Tag Archives: Danish design

Transport, the fan mile revisited and issues of signage

I last walked the fan mile a month ago, checking out the locations for Eurovision related activities. How’s it all looking now?

On the afternoon of the first semi we started at the central station. There’s a discreet sign on the boards near the clock:

at central station - and that's it

And that’s it. No guidance as to which side of the road to take the bus from once you find the stop, nothing on fares and tickets, alternative forms of transport, the tourist office…there is transport information on the Web, but it’s organiser oriented, confusing and ever-changing, plus there’s very little on the street, and what there is may only be på dansk.

Compare and contrast with Malmö 2013:

At the station, as well as information boards there was a desk manned by volunteers offering Eurovision maps and a pocket sized leaflet with details of buses, trains, ticket prices etc. The butterfly branding acted as a consistent identifier for Eurovision locations and transport – and for fun. Oh, those Swedes.

CPH has tasteful #joinus signs in a font I still have problems with fighting a losing battle with posters for the upcoming European elections, no tasteful minimalism there, creating my old favourite, a jarring disconnect:

I may not be able to vote in Scotland’s referendum but at least I can play my part in deciding whether Denmark joins the European Patent Court.

CPH also has this:


Also comes in pink. Easy to miss, unless you are looking at your feet and avoiding all eye contact.

Moving on to the fan mile proper, the banners hang but there’s no music playing and some of them are the ‘wrong’ way round.

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At Eurovision Village the concert area on Nytorv felt very Danish, although to be fair there was no concert on at the time, while there were fewer food trucks on Gammeltorv than on Sunday:

No lion dancers or Hamburgers on Højbro Plads yet, and Malmö’s effort defo a bit token:

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Like the events I’ve been to it all felt rather flat and underwhelming, despite the oodles of hype WoCo pushes out.

Before we hop on the boat, just a thought re the harbour bus service. With the changes, I was wondering if it would still be possible to hop on and off. Here’s the stop at Det sorte Diamant/Royal Library:

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På dansk only. Basically, the harbour bus has been turned into a Eurovision shuttle, tough luck if you wanted to use it to go somewhere else.

Anyway, our boat trip to Eurovision Island went swimmingly both ways. We walked on to canal boats and tried out both sides of Nyhavn, oh yes, a free experience, if a little chilly. (Are the regular harbour buses free? How about the 9A?)

Others weren’t so lucky.  On Monday David from Wiwi Bloggs was still calling transportation an absolute disaster (if anyone is still lost, see our post Transport us to Eurovision Island).  He directed particular ire at signage. At Nyhavn “there are multiple locations along the canal where the harbor bus is supposed to dock, but nothing to tell you which location is where it will be”.

Summing up the Danish approach to signage:

As we said before:

After we arrived back at Nyhavn we sighted host Pilou getting into a taxi at Kongens Nytorv – he stopped to congratulate some Icelandic fans, who commented that he looked familiar.

The metro and train home were rammed with Justin Timberlake fans coming back from the concert at 2001 Eurovision venue Parken. Just one more jarring disconnect.

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Semi 1: #joinus in Denmark

Update, 7 May: 7/10 for both of us. Neither of us predicted San Marino or Iceland, although we’re more than happy to see both #joiningus. Mik dropped Montenegro, while Ann dropped Ukraine. Making up the 10: Hungary, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Sweden and yay! The Netherlands.

The semi was not sold out so we were able to move forward and had a bird’s eye view of the green room for some sweet Montenegro moments. You can also see us arriving on @drgrandprix’s timelapse, at around 24 secs:

Back on Thursday with more predictions.

We’re off to semi 1 this evening, sitting in Olsen as a tribute to the snubbed Jørgen and Noller. From Twitter and the bloggage it’s pretty easy to work out how the show will pan out, but we’ll cover that elsewhere.

The public areas have been done in the nick of time, and maybe don’t quite live up to the pre-show hype:

A big round of applause herfra for the creative use of shipping containers, which we’ve been anticipating for months, not so much for the less than subtle branding for Host City partners REDA. Danes on Facebook noted a lack of twin touchstones hygge and Danish design, plus someone commented that it looked like it had been thrown together in a couple of hours…

What about the music? Below are our predictions for semi 1, with a full ranking from ordensmenneske Mik. It’s tricky, because after you’ve heard the songs more than three times you have a love/hate relationship with them all and can’t decide if you like them or not, but we need to lose six of these lovelies. Bolded is out. Check back on Weds to see how wrong we were.


Ann: a class act but not likeable and not enough of a story arc for the big win

Mik: Intriguing 3 minutes. If he catches the camera right and doesn’t look too stressed or serious this goes straight to the final. (1)


Ann: charming tipping over into annoying, maybe rein Jöran in a tad to go through

Mik: Recipe for hyggelig amateurism, convincing though. And a very good draw, makes a nice contrast to Aram Superstar and his serious business. (7)


Ann: the most complete show of the night, entertaining without resorting to gimmicks

Mik: Contemporary catchy dance and singing class. (4)


Ann: manufactured and clinical; those ornamental flourishes grate but soars to a climax

Mik: Professional plastic sing-a-long, straight from IKEA. It will give you goosebumps. (2)


Ann: trying too hard. LT United without the xtra factor (who was your favourite?)

Mik: LT United light, but we can’t all be Winners. And it has been 8 years. (14)


Ann: trying too hard (2), but lovely voice

Mik: Little girl with great voice, but uninspired & whining song with poor Albanese English lyrics. (15)


Ann: best use of twins, best use of mystifying props; effective if unexciting

Mik: Cutesy twin girls will do the trick, with their charming, though very calculated act on stage. (8)


Ann: Dilara doesn’t do fur – what’s not to like? Answer: the trapeze in a church gimmick.

Mik: Impressive stage show helps this classic jury jewel. Very convincing. (3)


Ann: ticked off – a poor effort, first ever NQ for Ukraine?

Mik: Gets on your nerves, but Crimea crisis will give this contemporary trash some sympathy vote. (10)


Ruslana shows her appreciation at the Belgian national final

Ann: should be safe enough, as long as pple remember it’s a song contest, with added interpretive dance UPDATE: Out; might have made it with a Ruslana hologram

Mik: Belgique’s got talent goes Eurovision, but the sentimental old fashioned style won’t make you pick up your iphone. (12)


Ann: a slight led down from my fave country – borderline, needs more Pasha, plus Aliona’s smile

Mik: Fascinating and Barbu-esque. Maybe too shouty for some, but it sticks to you. And we all love her accent. (9)

San Marino

Ann: a pearl in a shell, a diamond in the rough…too many metaphors. Ave atque vale – and arrivederci! 

Mik: There is no pearl in the shell: Old fashioned boring Siegel trademark. (16)


Ann: it’s Beautiful Song without Anmary, no #suzyshake here

Mik: Suzy-shake flying the flag for Portugal, but without charm, sparkle or cheekyness. All that’s left are her very poor vocals, but Martha does a good job! (13)

The Netherlands

Ann: unexciting but does enough for now

Mik: This years dark horse: real musicians, real emotions, real chemistry between them and it looks very good on TV. The jury will love this! (5)


Ann: no Zjelko ripoff – this is the real deal musically. Despite Skating Dolly goosebumps city – see you in Cetinje!

Mik: Now we understand why Montenegro once joined the Serbian Republic. Zjelko has inspired many in a good way, but he wouldn’t approve of the roller skating. Might just miss out. (11)


Ann:  I have nothing to say. MTV fodder.

Mik: Contemporary catchy believable song with a message and a hunky Hungarian. (6)

Eurovision Island (7): quicker to get to Malmö

I popped out to Eurovision Island on my  own yesterday to see how things were going, particularly on the transport front. The fan press pack hasn’t been too complimentary so far – I’ve a haul of quotes I’m going to sit on until after the event, as there are a range of factors at play and extra services from today, but for a sneak peek see Transport us to Eurovision Island.

One comment which tickled me was whether it would actually be quicker to get to Malmö, or the arena in Hyllie, last year’s venue, at least (whatever happened to that option?).

Here’s  a smörgåsbord of options from Rejseplanen for a journey from our south CPH suburb to Refshaleøen:


And to Hyllie:


So pretty equal on time, but hands down to Hyllie for ease of access.

I was also interested in signage:

The evidence on the ground – click to scroll.

And #bogwhallerne itself? Part of the diamand in the rough metaphor, or just run out of money?

Eurovision Island (6): a row of tents

Latest trip, Sunday morning, just before the fan press pack arrived. Definitely a different feel in the air – people smiling, tourists wobbling past on hired bikes, lots of working spaniels for the beagles to bark at. Sigh.

Now very much a private space, with a new wooden fence up, areas blocked off, security guards. Having been out there six times I thought we were pretty much inured to the raw look, but heck, it’s grim. And bizarrely, it can be too hot in Denmark in April, if there’s no shade to be had.

Some areas, like the flattened area where eager punters will queue to get in, I just couldn’t bear to take a photo of. Certainly lowered the bar for Eurovision venue environs – maybe that’s a good thing? And once you’ve actually got inside, it will all be forgotten, won’t it?

Click on an image to scroll through the lot.

The Eurovision Fan Mile: before

On Tuesday I took a stroll down the Eurovision Fan Mile – backwards. My mobile tracking device tells me that from the middle of Nyhavn (forgot to turn it on) to the top of Rådhuspladsen is a shade over a mile, hurra! With photo stops it took me 30 minutes to walk.

Before we set off towards Rådhuspladsen though let’s imagine we’ve just made it to Kongens Nytorv, “the finest and largest square of the city” and want to take the shuttle boat to Eurovision Island.

Kongens Nytorv

Currently a building site due to works for the new Metro City Ring (current ETA ~2020). If you are emerging from the metro bear right to get to Nyhavn. Simples.

Coming from Strøget, bear left. This will take you past a 10m2 space which will be occupied by a herd of plastic horses during the summer, and quite possibly by our friends from Malmö during #escdk. The back wall is covered by Happy Wall, an “analog interactive pixel screen”which passers-by can turn into messages aka artworks.

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Nyhavn and shuttle boats

Nyhavn, yer classic CPH, lots of heritage, history and hygge. Bottom right you’ll find the 993 shuttle boat stop – see our travel guide for more on arriving by water. Visit Copenhagen’s travel guide offers a rather different vista which we’re still trying to get to the bottom of  – here’s the full story.

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Strøget and the squares

Back on message, if you must you can translate Strøget as ‘walking street’ – it’s the original pedestrian precinct, dating from 1962. Actually several streets punctuated by a series of squares (torv, plads), but don’t worry about it.

The shops aren’t much to write home about – a better bet is to duck down the side streets. This church is now an art gallery.

St Nikolaj Church/Nikolaj Kunsthal
St Nikolaj Church/Nikolaj Kunsthal

Pressing on, walking ‘up’ Strøget the first square you come to is Højbro Plads, the potential home for Chinese liondancers and Hamburgers:

Højbro Plads
Højbro Plads

Next up, Eurovision Village, aka Gammeltorv/Nytorv. Hang a left across Nytorv and it’s no distance to Huset and the Euro Fan Café:

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Rådhuspladsen and the countdown clock

Same deal as Kongens Nytorv, building site. As we’ve seen efforts are being made to cheer things up with a range of artworks being established around Byens Hegn (the City Fence; Facebook). Here there’s Suburbia, a photo exhibition exploring suburban areas at night.

We love the gimcrack countdown clock so much we’ve started a photo gallery – if you are in CPH for #escdk and get a picture of the clock in action, do send it to us!

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BTW sorry for the grey filter. According to the weather forecast the sun should come out next Wednesday, and things tend to brighten up a tad by May.

Now, let’s get this party started!

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Featured image at top of post via Blogilkar. Bottom left: Knippelsbro, leads to Christianshavn.

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…