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Dorms disclosed: Borchs Kollegium

Students review their own housing and accommodation in Copenhagen. Check out inner-city chateau Borchs this week.

Store Kannikestræde 12, in the heart of the historical city center, a beautifully whitewashed building reaches towards the sky, an intellectual lighthouse towering between the main library and the famous Admiral Gjedde’s courtyard. The dormitory currently houses 20 students of University of Copenhagen – all young, gifted, and handsome folk, who call themselves alumni of Borchs collegium.

Century old frenemies

Founded in 1691 by the multifaceted professor in philology, medicine and botany, Ole Borch, the dormitory has many traditions, some dating hundreds of years back.

These include celebrating the first snow with rum toddy in the garden and also the founder’s birthday culminating in a splendid feast with abundances of port wine.

The dormitory shares strong bonds with some of the other old dormitories in the city centre – the prominent Valkendorf, Vartov, Ehlers, and Regensen, the latter being the biggest and most famous of them, and therefore also subject to a fundamental hatred from all the others. The rivalry also exists between the other small dormitories, resulting in pranks, vandalism, and theft – though always in a friendly tone.

Step into Hogwarts

The student rooms differ in size, though not in price. Some have one big room. Others have two rooms, and the lucky few have two rooms and a mezzanine, literally making it a small apartment for the sheer price of 1.400 kroner. Incredible? Yes. Furnished? No.

The building itself stretches over five levels, three of them inhabited by humans. The ground floor holds five students sharing one kitchen, shower, and toilet. In addition to that, the library is also found here. Boasting hundreds of dusty books, some dating back before the 19th century, and a grand piano, it is quite the sight – and rather intimidating to newcomers.

But never judge a book by its cover. The first floor houses 7 people and the second 8, each floor sharing one kitchen, shower, and toilet. From the rooms facing the street, we can spy on drunken people in the street who are visiting ‘Den Glade Gris’ – the happy pig, in English – a place that truly lives up to its name. The alumni lucky enough to have a room facing the garden can enjoy the night’s silence and the sight of other alumni studying/sunbathing in the summer. Quite the sight, at times.

To eat, to chat or to dance, that is the question

If you’re not in the mood to cook, different food clubs will make you dinner several times a week at a cheap price. All in all, there is plenty of opportunities to eat together or just socialize around something else in the house.

Besides all of this, we have a cellar where the (free) washing machine is found. Other things worth mentioning down there, is the storage rooms, the workshop, and the wine cellar(!) where residents can find agents to help them pursuing all sorts of different objectives – getting clean clothes, fixing a bike (getting dirty clothes), or starting a party.

Speaking of parties, we also enjoy the luxury of our very own ballroom, found on the top floor. Big parties and sometimes lectures are held here, and when it is vacant we often take pleasure in a game of table tennis in the light of the glorious disco ball. In the other end of the top floor is the TV room. Alumni do not seem to find any excuse small enough to spend an hour or three in its big, soft couches, watching a movie whilst at times waiting for their hangovers to lift.

Getting in

The alumni presently residing are responsible for running the dormitory on a daily basis. That includes garden work-days twice a year and other interchanging duties once every few months. Really, it isn’t that hard and it helps establish a sense of ownership over the place, as well as shaping you up for eventually taking care of your own life, which some need more than others.

As for the alumni, they are a mix of students from the Humanities, Theology, and Science faculties. This is due to the constitution, which only allows students from mentioned faculties to move in. Also, you have to have finished at least two years of study before you can apply.

Despite that fact, we still boast a rather diverse crowd of people between 23 and 29 – only Danes at the moment – with an even gender distribution. This is entirely because we choose who moves in. Or, that is, two selected alumni read all applications every time a room is up for grabs, call some in for a talk and then pick whoever they feel fits in the best. Pure luxury.

Keep an eye on KU-net

The location makes it easy to satisfy any need a struggling student might have. Supermarkets, clothing shops, cafes, bars, and parks are just a few of the many offers within a five-minute bike radius. Especially worth mentioning is Paludan Bogcafé, a 30-second walk around the corner and an excellent place to study and maintain your caffeine addiction.

All in all, this must surely be the best place to stay for a student in all of Copenhagen! Though we expect everyone to participate in everyday maintenance we also get to decide many things about which direction we are moving in next. So – keep an eye out for entries on KU-net about vacant rooms, and you might just find yourself residing in our downtown chateau.

Pictures by Martina Zamboni.

universitypost@adm.ku.dk

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