Copenhagen Harbour Bath

Updated 26.07.22 |
Signe Moeslund Mains

Photo credit: Esben Brunn

Next to yachts and speed boats, office and industrial buildings, locals and tourists swim in the clear, harbour waters of Copenhagen. BIG and JDS Architects have designed Copenhagen Harbour Bath. 

The harbour bath on Islands Brygge has generated a rich urban life and great economic value for the City of Copenhagen. Property values in the neighbouring area have increased by 10 %, and the residential units facing the waterfront have increased by 50-100 %. 


The scenic quality of the harbour bath has resulted in increased activity and traffic in the area surrounding the Islands Brygge waterfront. General improvements of the urban space, the construction of the harbour bath and the completion of the Islands Brygge harbour park have resulted in an increase in property prices of 50-100 % for the properties facing the waterfront and around 10 % for properties in the neighbouring area. This is shown in a report prepared by COWI in 2012.  

Branding & Accessibility 

It is unique for a major city like Copenhagen that the water in the canals is so clean that you can swim in it. The harbour bath has therefore become a symbol of the significant value the water in the canals has for Copenhagen, which is one of the cleanest major cities in the world. A study made by Wonderful Copenhagen in 2012 shows that staying at the Copenhagen waterfront is the third most sought-after activity among approx. 700 responding tourists. A study made by the City of Copenhagen in 2015 also shows that the harbour bath is one of the most popular summer attractions for both tourists and locals with around 90,000 visitors in June 2014. 

Photo of Copenhagen Harbour Bath by BIG and JDS. Photo credit: JDS Architects
Photo credit: JDS Architects

About the case

Following years of heavy shipping traffic, the water in the Copenhagen canals were declared clean enough for swimming in 2001. The harbour bath is testament to the transformation that Islands Brygge has undergone from an industrial area to an attractive, green residential area with a rich urban life and urban qualities. Since the opening of the harbour bath in 2002, the facilities have stood as a visual landmark that, with their exposed location, helps brand Copenhagen’s cultural and social centre. With its docks, pontoons and wood-covered diving plateaus, the harbour bath connects the green recreational spaces on the Islands Brygge waterfront with the water in the canal and offers visitors the chance to go for dip in the middle of the city.

Read more about the case