10 things to look forward to in Denmark in 2023
2023 will be a year of celebrating the Danish design and architecture heritage. From throughout-the-year events and new additions in Copenhagen, the UNESCO World Capital of Architecture, to the long awaited opening the underground bunker museum REGAN Vest in North Jutland.
1. COPENHAGEN IS UNESCO WORLD CAPITAL OF ARCHITECTURE 2023
In 2023, Copenhagen will be UNESCO World Capital of Architecture. Under the theme Copenhagen in Common, it will be a year with events ranging from community picnics to open houses in buildings normally closed to the public to a series of new pavilions by the harbor front, including one designed by the famous Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). The Danish Architecture Center (DAC) will serve as a hub for everything going on throughout the year, and the new exhibition Made in Denmark will take visitors on a journey through the history of Danish architecture all the way from the Viking Age till today. As a part of the WCA title, Copenhagen will also be hosting the UIA World Congress of Architects in July.
Photo:Lars Horn and Nordjyske Museer
2. UNDERGROUND COLD WAR MUSEUM OPENS
The underground Danish Cold War Museum REGAN Vest will finally open to the public on 13 February 2023. It was supposed to open by the end of 2022, but as the underground tunnels in the bunker serve as a home for hibernating bats, the opening was postposed till after the bats’ hibernation period. Built in the 1960s to serve as a shelter for the Queen and government in the case of a nuclear war, this will be the first time it is open to the public. The impressive 5,500 square metre bunker will be the focal point of the museum where visitors can experience the original interior, from the ministers’ and doctor’s office to the dormitory. Above the surface, is the visitor and exhibition building, built as four black boxes, designed by AART Architects to include a virtual activity, that lets visitors experience how the bunker and the surrounding landscape would look after a nuclear bomb. The villa, where the supervisor and his family lived, is also being restored to its 1980s glory, giving visitors a look into the everyday life of that time.
3. NOMA CELEBRATES ITS 20TH ANNIVERSARY
In November 2023, noma can celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the opening in 2003. It is widely considered one of the world’s most influential restaurants, and it’s legacy is especially visible across the Copenhagen food scene. After taking the top spot at World’s 50 Best in 2021, they retired to the Best of the Best list in 2022 and announced an upcoming pop-up in Kyoto, Japan, taking place in the spring of 2023. They are additionally gearing up for the celebration with the launch of a new book, Noma 2.0: Vegetable, Forest, Ocean, published globally on 8 November 2022.
4. OBSERVATORY SCIENCE PARK OPENING CLOSE TO AARHUS
Just outside Denmark’s second city, Aarhus, the 110-year old Ole Rømer Observatory will go through a grand renovation of both interior and exterior before reopening to the public in the summer of 2023. The buildings will be brought back to their original style, and the nature area surrounding the museum, Kongelunden, will be transformed into a Science Park, where guests can learn about astronomy during the days and nights. For examples, school classes will be able to spend the night in their new “science cabins”.
Photo:Ole Rømer Observatoriet
5. UNESCO TOWN CHRISTIANSFELD TURNS 250
Christiansfeld was Denmark’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site (2015), and it can celebrate its 250-year anniversary in 2023. The Moravian settlement in Christiansfeld was first founded in 1773 and is an example of the Protestant urban ideal centered around the church square. The architectural style is unadorned with yellow brick and red tile roofs and it a great example of a carefully-planned Lutheran free congregation settlement. The original buildings still stand, including the Brødremenighedens Hotel, which was one of the first four buildings dating back to 1 April 1773. Till this day, Christiansfeld is known around the country for their heart-shaped honey cakes, which have been baked here for centuries.
6. DUAL-BRAND MARRIOTT PROPERTY TO OPEN IN NORDHAVN
Recent years has seen an explosion of new hotels around Denmark, ranging from the grand ones with hundreds of rooms, to the tiny single-residencies. 2023 continues the trend with two new Marriott brands opening in Copenhagen in a new harbor front complex in the Nordhavn area. The building is designed by leading architect firm Henning Larsen Architects and will house both a Residence Inn and Marriott’s first Fairfield property in Europe. The Residence Inn will open with 89 rooms, and the Fairfield will have 222 guestrooms. It is expected to be built in compliance with the eco-certificate DGNB Gold and operated as a Green Key hotel.
7. NEW SEASIDE HOTEL OPENS IN FORMER TOWN HALL
Denmark has a strong tradition of seaside hotels, in Danish called badehoteller, which are luxurious refuges along the coast with a focus on a slow-paced living and good food. This year, a new one is opening in Gilleleje on the Danish Riviera, North Zealand. This area serves as The Hamptons for Copenhagen, and the new Gilleleje Sø- og Havbad (literally meaning sea and ocean bath) has transformed the 1939 townhall into a boutique spa hotel with 40 rooms. The hotel will have an outdoor pool, restaurant and rooftop terrace, and the renovation happens with respect for the original architecture.
8. NEW FERRY MAKES BORNHOLM EASIER TO ACCESS
First expected to arrive in 2022, the new Express 5 ferry will take on the route between Rønne on the Danish island of Bornholm and Ystad in Southern Sweden in March 2023. This is a popular way to get to the rocky island, because train connections to Ystad makes it easy from Copenhagen. The Express 5 is world’s largest high-speed ferry, with a capacity of 1610 passengers and 451 cars. The ferry is run with the most efficient four-stroke engine. It is a dual-fuel engine, making it ready for alternative fuel.
9. OCEAN RACE ARRIVES IN AARHUS
Aarhus will be the first Danish city to host the huge sailing event Ocean Race, when they take over the city and its waters 29 May – 8 June 2023. Ocean Race is the world’s longest off-shore sail race, and it takes place over six months in eight stages across the globe. The Aarhus harbor will be dressed for the maritime celebration, and a designated Sustainability Island will serve as a hub for innovative exhibitions and showcases for sustainable solutions.
Photo:© Utzon Center (2008) – Jørn Utzon & Kim Utzon. Photographer: Rasmus Hjortshøj
10. EXPLORE THE WORKS OF JØRN UTZON
If anyone needed another reason to explore Danish architecture in 2023, why not visit the works of internationally renowned architect Jørn Utzon? He is especially known for creating the Sydney Opera House, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2023. In his home country, he has created an array of unique, modernist buildings including the Bagsværd Church, the Paustian furniture shop in Copenhagen, the Music House in Esbjerg and the Utzon Center in Aalborg, the last three created in collaboration with his son, Jan Utzon.