Torvehallerne: A Foodie’s Paradise


Photo: Jules Gassot

On Israel’s Plads, Torvehallerne covers two streets, providing shelter and space for gastronomic enthusiasts long before street food became a trend. Welcome to Torvehallerne.

“What are we waiting for?” asked author Iselin C. Hermann and architect Hans Peter Hagens in a 2000 opinion piece in Politiken. They described their idea of recreating a vibrant marketplace with fresh food, where the old vegetable market stood on Israels Plads until 1958. The idea, a few years old by then, had already attracted the interest of many Copenhageners. An association consisting of engaged locals worked on the project. Sketches had been made, and local citizens collected over 2.000 signatures in the area. In 2001, the City Council decided to support the project, and 14 years after the idea was first introduced, Torvehallerne was inaugurated.

Moorish Columns

TorvehallerneKBH, as they are correctly named, consist of two trading streets under their respective column-supported roofs of zinc and cedar, with longitudinal skylights. Between them, a space is laid out with outdoor stalls, linden, and benches. Up to 1.000 guests can sit outside in the evening under trees and sailcloth. Inspired by the Moorish building Mezquita in Cordoba, the architects have tried to create a seamless transition between inside and outside. For example, the columns inside and the linden outside are placed in a net-like pattern, dividing the entire space into identical, small squares for the stalls. For the same reason, the granite paving gradually changes from coarse to finer as one approaches the halls.

The Rhythm of Torvehallerne

In the morning, the bakery stalls open, followed by seasonal and staple goods, and in the evening, there is service from cafes and mobile food stands. The illuminated halls can be passed all night long. The idea is that the space also changes appearance with the day. The pavement in the café area, designed by artist Anders Krüger, appears during the day with sharp geometric patterns and in the evening with small star-shaped lights.

Especially in the summer, there is life at the halls with guests enjoying food and drinks. But the overhead coverage ensures that all year round – regardless of the weather – there is a basis for shopping, sitting down, and enjoying something from Copenhagen’s culinary shelves.

Near Torvehallerne

After satisfying your hunger in the two food halls, you can enjoy a cup of coffee on the broad steps overlooking the large square of Israels Plads, where you might be lucky to see a basketball game. Then you can cross the busy hub, Nørreport, and look at Zahles Gymnasium, which combines new and old aesthetics in a fascinating Mikado-game of glass and steel. From there, you can head towards The Round Tower and get one of the best views in the city.