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Refshaleøen, Copenhagen

Refshaleøen seen from across the harbour

Refshaleøen, originally an island in its own right but now annexed to the larger island of Amager, is a former industrial site in the harbor of Copenhagen, Denmark. For more than a hundred years, it was home to the shipyard Burmeister & Wain which closed in 1996.


The B&W shipyard painted by Carl Baagøe

In 1624, a block house was built on the original island, then much smaller, to guard the entrance to Copenhagen harbor together with St. Ann's Fortress (now Kastellet) on the coast just north of city.[1] Reclamation increased the size of the island considerably in the 1870s when the port's waterways were made deeper. Burmeister & Wain established a shipyard on the island in 1871. At its height, the shipyard employed 8,000 people, and so appears as an icon of Danish industrial history.[2]

Current use

Windmills at Refshaleøen. Øresund Bridge in background.

Since the shipyard's bankruptcy in 1996, the area has undergone significant changes. The abandoned buildings are now home to a mixture of creative entrepreneurs, small craft, flea markets, storage facilities and cultural and recreational uses.

The residents include the theater Asterions Hus, the restaurant AMASS,[3] opened by Mathew Orlando, former head chef at Noma,[4] the art gallery YARD and the creative community Skabelonloftet.[5]

Since April 2011 there are again boats at the old shipyard, as Copenhagen Yacht Services opened the first Danish yacht garage on the island - an indoor Marina for motorboats on the American model.[2]

The volunteer spaceflight organization Copenhagen Suborbitals also operates on the former island.


Refshaleøen is today owned by the property company Ejendomsselskabet Refshaleøen A/S, owned by the four pension funds Sampension, PKA, PFA and Lønmodtagernes Dyrtidsfond. The site's surface area is approx. 500,000 m2. In 2013, it entered into a collaboration with the energy company SE Big Blue and the Energy Academy on the island of Samsø, planning a climate-friendly neighbourhood.[6]


B&W Hallerne, host venue of the Eurovision Song Contest 2014, located on Refshaleøen

Refshaleøen is frequently used as a venue for events and festivals. Since 2010, the area has played host to the heavy metal festival Copenhell annually in June, the Final Party of the Copenhagen Distortion festival week, the electronic music festival EDM 2013, Scandinavian Reggae Festival, MAD Symposium, Refshaleøen Music Festival and Asteroiden theatre festival.

On 2 September 2013, Danmarks Radio (DR) announced that the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 would take place at B&W Hallerne. The surrounding area was transformed into Eurovision Island, an Olympic Park-style complex which housed amenities and the press centre for the entirety of the contest.[7] Barbadian singer-songwriter Rihanna performed on the island in 2016 during her Anti World Tour.

See also


  1. ^ "De bastionære fæstninger 1600-1870" (in Danish). Selskabet for Københavns Historie. Archived from the original on 2013-09-21. Retrieved 2013-09-03.
  2. ^ a b "Gasværket". Christianshavnernet. Retrieved 2013-09-03.
  3. ^ "Ø-kuller: Hvad foregår der egentlig ude på Refshaleøen?" (in Danish). Politiken. Archived from the original on 2013-08-26. Retrieved 2013-09-03.
  4. ^ "Next Wave Nordic Rock Star". Food & Wine. Retrieved 2013-09-03.
  5. ^ "Skabelonloftet". Yard Copenhagen. Retrieved 2013-09-03.
  6. ^ "Gammelt industriområde skal være ny klima-bydel i København" (in Danish). Ugens Erhverv. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
  7. ^ "Copenhagen announced as host city of Eurovision 2014". Retrieved 2 September 2013.

External links