This Copenhagen icon may be torn down

The multi-coloured Palads movie theatre in central Copenhagen may be torn down to make way for new high-rise buildings.

This Copenhagen icon may be torn down
The Palads building has housed a cineplex since 1918 and has had its pastel facade since 1989. Photo: Torben Christensen/Scanpix
Home to Denmark’s largest film complex since 1918, Palads is best known for its pastel facade painted by Danish artist Poul Gernes in 1989. 
But the iconic building next to Vesterport Station would be torn down under a plan being considered by the City of Copenhagen. The city’s environmental and technical affairs committee will weigh in on the proposal on Monday. 
The development is backed by rail operator DSB and an unknown investor. Under the plan, the subterranean train tracks at Vesterport would be covered and topped by 81,000 sqm of new development, including hotel and conference space, new homes, a new movie theatre and a supermarket. 
The proposed development. Illustration: Werk Architects
The proposed development. Illustration: Werk Architects
Nordisk Film Biografer, which owns Palads, has backed the plan but many cultural experts have said that it would be a mistake to tear down the iconic theatre. 
“It would be a complete tragedy to tear it down. It is a monument with huge cultural and artistic value and there is nothing else of the same format in our urban space,” Louisiana museum curator Anders Kold told Politiken.
A group of local residents calling themselves Tivolis Venner (Tivoli’s Friends, referring to the nearby historic amusement park) are also against the plan. 
“I just get so sad. Why do we need to look like all other big cities? In just a few years Copenhagen has been characterized by a development toward even larger constructions. This plan is misplaced, too much and too stereotypical,” spokesman Peter Holst Eriksen told Politiken. 

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Copenhagen to miss 2025 zero emissions target

Copenhagen will not reach its longstanding target of becoming CO2 emissions neutral by 2025.

Cyclists on Copenhagen's
Cyclists on Copenhagen's "Lille Langebro" bridge. The Danish capital has admitted to errors in emissions calculations and says it won't be climate neutral in 2025, a long-standing target. Photo by Febiyan on Unsplash

A city councillor told newspaper Jyllands-Posten that the city, which has long stated its aim of becoming the world’s first CO2-neutral capital, would not meet that target as scheduled.

“I won’t need to stand there in 2025 and say ‘hurrah, we’re CO2 neutral’, because I know that CO2 will still be emitted (then),” elected representative Ninna Hedeager Olsen of the Copenhagen Municipality environment section told Jyllands-Posten.

Tourist board Visit Denmark has previously used the emissions goal to market the city, while Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen named the target during the C40 climate summit when it was hosted by Copenhagen in 2019.

But the municipality has included wind energy produced in other municipalities in its calculations on energy sustainability, according to the newspaper report.

This means it effectively still emits CO2 overall.

The company which supplies energy to the city, Hofor, has erected windmills in a number of municipalities outside of Copenhagen. But the electricity produced by these windmills has been used in calculations of CO2 emissions in both Copenhagen and in the municipalities in which the windmills are actually located.

The replication of the energy production in data for different locations can “rightly” be said to be “cheating the scales”, according to Hedeager Olsen.

But that is not the only problem in calculations of the city’s emissions, she also admitted.

“There are loads of things that haven’t been counted,” she said.

The goal to become climate neutral by 2025 was first set by the city in 2012 in a climate plan adopted by the city government.

Copenhagen was the following year awarded the Cities Climate Leadership award for the plan.