Cirkelbroen: A Bridge That Encourages You to Stand Still


Photo: Jules Gassot

Internationally renowned artist Olafur Eliasson created this charming bridge, which merges history, art and function in a poetic contribution to the city.

Resembling a five-masted ship, Olafur Eliasson’s celebrated Cirkelbroen floats gracefully atop the mouth of Christianshavns Canal, at the point where it flows into Copenhagen’s harbour opposite monolithic The Black Diamond.

Connecting the Christiansbro side of the canal with Applebys Plads on the other, the bridge – a gift from Nordea-fonden – grants the City of Copenhagen its wish for a continuous harbourfront boardwalk from Islands Brygge to the Inner Harbour. Yet Cirkelbroen is more than a gateway or connector. Its structure of overlapping circles was designed by its Danish-Icelandic creator to make it what he calls “a meeting place, a ‘see you at the bridge’ kind of place.” The result is a bridge that encourages visitors to slow down and take in all that exists around it.

With a clearance height of 2.75 metres, the 40-metre-long bridge allows harbour tours, kayaks and regular boats to pass. For larger vessels, two of its discs swing open like a garden gate in a 20-second process operated by a group of local sailors.

Cirkelbroen is nothing short of enchanting – in the way it kicks against the uniformity expected of a bridge; in the way its form is inspired by elegant ships; and in its nocturnal creation of misty white orbs of illumination on the rippling surface of the water beneath it.