A CULTURE BLENDER EXPERIENCE: HUSET-KBH
Huset-KBH is a free space for live music, movies, theatre, performing arts, spoken words and other creative ideas since 1970. It has provided possibilities for many different unique experiences, events and festivals throughout the years, while today it holds 1,500 events and festivals per year. There is a cult cinema, a street food kitchen, black box theatre, variable music stages, board gaming cafés and an arcade.
Huset-KBH is the first and largest culture house located in the heart of Copenhagen, between Rådhusstræde and Magstræde. During the day time, if you are passing by the front door, you might see tourists looking curiously at the Huset’s mysterious door and peeping into the courtyard trying to understand what is going on inside. At night, you will see the iconic red neon HUSET sign on the facade, and you’ll know that you should check this place out. The word “huset” refers to “the house” in English, which is not a coincidence. Everyone is welcome to the Huset!
Photo Credit: Huset-KBH
Integration of Diversity
Huset is for culture enthusiasts, music lovers, retro gamers, locals, international people and all newcomers in Copenhagen. In Huset there are lots of collaborations with different associations and cultural actors to create unique cultural experiences. Husets Biograf is the only cinema in Copenhagen which still shows Super 8, 16mm and 35mm screenings and is famous for showing unusual cult movie screenings like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Room and Big Lebowski. Husets Biograf is not just screening movies, they also organize special movie events where the audiences are involved in the movies in different ways or where the movies are supported by a presentation or a real life performance.
In the Photo:Kristin Korb Trio / Stardust. Photo Credit: Erik Chen
Musikcaféen is an alternative music scene which is the largest and oldest stage in Huset, where you can experience the next Danish and international artists before everyone else. Two famous Copenhagen game bars are also part of Huset. At Bastard Café you will have a hard time choosing between hundreds of board games. On the other hand, at Bip Bip Bar you will take a trip to the past with arcade games, pinballs and retro consoles. While Huset’s deep-rooted past creates a historical connection between locals, its self-renewing structure embraces newcomers. Therefore, Huset’s audience includes a wide range of ages and backgrounds.
Photo Credit: Veronika Skotting
Sustainability of Huset
Huset is part of the Culture and Leisure Administration of the City of Copenhagen. Moreover, Huset aims at cultural development and has a special focus on voluntary, social and cultural entrepreneurship. Volunteering is the most important thing that keeps Huset alive and fresh. Almost all of the events of Huset are driven by volunteers. Huset’s philosophy is that culture is something we create together. Consequently, Huset is open to any kind of idea and collaboration and aims to use co-creation as a method to create cultural experiences across genres and partners. There are more than 80 people actively volunteering in the bars right now. Besides, there are lots of international people in this group as well as Danes. And more than 200 are involved in making events through volunteer community networks. With a volunteering system, there is constant movement within Huset while at the same time an intercultural formation is created. So, while foreigners are getting familiar with Danish culture, Danes are also becoming acquainted with different cultures. In this way, with people getting part of the local culture and presenting their own, new friendships are being established.
Co Creation & Cultural Innovation
Huset opens its doors to volunteers who want to implement their own ideas and projects. For example, Huset holds a three day music festival called Summer City Festival, created and run by volunteers. The idea came up from the volunteers who saw the unused potential of the courtyard during Summer and they created a scene in the courtyard. Volunteers are responsible from planning, marketing, execution, settlement and evaluation of the festival.
by Frank Jensen
Moreover, Huset supports start-ups as well. For instance, Bastard Café, one of the most popular cafes in the city, started their story as a start-up in Huset. They were a small, pop-up café before, and suddenly they got a huge interest from local and international people living in Copenhagen. Now it is nearly impossible to find a table in the evenings. Another initiative in Huset is Evoo Street Kitchen, which offers local and organic Nordic/Italian food.
A Place Where People Feel Like Home
On a typical weekend at Huset, you will see lots of friend groups, couples and individuals hanging out in the courtyard. Some people are playing board games, some are discussing the movie that they just watched in Huset’s Biograf, others are waiting for a concert in Musikcaféen or Stardust. You can easily meet new people just by saying “hi” with a smile. That courtyard is magical. Sometimes you see people with animal costumes after a play, sometimes you will be witnessing a wedding party. Once you come to Huset, you will come back again. If you spend enough time in there, you will feel like it is becoming home for you. This feeling will make you more involved in Huset, and you will want to do something inside the place. In fact, the meaning of Huset is changing for people according to their experiences. Huset is Huset of music, theatre, movie, friends, family. Regulars will call it a “second home.”