New houseboats set for Copenhagen

May 2010 News The Copenhagen Post

Those dreaming of owning a houseboat on the waterways of Copenhagen can now realise their dream as the authorities put new houseboat berths up for rent.

CPH City & Port Development manages the development of the city's harbour and will make the first 11 berths available from this July.

Houseboats are an iconic part of the city, but for many years it has been impossible to obtain one, and somewhere to berth it, unless you bought the vessel from the original owner.

In 2001, then mayor of Copenhagen Jens Kramer Mikkelsen, planned to develop space for up to 1,000 houseboats around Copenhagen harbour, but cold water was poured on his dream by extensive challenges.

`Everyone thought at the time that houseboats were a great idea and we were a little surprised that it's been so complicated to get the project started,' said the development corporation's project manager Nicolai Sonne to Politiken newspaper.

One of the major challenges facing the project was that the same regulations that apply to residential buildings on land, also apply to house boats.

According to Sonne, residential buildings must not be constructed in industrial areas. This means that much of the 40km quay sides in Copenhagen harbour are off limits to house boats.

Authorities have also faced stiff opposition from residents in the past, who've been concerned with houseboats blocking the sea views from their expensive waterside apartments.

In 2003, a separate project involving 30 houseboats to be docked near the Sydhavn are of the harbour was torpedoed by angry residents, who felt the proposed houseboats were nothing more than floating detached homes.

As a result, the latest project that has been given the green light for the Sluseholmen area will require that the houseboats can sail and are not just houses built on pontoons.

Sonne told Politiken that the reason this project has reached successful completion is because the houseboats were incorporated into the planned development of Sluseholm from the start and that the wishes of residents have been also taken into account.

Interested parties can apply to CPH City & Port Development for one of the berths, which will have similar rental costs to apartments in the area.

The houseboats can be a maximum of 30m long and 150sqm for residential space. A deposit of 250,000 kroner will be required for electricity and services and monthly rent will cost 5,000 kroner plus a further 1,000 kroner to the houseboat guild.

`Prior to now, the majority could only get their hands on a houseboat if they knew someone who knew someone. This project is the first time that berths will be provided under normal conditions where everyone has the chance to enter the lottery for the places,' Sonne said.

Further houseboat projects are planned for Teglholmen in Sydhavn, Havneholmen near Fisketorvet and the southern part of Islands Brygge.

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