Folkehuset Absalon: From a disused church to a beating heart in the Vesterbro community of Copenhagen

By Ruben McCarthy

The laidback, casual interior design has transformed the disused church into a colourful social hub. 
Photo: Caelan Monkman

Lying on Sønder Boulevard and open 365 days a year, this place has become a centre for many activities such as communal dining, dance lessons, yoga, choir and flea markets.
Folkehuset Absalon’s story began in 2013, when the then-Minister of Culture, Marianne Jelved, decided to close six churches in Copenhagen.
But in 2014, it was saved by Flying Tiger Co-Founder, Lennart Lajboschitz, who bought the building for 10 million Danish Krone and turned it into a community space.
“The purpose of it is that it has to be created so it can run itself. No one is a volunteer, so everyone works and gets paid for it. And we don’t get any support from anywhere else”, says Dicte Vejvad, House Master at Absalon.

As you walk into the main hall, the church décor has been replaced by bright painted walls, long tables and soft furniture.  

This is where the communal dining takes place every day, costing only DKK 50 per person from Sunday to Thursday and DKK 100 for two courses on Friday and Saturday. For those with young children ­– those under 3 eat for free.

“The main thing is for people to meet, that’s what we want to do. And it has to be accessible economically for everyone else. So you don’t have to buy anything in Absalon – you can just come here and sit”, added Vejvad.

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