Cisternerne – the underground caves in Copenhagen

Anya Jensen11th July 2016

The Cisterns are the long forgotten water reservoirs deep under the streets of Copenhagen, that once upon a time,  supplied the Danish capital with drinking water, and could hold as much as 16 million litres of clean water. The Cisterns were supplying Copenhagen for more than 70 years but were finally drained in 1981. In 1996 – where Copenhagen was the European city of culture, – the underground water reservoir was put to use as an exhibition space. The Cisterns are used today to host art exhibitions and other events, where the stunning architecture takes centre stage. The Cisterns are the only dripstone caves in Denmark and they are located in the area of Frederiksberg, under the park ‘Søndermarken’ directly opposite the Copenhagen Zoo.

cisternerne_01cisternerne_02I had seen many of my favourite Instagrammers posting stunning pictures from the Cisterns, so I knew I had to ‘drag’ the girls with me, so we could see it with our own eyes. When you enter the caves, the damp smell, and the humidity hits you as your eyes adjust. The entrance was candlelit, giving the place a stunning but ghostly look. It reminded me of ancient castles and parties from the olden days. The further you got in, the wetter, and darker it became.


The exhibition ‘That dream of Peace‘ was made specifically for The Cisterns by the Artist Eva Koch, and she was inspired by the belief in life and growth, despite the terror, wars and destruction of Today’s World. The installation was the perfect fit for The Cisterns, but I will say that if you bring smaller children, the sounds and images can be rather frightening in the dark rooms.


We were there for about 40 minutes. I could probably have spent some more time there taking photos, but the kids wanted daylight and ice-cream. I thoroughly recommend visiting The Cisterns for an interesting insight into the history of Copenhagen, and a look into a stunning Universe underground. I will be back for sure!


Thank you to Cisternerne for having us. Find them here Søndermarken, 2000 Frederiksberg – look for the signs!!


Photography – Anya Jensen for Simply Danish Living ©

Comments (8)

  • Igor

    14th July 2016 at 07:52

    Now look at that!! I didn’t know something like this existed in Copenhagen! So intriguing! I visited cisternes in Istanbul and in Jerusalem and it was always such an amazing feel to descend as it felt like going also into another time…

    1. Anya J

      8th August 2016 at 16:37

      Hi Igor,

      I never knew these existed either – but have seen many people rave about the place on Insta, so I knew I had to go. And trust me – I wasn’t disappointed – very very cool. Maybe a destination for your next visit.

      A x

  • mel

    14th July 2016 at 06:54

    This looks so interesting Anya. I love how they kept to theme and lined the steps with candles. So photogenic! xx

    1. Anya J

      8th August 2016 at 16:38

      I loved the candles too – made the place look magic and like being in a place that time forgot. 🙂
      Will take you there when you visit Copenhagen.

      A xx

  • Zara

    12th July 2016 at 16:16

    This place looks so incredibly cool and eerie at the same time. What an Interesting piece of history right under your feet.
    Thank you for sharing this with us.

    1. Anya J

      8th August 2016 at 16:38

      It is – the story is so special. I love it.
      A xx

  • Dorte

    11th July 2016 at 11:31

    What jeg vidste ikke at de eksisterede. Hvor smukt 😊

    1. Anya J

      8th August 2016 at 16:38

      Hej Dorte,

      Det vidste jeg heller ikke – men nu glemmer jeg det aldrig igen 🙂

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