Copenhagen garden houses

I have recently been to two parties at “koloni-haver” here in Copenhagen. This is my account of the local colour these visits provided. Also, this is where I try to describe the Scandinavian idea of tending a garden in a club.

A koloni-have (“colony garden”, a garden lot with a wee house, organized in a sort of garden club, or association) is golden in these parts. The house on it can be made into a little summer house, with bed and bathroom, and they seem a little less restricted than the Swedish ones I have seen.

[Bonus link]( with historical photos. And Danish text. Should you like to buy a Copenhagen garden lot like this, you need to shell out something like 400000-900000 DKK ($65000-$150000!) for a fully developed garden plot (aka modernized to madness, with “all mod cons”).

These lots are bunched up in huge clusters, each lot a little garden unto its own. Most lots are walled in by high vegetation, for increased privacy. Some of these garden associations — they are organized structures, you need membership — are very orderly, while others are more rustic.

Me and Luisa were invited down to our friend Mads’s “done with studies party” in his home in the garden-association-like area called Nokken, which in Luisa’s words is “kind of like Klondyke.” And it is: gold-rush look.

Mads got his hands on a small parcel of land with multiple houses on it. All of these buildings and out-buildings were jam-packed with junk. First he tried to sell off some of the junk, but as time wore him down he has become more inclined to throw it out, and get some space. The junk came in all forms: fire-fighting equipment, all kinds of wood-working tools, house-building details, old tools, rusty enamel signs, assorted nautica, garden implements, general misc materials for building… stuff. The works. And a good selection of uniform hats.

During the year, Mads invites his friends to come to a work-day out at the house. All work done at his place improves the place enormously. There was no toilet installed when he arrived, and now there is both kitchen, bread-making corner, and an indoor toilet. The most recent victory was the existence of a lawn: the ground had been made flat, the soil had been tilled, and the grass had carefully been planted and watered. Very homely.

The evening of the party, the garden contained some 40 revelers, and a coal grill was spreading barbecue smells, while a raging fire (courtesy of yours truly) spread warmth. Mads ripped open a small sack of onions and threw them into the fire. “They’ll be done in twenty minutes. Should be black on the outside. The skins keep the water compartmentalized, and the core’ll be sweet!”

I met Peter, a philosopher friend of Mads’s, who told stories of Finland, and of philosophy. (Mads, like me, is quite the theory-geek, and we’ve made a pact about reading [Bruno Latour](, some French sociology of science guy.) Peter was a great chap.

Today, me and Luisa congratulated Fiona, now 2 years old. We had been to a toy store, and bought little wooden vegetables. They came in a wooden crate, and at the store I saw a bag, which looked crotcheted. “Could you make one of those?” I asked, and Luisa caught that idea, and was done with a finished product in 2 hours. She has super-powers of execution.

The garden with the party was spacious, and held throngs of kids, and their parents. Barbecue, salad with potatoes, lager: the Scandinavian idea of summer food. I was especially proud of Fiona’s saying “Hej, Olle!”, remembering my name like that.

There was also some ruminations on an upcoming Copenhagen roleplaying game about James Ellroy’s *American Tabloid* world. Hoover’s FBI, Bay of Pigs, nasty media, and so forth. The concept of a roleplaying series as an HBO production was discussed, and liked. Fun was had.

Hm. It seems my initial notes on getting to the soul of gardening-in-a-club won’t be forthcoming in this post. ‘Til next time.

Denmark is Dead: Great programmer booted out of the country

My neighbour Sean Treadway today posted a sad post – he is getting kicked out of the country:

> So that’s all folks Denmark has evaluated that my contribution to the
country through my freelance work is not of significant value.

This is patently horrible. On so many levels. Sean’s one of the really great minds I have met here in Denmark. He’s contributed greatly to the local and global Open Source community, and to the local freelancer environment.

If not even this guy can start a business in Denmark, then who can? Oh, right, me: and the only thing I have got going for me is that I’m an EU citizen.

These are the ill effects of an immigration policy dictated by backwater opportunists of the bleakest kind. This is what the government’s association with Dansk Folkeparti means in practice.

It’s good to know that the Berlin-based effort [Plazes]( will have one razor-sharp mind more to refine their geo-tagging application. I have an informed hunch that Sean will like Berlin, but that’s cold comfort when I have to keep living in a country run like this.

Cabaret in Copenhagen: Livingstones Kabinet

Yesterday night, I was at the KafCaféen venue, where Livingstones Kabinet opened their new show “We love you too”, a political raunchy trip with the band’s trademark Weimar Republic feeling.

The dancers – a new addition to the troupe’s shows – were stunning.

Some rude discontent in the audience waved arms and was vocal about something. I presumed she was a mother of some participant in the show, and that she was outraged at artistic decisions made by the band. Turns out she’d pulled props from the stage and written on them – thereby making them unusable for the next night’s show – using the props as writing paper. Indicting that band of being without a political message is… truly a misguided attempt at righting a perceived wrong.

My bike dealer, a hero

I have the pleasure of telling you that my new bike will be led to its first tighten-the-screws service today, at my bike dealer’s:

> Ravnen

> Nansensgade 36

> 1366 København K

> Phone: +45 3332 1828

The woman running that bike shop is the hardest, toughest and most straight-forward I have met in all of Denmark. L and I love her warmly.

On account of that love she gave me a handsome discount on the new bike I bought, and now I am also her customer.

Herewith, she comes recommended for all bike work in Copenhagen, with my seal of approval.


Have now moved. Phew.

New address:

> Prinsesse Charlottes Gade 40B, 3 th

> 2200 København N

> Denmark

Update: This move also meant that I could make my first Plazes location historical, that is, inactive. Now it shows as grey and abandoned, signifying the deadness of the Plaze after I moved out.

CPH street art & Flickr

A local posting on the steet art giant Huskmitnavn in Copenhagen.

You can take a look at representations of his/her posters at Flickr (Photos tagged with huskmitnavn).

Huskmitnavn (rememberMyName it would read in English in studlyCaps) makes three to five campaigns a year.

Spices up the walls. The posters are large, never square.

I joined the flickr group Copenhagen, to make it easier to illustrate what I was talking about, when referring to something local. We’ll see how that works out.

Random act of kindness

**Tusen og en nat**. Falafel. 3 DKK discount. Of a 20 DKK price tag. Vesterbrogade.

That’s all I could write on my way home from the nightclub Vega on the after-party of Reboot 7. A gesture of hospitality from a stranger. A random act of kindness. I was so elated that I afterwards helped others’ bikes by putting them in an upright position.

Defibrillators now in the Copenhagen metro

There are now defibrillators, for public use, in the metros in Copenhagen. The public is important in saving lives, or something to that effect.

Will the machines be used for pranks? Will they work? Will the public understand the machines? Will they “play heroes”?

Make up your own mind about this, because when your own heart fails in the CPH metro, some stranger who stands next to you might come to your rescue with defibrillators crackling.