The developing Copenhagen neighbourhood of Nordvest

Nordvest is a neighbourhood in the Danish capital of Copenhagen that in some people’s eyes still has a bad reputation. Through city development this notion is rapidly changing.

In Nordvest the neighbourhood’s industrial history is still visible through the reimagined use of the area’s older buildings. Photo: Joakim Lundgren Tryk.

April 21, 2024
By Henry Stoner and Joakim Lundgren Tryk

Nordvest is a neighbourhood in Copenhagen, Denmark that is developing rapidly.

Often referred to as undiscovered and up-and-coming, Nordvest is situated four and a half kilometres from the capital’s city centre and located right after the popular neighbourhood Nørrebro, and thus feels like the natural next neighbourhood in line to go through development. 

What once was

Back in the 1990’s Nordvest had somewhat of a bad reputation. 

The neighbourhood was more industrious. It was a place you would go to find an auto shop or something alike. It was a neighbourhood associated with syringes in the streets, crime, and gangs hanging around, making the area unpleasant.

“Nordvest used to be quite an industrial area,” says Lillian Rønn. She likes the neighbourhood today and spends a lot of time at Nordvest’s library, BIBLIOTEKET Rentemestervej. “It has had a bad reputation. It used to be a bit of a tougher place, but I don’t think it is anymore.”

Because of Nordvest’s reputation it was not the most expensive neighbourhood to move to or live in. However, as time has passed and as the population of Copenhagen has increased, people have had to spread out, moving further away from the city centre.

Yellow bricks are classic Danish building blocks and can be found throughout the entire country. Photo: Joakim Lundgren Tryk.

A changing neighbourhood 

Walking around Nordvest today you will see a multitude of different building styles from different eras.

You can walk down one street, surrounded by typical yellow bricked apartment blocks, then turn a corner and think you wandered into an industrial area. 

Though Nordvest has gone through several neighbourhood improvement projects since the 1980’s to make it into more of a residential neighbourhood, old industrial buildings are still to be found. In recent years a trend has emerged, where people restore and repurpose these buildings instead of tearing them down to make room for new apartment complexes.

Business owners will repurpose and fix old buildings such as turning a rundown garage into a bakery, like the owners behind the bakery, Flere Fugle, did. Photo: Joakim Lundgren Tryk.

Besides these project’s Nordvest also sees a lot of reconstruction and renovating today, which can leave some residents a bit bothered.

“I actually quite like the way the area is a mix of some of the older buildings, the industrial buildings and such, and newer buildings,” says Lillian Rønn. “But there’s a lot of renovating and construction going on these days, so there’s a lot of noise all the time. That of course is a pity, but hopefully it will lead to something good, so it’s bearable.”

Lillian is not alone in her view of Nordvest today. “I like Nordvest. I think it’s changing a lot, and something really happened like the last ten years, but I think the reputation problem changed just in the last couple of years,” says Laura Thaulhardt, who works at a café in the neighbourhood. “Of course, there are some very nice areas and some that are less charming, but all in all I like being here.”

Mere development or gentrification? 

Though Nordvest’s reputation is changing like the neighbourhood itself, these changes often come with a cost.

The rapid changes of Nordvest are often seen as positive. Several political neighbourhood renewal projects have been implemented, the latest being in 2016. Although both residents and politicians are excited about the developing neighbourhood, this development also has it downsides.

Due to the development projects and the rising popularity in Nordvest, along with the general population increase in Copenhagen, among other thing, today’s housing prices in Nordvest, as well as other neighbourhoods, are higher than ever. 

Property prices on the housing market of realised trades of condominiums in the postal code of 2400, Copenhagen NV (Nordvest) from 1992-2023 divided by quarters. Source: Finans Danmark.

The rising prices makes it difficult for some people to find housing in Copenhagen, and Nordvest is no exception. Gustav Sundby, a recent university graduate just recently moved to Nordvest. “I was offered a place to live here, so I took it,” he says. “I like living here, it’s a nice neighbourhood. It’s within biking distance of everything, but I think it’s pretty expensive here.”

Despite Nordvest’s earlier reputation, the neighbourhood today is in full bloom with a multicultural population, many small businesses, and an interesting, mixed architecture.

This story is for tourists visiting Copenhagen from Malmö, but more so for people commuting to or moving to Copenhagen from Malmö. It could be published on