10 things to look forward to in Denmark in 2023
2023 will be a year of celebrating Danish design and architecture heritage marked with year-long events and new installations in Copenhagen, the UNESCO World Capital of Architecture, including the long awaited opening the underground bunker museum REGAN Vest in North Jutland. Additionally, there will be new city and seaside hotels and a anniversary of one very famous restaurant.
1. COPENHAGEN IS UNESCO WORLD CAPITAL OF ARCHITECTURE 2023
In 2023, Copenhagen will be UNESCO World Capital of Architecture. Under the theme Copenhagen in Common, it will be a year with events ranging from community picnics to open houses in buildings normally closed to the public to a series of new pavilions by the harbor front, including one designed by the famous Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). The Danish Architecture Center (DAC) will serve as a hub for everything going on throughout the year, and the new exhibition Made in Denmark will take visitors on a journey through the history of Danish architecture all the way from the Viking Age till today. As a part of the WCA title, Copenhagen will also be hosting the UIA World Congress of Architects in July.
2. UNDERGROUND COLD WAR MUSEUM OPENS
The underground Danish Cold War Museum REGAN Vest will finally open to the public in the first part of 2023. It was supposed to open by the end of 2022, but as the underground tunnels in the bunker serve as a home for hibernating bats, the opening was postposed till after the bats’ hibernation period. Built in the 1960s to serve as a shelter for the Queen and government in the case of a nuclear war, this will be the first time it is open to the public. The impressive 5,500 square meter bunker will be the focal point of the museum where visitors can experience the original interior, from the ministers’ and doctor’s office to the dormitory. Above the surface, is the visitor and exhibition building, built as four black boxes, designed by AART Architects to include a virtual activity, that lets visitors experience how the bunker and the surrounding landscape would look after a new clear bomb. The villa, where the supervisor and his family lived, is also being restored to its 1980s glory, giving visitors a look into the everyday life of that time.
3. NOMA CELEBRATES ITS 20TH ANNIVERSARY
In November 2023, noma can celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the opening in 2003. It is widely considered one of the world’s most influential restaurants, and it’s legacy is especially visible across the Copenhagen food scene. After taking the top spot at World’s 50 Best in 2021, they retired to the Best of the Best list in 2022 and announced a new upcoming pop up. The location of the pop up has not yet been announced, but it will take place in the spring of 2023. They are additionally gearing up for the celebration with the launch of a new book, Noma 2.0: Vegetable, Forest, Ocean, published globally on 8 November 2022.
4. OBSERVATORY SCIENCE PARK OPENING CLOSE TO AARHUS
Just outside Denmark’s second city, Aarhus, the 110-year old Ole Rømer Observatory will go through a grand renovation of both interior and exterior before reopening to the public in the summer of 2023. The buildings will be brought back to their original style, and the nature area surrounding the museum, Kongelunden, will be transformed into a Science Park, where guests can learn about astronomy during the days and nights. For examples, school classes will be able to spend the night in their new “science cabins”.
5. UNESCO VILLAGE CHRISTIANSFELD TURNS 250
Christiansfeld was Denmark’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site (2015), and it can celebrate its 250-year anniversary in 2023. The Moravian settlement in Christiansfeld was first founded in 1773 and is an example of the Protestant urban ideal centered around the church square. The architectural style is unadorned with yellow brick and red tile roofs and it a great example of a carefully-planned Lutheran free congregation settlement. The original buildings still stand, including the Brødremenighedens Hotel, which was one of the first four buildings dating back to 1 April 1773. Till this day, Christiansfeld is known around the country for their heart-shaped honey cakes that have been baked here for centuries.
6. NEW OPERA PARK TO OPEN BY THE COPENHAGEN HARBOR
Speaking of architecture, another much expected new addition to the Copenhagen waterfront will open in 2023: the Opera Park. This new park, aptly named for its location next to the grand Royal Danish Opera House, is inspired by the 19th century romantic parks complete with a café and winter garden. The park is designed by renowned Danish architect group COBE with sustainability at theforefront, including systems to reuse the rainwater and durable, recyclable materials. Located on top of a underground two-story parking structure, the park is an example of how necessary infrastructure
is incorporated an a way that adds value and livability to the city.
7. TWO NEW WATERFRONT HOTELS TO OPEN
Denmark has a strong tradition of seaside hotels, in Danish called badehoteller, which are luxurious refuges by the water with a focus on a slow-paced living and good food. This year, two new ones are expected to open. The first one is Ny Hattenæs by the scenic lake Brassø in the Aarhus Region. This historic property is opening as a fully renovated hotel in January with a rich history dating back to 1896 and lots of quirky interior details.
Another one is expected to open later in the year in Gilleleje on the Danish Riviera, North Zealand. This area serves as The Hamptons for Copenhagen, and the new Gilleleje Sø- og Havbad (literally meaning sea and ocean bath) has transformed the 1939 townhall into a boutique spa hotel with 40 rooms. The hotel will have an outdoor pool, restaurant and rooftop terrace, and the renovation happens with respect for the original architecture.
8. NEW FERRY MAKES BORNHOLM EASIER TO ACCESS
First expected to arrive in 2022, the new Express 5 ferry will take on the route between Rønne on the Danish island of Bornholm and Ystad in Southern Sweden in March 2023. This is a popular way to get to the rocky island, because train connections to Ystad makes it easy from Copenhagen. The Express 5 is world’s largest high-speed ferry, with a capacity of 1610 passengers and 451 cars. The ferry is run with the most efficient four-stroke engine. It is a dual-fuel engine, making it ready for alternative fuel.
9. OCEAN RACE ARRIVES IN AARHUS
Aarhus will be the first Danish city to host the huge sailing event Ocean Race, when they take over the city and its waters 29 May – 8 June 2023. Ocean Race is the world’s longest off-shore sail race, and it takes place over six months in eight stages across the globe. The Aarhus harbor will be dressed for the maritime celebration, and a designated Sustainability Island will serve as a hub for innovative exhibitions and showcases for sustainable solutions.
10. EXPLORE THE WORKS OF JØRN UTZON
If anyone needed another reason to explore Danish architecture in 2023, why not visit the works of internationally renowned architect Jørn Utzon? He is especially known for creating the Sydney Opera House, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2023. In his home country, he has created an array of unique, modernist buildings including the Bagsværd Church, the Paustian furniture shop in Copenhagen, the Music House in Esbjerg and the Utzon Center in Aalborg, the last three created in collaboration with his son, Jan Utzon.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist based in Toronto with a focus on tourism, lifestyle, entertainment and community issues. He has written several travel articles and has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He’s willing to take on any assignments of interest, attend parties with free booze, listen to rants, and travel the world in search of the great unknown. He’s eager to discover the new, remember the past, and look into the future.