Getting to Eurovision Island: boats, buses and bikes

Update, 13 April: Visit Copenhagen’s #escdk travel guide (på dansk) is out! It’s about as long winded as this!

Six weeks to go! We’re getting to the point where det skal nok gå (it will work itself out) won’t . Just how are we going to get to Eurovision Island?

I’ve channelled my inner transport planner here, so to cut to the chase click for the lowdown on boats | buses | bikes & peds | cars. We’ll update the lot as and when more info becomes available. Last updated, 14 April.

To set the scene, Eurovision Island aka Refshaleøen was largely created by reclamation in the 1870s, with the B&W shipyard established in 1871 and closing in 1996. At its height the shipyard employed 8000 workers – can someone tell me how they got there?

B&W Hallerne glory days
B&W Hallerne glory days (pic: KIT)

South of Refshaleøen and joined to it by a sliver of land is Holmen, a topographically challenged area reclaimed over the years from 1682 to 1925 and operating as a naval base until 1993.

Holmen is part of the neighbourhood of Christianshavn, itself founded in the early 17th century as an extension to Copenhagen’s fortifications. The area has an alternative flavour and houses the ‘free city’ of Christiania.

explore further on OpenStreetMap

All the above are prevented from floating away by narrow links to the itself partially reclaimed teardrop shaped island of Amager to the south, home of the airport and The Bridge to Sweden.

OK enough already, how do we get there? Ironically, although #bogwhallerne, our venue, looms at the rear of many a tourist photo there’s no easy way. Just how are 10,000 people going to squeeze through that bottleneck?

The idyll: arrive by water

WoCo’s Ulrich Amundsen: “The great thing about this city is you can travel around on the water. So after experiencing everything the so-called fan mile has to offer you can go down to Nyhavn and sail over to Refshaleøen.”

According to Movia the 992 waterbus stop at Nyhavn is closed until 1 June due to works – see the harbour bus stop story so far. In addition, there’s a building site at the foot of the fan mile, further spoiling Ulrich’s passagiata – see our Eurovision Fan Mile post.

However, you can hop on the 992 elsewhere on the route (timetable) and the 993 shuttleboat, which normally runs from the south side of of Nyhavn to Operaen on opera nights only, should also feature. An extra six boats are to be added at “peak times”, and Host City CPH calculate that 2260 people an hour can live the dream. They are aiming for 60% of the audience arriving by boat. Can someone do the math? The regular boats can take 65 people at a time, the canal boats 145.

OK, I’ll get the bus then…

For local democracy fans, the papers from Christianshavn community council‘s meeting on 19 Feb have all the gen. Of particular note is the fact that due to labour agreements new services are not allowed, only extensions to existing ones.

The options run thusly:

  • the 40 – runs twice an hour; +/-20 mins from central station, +/-15 mins from Christianshavn via the non-scenic route (timetable | route map) – this route is already heavily trafficked and hence will not be extended during Eurovision it’s being shortened, terminates at Kraftværksvej/Amagerværket for the duration, probably a 10 minute walk
  • the 9A, the “Eurovision Express” – runs at 7-8 minute intervals from central station/Christianshavn via Prinsessegade through Holmen, currently terminating at Operaen (timetable | route map) is hence the main option; 18 extra buses are to be laid on from Christianshavns Torv on an extended route, meaning that in theory a total of 5000 pple can go by bus

From the foot of the fan mile at Kongens Nytorv your best bet is to hop on the dinky grey metro to Christianshavn and then squeeze on a bus.

But I want to go green! 

According to the original bid “all delegates and journalists will be given access and encouraged to use bicycles for their journeys”, so stand by for news on the #eurovisionbike story.

It’s 3km from Christianshavn Torv to #bogwhallerne, ie a 30 minute walk or 10 minute bike ride. Peds and cyclists will be guided to follow the 9A route down Prinsessegade and then via Kongebrovej and Krudtløbsvej (a private road, barrier now removed) to the venue. DK 5 million has been spent on improving the pavement and cycle paths and clearing surplus trees.

Host City CPH expects 1000 pple to take the #eurovisionbike. Copenhagen council has some info on this option, på dansk only at the mo. They suggest asking your hotel about getting a bike or renting one. You can also take a rickshaw thingy, but not the whole way – it counts as a car. Finally. here’s the latest on CPH’s city bike scheme.

The demon car

Private vehicles will be banned for the duration, although pre-booked parking (plus shuttle buses/boats) will be on offer at the old Sundby Gasværk plot at the top of Amager Strandvej – parking for 650 cars per show, but has to be prepaid; if you didn’t buy it together with your ticket for the show don’t bother (who knew?) info now available from ha! Billetlugen på dansk- 

DR Grand Prix offers further info on cars and accessible options, also only på dansk.

The best driving route is through Christianshavn to Christmas Møller Plads and down Kløvermarksvej/Forlandet. Refshalevej is the scenic route – and one for cyclists, perhaps – watch your suspension!

Private vehicles are prohibited on the 9A route down Prinsessegade – there’s a barrier (bussluse) and you’ll have to do a fiddly U turn if you try.

So there you have it

To plan your journey, Rejseplanen and its accompanying apps are reasonably reliable, and a Eurovision transport guide has been released. Note though that public transport isn’t cheap, particularly for one off short trips (single ticket in central area, bought on bus: DK 24), making any sort of pass a pretty good deal – Visit Copenhagen set out the bewildering set of options. The good news is that a Eurovision season ticket will be on offer.

What is particularly galling in all this is that plans are afoot for a whole host of new infrastructure options to create the dream bid with Copenhagen Arena some time in the future:

  • Københavns Cykelbro – ped and cycle route from Nyhavn to Holmen and beyond (due in 2012, may be completed late 2014)
  • the new Nørreport station – the busiest interchange in Denmark is a building site at the moment (due at the end of 2014, delayed to 2016)
  • the Metro City Ring, the cause of many more building sites around town (due in 2018, but delayed a further two years)

Doubtless all will be done in the best possible taste, however it’s a shame more pragmatic options don’t exist already:

the free pontoon across the harbour in Turku, Finland

Let’s finish with Jes Vagnby, who has previous from the Roskilde Festival, commenting in Politiken:

I’m very unsure about the logistics setup. A waterbus can take 65 people, a regular bus can take about 50, so there will need to be lot of buses and waterbuses to transport 10,000 people in and out the island…it may lead to enormous delays, but this can’t be allowed at an international live show. You can’t start without people in the hall.

So near but yet so far…


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