in London for three years. I left Denmark because it was claustrophobic and provincial here. Then I went to live in London – and missed Denmark. My father is from Nigeria, and in London there were people of every skin colour and nationality you could imagine. Nice. But during my time in London, I realised I was much more Danish than I had cared to admit, so I moved back home to Denmark. I long to see foreign places, but I have no burning desire to move away.

Fakta I’m a walking disaster in the service trade We just have to go into Fakta. I worked here when it was Irma and a kiosk. You could rent videos. I got the sack. I filled shelves and served customers; it was no fun at all, and I couldn’t make head or tail of that Dankort slip. My worst and most memorable disasters have definitely been in the service trade. I’m no undiscovered talent at that. Quite simply, I’m no good at it. I worked in a bakery, but it

didn’t work out very well. I peeled potatoes in the kitchen of a care home – not great. When I was attending theatre school in London, I looked for a job over there. When the English boss asked about my experience, I just said, Yes, I know everything, even though I didn’t. I was to work in the delicatessen department. Just getting my head around the till was impossible with their pounds and quarters – and fuck, was I at a loss! I just cut slices of their expensive cheeses, and each day the boss’s smile hardened towards me more and more. On the fourth day, he hissed, “Don’t come back”. I was devastated. If I couldn’t make it in a service trade, whatever would become of me?

Fakta Jagtvej 85 Copenhagen N

My maternal grandmother only ever bought special offers Fakta is a depressing place. But it’s also where my own family comes from. My grandma lived just up there on Odinsgade and she walked down here and queued up, wearing her little hat. I’m wild about the music on Dansktoppen, Birthe Kjær, Helmut Lotti – I mean it. I grew up with clothes from the budget department store Daells Varehus – it was one of my favourite places. My maternal grandmother only ever bought special offers. The freezer was stuffed with things for hard times that never came. My grandma was fantastic. I loved her very much. She lived all her life at Nørrebro and worked as a cleaner.

OdinsGADE The canary in the oriel window Grandma met grandpa when they were getting on in years. In their mid-50s, probably. She was working as a cleaner at the Community Hospital and he was a porter. They sat in the flat there with two oriel windows on the first floor, each in their own chair by the window. The canary’s cage was between them. They lived to be 92 and 86. I sat in the window and looked down at the winos. We made up stories about people on the street and we also spent a lot of time watching the pigeons – it was never boring. It was exotic and completely different from my everyday life.

This Nørrebro thing is sad

I’ve got the history of the working classes in my blood – I don’t relate to it very well, and yet I’m fascinated. There are many tragedies in it. People struggled to survive. Nothing to spare, no clean clothes; that’s how it was. My great-grandma grew up in the poor area round Adelgade in the last century, with rats running up the drainpipes. But my grandma made up her mind to have a nice home when she got a place of her own and she was very fussy about keeping it clean. OdinsGADE Copenhagen N

I ran away from home to Tagensvej

I visited grandma and grandpa a lot and stayed there from time to time. I liked the place back then because I was with them and the flat was exciting. The patisserie over there has always been there. Grandpa bought cakes on Sundays – cream-and-jam sandwich biscuits. Once I ran away from home all the way down to Tagensvej, and then I was just plain lost. I’d never run so far before. Today, of course, I can almost see the corner from here, but I must have been about five at the time and with my short legs, it was a long way, right? I was really wild and had quite a temper when I was little – but one word from grandma, and I would shut up. Grandpa came and got me from the end of Tagensvej – he was hopping mad.

Thickly buttered toast

It was pure magic here when I was little. Everything was fascinating. They gave me bedtime sweets! My grandparents spoke in the old Danish Copenhagen manner, with a drawl. They said “Afrika” and “onsdag” with open vowels. The rooms served as bedrooms and dining room, so

Castanets and Flamenco dancers

Grandpa had deep coat pockets and I used to entice him to buy sweets. At home, he had a plastic jar for tobacco, which had been an anniversary present. He bought tobacco right over there at the tobacconist’s and put it in the jar. I was wild about it. There were so many things in those old flats. Kitsch. Grandma went to Tenerife. I desperately wanted to go with her, but my mother took me to Poland. We were going to be among the locals; we had one-way tickets and there we were.

This place is history a crap, but it is wha nd we ca n’t get aw t it is. We are our ay from it . Worst l uck!

everything had to be tidied away each morning before grandpa made breakfast, which was the same year in, year out: thickly buttered toast and coffee. Grandma read her “Ude og Hjemme” magazine, she sat and yelled and invented plots. Their routines were really fascinating. At home we never had any routines; it was chaos there. At grandma’s, we listened to the Giro 413 radio request programme and ate bacon for lunch. She used to do the cooking when I was little. When she grew elderly, she got a home help, and they became friends. I remember she used to put on knee pads to do the cleaning. When I saw the home help on a bench 20 years later and went to say hello, she hissed, “Get away from me!”. She thought I was going to mug her or something.

I’d have loved to go to Spain. Grandma sat out on her balcony on the south coast and chatted to the other Danes. She bought castanets and flamenco dancers in plastic display boxes to take home.


The lady next door to grandma had asthma. They played cards at 2 pm. The neighbour coughed, but also took a sneaky look at grandma’s cards. Grandma really couldn’t be bothered with her much. Sometimes, the neighbour got ill and collapsed, but she was a member of Falck rescue services. So the gorgeous firemen came. When they carried her out, she went quiet as a lamb, because there was a big strong man there to help her.

She looked after things

People who don’t have very much look after their things and they don’t throw clothing away. Grandma had a wardrobe of clothes and a sensuousness about things that I find fascinating. Now we just fling things.

No one goes to a café on Jagtvej

I’ve never had an image

I’ve never been an in-girl who hung out on Krasnapolsky in the 80s. The city means something else to me: the people on the streets; all those stories. Absolutely fascinating. The best thing I know is to sit in a café or on a bench and look at people.

I steal from reality. It sounds trite, but that’s how it is. Truth is stranger than fiction

Christoffer Boe

, film director, born in Rungsted, 1974. Took Film and Media Studies at the University of Copenhagen and trained at The National Film School of Denmark, Copenhagen, in 2001. In the same year, he wrote and directed six episodes of the comedy series “Kissmeyer Basic”. He made his debut with the love drama “Reconstruction” in 2003; this was followed by “Allegro” in 2005 and “Offscreen” in 2006.

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. ace in Copenhagen being in a public sp e scinate me are wher fa at th es ac pl e Th is personal space. Th public space meets this rts of places, and mix exists in all so g. comes interestin is where the city be

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Nina Bangs Plads Copenhagen K

Having a secret that nobody knows you have. That’s the ultimate secret

Now I’m making the world party to a secret and sharing things about this place that I relate to. A secret is all about possessing information. That is, you know what the information is and you know who knows it. You can have a secret that a lot of other people know, as long as you know who knows it. But the moment my secret is told here, I lose ownership of the secret, because I don’t know who will read about it. It stops being my secret and becomes information about me.

Everyone knows you know something

Children don’t like having a secret that nobody knows they have. That’s the ultimate secret, but it’s no fun at all knowing something that nobody else knows you know. The other type of secret is when everyone knows you know something – only they don’t know what it is.

Wandering around the city is a combination of the two. We relate to some places in particular ways. The fact that we have secrets about the city is something everyone knows. The places we have secrets about are publicly accessible places where anyone can go. It’s not the place that’s secret; it’s the specific interpersonal relationship that’s the secret. It’s my special relationship with this place. It’s the little snippets of information that create our identity – the little snippet of information that enables you to walk through the city and experience it on a personal level. To embark on a personal tour of the city.

I’m made up of too many old secrets and I need to let some of them go to make room for new ones to take their place

Now I’m lifting the veil on a secret of identity and then I’ll be released from it. I’m passing this secret on to other people. There are only so many secrets you can keep. I’m made up of too many old secrets and I need to let some of them go to make room for new ones to take their place.

Desolate and lifeless

This place is an old secret. It’s one thing having my own secret relationship with it, but there’s always been something a bit secretive about the place itself. It appears to be closed to the public, even though it’s intended to be accessible. We are behind Gutenberghus in the heart of the real, old Copenhagen – I can see into Klareboderne, where the old buildings have been restored. The big clock is familiar to most people, but it seems as if people are unaware that this part of Copenhagen exists. I remember this place as being desolate, bereft of people and life. Look at the little circle, the bench and the statue of a woman standing – overlooked, yet elegant.

I came here as a little boy more than 20 years ago

I lived in the provinces, but came to Copenhagen at the weekends because my father worked here. Copenhagen was a dead city at the weekends. But I was a little boy who came to the big city and felt its pulse, like the first time you go to New York; a round-the-clock adrenalin rush, a radical transformation – it had skyscrapers, noise and I was close to the city and all it had to offer. At the same time, I had a strong sense that the city was desolate, because I never saw anyone in this square. In the big, public square, designed to be full of people, I never saw hilt nor hair of anyone. And the architecture was extremely cold, with paving stones, a monumental rear wall and various slightly vague window frame sections. Minimalist, monumental, uninviting architecture. Just around the corner, there is intimate cosiness with old Copenhagen buildings – and here in this square, a public space unfolds, bereft of people – and it becomes personal.

Alone in the heart of the city

To begin with, there was the little boy and his sense of bewilderment. Here I was in the square and there were no people. The square was behind my father’s office; it was a natural place to be, but it was also an amazingly estranging place to be – I was alone in the heart of the city.

Cities are throbbing, vibrant places

You have an expectation of the place; you perceive something and the place changes in your eyes. The changeability of the place. This place is accessible to everyone – but to the individual, it is unique. That is the simplest reason why we are drawn to the cities: we can personalise them; cities are not big, cold spaces, but throbbing, vibrant places where we have memories of our first kiss, first encounter, tremendous quarrels, strife and bust-ups with our nearest and dearest and acquaintances. Wandering around the city is a life-giving experience – we change as we move through the spaces of the city. The transformation becomes part and parcel of us.

Let’s meet at night and see if the square has changed

The coldness of the square is not very Danish-looking, but there is a softness about the sculpture of the woman standing. And from the square, you can look up at one of the most handsome edifices in Copenhagen. This is the romance of the big city and I’m under its sway. Let’s meet at night and see if the square has changed; if it has opened up and become warm. We can have a beer at Bo-Bi Bar – the best bar in central Copenhagen.

The place is the same, but I’ve changed

Fifteen years later, I moved to Copenhagen. I lived in the provincial Østerbro precinct but often came into the city centre. One evening, I came by this square, which I hadn’t seen for years and years. Suddenly, a massive change has taken place; it’s night, there is an intimate feel to it;

the square has closed in on itself. The place hasn’t really changed – it’s the same as before, but suddenly I find it’s engaging with me. I’ve changed. Before, fear was the dominant factor; now it’s become an intimate, embracing place. I sit down on the bench; I need to think about the first film. And this is the place I keep coming back to. The place

becomes my meditation zone where I contemplate the films I must make. Before I put pen to paper, I sit on this bench for hours and think the film project through. Then I go home to write. The city is the starting point – I start there and create a story for the location.

Childhood is a person’s greatest and longest nightmare – everything else is lies and deception

Our relationship with childhood is a funny little game. Often, people don’t talk about their childhood, and if they do, they lie about it, because childhood is a person’s greatest and longest nightmare – characterised by fear and ignorance. It’s the little mind trying to make sense of the world and not understanding anything; the child is amazed again and again at the workings of the world. If we’re lucky, we have nice parents who try to guide us through unscathed. The idea of pastures green is something the poets dreamt up – either they’re drunk or they’re suffering from amnesia, because childhood is characterised by fear and disappointment and incomprehension about the world we live in. This came to me here in the square – this great big empty space. And that’s precisely what I encounter as an adult, but suddenly the scary encounter has been transformed into an encounter of wonderment – suddenly I’m alone in the city and it’s not something I’m afraid of; rather I’m happy about it. Lonely in the night – but not l onely among people. The bench turned out to be a good friend to me 15 years on from when it held a certain fascination for me but appeared very different. I’ve now made four films linked to Copenhagen and the bench has been a fixed point. Now I’ve had enough; I’m done with Copenhagen. I need new benches in my life, so I’ve now handed on this bench and the little square to other people. But it’s a cold bench; the light is cold – and the facades and the water are cold. It always seems a bit colder here than anywhere else in the city; you always feel a bit chilly when you sit here. That’s how it is. That’s how it was. The beginning begins at night. Secrets begin; the secret lover, the first encounter at Bo-Bi Bar at 1 am. Night is the beginning of wonderful secrets; night is the secret of the grown-ups…

Fear and the provincial oasis

This square bears the very essence of the city – the open and the closed, the cold and the warm, the anxious rush of adrenalin in the city. Attraction and fear, because of its vastness – and yet the square changes and becomes a little provincial oasis when you’ve lived here a while and you know what’s around each corner. My films address the essential: the deployment of people in the city.

The place is what it is – you have your story, others have theirs

In my work, I’ve tried to use this secret place that nobody comes to. But it doesn’t make for very interesting filming. By day, you can’t capture its forlornness. By night, there’s not enough light. I’ve been striving for ten years to capture this bloody place on film, but it’s impossible to show the heart and soul of the place: the encounter of public and personal, coldness and warmth – the intimacy of the fact that the square is located in the centre of cosy, old Copenhagen. In principle, this square is open, but then it closes in and there’s no one there. You feel so unwelcome here. There’s nothing further to say about the matter. The place is what it is – I have my story, you have your story, other people have theirs.

Tuva Semmingsen, opera singer, born in Oslo in 1975. Mezzo soprano, educated at the Norwegian Academy of Music and the Opera Academy in Copenhagen. Made her debut in 1999 at The Royal Danish Theatre as Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro. Has recorded three CDs with works by Vivaldi and regularly gives concerts in Denmark and abroad. Permanently linked with The Royal Danish Theatre.,

Our house Our house is called the Salami The house and garden are my hiding places, my oasis. It has a bit of a Harry Potter feel to it: you come from the noise of Østerbrogade, go in through a door and you’re in a different world, where you’re drenched in bird song. My theory is that sparrows are little dogs; yap-yap-yap, they say, like an aggressive terrier. My husband grew up on the other side of this street. The house was so lopsided that his toy cars ran by themselves. A tiler used to live in this house. He used up all the leftovers in the kitchen and bathroom, so we’re surrounded by turquoise tiles.

A home to come home to I’m away on operatic jobs around the world for much of the year. That’s why it’s important to have an anchor – a home to come home to. Sometimes my home feels strange to me because I’ve been away so long.

Becoming a mother is like turbo-charging your life

The garden is the best therapy. Doing the weeding is like tidying up my life

Øbro Spisehus

You can get Norwegian glacial water here!

Øbro Spisehus Øster Farimagsgade 16 Copenhagen Ø

Øbro Spisehus is a fantastic, exclusive little place but you can hardly ever get in unless you’ve booked a table in advance, and I never do! They have good food at low prices, tapas and some rustic French cuisine. My first flat in Copenhagen was in Webersgade with terrific views of Kartoffelrækkerne (terraced houses, originally built as a social housing co-operative). I lived here for five years, very close to Øbro Spisehus, and I had a lot of good meals here. But new owners have taken over the place now and they’re getting the place refurbished. The cuisine has to be world cuisine with good ingredients and French–Moroccan inspiration – but they won’t serve tapas any more. What a shame! However, they do sell Norwegian glacial water, which is about the best in the world, pure and soft.

Places are always changing. Øbro Spisehus is a place that used to be! Maybe it’ll become a new secret place...? I’ll come back; I’m curious and I want to see what they’re up to.

Det Kongelige Teater, Prøvesalen The Royal Danish Theatre, Rehearsal Room Kongens Nytorv Copenhagen K

Det Kongelige Teater My soul has been ripped out and it’s lying on the floor here in the rehearsal room The Royal Danish Theatre is a huge labyrinth of long, winding corridors and small, secret rooms, and I love working here. But I also love the opposite extreme: the new Opera House with its elegant serenity and grand vistas.

Heise Salen is trul y secret. I spent un countable hours here when I attended the Opera Academy; this was our perm anent classroom. It was so tough that I feel as if my soul is still lying on the floor here. It was physic ally, musically and dramatically challenging at ever y level. The tutors rip into you

right o put the t y r t o t g is Everythin up to you . ’s s e it c d la n p a t e t, you apar ogether in the righ voice, your postur and tear t r u t k c o o ieces ba I often g ted on: y bits and p rything is commen and communicate. all eve ise to improv hat I’m back here, seen and y it il b a r you now t on stage, up – and d e f d n a d frustrate

those emotions come flooding back. I remember my first year as being a tough one. I’d come from a different country to a new and unfamiliar city, and my first impressions of Copenhagen are deeply intertwined with my time here in the rehearsal room. We reached right down into our innermost being and it all happened here in this beautiful room at the top of the fantastic building with sweeping views of Kgs. Nytorv and the Copenhagen skyline. What unfathomable contrasts.

Don’t mess with me! If you can get through the training here, you’re ready for anything. It’s tough and it’s fantastic. Something good has definitely come of it. I have become aware of my shortcomings in every way. I’ve been toughened up, and you have to be if you’re going to survive in this business. If you don’t have faith in yourself, other people will trample all over you – especially abroad, where you run the risk of insecure musical directors having a go at you in the belief that the young whipper-snapper deserves to be slapped down. Professionalism and a thick skin are the only cure, and that comes with age and experience. That’s the way it is – you mustn’t let it get up your nose, as we say in Norwegian! Don’t mess with me! You’ll go far by being a sweet little girl, but sometimes a different approach is required.

Now there’s nothing about my professional career that frightens me I’ve become a mother and I’ve experienced getting as close to death as a birth is. I’ve got a little person in my life who means more to me than my own life and whom I’m terrified of losing. This colours my perspective on everything else. Now there’s something else in my life that’s far more dangerous and much more important than my career.

The patio

Look how close the Opera House is to The Royal Danish Theatre, when you see them from this vantage point. If only I had my own private helicopter; then it wouldn’t take many minutes to cross the water. The patio is an oasis amid the Copenhagen skyline – a secret place where we came between difficult sessions in the rehearsal room.

Cafe Zeleste Lobster in less than five minutes

Café Zeleste is just behind Nyhavn, but there’s a world of difference. It’s peaceful here. I remember all the times we sat here after lessons at the Opera Academy or after concerts. Our tradition was to order lobster, because the café promises you a glass of champagne if they can’t manage to serve you within five minutes. So we sat here, tapping our watches and cheering. I’ve never known them to fail, but I’ve had lots of good lobster!

Café Zeleste Store Strandstræde 6 1255 Copenhagen K

Hovedbiblioteket The Central Library Krystalgade 15 Copenhagen K



I’ve s p borro ent hours and h wed l o o is to reme ads of mu urs in the mber sic fr Centr The l to om ib a ships rary is for return it a here. You l Library. It’s al ’ l passi l e v . e got veryo I’ve h mo ng there are a in the nig ne – all s ad so ma to be stro st like a h ny fin lways mixtu orts o ng in ht, ea ome! es re m I f l c CDs a of cosine ots of peo h in a wo people co here tha y trade – ’ve listene r t d p s n m l p It’s al d hear th s, researc le, I can h d of our o e here an I might as iles of mu to music, e mus wn, li ide an ways perus w s d h and ic are e y ll ha ou c ste ic I spen so d e m t a lo warm in in my hea editation disappea ning, sea an borrow ve bought so heavy. d scores a r t of t . d h rch nd Th al It’s on in ju ime th ere and a . e of m to anothe ing, read st about l the CDs e key thin fter a ere a i i a n r n y g n s g wo yt te hiding a nd I r emem few hours place rld. I ente nd finding hing. We’r ad. s whe ber t t r e he sp I get a he re I fl into my b hings. Alth like adach ecial u i o c b k thr smell ough ble and es ugh of old e. My mot s ca t acks h pape of sco pe in a r, wh er worked res a ich is nd all ar in a librar y ound me he . re, to o.




It’s lovely to be ghastly and ridiculous

I started playing the piano before I started school, but my mother reckoned she could discern a voice, so I started going for lessons. But I was a far cry from the child who stands up on a chair and shouts, Loo k at me, listen to me! I remember hating the pupils’ recitals at music school. I had absolutely no desire to stand in front of all the others and sing about the little mouse that built a house. Music was my own little world where I could hide. I wasn’t pre pared to share it with anyone else. It took many years for this to change. A cha racter tenor was singing with me and he told me to speak the music out loud and recite it before I sang. Tell a story! Spe ak to the man on the far-away mountain top, he told me. At some point during my three years of training with him, I began to feel the desire to tell my stories. Now I get so much out of sharing my innermost being, but it didn’t just happen of its own accord. I needed to be filled up befo re I could share it, and today it’s fun. Whether it’s telling a story about som ething dreadful or flirting with the audienc e in a fun aria. I suppose everyone is afraid to show something of themselves that’s not very flattering, but there’s noth ing funnier on stage than a ghastly, drunk woman. I think it’s lovely to allow you rself to be ghastly and ridiculous.


When the Opera House opened, I had a plan: I would have my morning coffee at Kafferiet, my favourite coffee shop with the turquoise façade down by the harbour, before catching the harbour boat to go to work! Kafferiet is a tiny, cosy place where I can get a café latte with plenty of milk. But my plan fell apart after two days, and now I cycle instead. I don’t get on well with public transport. I’ve spent so many years of my life being dependent on trains and buses and now I just can’t be bothered.

My Copenhagen is not my own

I have my Copenhagen, which is mine in my own way: I’m half tourist and half resident. I know Copenhagen well, but I only feel like I’ve got the city on loan because I wasn’t born here. It’s a sort of inferiority complex. It’s not really my city, because I wasn’t born in Denmark. And there’s nowhere in the world I feel more of a foreigner than in Denmark. I’ve left my country and I don’t really belong anywhere, or perhaps I should say I’m at home in lots of places, and one of my homes is here in Copenhagen. I have a very romanticised view of Oslo and Norway, and whenever I return to Oslo, I can easily start to feel melancholy. When I return to all my places, it’s never the same as when I lived there. The Oslo I remember no longer exists.

You don’t notice the passage of time in the place where you live

Kafferiet Esplanaden 44 Copenhagen K

Underwerket Underwerket arbejder med illustrationer, design og layout. Lisa grue ejer og driver virksomheden. I 2005 bestod Underwerket af både Lisa Grue og Wendy Plovmand. begge er uddannet fra Danmarks Designskoles Institut for visuel kommunikation i 2001. Samme år etablerede de Underwerket og begyndte at løse opgaver for både private virksomheder og offentlige institutioner. Duoen debuterede som billedkunstnere på Charlottenborg i 2004 og stod samme år for en særudstilling på Danmarks Design Center.


Lisa: Bare at cykle herud på Holmen er fedt – det er en anden verden. I Torpedohallen skete noget magisk for Wendy: Vores tur til de hemmelige steder fortæller historien om mange år siden i 1998. Wendy og jeg gik på Designskolen firmaet Underwerket. Stederne bærer vores historie. Besøger og deltog begge i en workshop med arkitekten og vi dem, så fortæller de historien. kunstneren Peter Greenaway. Her arbejdede vi sammen for første gang. Samarbejdet blev præget af den meget Rejsen begynder ved Torpedohallen. specielle stemning herude. Holmen havde noget magisk, fordi man kunne mærke den gamle historie. Vi fandt sjove ting, der satte fantasien i gang. Vi følte, vi var et hemmeligt sted langt væk. Uden for hallen var der jord, græs og buskads, smadrede glas og en mystisk stemning.

W: Vi knoklede løs med de vildeste ideer og fik virkelig skabt noget sammen. Vi planlagde modeserier med billeder fra en okkult heksesabbat i de tilvoksede, skumle omgivelser. Vi lavede store plakater, installationer med billeder og tøj og havde gang i at støbe cement og blande fugemasse.

L: Det går sgu godt det her, sagde vi hurtigt til hinanden. Vi var et sejt team - produktive, energiske og jævnbyrdige. Vi aftalte at gøre tingene, og vi gjorde det. Ikke noget doven hund her. Det er jo ikke nok at sprudle af ideer – man skal rykke og knokle, og det var vi gode til sammen. Jeg får lyst til at tage herud for at lave tags på væggene – jeg savner noget uorden.

Orden ødelægger liv L: Her ser godt nok anderledes ud nu. Det er stadig fedt med en flot udsigt, men jeg kan ikke så godt

kende det. Det er mere pænt. Se træerne, der står med den samme afstand. Uopfindsomt, Jeg savner liv, her er arkitekttegnet og sikkert regler for alting.


Rosengården København K

Blommer midt i København

L: Her er min gård. I 10 år har jeg boet i Fiolstræde. Jeg vil gerne bo i byen, men har brug for oaser med natur og grønne huler. Gården her er fyldt med buske og træer - med æbler, blommer, bær og blomster. Bare at gå herned er som at tage på ferie. Bygningerne er gamle og skæve, og det store kastanietræ læner sig ind over pladsen. Her har boet mennesker i mange år, og det kan man mærke. W: Her sad vi med vores første fælles opgave: En folder til en IT-virksomhed. Vi viklede os ind i noget enormt teknisk, og resultatet lignede noget fra Anden Verdenskrig, tungt, rustikt og sølvfarvet med orange striber.

L: Vi sad her og arbejdede og snakkede. Begyndte at overveje at starte firma. Vi havde lige fået ferie fra Designskolen og besluttede at kaste os ud i det. Ret hurtigt skabte vi en illustrationsstil sammen, og opgaverne kom, da vi viste materialet frem. En fantastisk følelse.

Vi må væk for at tænke

W: Vi arbejder tit her i oasen. Hvis vi er kørt fast, og skal ha’ en ide for at komme videre, så dur tegnestuen ikke længere. Her er friere, vi tænker større - naturstilhed giver plads til at tænke andre tanker. Det er som en rejse: Vi flytter os fysisk for at flytte tankerne. Vi må væk for at tænke større og uden begrænsninger. L: Kontormiljøet er mail, faktura og kalender. Men her i gården diskuterer vi uden, at alle kan følge med. Her finder vi ”alt er muligt-humøret”. Her kan jeg lettere sige: ”Ja, nu gør vi det”. Vi skal jo enormt mange dårlige ideer igennem, inden de gode kommer. Og imens drikker vi saft af de gamle glas med overføringsbilleder, som jeg drak af som barn hos min mormor.

Roberts cafe

hvem satser vi på? Og hvordan kommer vi videre med at balancere kunsten og det kommercielle.

W: Her går vi ned, når vi ingen penge har og skal lægge en ny strategi for firmaet. L: De laver heldigvis stærk kaffe! To kopper kaffe klarer hjernen og giver hjertebanken. Vi kalder det forretningsmøder. Hvad er vi gode til, og hvad kan vi godt lide at lave,

W: Vi laver nye forretningsplaner og samler op, tager de alvorlige ting – og skændes måske. Udover at drive forretning sammen er vi jo også veninder, men diskussionerne undgår vi ikke. Vi må rense luften og blive enige om, hvordan vi gør tingene. Det sker her - men ikke så højlydt! L: Nogle gange må vi tage til New York, så vi kan råbe højt. Alle mennesker råber så højt i den by, og det er der altså noget befriende ved.



hahaha, eller vi på firmatur til kiropraktoren, er tag e, ed ess str er vi r Nå W: e henne om hjørnet! besøger vores økologiske kantin ve en ny, sund og usunde sandwich og skal ha a col get me for t fåe r ha te vi r L: Nå er, yndlingsriskiks, æblekvæde min vita d me os er syn for og d stil, suser vi herne og lykkesten.

Natur Poteket Teglgårdstræde 6

vi faneme også passe på Det er næring og energi. Nu må

os selv, siger vi hen over

, hylderne. er drømmen om at lave mysligrød t De r. he re væ at lide t god t W: Jeg kan enorm et meget, og Når man i en periode har arbejd n. rge mo r hve t, god t vild r n som smage så føles det bare så godt. Ma a, rfr he m hje er var d me dt fyl så slæber en hel kurv køber en drøm.

Vandkunsten Sandwich

”Pigen i den røde, hvad skal du have? Lille Alfredo, ja tak. Og hvad siger herren i blåt?” W: Her er ferie med vinranker, hvidløg og plakater. Deres sandwich er bare bedre – de gør noget ekstra ud af det og snyder hverken med fyld eller brød. Og så kommer der altså også nogle ret flotte mænd her ind imellem!

Vandkunsten Sandwich Rådhusstræde 17 København K

Dansk Design Center H C Andersens Boulevard 27 1553 København V

Dans k Desig n Cen ter Somebo dy ough t to say amen – amen – say it ag ain

L: Her havde vi vores første særudstilling, og nu udstiller vi et enkelt, stort billede som en del af en temaudstilling om at være handicappet. Jeg har ikke set udstillingen - nu får jeg chancen. W: I billedet fabulerer vi over temaet. Billedet er helt nyt, og vi er tilfredse, ja – det er, som det skal være. Vi lå på et gulv i New York under spisebordet og arbejdede i 35 graders

varme. Der er en masse New York med. Små historier, sprog fra gaden, humor, citater fra tv-kampagner, indtryk fra gaden, oplevelser i gospelkirken, hvor de hele tiden råbte: Somebody ought to say amen, amen, say it again. L: Inspirationen kommer tit på rejserne, hvor vi begge to kan gå rundt i en storby i 10 timer og være fuldstændig opslugt af at opleve byen og finde kort, dimser, klistermærker, kinesiske butikker og ting. Selv om vi ikke følges ad, kommer vi tit hjem med de samme ting. W: Det er anden gang, vi udstiller her. Første gang åbnede vi vores egen udstilling oppe på balkonen. L: Det var som en blåstempling af vores arbejde, at vi pludselig hørte til her. En stor oplevelse. W: I huset her ville jeg gerne opleve udstillinger, hvor designprocessen var tydeligere. Design bliver tit så enkelt, firkantet og hvidt. Jeg savner at se processen mere end de færdige ting. Brødristeren, det færdige produkt, kan man jo købe i Illum, men hvordan blev den til? Hvilke tanker og skitser ligger bag?

Gl. strand L: Man kan godt dø lidt, hvis der er for meget orden. W: Jeg ville dø af at sidde bag en hæk i Ålsgårde. L: Jamen, Ålsgårde er altså en god by at vokse op i. L: København er lys og liv. Ålsgårde er for småt og for ordentligt, verden bliver for lille der. Men det var sgu da et fedt sted at vokse op. København er fiskerlandsby og idyl. Vi hører næsten fiskekutterens tok-tok-tok her på Gl. Strand.

L: Her er flot og meget dejligt, stille og forfriskende ved vandet. Der på Thorvaldsens Museum har jeg siddet mange eftermiddage og tegnet statuer. Og i Kulturministeriet her bagved var vi engang inde for at vise vores mappe med illustrationer. Meget flotte, velholdte bygninger, som næsten overalt i København. Gl. Strand København K

Næste gang Paris

W: I New York er byen taget i brug af grafittimalere og kunstnere. I de gamle slagteriområder maler grafittimalerne henover de enorme vægge med ko-billeder. Og lige ved siden af ligger en tjekket designershop og en bilvask. Et miskmask, der gør byen spændende. Man mærker tydeligt forskellene. København er jævn og hyggelig uden de store kontraster. Der er bare styr på det hele. Velholdt, ordnet, reguleret. Vi har brug for at opleve kaos og blive rusket op.

Vi er allerede for gamle til at

gå ud i København. Det er lid

L: Jeg har allerede gang i at søge legatbolig i Paris. Vi må bringe os i en ny tilstand ved at bevæge os et andet sted hen. Men vores base er i København, fordi vores rødder er her. Jeg vil aldrig flytte permanent. W: København betyder meget for mig. Roen i byen sætter livet i New York i

t ærgerligt at gå på pension

perspektiv. Jeg kunne ikke leve i New York - jeg ville blive skør i hovedet, vanvittig. Det er følsomt at være designer, vi bliver så påvirkede af mennesker og energier og ting. Det er ikke til at styre - alle de tilbud og muligheder - vi bliver forstyrret i hovedet af, at der altid sker noget. Det er godt at komme tilbage til København– her er den ro, jeg savnede i New York.

som 30-årig!

L: Vesterbro har meget atmosfære med små cafeer og liv på gaden. Jeg glor på mennesker, hører lidt af hvad de siger, følger med i deres historier. Alle de energier - det er snageri på den gode måde.

Weekendruten på Vesterbro V1 GALLERY

L: Det her undergrundsgalleri er rigtig meget New York, Lower East. Udstillingen skifter hver 14. dag, de sælger guldøl på dåse, lyset er hårdt, væggene rå, og der er slet ikke plads nok, så vi står ude på gaden med dåseøllerne – også i snevejr. De udstiller nye designere, fotografer og malere, og vi møder en masse fra branchen her. W: Sådan en fredag efter arbejde er det fedt at hænge ud her. Lyset er grimt, vi ser faktisk ret grimme ud i neonlys - men det er grimt på en god måde. Og det er nødvendigt med et anderledes galleri. De etablerede steder tør vi jo knap nok gå ind, som de sidder der med skriveborde og gulvtæpper, men her kan vi røre ved tingene, det er mindre helligt, kunsten kommer ned på jorden.

Galleri V.1 Absalonsgade 21 B København V

g. En nlige tin

r vi ven, nå . a m i g : W t su nde r altid e nyt for en ku ene, så e iv g t e t D d år oge terer n rvet me præsen bliver mere ga jeg Selvom


del af m

rso eget pe m r e t ført t. rdi de iger, fo t er gået god sen er gennem r drinks til s e d d ke hva r de ras ndt på, t at fejre, nå gået godt. St afe i et. Vi drik æ p s id ig c t lt er er jeg a r er det så vig er vi, når det restaurant og o , jr f r r e a selv. De pßå Straßen f avn med dj, b er enh L: Og h g Berlin i Køb o rk New Yo rmer her! og la maden

Straßen Istedgade 128 København V

The second journey, September I don’t study house sparrows in my back garden I’m not “done roaming” just because I’m back living in Denmark. There’s a proverb that says you start off studying crocodiles and finish up studying house sparrows in your back garden, but that’s not how it is with me. I’m continuing my life as a traveller here in Copenhagen, where there’s nothing as cool as travelling by bike.

A bike ride from Valby to Ă˜restaden

I discovered this route by riding it! I researched the route and tried to figure out where the roads led to, and I discovered you can ride along nature trails among a belt of trees through Copenhagen. Through Vigerslev park and Valby park to Kalvebod beach and almost right out to Ă˜restaden. Whenever I cycle here, I discover lots of beautiful, secret places that I had no idea existed.

*I thought living on Peter Bangs Vej would be deadly boring, but in fact it’s quite near Damhus Lake, surrounded by long, green belts where I can be alone with the trees.

*No rich man wants to live by the permanent way Recently, my brother and I rode our bikes to Nivå. Railways are the same the world over. They are places with a lot of noise; they’re desolate, yet beautiful. I’m very fond of tunnels where the trains are going over – it’s familiar and strange at the same time, and they’re the same the world over. We were in Nivå, but we might just as well have been in Bulgaria or Argentina.

I’m not budging!

The Danes ring their bicycle bells as they come charging along if you don’t move. Recently, my son and I were standing on a cycle path. A fat hag came trundling along on her bicycle. “I’m not budging!” she hissed. And she meant it. An authentic Dane, a lady in the 100 kg class! And it was well said, actually. This place was created many years ago. I can tell by the trees that they must have been here a long time. I’ve seen peregrine falcons and big foxes here.

It takes a whole lifetime to get to know a city




ar ew

pl ’re Wh aces pas is at a sin co con is on nd I g th ev me cea t ’m rou ar eryt out led he o ama gh a – e w hin in fr the zed gr Ka poss e? W g is a co om h r sid at assy lve ibl e m in mp ere e o how co bo y i ig blo let . Y f t d rri d b n V ht om ely ou he es do ea al be . I di cy se ola r f ch by on t’ ff cle bri te ull . pa th s a ere un dg th of rk? e w ll nt d es is a se I t ay gree la er t and rea cre hin to ne nds hem tu is t k w Hv ry ca a nn . e’r ido – b pe, nd els e h vre ut wh ea , I whe ere din be re g f lie or ve


Danish food for DKK 20 Let’s go out to the harbour, where there’s a club restaurant serving Danish food for DKK 20. We can have a beer down there. All you have to do is make out you’re a member. Let’s go, then.

This is the Gastårnet (gas tower). I think it blew up in the 1950s – rumour has it it’s full of water now. Look, there’s a man sitting outside, drinking a pilsner. I thought it was a café, but I must have been romanticising it – he’s probably an alcoholic.

Puncture repair kit

We’ll ju

st stop

If you’r ea and eat member of thi sc a Oh well plateful of Da lub, you can bu – that’s nish me y snaps a life: op en Thur tballs and red and beer for D sday to K c Sunday abbage for DK K 10 What the heck is th , but to K is area 20. day is M supposed to be? Ro onday. ad 10. They call it “Lorte renden”. The local authority has terminated everybod y here; they’ve been chucke d out, so they can shut området.

for a be


I’d like to write a travelog about this area

Every time I’m setting off on a long bike ride, I think about taking a puncture repair kit. So far, I’ve never remembered to bring one, but somebody always gets a puncture on the trip and we have to walk a long way. I’ve Let’s continue our eternal, perpetual journey! The fact that these secret places exist create s space for my own imagination borrowed my son’s bike today – I hope it’ll go the distance.

The woods on the building site

Look, there’s a little woodland in the middle of Scandinavia’s biggest building site. Let’s visit my brother, who has bought a plot and built his own wooden house. Bådehavnsgade 27 Copenhagen SV

My brother’s house

Now we’re away behind Fields in a kind of gardeners’ association where you can now live all year round. This is my brother’s house. I think it’s absolutely terrific. He has built his own life with this house, substantially and literally – he has made a really beautiful job of it. I doubt if he’s at home, but I’ll just see. No, he’s not. This is the second time I’ve tried to visit him and he hasn’t been at home. He says he’s always in.

Kom Igen

After I left sixth form college, I lived here in a flat in Kongedybet. When I couldn’t be bothered cooking, I bought grilled Chinese food. I also remember that we ate lots of roast pork sandwiches back then in 1981 – curious to think that the Chinese make them, actually. You can still get it; it’s a classic. And now we’re back at Kom Igen! This pub has changed an awful lot in 15 years, of course. Now there are Bacardi adverts and there’s a poster with three blokes stripped to the waist, serving body tequila on Saturday. Women can get in free until 10 pm. The grill bar, my work at Sundholm and this pub – it all happened before I started travelling, so in a way we’ve come back to where I used to live when I was very young. We’ve been on an epic journey and we’ve seen some places I wasn’t familiar with. We’ve come back to where we were, and back to where I started.

Kom Igen Sverrigsgade 22 Copenhagen S

the secret book of secret places  

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