Cirkelbroen by Olafur Eliasson


Artist Olafur Eliasson has designed a ship-shaped bridge for the Christianshavns Kanal in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Called Cirkelbroen, the 32 metre-long bridge will consist of five circular platforms, each with its own mast.

Construction is due to be completed in 2012.

Here's some more information from Eliasson:



The internationally acclaimed Danish-Icelandic artist, Olafur Eliasson, has designed a new bridge, Cirkelbroen (the circle bridge) which will create a winding path across Christianshavns Kanal in Copenhagen connecting Christiansbro with Applebys Plads. From 2012, when the bridge is expected to be completed, the city’s residents and visitors will be able to run, walk or cycle around Copenhagen’s entire inner harbour for the first time

Olafur Eliasson said: “It is my hope that people will stay on the bridge, use the bridge as a public square. In contrast to the long, straight pier, the winding bridge will reduce speed, turn focus. Rather than offering the fastest possible passage across the canal, the bridge will create small variations in the way we see the city and open for a renegotiation of public space”.

Based on Christianshavn’s history and the culture around the canals, Eliasson has used the sailing ship as his visual starting point for the bridge. Cirkelbroen consists of five staggered circular platforms of various sizes each with their own ‘mast’.

The bridge is a gift to the Municipality of Copenhagen from the Nordea-foundation, which is situated in Overgaden neden Vandet right on the canal of Christianshavn.

Mogens Hugo, Chairman of the Nordea-foundation said: “With this bridge, Copenhagen will have a work of art designed by Denmark’s most significant contemporary artist. Cirkelbroen fulfils a longtime desire to open the port to the citizens. The idea for the design of the bridge is based on maritime life and the construction extends from the ships and the sailing environment around Christianshavn. We are from Christianshavn ourselves and have great respect for the culture of this area.”

The purpose of the Nordea-foundation is to support activities that promote good living within the areas of health, sports and exercise, nature and culture. Olafur Eliasson’s bridge will provide new possibilities of outdoor life and cultural activities around the port that throughout history has made Copenhagen a very special city.

Ritt Bjerregaard, Lord Mayor said: “Olafur Eliasson’s bridge is a fantastic work of art and marks the opening of the port. The port was always Copenhagen and Denmark’s window to the world and Olafur Eliasson’s bridge points to the past as well as the future in the history of Copenhagen. The bridge will become the port’s and the city’s new landmark. It is a very beautiful gift that the Nordea-foundation has donated to the city. The bridge is art and architecture combined and the route around the port that now opens will attract more people to the port that is the city’s history and its future.”

Facts about Cirkelbroen

Cirkelbroen was designed by the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson.


Across Christianshavns Kanal. The bridge links Christiansbro with Applebys Plads.


The bridge will be around 32 meters long. The free height under the bridge allows harbour tours and small motor vessels to pass under it. For taller vessels, the bridge will open in a horizontal arc.


The bridge will cost around DKK 34 million. The Municipality of Copenhagen contributes DKK 7.7 million, which stems from a deed of gift it received from Privatbankens Fond (now part of the Nordea-foundation) at the city’s 800th anniversary in 1967.


The Nordea-foundation is the developer and builds the bridge as a gift to the Municipality of Copenhagen.


As stated in the budget agreement for 2010, the parties of the City Council have agreed to ensure the residents of Copenhagen better access to the areas along the port by promoting a bridge across Christianshavns Kanal from Appleby Plads to Christiansbro. The parties have agreed to procure the required planning along the canal.


The bridge is expected to be completed in 2012.

The Nordea-foundation

The Nordea-foundation has a public and charitable purpose. The Nordea-foundation supports activities promoting good living within the fields of health, sports and exercise, nature and culture; activities that are good for body and soul. With our donations, we wish to contribute to: creating significant high-quality results creating the greatest possible value for the recipients and Danish society

Posted on Wednesday November 11th 2009 at 11:18 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Alexander

    Very interesting solution

  • Jimmy

    Is there a drawing to show just how the bridge opens in a horizontal arc to let tall boats in? It seems a little unfeasible with that structure.

  • Cecekal

    Very original. Love it!

  • modular

    Christmas came earlier! Or at least the Christmas trees….

  • Visualmente llamativo

  • Quizas el presupuesto un poco disparado

  • luxor

    pretty pretty

  • slacker

    a very nice design. a refreshing design.

  • cpcp

    pretty. and fresh.

    . . . pretty fresh!

  • Buen proyecto, incentiva la vida sana, caminar, esto me demuestra que la arquitectura sigue siendo un gestor de vida en la ciudad.!!!

  • martin

    pretty fesh – yet a bridge that can open would have been fresher. Doesnt lok as it can…

  • bob

    it can swing open!

  • seier+seier

    this is so terrible I am at a loss for words.

    it is a bridge in a harbour, crossing a canal. it is "based on maritime life"…it has masts! that is so deep.

    and they also look a bit like christmas trees. or swedish may pole decorations. oh, you know, the layers of meaning in this thing, they are overwhelming.

    and it's round because that makes people stop and hang out. no really, that is the way you do it. no really. that is how you make successfull urban spaces.

    and bridges crossing a canal, you should always place them right at the end of the canal, right on the corner, because that way you can't see the canal from the harbour anymore – and you'll forget about it and stop worrying about what the right solution would have been.

    if there had been an architectural competition for this bridge, eliasson's proposal would never have seen the light of day, it would never have made it past the first round of the jury's work. but you can't censor artists even if they are begging for it.

    I am not sure if this looks more like something a grown artist took two minutes to think about or a twelve year old girl spent a whole day dreaming up. it is painful either way. central copenhagen should be too important to us for sloppy work like this.

    no wait, I have changed my mind.

    I wasn't at a loss for words.

    • sbury

      The word "hater" was invented for you. Lighten up, this seems like a playful yet performative design.

  • I §$¤%/ CPH

    The mother of comments to end all comments.

    Couldn’t agree more!!!

  • monica

    Why not construct bridges like the one above in cities that desperately need it: Buenos Aires, Guayaquil, and San Salvador? These places are taken over my cars and buses. Walking is a very dangerous activity in these cities. Europe is beautiful and rich, but I dream of seeing this in South and Central America, in places where the rich get to drive and the poor get to dodge cars.