The Blue Planet: Denmark's Most Modern National Aquarium

The Blue Planet

North Europe recently gets its largest and most significant whirlpool-shaped aquarium 'The Blue Planet' in Denmark which is expected to become an internationally acknowledged destination attracting guests from all over the world.

Located on the shores of Øresund, only eight kilometres from the Copenhagen City Hall Square, The Blue Planet is a building of high complexity with a welcoming and fascinating framework for the guests' encounter with both animals and nature while it houses a well-adapted ecosystem suited for some of the world's most sensitive animal species.

Being inspired by whirlpool and with its location next to Øresund, the aquarium brings land and sea together and pulls both nature and visitors down into the depths. It is equipped with the latest advanced AV technology to create a complete experience which pulls the visitors into an atmospheric underwater universe that can fascinate and seduce both adults and children alike. The swirl shape creates different sections and is a practical answer to the desire to expand the aquarium as one can expand in the swirl shaped arms.

The Blue Planet is Northern Europe's largest aquarium with room for over 20,000 fish and marine animals. The circular foyer is the starting point for the tour around the aquarium. From here one can select which river, lake or ocean to explore. He/she can get close to the animals both below and above water in the humid and hot rainforest. In addition, they can visit the Faroese bird cliff and meet colorful puffins and Nordic icy sharks. In the ocean, tank one can see a bunch of hammerhead sharks and elegant rays.

At a Glance
Project : The Blue Planet, Kastrup, DK
Prizes : The prize 'In-Situ Prisen 2013' awarded by the Danish concrete association, Dansk Beton.
Client : The Blue Planet Building Foundation (Realdania, Knud Højgaards Fond, Tårnby Kommune)
Function : Aquarium
Gross Floor Area : 9,700 m2
Completed : 2013
Architect : 3XN Role
Engineering : Moe & Brødsgaard
Exhibition Design : Kvorning Kommunikation og Design
Landscape Architect : Henrik Jørgensen LANDSKAB
Picture Courtesy : Adam M¢rk

Modern National Aquarium

The whirlpool

Inspired by the shape of water in endless motion, Denmark's new National Aquarium, located on an elevated headland towards the sea, north of Kastrup harbor, is shaped as a great whirlpool, and the building itself tells the story of what awaits inside.

Its distinctive shape is clearly visible for travelers arriving by plane at the nearby Copenhagen Airport. The facade is covered with small diamond-shaped aluminum plates, known as shingles, which adapts to the building's organic form. Just as water aluminium reflects the colors and light of the sky and thus the buildings expression varies with the changes in its natural surroundings.

Out of the World Experience

Visitors reach the entrance by following the first and longest of the whirlpool's whirls. With a smooth transition, the landscape surpasses for the building, while the outdoor ponds mark the unique experience that awaits the aquarium visitors as they enter The Blue Planet: the whirlpool has pulled them into another world - a world beneath the surface of the sea.


According to Kim Herforth Nielsen, Creative Director, 3XN and architect of the building,"Our wish was to bring our visitors all the way down to the world of the fish. Therefore, the design of The Blue Planet is based on the story about water and life under the sea. We visualise the construction as a whirlpool which draws visitors into the depths to the fascinating experiences waiting among fish and sea animals from all over the world."

Flexible Movement Between Exhibitions

The circular foyer is the central point of navigation in the aquarium. Here visitors choose which river, lake or ocean to explore. By enabling multiple routes the risk of queues in front of individual aquariums is reduced. Each exhibition has its own theme and entrance from the foyer, where sound and images are used to introduce the atmosphere of the different exhibition areas. The restaurant enjoys a magnificent view of the sea, which begins just a few meters away.

Chairman of Denmark's Aquarium, Professor Flemming Frandsen, is looking forward to The Blue Planet as a centre for new experiences in the Øresund region. He stated, "Our ambition is to welcome 700,000 guests each year, thus being one of Denmark's five largest tourist attractions. Now, we have an aquarium, which compares to the world elite of aquariums and that brings us close to the biology of the sea and strengthens our interest in natural science".

During a tourism conference "A New Way to Grow" 2012, the Blue Planet was chosen as Denmark's best lighthouse project within experience economy, because of its potential for growth, influence on regional development, innovation, realization as well as its uniqueness and 'reason to go'.