Sustainable Cities™

Copenhagen: Beach park is city’s recreational oasis

The opening of Amager Beach has brought the lapping of waves, beach volley and picnicking closer to the inhabitants of the Danish capital Copenhagen. Since 1934, Copenhageners have been able to enjoy their days off on the beach at Amager, but in 2005 the area was thoroughly renovated and a much larger Amager Beach park was built. Amager Beach has been a tremendous success since the day they opened. Its architects won an award for their design, and on sunny Sundays the beach is visited by as many as 70,000 Copenhageners.

Amager Strandpark, foto venligst udlånt af Hasløv & Kjærsgaard Arkitektfirma I/S.

Copenhagen Municipal Council examined the possibility of establishing a decent beach park on the Øresund coast south of the city in as early as the 1970s. The original Amager Beach park, which had existed as a city beach since the 1930s was too narrow, and the water was too shallow. The new Amager Beach stretches from the Helgoland bathing facility in the North to Kastrup Fort and "Tiøren" Park to the south. The park consists of a beach along Amager Strandvej, a lagoon, a new sandy island and the Tiøren and Femøren parks. The sandy island is 2 km long and a lagoon behind it is 400 m at its widest point. In all, the Copenhageners have 4.6 km of new bathing coast.  

At the northern end of the new sandy island, close to Copenhagen city centre, is a natural beach with meandering paths, broad sandy beaches and low dunes. At the southern end is a new city beach and park area with a broad promenade, green areas and areas designated for play, ball games and picnicking, as well as a small visitors' harbour. There are bathing jetties at both ends provide access to excellent swimming waters. The lagoon between the old beach and the new island has a paddling beach and a 1000 m long course for swimmers and rowers. You can launch your kayak or light a bonfire on the shore. 

Amager Strandpark, courtesy of Hasløv & Kjærsgaard Architects.

In August 2005, three beautifully made wooden bridges were completed across the lagoon. At the southern end, it is possible to drive across to the island in your car, while the other bridges are reserved for pedestrians and cyclists. Raw concrete buildings are located in the middle of the island, the beach stations 1, 2, 3 and 5 with facilities such as toilets, showers and a kiosk. The roots of the beach stations can be used as a lookout point, where you get a fantastic view of all the big ships on the Øresund, the Øresund Bridge or the aircraft preparing to land at Kastrup Airport just 2 miles away. Light coloured concrete paths meander through the landscape, linking the beach stations. Everything has been built to emphasise the unadulterated landscape and the experience of the view, the air and salty water.

Amager Beach is what is known as a 'Blue Flag' beach. This signifies that the beach makes an extra effort to protect the Maritime and coastal environment, at the same time improving the quality of the beach for visitors. And the beach park is full of flora and fauna, above and below the water. Some of the birds on Amager Beach lived there all year round, while others visit at specific times of the year to look for food on and near the beach. The beach park's fish and rich sea plant life can be enjoyed by divers and snorkelers. On the underwater reef just north of Pynten (the point), small fry height between the stones and fish come here to lay eggs and search for food. 

The entire Amager Beach park is a protected recreational area. The beach park is used all year round by surfers, kite flyers, joggers, swimmers and kayakers, and people come here to play football, beach volley, basketball, to swim in the icy cold water in winter or to skate on the ice if there is any. Various types of sports equipment are available for use by sports clubs on an everyday basis as well as for competitions. At Midsummer, the beach park is lit up down its entire length as Copenhageners gather to celebrate St. Hans, to barbecue and listen to music. Amager Beach Park is a public place, and everyone is allowed to use its facilities. The possibilities are endless. The inhabitants have welcomed the beach park, and on major beach days - for instance those when the temperature climbs above 25 degrees C, nearly 70,000 people visit Amager Beach.

"With (...) Amager beach (...) we now have a unique place where formal sport meets in formal outdoor living. The place were organised and self-organised activities are combined in surprising ways in a beautifully made landscape-architectural park, which has shown it's worth every day of the year regardless of the weather. Amager Beach has set a new high standard for coast improvement and urban development with sport and body culture as its crux." Lokale- og Anlægsfonden at the presentation of Idrættens Arkitekturpris (sport architecture award ) to architects Hasløv & Kjærsgaard.

Last updated Tuesday, January 21, 2014