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1. The landscape

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Vestamager’s most important attraction is the landscape: the flat beach common with its open plains where sky and sea are sharply opposed, and where - if you look in the right direction - you can sense infinity. Looking in the other direction, your gaze will meet Ørestad’s futuristic buildings, with grazing cows in the foreground and the towers of Copenhagen further away.

Vestamager is one of the most important wetlands on Zealand and is well-known for its diversity, especially in species of waterfowl and wading birds. Here, just eight kilometres from the centre of Copenhagen, and ten minutes’ walk from the Metro, it is possible to see hunting birds of prey, fallow deer, a multitude of bird species, as well as grazing cows, sheep and horses. You can even bring your sleeping bag and spend the night in the open air, because Vestamager is fully accessible 24 hours a day.

2. Dyke and pump housing

Vestamager is situated 0-2 metres below sea level and until the middle of the last century, areas such as Koklapperne and Svenskeholm were islands in the part of Køge Bugt bay known as Kalvebod Løb. In order to prevent unemployed Danes from being sent to Germany as forced labour during the occupation, the government started work to reclaim the area between Zealand and Kalvebod Strand beach. A 14-kilometre dyke was built (recently heightened by two metres), 120 kilometres of canals and ditches were dug, and two pumping stations were installed which, after a few months, had drained 2,000 ha. of land, which is still kept dry. If the pumping stations stopped working, Vestamager would disappear over an extended period.

3. Glacial period boulders

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Between Pinseskoven forest and Klydesø lake reserve is an area with granite boulders which evidence the Ice Age, when glaciers brought large rocks from Norway and Sweden with them. During the last 10,000 years, these wandering rocks have lied on the seabed in what has gradually become Køge Bugt, and they were not visible until Vestamager was dammed in.

4. Pinseskoven forest

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The south easterly part of Vestamager is a large birch forest, which sowed itself in the 1950s when seeds were blown over from Sweden. Wandering the winding forest paths between the narrow black-and-white birch trees is like taking a walk in Denmark’s neighbouring country, Sweden. In Denmark, this birch forest is unique, in that it is left to manage itself. This benefits plant and animal life, for example rarities like orchids and the lesser purple emperor butterfly, which in Denmark only live here.

Pinseskoven (Whitsun Forest) got its name because a forester’s family had a Whitsun lunch every year between the tall, white trees. Pinseskoven has since become its official name. There is a bookable shelter, two primitive campsites, four camp-fire sites and a bird tower in the forest, and you can fish in the canal and in Hejresøen lake.

5. The bird sanctuary

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The Klydesø lake is part of the closed-off bird sanctuary, which you can view from the three bird towers on Dæmningsvejen and from a bird hide by Sydmøllevej. One of the most important wetland areas in Eastern Denmark, the sanctuary is a popular breeding and wintering location for waterfowl and wading birds, and it is a resting site for white-tailed eagles. Often very rare birds, such as the red-necked phalarope and the peregrine falcon pass by, and when this happens ornithologists flock to Dæmningsvej with their binoculars and long lenses.

6. Birkedam lake

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Birkedam lake is located south of the bridge at Kalvebod Bro in the area called Svenskeholm, north of Klydesø lake bird sanctuary. It is an important bird location, especially for meadow birds, and in the winter it is home to 4,000-5,000 tufted ducks. Fishing is allowed in Birkedam lake, and a camp-fire site and primitive campsites are located in the surrounding area.

7. Target hills

Up to 1984, Vestamager was owned by Defence Command Denmark and was used as a military training ground. Until a few years ago, it was not allowed to go outside of designated roads and paths, because of the possible presence of grenades, bullets and explosives in the soil, and 15 square kilometres were closed off to the public completely, but now everything has been removed. As a reminder of that time, the long, straight roads and little lakes remain as well as the small hills and concrete constructions used as targets.

8. Second World War

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Between Granatvej and Ugandavej north of Pinskeskoven, you will find an area with a lot of holes in the ground. These originate from the Second World War when a German warship in Køge Bugt wanted to demonstrate its superiority by firing across the area, which at this time was still covered by water.

9. Natural playground

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Himmelhøj playground is an unusual natural playground. It is about 10 minutes’ walk from the entrance nearest to Vestamager metro station and is split up into four themes: fire, air, water and earth. It has been created as an adventure landscape by the Art in Nature artist, Alfio Bonanno. It was opened in 2004. The largest installation is the over 50-metre-long Arken, which is like a beached ship on the former seabed. Furthermore, there is Ildstedet (The Hearth), encircled by 25 fir trunks with roots, each weighing four tonnes, and Insektskoven (Insect Forest), which is ideal for hide-and-seek between 370 black, scorched, oak trunks. Each location has camp-fire sites, where you can cook and tell stories around the open fire.

10. The Nature Centre

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A good start to a day in Vestamager is a visit to the Nature Centre, with regular activities and small exhibitions, from where guided tours depart. For more information, go to www.naturcentervestamager.dk. This is also where the Danish Nature Agency nature interpreters are based and where the nature schools of the City of Copenhagen and Tårnby Municipality are located. A small restaurant as well as toilet facilities, including facilities for the disabled, can also be found here.

You can rent bicycles, roller skates and equipment for nature exploration from Friluftshuset, for example traps, whittling kits and GPS for geocaching. You can also buy firewood.  It is also possible to rent a handcart with everything you need for a fun child’s birthday party for 25 people.

You can hire Icelandic ponies privately nearby.

11. Forest assistants

Friluftshuset is run by our forest assistants, who also clean up and in other ways improve the service for guests in the forest. The forest assistant scheme is a work-experience and education programme for people with learning difficulties and other special needs.

12. Kyststien path

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To prevent not only Vestamager, but also other large urban areas and important infrastructure, from flooding in the future, a new dyke has recently been built behind the original Kalvebod Dige dyke.  The new dyke is 5.9 metres high; two metres higher than the old dyke. It was opened in August, 2012. This is the first stage in the protection of the whole of Amager and the City of Copenhagen against the consequences of climate change.

At the same time, it has been possible to open a 14-km coastal path (Kyststien) on top of the old dyke, which was previously a part of the closed off Klydesø bird sanctuary, so that now you can bike, roller skate or hike through scenic areas from Islands Brygge, along Kalvebod Løb, to Kongelunden . Kyststien is to the 60-km track across the Kalvebod Bridge, northwards along the cycle super-highway along Vestvolden, and southwards to Dragør.