Copenhagen: The Green City with the Blue Harbour
Updated: Oct 12
EUobserver reports: Copenhagen is one of the only cities in Europe where the harbour water is again clean enough to swim in.
The city has built three popular harbour baths – a new type of city-beach for people to swim, sunbathe, and cool off on hot summer days. A 2-kilometre race in the canals around the Danish parliament in August saw a record 3,600 participants this year.
During the last decade, the harbour baths have also become popular with tourists. They are the most visible result of a deliberate decision in the municipality to move polluting industry out of the harbour, and to clean all waste water before it reaches the sea.
The harbour baths are open 24/7 and many people living in the city centre have taken up the habit of a morning swim before heading to work.
There is no entry fee. Anyone is free to jump in and to enjoy the feeling of pumping blood, tickling skin and the salty taste of sea water.
Swimming around parliament
A 2-kilometre race in the canals around the Danish parliament in August saw a record 3,600 participants this year. Some 230 came from abroad to take part.
For swimmers, the race offers a very different perspective of the city and its old parliament building, Christiansborg. For tourists, who gathered on the city’s bridges and wharfs, clapping and photographing, it offers the unusual sight of swimmers splashing in city canals.
“The water is really clean, I saw streams of small fish and jellyfish when passing Knippelsbridge,” Julia Winklewski told EUobserver…
The water temperature is 20C in August, but in winter the harbour can be covered by ice.
Despite freezing temperatures, winter swimming is a popular activity among Danes. Some 11,000 people are registered members of winter swimming clubs around the country, with many more on waiting lists. Swimming is believed to improve people’s health and their quality of life. Read more…