• In the Footsteps of the Nordic Noir

    by  • August 14, 2014 • City Breaks, Copenhagen, Culture Breaks, Television

    See the Scandinavian Sights brought to the Screen by Wallander, The Bridge, Borgen and The Killing.

    As good as our crime dramas are here in the UK – Prime Suspect, Luther, Broadchurch and good old Inspector Morse all spring to mind – it’s fair to say that in this country, we’ve long enjoyed international TV imports, particularly from the US with blockbusters such as CSI, 24, The Blacklist and True Detective. And yet, in the past couple of years, dark and gritty dramas from Scandinavia and Denmark in particular have become a surprise hit on our TV screens, with the likes of Wallander, Borgen, The Bridge and The Killing all becoming hits with UK audiences. Filmed on location in Copenhagen, Malmö, Riga and Ystad, Sweden, I take a look at some of the famous city backdrops of these trendy Nordic Noirs….

    Set in Copenhagen, the Danish hit TV series Borgen is nicknamed after Christiansborg Palace (Slot), serves as the primary location of filming. Set apart from the rest of the city by the three canals that surround it, Christiansborg Slot is an imposing granite palace situated on the small island of Slotsholmen, today playing host to the Danish parliament and the prime minister’s office. A former royal residence until 1795 when the palace went up in flames, the Queen of Denmark still uses Christiansborg for royal receptions.

    Christiansborg Palace

    If you’re on the Borgen trail whilst city breaking in Copenhagen, be sure to also take in the Copenhagen Business School; the striking Black Diamond, an extension to the Royal Library and home to a concert hall and the National Museum of Photography; and the Royal Library Gardens, situated between the Royal Library and Christiansborg Palace on Slotsholmen.

    Also set in Copenhagen is The Killing and amongst the more famous landmarks of the Danish capital such as Christiansborg Palace, City Hall and the Police Headquarters, you’ll need to travel to some of the lesser-known districts of the city to follow in the footsteps of Sarah Lund including Ryvangen Memorial Park, Vesterbro, Humleby and Østerbro, location of Lund’s apartment.

    The Bridge meanwhile is filmed in both Copenhagen and Malmö, a short train ride from the Danish capital across the 16km-long Øresund Bridge, under which a body is found in the first series of this dark drama. You’ll also need to take in the pedestrianised Blågårdsgade on Nørrebro, where Muhammed and his son Saif own a greengrocers; the City Court of Copenhagen; and Nordhavnen, situated right on the Øresund Coast and serving as Denmark’s largest marina.

    An hour to the east of Malmö is Ystad, a picturesque town boasting cobbled squares lined with medieval, half-timbered houses and used as a location for filming both the Swedish and UK versions of Wallander, starring Kenneth Branagh. And an interesting point on which to finish: the Latvian capital of Riga also served as a filming location in the third series of Wallander, with several scenes shot at the Hotel Riga and outside the Latvian Parliament.


    With a French grandmother, childhood holidays on the continent and a degree in French and Spanish, a love of languages and travel has always been in my blood. Fresh from university with an unfettered enthusiasm to show off my linguistic ability and first-hand knowledge of the world beyond the UK, I entered the travel industry and, 16 years on, I’m still there! With several years spent in the luxury sector planning escorted holidays across Europe for the American market, followed by an even longer tenure designing short breaks with a difference in the must-see cities of Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam, Madrid, Prague, Florence, Brussels, Venice, Salzburg, Milan, Krakow and Berlin (to name but a few), it’s fair to say that Europe is my passion! Today my travels have taken me far beyond the boundaries of Europe with so many destinations still to discover, yet the continent abounds in such a wealth of treasures – historical and architectural, cultural and musical, gastronomic, artistic and linguistic – that its appeal, for me, will be eternal.