Tag Archives: library

Sønderborg’s new multicultural centre on the harbour

sonderborg multicultural house

One of the key buildings in Frank Gehry’s Masterplan for Sønderborg is the multicultural centre that will sit at a prominent location in Sonderborg with views of both the harbour and the historical city centre.

There were two architect companies that took part in the contest to design the future centre. It has now been decided by the municipality which submission is the winning bid. And from the pictures published I think it looks like a really nice project.

The winning proposal for the new multicultural centre on the waterfront is created in collaboration between AART Architects, Zeni Architects, Alectia and Hoffmann.

Sonderborg havnefront

The centre will be built around the old warehouse (Ewers pakhus) that is the only old building left on the harbour at the moment.

The lonely warehouse on the harbour

The warehouse in is a pretty bad state but I think that once it has been restored it will add character and charm to the brand new building and be a physical reminder of the times where the harbour of Sonderborg was a bustling industrial port.

The building will bring together under one roof several cultural institutions, and create a place where the focus is on learning as well as other cultural and recreational activities. The building will amongst other things house Sønderborg Library, The German Library and South Jutlands Artschool.

sonderborg library

The building will be 5500m2 and it is expected that 1000 people will use the building daily and the budget cost of the centre is almost 100 million kroner.

sonderborg cafe library

Sonderborg Library: An Undiscovered Gem?

One of the first things I do when I move to a new place is drop by the library and figure out how to join. In Denmark public library membership is part and parcel of your health insurance (CPR) card, if you have that you are ready to go!

On entering Sonderborg Library for the first time I was quite impressed. It compares well to my previous favourite public lending library from when I lived in London: there are new books on a regular basis, the displays are constantly changing and, not to be forgotten, it is big, airy and light. This makes for an overall positive experience.

There are books for everyone’s taste, including a small English section, and also a small section with Danish books for adults with reading difficulties, which is where I get easy-to-read books in Danish without having to read about Soren and Mette playing with a cat. You can also get musics CDs and DVDs, though unfortunately most of the films we have borrowed have been scratched such that we couldn’t watch the complete film.

Nevertheless, the library here is much more than a place where you can borrow books from. There are regular events going on in the library, from talks, to music concerts. The notice board at the entrance to the library also carry a wealth of information about events in the area.

My absolute favourite feature of the library (and Danish libraries in general) is that you can have a book normally at another library delivered to you own library for you to read. The libraries you can borrow from therefore extends to most Danish libraries (including university libraries).

There is a wealth of knowledge out there that you can make use of. However, unfortunately, I have found that a good number of people (including Danes!) do not know of the possibilities the library offers. Moving here from London where libraries were being closed down due to cost-cutting I think it is only by using these services more can we show that we appreciate them and need them. Once the cuts are announced it is too late to realise how much you would like a library in your area – so use it now!

Talks at the library

Both of us are fairly regular library users and one of the first things Ann does when she arrives in a new city is to acquire a library card. Sonderborg was no exception and the staff here were really friendly and helpful so we both had access the second day we were in town.

Sønderborg Bibliotek

So far we have used the library to borrow books, DVDs and CDs, get internet (when our own failed) and then I have gone to two public talks. I haven’t really does this before but since I’m trying to stay on top of what’s going on in Sonderborg for this blog I’ve kept an eye on the library’s calendar and there are loads of really interesting topics.

Nikolaj Witte i Sønderborg om "Kina og jagten på udødeligheden"

First I went to a talk by Nikolaj Witte who presented “China and the search for immortality” about the religions and customs of China. A very inspiring talk and with Nikolaj’s background in philosophy we got a nice introduction to understanding the very different mentality and culture of China. This talk was part of the municipality’s week long celebrations of the Chinese New Year and I think that was why the event was free.

The second talk I went to was with Anders Høeg Nissen, one of the presenter of a weekly radio show about technology, robots and lasers. I’ve been a casual listener of the radio show since high school back in the late 90s so it was fun to put a face to the voice. Anders talked about trends in technology in general and some gadgets specifically. Most of the topics I had heard about in the show or read about elsewhere but still, it was good to take a step back and consider what these advances in technology mean for us in the bigger picture.

Signs, upcoming

Often topics are covered in themes so there will be series of talks about Iceland or this winter there are a lot of talks about WW1. All the talks I have read about has been by Danes and in Danish so you have to be able to comprehend spoken Danish to get something out of these talks. The prices are from free to 50/80DKK per talk, sometimes with discounts for students.

While we were living in London libraries were closing all around us. In our borough 6 out of 12 libraries got shut down during 2011. If you want to keep our library around you need to use it 🙂