Appreciating Green Space through a Copenhagen Winter

Appreciating Green Space through a Copenhagen Winter

One of the reasons I like Copenhagen so much, is the way it reminds me to enjoy nature as something evanescent.  There are plenty of green spaces in Copenhagen, some easier to spot than others, but you are rarely able to enjoy them fully because of the cold climate. 

Coming from Portugal, I am used to see lush trees and shrubs popping out of every backyard, and at least one row of trees along every major street. I am also accustomed to seeing vegetation as something permanent, that perhaps changes slightly throughout the year, but remains the same in essence.

When I first arrived in Denmark, late in the summer, it was with disappointment that I saw the colourless shrubs and the sparse trees in the city. Even with the delight of the city’s multiple water channels and my amazement of the number of bikes per square meter, I found the city to be displeasingly grey.

That impression grew stronger as the winter approached. The raining and dark days did not show me Copenhagen´s brightest side.


My surprise came the following Spring. Suddenly, almost overnight, the city turned green. Shrubs showed out of nowhere, flowers grew on every balcony and grass flourished between the pavement stones. The lawns were so green lighted that almost hurt the eyes and I was surprised to see pretty much every block has its own backyard. Why were there so many gardens I hadn’t noticed before?

I was even more amazed at the Danish – usually so shy – sunbathing in every park and every square regardless of what they were wearing (or not wearing). 

The lack of sun and light makes one appreciate the green, open spaces, and natural settings within the city even more through each seasonal change.  Being a landscape architect, I already appreciate the qualities of green spaces, but it was Copenhagen that really taught me the transitory quality of natural settings.


Images taken by the author.  All rights reserved.  Please ask permission before using.

Published in Blog

Leave a Reply

Lost Password