Cirkelbroen: The Circle Bridge

The bridge “Cirkelbroen” improves public mobility and Cirkelbroen is a new artistic landmark for Copenhagen. The bridge designed by the artist Olafur Eliasson opened August 22 2015. The bridge is a present from Nordea-fonden to the City of Copenhagen.

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Cirkelbroen in brief

Based on the Christianshavn district’s maritime history and culture, Olafur Eliasson used the sailing boat as the visual point of departure for the design of Cirkelbroen. The bridge consists of five staggered circular platforms of various sizes, each with its own ‘mast’. Cirkelbroen is lit at night, and one section of the bridge functions like a swing bridge, rotating to allow large boats to pass into and out of the canal.

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Cirkelbroen is a pedestrian bridge that makes it easier for residents to walk, jog and cycle along the inner waterfront. Around 5,000 cyclists and pedestrians are expected to cross the bridge on a daily basis.

Size and opening

The bridge is roughly 40 metres long with a water-clearance height of 2.25 metres when closed. The total length of the rotating part is around 25 metres long.

The bridge opens as a swivel bridge to provide an open navigable channel of 9 metres. The bridge is a part of the City of Copenhagen’s bridge-opening policy. After receiving security certification, the local bridge society will be able to open the bridge with a key card. It takes about 20 seconds to open the bridge.

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The name

The name “Cirkelbroen” (the Circle Bridge) arises from its shape: five differently-sized circular platforms, each with its own ‘mast’.

The circle presents an alternative to the direct line across the water. It encourages pedestrians and cyclists to reduce their speed; it provides a vantage point where people can take a short break, thus creating a new space between two urban areas rather than providing the fastest possible route across Christianshavn Canal.

The circle also refers to the compass, to orientation and to cartography. It suggests a dynamic navigation model which enables a renegotiation of the public space. In so doing, the bridge makes small changes to the way we perceive and experience the city. At a macro level, the circle refers to the circle drawn by the inner city of Copenhagen, which Cirkelbroen helps to complete by connecting the Christiansbro area to Appelbys Plads.

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text: Nordea-fonden

images: Studio Olafur Eliasson


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