Operaen, Copenhagen Opera House, sits on Holmen Island and cost more than $500million to build. The detailing extends to each of the 1,492 seats being individually designed to give the best view of the stage.
Copenhagen – Been There

Even Danish design has its lemons

Photo by Shaun Egan

Copenhagen – Been There Even Danish design has its lemons

The Danes may love design but not everyone loves every new building. Near the Little Mermaid is one such contentious structure: the Copenhagen Opera House.

Christopher Beanland
Christopher Beanland Travel Writer

It is certainly not beautiful: it is lumbering and lacks grace. It is in the middle of nowhere on some old docks. And the cost? Well, that is a cool half a billion US dollars.

Maybe it was all the gold they used inside, covering the auditorium ceiling. Designed by architect Henning Larsen and opened in 2005, the building was financed in large part by shipping magnate Arnold Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller and, sure enough, it sits in view of the Maersk HQ.

Larsen was aiming for a building to rival Sydney’s iconic opera house but spent his last years disclaiming responsibility for the final design. His arguments with the sponsor went down to the height of the toilets, it is said. The striking building does dominate Copenhagen’s harbor, much like its Australian rival, but not in a good way.

Inside, it is eerily quiet. I buy an orange juice and sip it in the huge lobby, wondering whether there is more atmosphere on concert nights. I certainly hope so.

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On June 21, 2013, the roof of the Copenhagen Opera House was used for the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, seen here with Matt Cowen of the United Kingdom diving from the 28-meter platform. The controversial building's architect Henning Larsen died the next day. Photo by Balazs Gardi / Getty Images

Balazs Gardi

Balazs Gardi

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Agency
Getty Images
Aperture
ƒ/5.6
Exposure
1/4000
ISO
400
Focal
210 mm

On June 21, 2013, the roof of the Copenhagen Opera House was used for the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, seen here with Matt Cowen of the United Kingdom diving from the 28-meter platform. The controversial building's architect Henning Larsen died the next day.

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