Amalienborg Palace Square: Cloudburst protection at Her Majesty’s front door


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HOFOR  is the largest utility company in Denmark in our core business areas: water supply, wastewater management, district heating, district cooling and gas supply. We also build wind turbines. We focus on sustainable supply, renewable energy, adjustment to the climate changes and improved handling of extreme rain. The aim of our activities is to create sustainable cities - in cooperation with municipalities, other companies and our customers.

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A new drain at Amalienborg Palace Square will ensure that rainwater is channeled away from roads and cellars and out towards the sea.

For several years now, climate change has made its mark on the Copenhagen metropolitan area. Cloudbursts hit the city almost every year. In recent years, HOFOR has therefore striven to protect the capital city from flooded cellars and roads caused by cloudbursts and extremely heavy rainfall. This includes Amalienborg Palace Square.

Flooded cellars and roads

Flooding caused by heavy rainfall and cloudbursts is a real risk across the Copenhagen metropolitan area – and the square in front of Amalienborg, a Royal palace, is no exception. In recent years, flooded cellars and enormous volumes of water on the roads have plagued the area around Amalienborg Palace Square and streets in Frederikstaden, Bredgade and Frederiksgade on multiple occasions.

Many of the sewers and culverts in Copenhagen’s underground are not large enough to handle the huge volumes of rainwater in a cloudburst or during a period of heavy rainfall.

Therefore, HOFOR constructed a cloudburst drain under Amalienborg Palace Square and nearby roads (in Frederikstaden, Bredgade and Frederiksgade).In the event of heavy rainfall, the new drain will ensure that rainwater is channelled away from cellars and roads and out to sea.

An extraordinary project

The initial preparations for constructing the cloudburst drain took place in summer 2018, and construction work was carried out in summer 2019. Despite the relatively short construction period, the cloudburst project was a little extraordinary.

The drain runs two meters under the surface, from the entrance to The Marble Church in Bredgade to Amalie Gardens in Toldbodgade. This is a busy route for tourists and Copenhageners. Every day, hundreds of people walk through the square in front of the Royal palace to watch the changing of the guard. While construction work was under way, it was possible to cordon off only part of the square, so that tourists and other visitors could continue to enjoy the square.

Another obstacle on our path – literally – was the historical equestrian statue of King Frederik V at the centre of Amalienborg Palace Square. It is more than 240 years old. The contractors were unable to set the cloudburst drain directly beneath the statue so the drain takes a detour around the statue.

A 3VAND partner

We are an active partner in 3VAND – a strategic collaborative partnership consisting of the leading water utilities in Denmark: HOFORBIOFOS, Aarhus Vand and VCS Denmark.

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