In 1996 when Copenhagen was Cultural Capital of Europe a special place for children, Garden of Senses, was opened Faelledparken. It was the first public sensory garden in Denmark.
The process lasted from the beginning of 1994, when the first sketches were made by Landscape Architect Helle Nebelong who already then was specialized in gardens and playgrounds for disabled children. Her earlier assignments were targeted private institutions. It was, therefore, a challenge to design a garden of senses, which would be open to the public 24/7 and situated in the most frequented public park in Copenhagen.
Garden of Senses in Copenhagen is shaped like a maze with winding paths, leading the visitor past many different experiences: wonder spaces with tangible sculptures – one sculpture to each of the five senses, crossings, a riverside scenery with rocks and a lake scenery without water, a crab apple island and a labyrinth of wooden palisades where you can spell your way through the alphabet. There’s a bamboo shrub, a small garden of fragrance with a fountain, prickly evergreens, a wilderness with old, crumbling sculptures, a pavilion garden, a grove of ginkgoes, a butterfly garden and a lot of other elements to discover.
The idea behind the Garden of Senses is to give the urban child a glimpse of the richness of nature, in order to awaken his interest for nature and help him to learn about nature and to respect it at the same time.
The first Gardens of Senses were created in connection with homes for children and young people with multiple disabilities, who were unable to go out and experience “real” nature. These gardens are usually small plots just outside the doors of the homes.
The Garden of Senses in Faelledparken has been designed to be explored and enjoyed by adults and children of all ages. It has become a popular place for families to go when they need to calm down and experience that green surroundings are good for the eyes and for mental health.
Many visually disabled people also visit and use the garden. Children of all ages come and train – although they do not realize it – their kinesthetic sense, their motor skills and skills of concentration.
The garden is full of contrasts.
The stones are also varied: rough and smooth, round and angular, small stones that rattle in your hand, big rocks for climbing.
An experience in itself is the sight of Hercules and the goddesses surrounded by all the greenery. This old sculpture group used to stand in Noerrebroparken in Copenhagen, but it was vandalized and taken down and declared unsuitable to be reinstated. In Garden of Senses the sculpture group has been reinstated to be honored and valued. Decay is suddenly beautiful and mystical in this green setting.
Location: Garden of Senses, Faelledparken, Copenhagen, Denmark
Building Owner: City of Copenhagen
Garden area: 4.000 sq. m
Design and Photos: Helle Nebelong, Landscape Architect MAA, MDL, MPM, Director
Officially opened to the public 20th June 1996