Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

Letter from Europe

  • — Issue 2009/9 posted by hidden europe on

The building housing the Nimb Hotel in Copenhagen is deliciously exotic - a Taj Mahal style confection that incorporates Chinese and Moorish elements. It celebrates its centenary this year, having opened its doors in 1909 as Carstensen's Bazaar. In those days it housed a concert hall, an indoor market and for some years boasted the only Tivoli restaurant serving hot food.

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Dear fellow travellers

Spring has sprung. Well, not quite yet here in Berlin, but much of Europe has been enjoying the first buds of spring. And we have been spring cleaning, and would like to offer back issues of hidden europe at big discounts. Even as much as fifty per cent off the normal price. Our spring sale lasts just to 6 April. So if you read our e-news regularly and have never actually seen the magazine, now is your chance.

Changing trains (Copenhagen)

Changing trains can be an art. On our journeys across Europe, we always look out for opportunities to change trains in Cologne. The Rhineland city's great Gothic cathedral towers over the train station, inviting travellers to pause before continuing on their journeys. The Hauptbahnhof (main station) is so perfectly positioned in the very heart of the city that even a one hour stop is sufficient to permit an invigorating walk that takes in many of the city's principal sights.

Copenhagen is another engaging spot to change trains. As it happens, hidden europe did just that last Saturday lunchtime. The station is a short hop from the historic centre of Copenhagen (on the island known as Slotsholmen). But for those not wanting to venture to Slotsholmen, the area around the station has much of interest. Tivoli, the extraordinary if somewhat dated pleasure garden, is right by the train station, but Tivoli's gates are still firmly shut at this time of year. Only at Easter will Tivoli reopen for the 2009 season. But you can already look into Tivoli from the Nimb hotel, a fabulous piece of stylish escapism just opposite the train station's eastern exit onto Bernstorffsgade.

The building housing the Nimb Hotel is deliciously exotic - a Taj Mahal style confection that incorporates Chinese and Moorish elements. It celebrates its centenary this year, having opened its doors in 1909 as Carstensen's Bazaar. In those days it housed a concert hall, an indoor market and for some years boasted the only Tivoli restaurant serving hot food. The catering was handled by the Nimb family, so hence the name that survives today.

A hundred years on, the building has been rescued from creeping neglect by new owners who have transformed it into one of the most stylish pieces of design we have ever seen. The oriental theme of the Tivoli perspective is now echoed on the station side of the building by an Arabic style lattice facade designed by Milan designer Matteo Thun, an architect whose buildings have superbly enhanced many Alpine and north Italian towns - Katschberg in Austria, Zermatt and Davos in Switzerland, and Merano in northern Italy.

Inside you will find a boutique hotel, a large delicatessen, a café, and the exquisite Nimb bar - the latter a lounge that exemplifies the chic minimalism that makes the entire building so appealing. The hotel rooms are surely pricey, definitely way beyond our means, but the public areas of the complex are very inviting and visitors may linger as they wish. Good views of Tivoli gearing up for another season of escapist delights, and some nicely classical allusions in the Nimb bar with Danish artist Cathrine Raben Davidsen's drawings giving a modern take on the tale of Philomela and Procne.

Next door to the Nimb, so also right by the station, is the Hercegovina restaurant - another expression of the eclectic mix of businesses that Tivoli has attracted to its environs. Lashings of meat with serenades by gypsies, if the advertisements are to be believed. And no more than a few steps away are a bunch of other curious eateries: a micro-brewery serving oysters and ale, an English-style pub and a place that mainstreams on Hereford beef stew. Changing trains in Copenhagen can easily become a gastronomic tour of Europe.

Nicky and Susanne
(editors, hidden europe magazine)

This article was published in Letter from Europe.

About The Authors

hidden europe

and Susanne Kries manage hidden europe, a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine. Nicky and Susanne are dedicated slow travellers. They delight in discovering the exotic in the everyday.