Bellevue isn’t just any old beach. In 1931, Arne Jacobsen was invited to enter a competition for a bathing area as part of Gentofte Municipality’s overall plan for the area. The beach is 700 meters of sandy shoreline behind which is a small park with trees.
The whole beach, park and surrounding area have played a key role in recent Danish cultural history, and it’s only a5 minutes’ walk from Klampenborg Station near Bakken.
In the summer of 1932, Bellevue Beach with its changing rooms, lifeguard towers and elegant, metal-sheeted kiosks, opened to paying bathers, designed by Arne Jacobsen, who won the competition. And the beach itself is still one of the most popular in the Copenhagen area.
It’s a great choice on really warm days because of the welcoming shade provided by the trees, and Jacobsen has designed everything down the smallest detail. Bellevue Beach was an early example of a consistent branding strategy.
As soon as the water and sand reach the appropriate temperature, the season’s latest swimsuit fashions are aired at Bellevue, as it did in 1932. The artificial beach was quickly nicknamed ‘the flypaper’ because bathers often were squeezed so closely together.
Today, it is not just the Sound’s waves that attract people. Copenhageners have always loved Bellevue Beach. First they flocked to it on the boats that crossed regularly from Copenhagen to Klampenborg, then from 1934 on the newly opened suburban electric railway.
The two beach-volleyball courts are particularly popular, and now as then people shelter from the sun under the trees, spread out blankets for picnics and relax with a book.
The sweet life has come within reach of the masses
Feature image (on top): Bellevue beach, anno 1938. Photo: Sven Gjørling
Old Times at Bellevue Beach in Copenhagen, written by Tor Kjolberg