Absalon is a community center/hall in Vesterbro, Copenhagen. It’s one of the more unique venues around the city – it’s a little quirkier for Copenhagen standards, hosting all sorts of events like bingo, yoga, Lino printing, life drawing, and so on, with an affordable community dinner taking place every night. During the day, it’s a kind of cafe/study lounge/canteen, and you’ll see plenty of students working away on their laptops or families with their little ones grabbing a quick drink. The place is, of course, still as pristine and aesthetic as the other buildings and projects around the city. But I’ve yet to see a place as playful as this around Copenhagen, catering to people of all ages and interests. I’ve even come here to study myself on a couple of occasions – it’s a rather popular place that gets easily crowded, so it’s best to come early in the morning.
These shots were taken pre-lockdown. I look forward to visiting again sometime.
I’m back with another Vesterbro post 🙂 This time I’ll share some images from Halmtorvet, which is adjacent to Istedgade. You’ll see below it’s got much more of a chill and relaxed atmosphere compared to Istedgade.
It’s actually the first big street I walked on when I first arrived in Copenhagen, thanks to its vicinity to the Central Train Station which is where I got off from the airport train. I was completely dazzled because I had just arrived from the UK which, at the time, was very much locked down (like, you weren’t even allowed to meet your friends). So I step out here from the station with my suitcases and it’s sunny and people are enjoying drinks in outdoor bars/cafes – what?! I almost felt like the ‘normalcy’ of it all was too surreal for me to handle in one day, especially after such a smooth journey flying during travel restrictions.
Enghave Plads is at one end of Istedgade and it’s a nice busy spot (plaza?) to hang out on a sunny day. There’s a metro station in the square and the area leads on to a very nice little park at the end of the street, with picnic areas and a fountain. It’s a nice spot to start exploring Vesterbro. I didn’t have a ton of pictures here, but because I did take a picture of my ice cream (of course) I’ll take this opportunity to mention that Nicecream, a vegan ice cream shop by Enghave Plads, is really good! The shop always has a queue so that attests to how popular the place is.
I find that Denmark actually seems ahead of the UK when it comes to vegan/vegetarian food options. It’s easy to dine out as a vegan here, I think (similar to the UK), but it’s even easier to buy vegan at the supermarket. Despite my very limited knowledge of Danish, it’s easy to spot the ‘vegan’ shelves/freezers, which stock plenty of plant-based alternatives. I would say the meat replacement products especially are surprisingly good compared to the UK – you get a big variety of brands and types of ‘mock meats’ that don’t taste like crap (I normally dislike mock meat because they tend to be rubbery and taste terrible). On top of that, I get the sense that a lot of supermarkets (excluding the “discount” types like Lidl) stock mostly “healthy” (and veggie-friendly) items anyway. It’s not so often that greasy/junk food catches my eye (unlike in UK supermarkets).
I just love living around Vesterbro. I didn’t know anything about this neighbourhood when I visited Copenhagen as a tourist a few years ago, so I hadn’t seen any of it before moving here from Bristol, UK. When I was planning my move to Copenhagen from the UK, Vesterbro was the one central-ish neighbourhood that I happened to find available accommodation. As soon as I found the place I put down a deposit and signed the lease before even entering the country (you have to be really careful with scammers though apparently). Accommodation is notoriously difficult to secure in Copenhagen so I didn’t want to risk waiting around searching for something else.
Well, thank goodness it turned out to be the most perfect place I could possibly live as a newcomer to Copenhagen! I find the location to be just perfect – it’s close to the city centre, it’s got buzz, there’s also decent green spaces, hip venues, quirky shops, and so on. I feel like I’m at the heart of all the action, though I’ve been more or less a homebody since moving thanks to not having a real social circle here and being busy with work, ha (and of course corona). The fact that it’s only a 10 minute bike ride to my workplace is also a plus.
There are quite a few streets in the neighbourhood with their very own ‘character’. Istedgade is one of them and is definitely a street that warrants its own post – it stretches out a kilometre and it stands out in the neighbourhood as particularly fun for people-watching. The mood and vibe of the street changes as you walk up and down – you’ll see what I mean from my pictures below.