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Campus

The big UCPH campus guide

The University of Copenhagen has four campuses. Our guide has everything you need to know to feel (and look) like you belong on them. We give you the inside line on fredagsbar, where the hide- outs are, the best places to see bunnies (for real) and a whole lot more.

City Campus

Population: 6,700 students enrolled in seven undergraduate programmes and nine graduate programmes

Welcome to the centre of the universe – okay, so the centre of Copenhagen at least – where some of the country’s best and brightest take their first big step up the career ladder.

For most UCPH students, City Campus is synonymous with CSS, the Center for Sundhed & Samfund (the Health and Society Centre), located in the old city hospital. This is where tomorrow’s psychologists, sociologists, economists, political scientists and anthropologists – denizens of the Faculty of Social Sciences – get their start. Studying alongside them are the students of the public-health department (a part of SUND – the Faculty of Health Sciences, fordi der altid skal være en undtagelse på Københavns Universitet. Let this be one of your first lessons about the university: there is always an exception to the organisational chart. The Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management is on Øster Voldgade.

Nowadays just about anyone you meet around the university buildings in Indre By (literally, the inner city) will have nothing to do with the uni, now that Law and Theology have moved to Søndre Campus (South Campus). And if you do find any, they’ll probably be at Studenderhuset – your favourite place in Copenhagen as an international student.

All that’s left in the original buildings on Frue Plads is the administration (which explains why they are often lovingly referred to as the Führerbunker). The University Post (or Uniavisen, if you want to sound like you know Danish already) is located next door in the courtyard of St. Kannikestræde 18. Pop in some time. The coffee’s on us.

Finding your way around: CSS is where navigation went to die, so it’s okay if you can’t find your way around CSS. You’ll fit in better that way. There are plenty of people who completed their undergrad studies without ever finding both canteens. Because the buildings were originally a hospital, there is actually very little about them that makes them useful as university buildings. At some point, you’re going to find yourself somewhere that – despite being hyggelig and all – will not be where you needed to be. Right then and there you’ll ask yourself whether apparition is something they teach here. It’s probably not a coincidence that the very first feature they put on the MyUCPH app was a map of CSS.

Student counselling: All departments have student counselling. You find CSS’s in Building 5. Unless you’re studying Econ. Then yours is in Building 26. (See, there’s your second exception already.)

Reading rooms: There is no shortage of places where you can sit and study undisturbed. In 4.1 you’ll find the faculty library and three identical reading rooms, as well as the avislounge (newspaper lounge) where it’s okay to talk. Good luck finding a seat if you show up after 10 though. You can also try the basement of Building 7, more commonly known as the prison. The good thing about the prison is that there’s always a place to sit. The bad: there’s no air. (Read more in our guide to Copenhagen reading rooms).

You can study undisturbed in 'the prison' - the oxygene free reading room in building 7.
... or outside in one of the beautiful courtyards.
image: Lizette Kabré

Lecture halls: CSS has two fancy new lecture halls: the Christian Hansen Lecture Hall, in the north-western corner, and the main lecture hall in Building 35. Most classes, though, are held in smaller rooms where the presence of thick concrete columns – and seats with absolutely no view of the board – leaves you questioning whether they were intended to be used as lecture halls in the first place.

Canteens: CSS has two of these, too. The main canteen is in the basement of Building 5. There is a smaller one in the basement of Building 4. As with the university’s other canteens, the prices might make eating there something of a luxury for the average student. A lot people pack a lunch and eat outside.

Coffee: Local student run café Kommunen has the cheapest coffee (kr 4 per cup, kr 8 for a half litre) but remember that you get what you pay for. On the other hand, they have an extensive selection of milks and ‘milks’, and they serve Bastogne biscuits. The canteen will get you for kr 5 for a cup of coffee and kr 10 for a half litre.

Friday bars: Each department has its own bar/café. PolySci has Jacques D; Psych, Dræberkaninen (the Killer Rabbit); and Soc and Anthro have Katedralen (the Cathedral). But come Friday, the action moves to Kommunen, where the departments take turns hosting fredagsbar (Friday bar). If you’re an aficionado, you’ll probably do your pre-party during KØS (se the Uni lingo section, below).

Geology students hang out at Geobar, on Øster Voldgade, a cave-like dive featuring craft-beer oriented themes that change on a regular basis. Prices are generally affordable – thanks in part to the unintended discounts given out by the hard-partying bar staff.

Friday Bar at Kommunen.
image: Janus Engel Rasmussen
Campus atmosphere at CSS.
image: Lizette Kabré

Dresscode: Runs the gamut. If you’re Anthro, you’ll fit in if you have dreadlocks and facial hardware. The majority stick to something safe and non-descript (read as: dark and neat). If you’re an aspiring bureaucrat, you’ll probably dress the part – down to the official ID card from your part-time job at the Finance Ministry casually poking out of your pocket.

On-line: Join the Facebook group Sociale arrangementer på CSS (CSS Social Events).

Hide-outs: In the good old days, the hospital was a place where you went to die. Fortunately for us, they felt that you should die in a bucolic setting. CSS is synonymous with chaos, but out of that chaos arises a wealth of nooks, crannies, courtyards, gardens and other places where you can have some hygge – alone or with someone else. There are also plenty of group rooms and unused classrooms you can use. We suggest the greenspace between buildings 9 and 23. There are rabbits there. And you know what the nice thing about rabbits is: they’ll know where you’re coming from when you tell them you didn’t understand a word of what you just read and that your instructor is a bore and that you failed an exam and that you got kicked out of your flat and that, to top it all off, your boy/girlfriend just dumped you. They will totally get it.

The botanical gardens across the road are also good place to go when you need to gather your thoughts, as is Østre Anlæg park, near Statens Museum for Kunst (the national gallery)

Uni lingo: ‘KØS’ mean Kommunal Øl-service (Municipal Beer Service) – and is held every Friday at 14.00 at Kommunen. A good way to meet a beer (and people) you’ve never met before.

High point of the year: Campusdag (Campus Day). Beer, music, sun. Held in May.

 

Frederiksberg Campus

Population: 4,000 students enrolled in seven undergraduate programmes and 15 graduate programmes

Welcome to the university’s greenest (and, according to some, it’s most beautiful) campus – even if a smidgeon of concrete has been added here and there. No doubt in the name of keeping things in balance.

Frederiksberg Campus grew out of the former Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University (you might hear this referred to as ‘Landbohøjskole’ in Danish), located south of Thorvaldsensvej. The main building is from 1858, where you will find the historical octagonal Festauditorium (which was blown up in 2000 – but that story at some other time). Frederiksberg is where you’ll find veterinary students. And their fredagsbar.

In the centre of campus, between Thorvaldsensvej and Rolighedsvej, is the building known as Højhuset (Scyscraper), a concrete tower that underwent a somewhat unsuccessful expansion in the 1990s (seen from an aesthetic perspective). Today it mostly resembles a long tower block traversed on the inside by a long, long corridor. But don’t let the tired façade fool you; inside, you’ll find modern food-science and biotech labs. In a sign of the academic times, they just built a new plant-science centre on the Frederiksberg Campus.

North of Rolighedsvej, nature makes a comeback, and here you’ll find Landscape Architecture and Natural Resources, nestled in amongst lush foliage and greenhouses.

The atmosphere: Frederiksberg Campus is a down-to-earth, welcoming place, which probably has a lot to do with the practical ‘farm-to-fork’ subjects taught there. That, and the fact that it had existed as an independent institution for 150 years before the university saw its programmes partitioned between the Faculty of Health (SUND) and the Faculty of Science (SCIENCE)  – which, as a side-effect, has created one of the university’s most amusing bureaucracies. (See: I need to print. What do I do? – or read this article).

Student counselling: Located on Thorvaldsensvej.

Reading rooms: The library on Dyrlægevej (KUB Frederiksberg) is great, but finding a place to sit can be tough during exam periods.

I need to print. What do I do? Just click on ‘Print’. FYI: If you are enrolled in SUND, you can’t use SCIENCE’s printers and vice versa. That makes it something of a challenge to prepare for exams if you’ve taken a SCIENCE class and have to prepare for an exam for a SUND class. And vice versa.

Canteens: Two. Gumle, in Højhuset, and Gimle, in an old building on Dyrlægevej that is famous for being a place where Louis Pio, a 19th century social democratic rabble-rouser, once held a speech.

More about food: Food Science is known for handing out samples in Vandrehallen.

Coffee: The university’s best cup of coffee is served at Café Væksthuset, located in the garden at Landbohøjskolen. It’ll set you back, though. If you’re looking for something that won’t, there is free coffee at Føtex Food on Rolighedsvej. The canteens close early, but if you need something to keep you going come mid-afternoon you can bring some instant and boil water in the kitchenette near the main entrance on Thorvaldsensvej. You can also pop into A-vej, which has café service Tuesdays and Thursdays from 15.00 to 19.00.

Friday bar: Frederiksberg Campus has just one, A-vej (short for Acaciavej), but that’s all they need. A-vej is legendary, both for the bar itself as well as for its inexpensive craft beers. A-vej serves so much beer, in fact, that it is one of Carlsberg’s leading sales outlets, and the brewery made special beer glasses for them.

Dresscode: Most people here spend time outside or in the lab, so their casual, practical dress reflects that. Don’t be surprised if you bump into vet students in scrubs on their way to dissect something, or natural-resources students wearing wellies on their way to plant something. As one student wrote on Facebook: “Be careful what you wear the first time you go to fredagsbar. It’s easy to over-dress. The desscode is casual. Wellies are welcome.”

Hide-outs: Once you make it past the mob of pram-pushing mums on maternity leave, you should be able to find yourself a quiet corner of Landbohøjskolens garden where you can study. And, speaking of hide-outs: up in the attic of Bülowsvej 17 there is an incredible collection of animal skeletons and antique farm equipment.

Smoking: There is an expensive-looking shed outside Rolighedsvej 23 where you can smoke. We’ve tried to find out how much it cost, but to no avail.

Never-ending campus: Frederiksberg Campus includes sites as far flung as Taastrup (20km to the west), where vet students get hands-on training at the university’s large-animal veterinary hospital, and the Forest College at Nødebo, site of the university’s most luxurious canteen – and its largest collection of chain saws.

Student life: If you want to have a life, you’ll need to join a student organisation. Fortunately, there are plenty, including, to name a few: AVF (runs A-vej), Jagtforeningen (for hunters), Smediefesten (annual festival – see below), Smedierevyen (revue), LIFE koret (choir), Sønderjysk Hjemstavnsforening (for people from South Jutland – probably hard to fake you way into that one as an international student).

On-line: Follow Frederiksberg Campus on Facebook.

High point of the year: Smediefesten – two days of partying, just for Frederiksberg Campus students. Features concerts, beer and barbeque (keep in mind that grilled ‘oysters’ are really bull testicles – last year they served 70kg of them); 18-19 May.

 

North Campus

Population: 12,000 students enrolled in two faculties offering 18 undergraduate programmes and 30 graduate programmes

Welcome to the home of the ‘wet’ sciences here at the University of Copenhagen – charmed recipient of funding from both the public and private sectors.

North Campus (Nørre Campus in Danish) can be divided into three distinct areas: south of Tagensvej, where the med students, the odontology students and their fellow health-science students roam the enormous, conjoined Panum Institute and Mærsk Tower; north of Tagensvej, in the triangle it forms with Jagtvej and Nørre Allé, you’ll find a mishmash of buildings surrounding Universitetsparken housing most of the university’s natural and biological science departments. (Universitetsparken, by the way, is the home of Forårsfestivalen, the annual uni-wide spring bash.) At the top of this triangle we have still more health sciences in the form of the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Lastly, but by no means least, we have the Niels Bohr Building, which should have opened 18 months ago. The latest word is that Physics, Chemistry and Maths will be able to move in next summer. Probably.

Finding your way around: The buildings that make up the Panum Institute are connected by one long-ass, two-storey corridor. Each building is numbered – starting at the Blegdamsvej end with 1 (administration) and ending up at Nørre Side Allé with 33 (dentistry). Beware: the system makes little sense. Some numbers have been skipped over at random. Others, like the Mærsk building have multiple numbers. You’ll figure it out at some point.

If you’re a student, you’ll only see the ground floor of Mærsk, where the fancy lecture halls and the canteen are. All the upper floors are reserved for research. You’re allowed up there and you may even look through the windows at what’s going on in the labs. You are permitted to go all the way up to the 15th floor. We highly recommend it. The view of is city is amazing.

Over at the HC Ørsted Institute, home of old-school science, all of the rooms are accessible from a main corridor. The signage is adequate and informative. Unfortunately, it also happens to be easy to move. You are forewarned.

The HC Ørsted Institute is not necessarily the prettiest building at UCPH
image: Wikipedia Commons
... it is, however, located right next to Universitetsparken.
image: Rasmus Preston
Also at Universitetsparken, the the Niels Bohr Building, which should have opened 18 months ago.
image: Anders Fjeldberg

Student counselling: SUND’s academic counsellor has two offices: one in Panum building 10 and one at Universitetsparken 1. Science’s academic counsellor is at Universitetsparken 2.

Reading rooms: There is a good maths reading room at the HC Ørsted Institute. There is normally plenty of room at the Biocentre on Otto Maaløes Vej and the library on Tagensvej (KUB Nord) has 489 seats, so plenty of room. Panum just had a new, sound-proofed reading room put in. med lydsluse. The old one is used to display specimens. And then there’s the ‘wet’ reading room in the basement – for studying organs and other body parts. They don’t let you in without an appointment.

Canteens: Pharmacy, Computer Science and Biology all have their own canteens. The HC Ørsted canteen serves what you expect and it can be hard to find place to sit. What few seats there are get hogged by the Maths Department. On the positive side, they start serving coffee in time to get a cup before your first lecture. The canteen at the Biocentre is better (the cake is good) but the top vote has to go to the Mærsk Tower’s swanky new canteen and its organic food.

Coffee: There’s free coffee in Panum student union Studenterklubben, at mBar – and at Cafeen?, but only if you are a member (which costs kr 20 a year). You can get a cheap cup of coffee at most canteens – or you can try to wheedle one of the research groups into giving you a cup of theirs. If you are lucky enough to have lab in the Mærsk Tower, you can get your coffee on tap. Just like water. No joke.

Fredagsbarer: Farmaceuterne har deres elskede freBAR, bio-folket graviterer mod Mbar, der også holder en killer oktoberfest, mens naturvidenskabsfolket flokkes i Cafeen?, der har åbent til klokken 3. På Panum åbner Studenterklubbens populære fredagsbar allerede klokken 11. Du skal læse på SUND for at komme ind, men kan nogle gange tage én ven med – dog ikke til semesterstart.

The legendary 69 hour bar at Panum.
image: Freja Linn
View from the top floor of the Mærsk Tower.
image: Dennis Christiansen

Dresscode: Pretty much anything goes. Don’t worry about breaking any fashion laws. You won’t be alone. As one student said: “No-one will even notice if you look like an idiot.” Actuarial Sciences students in their businessy attire stick out, as do the PE students in their sporty gear (and for their activity level).

Hide-outs: Find a quiet spot under a tree in Universitetsparken. Pusterummet (Breathing Room), an award-winning, student-run initiative at Panum, is looking for a someplace where students can go to relax, but they haven’t found anything yet.

Uni lingo: Molecular Biology students are molboere. (Molbo is the Danish word for ‘boondoggle’.) The HC Ørsted Institute, abbreviated HCØ often gets called HCOvn (ovn = oven) because its ventilation system often konks out. Cafeen?’s regulars call it ‘home’. And, the Physics Department calls its student union | RUM |. (Rum = space. Get it?)

Online: The Nørre Campus Facebook group is there, but it needs a little help.

High point of the year: During the last weekend of October, Panum holds its ’69 hour bar’, which in reality is three days of 100 or so pop-up bars, each one with a more absurd theme than the one before. In early March, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Biochemistry, Molecular Biomedicine, Biology, Mathematics and Nanoscience all head to the alps to party (and ski). Sign up here.

 

South Campus

Population: 15,000 students enrolled in three faculties offering 100 graduate and undergraduate programmes

L

et’s get something straight: no-one calls South Campus (Søndre Campus in Danish) South Campus. Okay, the administration does, but students refuse to call it anything but KUA, even though the university officially changed the name last year.

KUA, short for Københavns Universitet Amager (University of Copenhagen, Amager), started its life as a nasty, brutalistic complex that was once described by author and KUA alum Jan Sonnergaard as “northern Europe’s cheapest, ugliest and most unpleasant public building”.

Today, what was once a redoubt for the Humanities is history, torn down and replaced by three sandstone and glass structures (KUA 1-3). Last year saw the Theology and Law faculties and the School of Library and Information Science move into KUA 3, bringing the total number of students attending class there to 15,000.

Finding your way around: All the stairwells in the South Campus buildings are painted with a different colour, often some shocking shade, that is used throughout the building to help people find their way around. If you are a numbers person, you can also navigate using the buildings’ room-numbering system. So, let’s say you have a Post-feminist Grammar class in room 14.3.67. Well, then you know you need to go to room 67, on the third floor of building 14. So far so easy. Just don’t expect room 67 to be next to room 66. But, you’ll get the hang of it at some point. You’ll also get around to remembering that KUA 1 encompasses buildings 21-25 and 27 (there is no 26), KUA 2 encompasses 10-16, and KUA 3 encompasses 4-9. Where 1, 2 and 3 are is anyone’s guess. Got it?

Student counselling: Each department has their own student counselling office.

Reading rooms: KUA 2 and KUA 3 have lots of places where you can study. For that, you can thank KUA 1. After realising they hadn’t included enough reading space in KUA 1, the building’s designers made sure they didn’t repeat their mistake when building KUA 2 and 3. The departmental libraries tend to be quiet, as does the Royal Library, of course. The Information Science library is bright and pleasant, as is the new atrium in the Law building at KUA 3, which is good for individual and group study. If you want someplace quiet, try the hidden reading room behind the momentous stairwell in the atrium.

The atrium in the Law building at KUA 3 is good group study.
image: Lizette Kabré
Come spring, South Campus residents can enjoy the new Karens Blixen Square (and it's Death Star-like bike sheds).
image: Anders Fjeldberg

Canteens: The main canteen in KUA 1 serves hot meals and salads. The Wicked Rabbit at KUA 2 has vegetarian food, including good soup and nice veg. Carnivores will feel more at home in the KUA 3 canteen. The buffet can get expensive if you forget that you pay by weight. Mødestedet at KUA 2 serves sandwiches and wraps until 21.00. And if you are trying to stick to a budget, there’s a Fakta by the Metro and a Netto behind KUA 1.

Coffee: All the canteens serve reasonably priced coffee. Mødestedet sells fancier varieties. The best bargains are to be found at your departmental fredagsbar/café, which give all their profits back to the students to boot.

Friday bars: KUA is fredagsbar Nirvana. Each department has its own bar/café, giving students a home away from home. Law and Theology are both making the most of their new locales. Law’s Jurabar finally has enough room for everyone, and Theology’s Teobar is just as welcoming, despite no longer being in the homely confines of its Købmagergade basement.

After a few weeks of hanging out at your own fredagsbar you’ll be ready for that time-honoured tradition known as the KUA crawl, where you wander the corridors of South Campus in search of someone else’s fredagsbar. We recommend the Saxo Institute’s Café Helga.

Unofficial dress code: This is not your parents’ university. Worn out sweaters went out with the old KUA building. Today’s KUA-students are fashion-conscious and well-dressed – in an Instagram-friendly ‘oh, I just put on whatever was clean’ way. Theology and Saxo are most relaxed. Law is more Kenzo-Versace. Expect to see men in businesswear mingling with polar bears (aka women in fur).

Hide-outs:  There are plenty of high-backed sofa arrangements that do a good job of sheltering you from the outside world. The fourth floor of Law is really quiet, and, if there aren’t a lot of other people around, the rooftop terraces and the canal by KUA 1 are good when you need to recharge.

Smoking: After being forced off the rooftop terraces and away from the main entrance of KUA 3, smokers can now only smoke outside and away from buildings.

Uni lingo: It’s called KUA, not South Campus, according to everyone who answered us on Facebook.

On-line: The KUA group on Facebook is a good place to find out about job openings, see what people have lost and found and read University Post articles. (-;

High point of the year: At some, as yet identified date between 31 January and “spring”, work on Karen Blixens Plads is due to be complete and the square will be turned over to the university and KUA students, giving the campus a new focal point, and a place where you can get free Wi-Fi, charge your phone and park your bike under domes that look a lot like the Death Star.

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