20th July 2021
“The Queen of Denmark is amused. Every morning when Margrethe II looks out of the windows of Amalienborg Palace, she sees the chimney of Amager Bakke. This has now become a familiar and much-loved sight. Located in the centre of Copenhagen, with a ski slope on its roof, hiking trails, the world’s highest artificial climbing wall and a mountain bike trail, the waste incineration plant – which was completed in 2017 and has an annual capacity of 400,000 tonnes – has very quickly become a new landmark in the city. And a tourist attraction. Special plastic mats enable visitors to ski here, at sea level, all year round. It doesn’t feel much different to skiing on snow.
Around 900 km further south, in Vienna, stands another landmark: Spittelau waste incineration plant, designed by the versatile Austrian artist, architect and environmental pioneer Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The façade of the building is, in typical Hundertwasser style, decorated with countless irregular and colourful shapes and textures. The chimney is somewhat reminiscent of the tower of an Orthodox church. Inside, some 250,000 tonnes of waste a year are turned into electricity and district heating.”