Den Blå Planet – The Blue Planet – National Aquarium of Denmark
Den Blå Planet (English: The Blue Planet) in Kastrup, a suburban area of Copenhagen, is the National Aquarium of Denmark and one of the largest structures of its kind in Europe. The aquarium is also renowned for the iconic, organic shape of its building.
Denmark’s Aquarium, the precursor of The Blue Planet, was opened to the public in 1939 in the town of Charlottenlund, in Copenhagen’s outskirts.
In the early 2000s, the old house of the aquarium proved to be too small and an international competition was organized in 2007 for the design of a new home in Kastrup, about 8 kilometers south of Denmark’s capital city.
Completed in 2013 after a design by Danish practice 3XN, the Blue Planet is a highly immersive scientific museum. The building of the aquarium is characterized by an imposing, yet elegant, shape inspired to that of a huge whirlpool. Here you can find more information on the Blue Planet’s architecture.
The building of the Blue Planet – National Aquarium of Denmark; photo by Martin Moxness
The permanent exhibition presents creatures from cold and warm sees – including many sharks and a reconstruction of a coral reef – and freshwaters.
Along with living animals and plants, the museum also features multimedia and interactive exhibits.
Schematic view of the interior of the aquarium and the subdivision of its permanent exhibition; image courtesy of 3XN/AS
The exhibition is divided into three main zones which comprise 53 vivaria overall. In detail, the zones and their respective aquaria are:
Zone 1 – Northern Lakes and Seas
Danish forest lake
The wide creek
Herrings in the Sound*
Boulder Reef in the Sound
Small animals of the stone reef
Eelgrass in the Sound
Faroese bird cliff
North American rocky coast
* The Sound is the Øresund strait
Zone 2 – The ocean
The Common octopus
Small fish of the coral reef
The smallmouths (various fish species with small mouths)
Zone 3 – Tropical rivers and lakes
Dwarf mormyrid (a freshwater African fish)
Cave tetra (blind cavefish from Mexico, Central America, and the southern United States)
Arowana (a species of freshwater bony fish)
The interesting species of the rain forest
Arapaima (a species of large Amazonian fish)
Under the riverbank
Central American cichlids
The plants in the river
The aquarium also includes two large thematic and interactive exhibitions, called experiences, focused on sharks, and sea otters.
Interior views of the National Aquarium of Denmark; photos by Adam Mørk, courtesy of 3XN/AS
The Blue Planet Aquarium organizes special events, guided tours, and educational programs, particularly aimed at children, families, and schools.
The aquarium’s building, fully accessible to physically impaired persons, includes a restaurant and a store.
Occasionally, due to the popularity of the aquarium, there can be queues at the entrance; yet, the aquarium provides real-time information on waiting times on its website (visit: http://denblaaplanet.dk/en/visit-us/waiting-times/ ).
Den Blå Planet, the restaurant, image courtesy of the National Aquarium of Denmark
Cover image: photo by Adam Mørk
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The architecture of The Blue Planet, the National Aquarium of Denmark. designed by 3XN architects as an aluminum-clad spiral remembering a huge whirlpool
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Copenhagen & eastern Denmark
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