Roskilde, the original capital of Denmark and favored burial spot for generations of royalty, is no stranger to international tourism. However, the recent transition from staid old cathedral city, with its harbor of Viking ship replicas, into a lively creative space for young, cool artists, has positioned the city for a tourism renaissance.
Twenty miles west of Copenhagen, Roskilde is the home of Scandinavia’s biggest music festival. The Roskilde Festival draws the masses from Copenhagen—as well as 25,000 guests from all over Europe, primarily Sweden and Norway—for one week each year to its Darupvej location, just over the freeway from a redeveloped area of the city known as ’Musicon’.
The Musicon project hopes that some of the festival goers won’t be in such a hurry to leave. When the local council purchased the grounds of a closed-down concrete factory in 2003, they renamed the site ‘Musicon Valley,” and quickly got to work combining affordable, desirable student housing with a creative, multiuse community. Retaining much of the original architecture, the colossal concrete pillars are often lit as part of artist installations and occasional rave nights.
Despite its distance from Roskilde’s city center, Musicon is slowly wooing skeptical locals to a previously ‘unhip’ neighborhood with a skate park, open art studios, offbeat children’s playground, and resident dance theater and performance space. So far, Roskilde’s students have been the site’s main users —but as Musicon has also been chosen as the base for the forthcoming Danish Rock Museum, due to open in 2014, this is sure to change.
Earlier this year it was announced that Roskilde had beaten a handful of other Danish cities to become the venue for Mad-X, a state-funded center for culinary studies and education—and quite possibly the breeding ground for the next generation of Noma chefs. Located around the corner from Musicon in the buildings of the old Slagteriskolen or butchers’ academy, collaborations between the two initiatives often take the form of opening night refreshments and performance installations where titillating the taste buds is part of the act.
Image courtesy of Musicon.