Copenhagen Gallery

Harbour Bath at Islands Brygge

Every summer the Harbour Swimming Baths at Islands Brygge is a gathering place for thousands of overheated locals in need of its refreshing water. Now the harbour swimming baths are being extended with a winter swimming facility, so frost-proof water babies can enjoy the water all year round.

After many years as a conveyor belt for heavy shipping traffic, in 2001 the harbour fairway was finally declared clean enough to swim in. It gave the people of Copenhagen a welcome opportunity to take advantage of all the water, which flows through the city. It did not take more than a year, before the first temporary harbour swimming baths opened at Islands Brygge. It was so successful, that work soon started on the development of a permanent harbour swimming facility. In 2003, the temporary harbour bath moved to Fisketorvet, thus making room for the permanent harbour swimming bath, which the PLOT architectural practice designed.

Maritime inspiration

The Islands Brygge Baths is constructed on pontoons and includes swimming pools, children's pools and a pool you can dive into from a height of three or five metres. The pool is rectangular in shape, with long wooden promenades, which resemble the decks of a passenger ship. The diving tower looks like the prow of a ship and the lifeguard tower the ship's funnel. The Harbour Baths can accommodate 600 swimmers and, on a sunny summer's day, a full house is guaranteed.

Now winter swimming too

In 2011 the Harbour Baths began to open for winter swimming, while 2013 will see the completion of a completely new extension, specially geared to hardy winter Vikings. BIG were responsible for designing the extensions to the existing harbour baths. The boardwalk will be extended and raised to make space below for the saunas and thermal baths, which will have a fantastic view over the harbour fairway. Inspired by traditional Roman bath houses, the floors will be covered with mosaics. But there will be a slightly more contemporary twist, since they will be patterned with motifs designed by the Danish contemporary artist Husk Mit Navn.

The Harbour Park

The Bryggen harbour baths is linked to the Harbour Park, a long green area, which is the result of initiatives taken by local residents, and which has attracted life down to the harbour and created a connection to Havnestaden. The Park contains many elements, which are testimony to the history and contemporary park life of the city. Elements from previous industries in the area have been recycled and given new functions. For example, steel elements have been turned into a pergola and the hull of the Pinen ferry has been used as the roof for an open-air stage.

Better use of the blue element

The Islands Brygge Harbour Baths opened opened people's eyes to the inclusion of the water for recreational purposes. Amager Beach, Koralbadet and Kastrup Sea Baths have since been added, and in the future swimmers will also be able to dip their toes in the water at Kalvebod Brygge and Kvæsthusmolen.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013 / By Ida Oline Frandsen

Last updated Wednesday, January 14, 2015