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Neighbourhood
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Neighbourhood: Norrebro, Copenhagen

1 March 2020

Neighbourhood: Norrebro, Copenhagen

Connected to central Copenhagen via grand Dronning Louises Bro Bridge, this once unremarkable settlement wasn’t granted city status till 1852. In many ways, it still marches to the beat of its own drum. A patchwork of 19th century tenements, Parisianesque squares and landscaped parks glued together by snaking bike lanes, it’s bordered by Bis- pebjerg to the north, Østerbro to the east and Frederiksberg to the west.

The title of Europe’s busiest cycling street belongs to Nørrebro’s main artery: Nørrebrogad, where it’s bikes rather than cars you need eyes in the back of your head for. Crane your neck at its neoclassical and functionalist facades until you reach the neighbourhood’s mile-long, café-lined lakefront, where blanketed locals cultivate their own brand of hygge. Nørrebro has come a long way since the mid-eighties, when its streets were known more for their riots than ritzy design digs. If ever there was a poster child for the neighbourhood’s radical transformation, it’s pastel-pretty Jægersborggade. Contemporary ceramics, homegrown fashion labels and vermouth bars in this former no-go squatter zone’s have cemented Nørrebro’s cool, creative cachet. Its most famous foodie address is number 41, where Noma alum Christian Puglisi opened Michelin-starred Relæ a decade ago.

But it’s not all high-end dining haunts. Shawarma bars, Turkish grocery stores, Egyptian street food and old-school Italian trattorias reflect the area’s diverse immigrant population, whilst a raft of hip roastery coffee shops give Melbourne’s a run for their money.

Many of the neighbourhood’s streets have become destinations in their own right. A beacon for all things eco – you can find sustainable threads, organic beer and even a “green” hairdresser on Guldbergsgade. And less than a kilometre away, red-bricked Ravnsborggade is the place to rummage for antique curios and retro treasures. Soak up its New York West Village vibes, sniff out a Nordic brew and get honing that hygge.

START AT ASSISTENS CEMETERY
You can find pram pushers, loved-up couples, commuting cyclists and dog walkers weaving between the topiary and gothic gravestones of this not-so- sombre cemetery, where life is celebrated as much as death. It’s most famous for being the resting place of two great Danes: existentialist philosopher Søren Kierkegaard and beloved fairytale author Hans Christian Andersen. Bring a book, enjoy the birdsong and take refuge from the city’s biting gusts in its historic chapel-turned-cultural centre.
Kapelvej 4, 2200 København N, +45 35 37 19 17, assistens.dk

WALK TWO MINUTES FROM ASSISTEN CEMETERY’S JAGTVEG STREET ENTRANCE TO WILGART
Measure up for a Peaky Blinder-style Harris Tweed flat cap, Italian leather baseball cap or on-trend red woollen sailor cap, all made by hand by owner Silas Skram, who has become an unofficial custodian of the age-old craft.
Jægersborggade 10, kld. Th, 2200 København, +45 28 14 89 29, wilgart.dk

WALK TWELVE MINUTES TO SUPERKILEN
Nowhere encapsulates the diversity of Nørrebro better than this 30,000-sqm park, which is as playful as it is practical, linking surburbia with downtown via a tricycle path. It may have the hallmarks of native starchitect Bjarke Ingels, but its wildly eclectic 100 objets trouvés – from Baghdadi swing benches to Russian neon signs – were nominated by Nørrebro’s multicultural residents. Office workers lunch at its Armenian picnic benches, toddlers slide down the giant tentacles of a Japanese-made octopus slide, and locals buff up in a Thai boxing ring to Jamaican beats. Come for the mini World Expo experience; stay for the people watching.
Nørrebrogade 210, 2200 København

CYCLE SEVEN MINUTES TO CLAYDIES
Pick up an electric bike from the docking station at the intersection of mimersgade and lygten station (bycyklen.dk) and cycle to Claydies. A portmanteau of clay and ladies, these two internationally exhibited Danish artists create unique stoneware vases, crockery and even ceramic haute couture from their cooperative workshop (email ahead to visit).
Birkedommervej 29, 2400 København NV, +45 26 16 52 02, claydies.dk

CYLE THREE MINUTES TO GADEGALLERI NORDVEST
Inspired by Miami’s Wynwood Walls, the paint is still drying on this five-year community project in Nørrebro’s north-western fringes, where Denmark’s very own Banksy has penned his signature larger-than-life bubble cartoons. With 16 colourful murals plastered onto the gable ends of a very beige social housing estate, it’s being dubbed Northern Europe’s biggest open-air art gallery (yet to be discovered by the masses).
A/B Mønten, Rentemestervej, 2400 København

A NINE MINUTE CYCLE RIDE AND 10-MINUTE WALK TO RES-RES
Shop sustainably for clean cosmetics, fair trade rubber sneakers, Danish-made seaweed shirts and eco-leather laptop sleeves at this Scandi-cool store, which offers a free in-store repair service for most of its apparel. Guldbergsgade
29C, 2200 København, +45 61 43 53 42, res-res.com

A FIVE MINUTE WALK TO POMPETTE
A Nørrebro newcomer, this distressed-walled bottle-shop-slash-wine- bar is where locals in the know go for a glass of vino that doesn’t cost the earth. With no bamboozling list to pore over, you pay 50 kroner (US$7) for a glass of white, red or orange wine – a one-time oddity glugged by Georgians 6,000 years ago, and now the tipple of choice for Copenhageners à la mode. Harvested from white grapes vinified like red wines (with their skins left on), these pesticide and sulphite-free natural vintages are also food wines par excellence. Sink into a cosy nook and tuck into cold cuts of wild boar, creamy burrata and artisanal breads (baked next door), until you feel suitably ‘pompette’.
Møllegade 3, 2200 København, pompette.dk

A FOUR MINUTE WALK TO KIIN KIIN
Forget starched table linen and but- toned-up service, this feted eatery (and only Thai restaurant outside of Thailand with a Michelin star) is all about rediscovering the wonder of food. Expect edible bags, flambé desserts that almost singe the ceiling, and syringes of soy noodles that diners squirt into tom yum broth. Theatrics aside, the food is sublime and worth every krone. An evening here begins in the lounge with Thai street kitchen-inspired snacks like a frothy lobster bisque cocktail and green curried cornetto, finished tableside by head-chef Dak Laddaporn herself. The main act unfolds one floor up between gilded Buddha statues with a stellar six-course line-up of modern twists on classics, like crispy veal Pad Thai and liquid nitrogen-chilled scallops. Eat and eat – that’s Kiin Kiin’s moniker after all, saving room for its Russian roulette-style petit fours...
Guldbergsgade 21, 2200 København N, +45 35 35 75 55, kiin.dk

Words and Images: Sarah Freeman

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