While Copenhagen is famous for its architectural flare, one of the city’s famous landmarks is the “Black Diamond“. Built as an extension to the city’s ancient Royal Danish Library, the Black Diamond is a neo-modern 7-story addition which extends from the old library building to the city’s harbor/waterfront. It was finished in 1999. Granted its nickname due to the polished black marble and dark glass used to design the building, it houses a theater, armies of book shelves and a classy waterfront cafe.
The library holds a yearly event with a local students group which puts on a fantastic evening of music, drinks, and social mingling. The event is limited exclusively to students and their guests. This year it showcased a variety of wonderful musical performances ranging from a lone cello performance to well known hip-hop artists.
While the individual library wings were closed (understandably) to the general audience, all of the open spaces were made available and filled with wild lighting, musical performances, and space to mix and mingle. With large open halls and an acoustically friendly atrium crisscrossed at different points by flying bridges it made for a delightful experience. It is also interesting the difference a legal drinking age of 18 plays in enabling these sorts of events. While still possible in the US, the lack of a need to ID, wristband, and police the event as well as the more responsible drinking behavior among undergraduate-aged students that results from the lower drinking age makes a huge difference. While you could hold a similar event in the US, it would definitely be far more challenging logistically and have a different ambiance as a result.
The main performers were set up on the flying bridge that cut across the center of the atrium at the 3rd story. It served as the perfect stage as the rest of the atrium consisted of wrap around, open air causeways which formed a large U before giving way to the ceiling to floor glass windows. The main windows which stretched from ceiling to floor before warping into a large skylight offered a charming view of the harbor at night.
A group of students from the Communication, Cognition, Film and Media Studies programs met up before the doors opened for a relaxing drink along the harbor waterfront. As the sun set we made our way into the Black Diamond. It set the mood for the night. Once inside we split into smaller groups as we explored the library (for most of us, it was our first time inside) before re-connecting to catch up on the week’s events and antics while listening to the various music performances. The entire event was more than just music or drinks. It was a beautifully executed experience and definitely ranks as one of my favorite events in Copenhagen so far.
There’s something truly magical about a great concert series in a captivating venue. The added effort the organizers put into building on the library’s native ambiance also made a huge difference. One surprising aspect of the evening was the number of international students in attendance. Though University of Copenhagen has a relatively small international student population (in comparison to its size), the event was very foreign student heavy which offered a fun mixture of accents, cultures and personalities. Holding the event as a students-only event also ended up being a great thing. It eliminated the potential social discomfort that often goes with attending a formal event and served as a fun way to bridge the gap between a more traditional event and student life’s informality. The event was an absolute delight and one I hope to participate in again next year. Have you enjoyed a concert or event in a particularly unique venue? I’d love to hear about it in a comment.
**I didn’t take my camera with me to the event so the photos in this post were taken by Frida Zhang and are used/hosted with her permission.