CITY COLUMN – A new budget, super arena, and WeFood store.

Huge investments in sport and cycling offset limited investment in Copenhagen's culture, which may lead to the closure of the venue Pumpehuset

Copenhagen City Council agrees new budgetscreenshot-2016-10-09-12-39-49
Copenhagen’s population is growing by almost 1,000 new residents each month, which is putting the city’s services under increasing strain. Protecting these services was the focus of the city budget for 2017, which was agreed last month in Copenhagen City Council.

“More children, adults and seniors go to school, need a roof over their heads and receive care,” the budget states. “That costs. Last year’s cuts to communal services, and the government’s modernisation and efficiency program, mean that municipalities receive less funds. That puts immense pressure on their finances.”

All political parties and independents voted in favour of the budget that the City Council says was “a rarely seen broad agreement”.
Among the central points of the budgets is 800 million kroner over four years to renovate 10 primary schools and 120 million kroner over four years to improve staffing at kindergartens for vulnerable children. Cyclists also benefit in the budget, with 140 million kroner of investment in new cycle paths across the city, while 21 million kroner will go towards improving cycle parking and collecting abandoned bikes, particularly near rail stations.

Trees, too, have been prioritised in the budget negotiations. The Social Liberal Party (Radikale) were behind the initiative that provides Copenhageners with the opportunity to plant a tree in their yard or street, together with a friend or spouse, for all their neighbours and fellow citizens to enjoy. The only condition is that they have to look after it themselves.

According to Politiken newspaper, around 200 partner trees have been planted in Copenhagen this year, and 1000 more have been secured in next year’s budget. They cost the municipality around 5,000 kroner each, whereas a tree planted and maintained by the municipality can sometimes cost as much as 100,000 kroner over its lifetime.

Partner trees were launched as part of Copenhagen Municipality’s ‘Tree Policy’ that aims to plant 100,000 additional trees in the city over the next 10 years.

Culture lost out in this year’s budget, however. The main casualty is the venue Pumpehuset, which is losing its public funding at the end of 2017. The venue on Studiestræde in central Copenhagen has renovated its outdoor facilities in recent years and had hoped its temporary funding would be replaced with a permanent agreement with the City Council. This hope was dashed, but deputy mayor for culture, Carl Christian Ebbesen, told Politiken a solution might still be found.

The 21 million kroner culture budget has instead been used to finance initiatives to boost the city’s film industry (eight million kroner), as well as five million kroner for festivals and three million kroner for new ‘alternative’ cultural centres.

Sport, on the other hand, will receive five times more funding than culture, at around 100 million kroner for 2017. That includes funds for a new swimming pool and harbour basin on Papirøen costing 60 million kroner, a new astroturf field at Svanemølleanlægget for 11 million kroner, an 11-million kroner ice skating ring in Enghaveparken, and seven million kroner toward hosting the European Championship in Swimming at the Royal Arena after it opens in the new year.


Copenhagen’s new Royal Arena, which is set to open in the New Year. (3XN)

Metallica to open new Royal Arena
Metallica is to be the first act to play Copenhagen’s new super arena when it opens on February 3. The world-renowned rock band – with Dane Lars Ulrik behind the drums – will play two shows over the weekend to launch the new Royal Arena.

Situated in Ørestad, the Royal Arena can house 15,000 guests and is designed to host national and international music, culture, and sport events.

A number of events have already been scheduled for the coming years. In April 2017 the Royal Arena will show the musical ‘We Will Rock You’ and the following December it will host the European Championship in short course swimming. In 2018 it will hold the World Championship in ice hockey.

Wefood grows with second store
A third of all food produced worldwide ends up in the trash. Meanwhile, almost 800 million people starve. These tough facts demonstrate the need to use our food resources more carefully, say Folkekirkens Nødhjælp (DanChurchAid), who last year launched the world’s first supermarket that sells surplus goods and uses the profits to help the world’s poorest.

Wefood sells goods that supermarkets can’t because of flawed packaging or because they have passed their sell-by date. The food products are all sold at a 50 to 70 percent discount, with all profits going to the charity. Much of the food is donated by Dansk Supermarket Group and Føtex.

The first shop opened on Amagerbrogade in Copenhagen this year and has been a huge success. Their second shop will open on Nørrebrogade 58 on November 7. A third shop is planned for Aarhus in 2017.

Bicycle culture is among the reasons Copenhagen was named best city o live in by Metropolis magazine. Photo: Moyan Brenn / flickr

Bicycle culture is among the reasons Copenhagen was named best city o live in by Metropolis magazine. Photo: Moyan Brenn / flickr

Copenhagen tops Metropolis’ list of best cities
US architecture and design magazine Metropolis picked Copenhagen as the world’s best city to live in.

Copenhagen’s success can be witnessed around the world, according to Metropolis, as urban hubs mimic the city’s dedication to creating a liveable city. Its bicycle infrastructure was particularly praised, along with the bridges – Bryggebroen, Cykelslangen, Cirkelbroen and Inderhavnsbroen – that improve the mobility of cyclists and pedestrians.

The city’s so called ‘climate quarters’ were also singled out as noteworthy. These areas of Copenhagen, such as Sankt Kjelds Kvarter, are designed to better deal with heavy rainfall by integrating sink basins and water resilient plants.

Copenhagen is narrowly followed by Berlin, Germany, in second place while Finland’s capital Helsinki took home third place. M


By Sophie Stenner Frahm

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