A living part of the capital’s history
The Copenhagen Wholesale Market has a formidable past – a history that can be traced back several hundred years in the urban life of Copenhagen. The Copenhagen Wholesale Market of today is the result of the development pattern that has characterised the sale of horticultural produce to the people of the capital and Zealand over the years.
In the past local market gardeners used to sell their produce in several different market places and squares in the city. Gradually, as the city grew and the need for a stable supply of produce grew, trade became more organised and the fruit and vegetable market was given its own site close to the centre of Copenhagen on what is now known as Israels Plads.
But it was not until a number of far-sighted market gardeners formed the Københavns Engros Grønttorv (Copenhagen Wholesale Market) cooperative society in 1954 that things really started coming together.
With the assistance and support of the Municipality of Copenhagen, work on the market facility commenced in 1957. When it was opened on 2nd October 1958, the facility was the largest and most modern in Northern Europe. The market gardeners had created a trading centre that attracted able and enterprising people in production, import, export, wholesale and retail.
The Copenhagen Wholesale Market experienced another historic day on 13th March 2001, when the general meeting decided unanimously to convert the Københavns Engros Grønttorv a.m.b.a. cooperative society into a limited company with retroactive effect from 1st January 2001. The name of the company is therefore now Københavns Engros Grønttorv A/S (KGT A/S). It is owned by the KGT Holding s.m.b.a. cooperative society.
The new South Terminal was opened in early 2003. The South Terminal has 3,500 m² on two levels for parking and loading for the market hall’s flower section. In the enclosed part of the terminal, which is heated in the winter months, there is space for around 70 vehicles, while the open parking deck above takes about 120 vehicles.
Københavns Engros Grønttorvet A/S and Københavns Engros Grønttorv Holding s.m.b.a. changed their name and logo officially on 1 June 2005.
Updating the market’s image in this way was intended to reinforce the perception of the Grønttorvet wholesale market by customers and business contacts as a modern business centre for the wholesale trade.
The new names are Grønttorvet København A/S and Grønttorvet København Holding s.m.b.a.
The market’s story really took off in spring 2006, with the decision by the Board of Directors to put the 16-hectare site in Valby up for sale and build a “New Grønttorvet” being announced on 20 April 2006. After nearly 50 years in Valby there was a need for more space, better logistics and more up-to-date service facilities. In September of that year it was decided that the market’s ”new home” would be in Høje Taastrup, side by side with Høje Taastrup Transportcenter.
Following intensive work by management on the sale during the winter and into the spring of 2007, a sales agreement was entered into with a consortium consisting of Hoffmann Ejendomme and The Carlyle Group, an international private equity firm, on 24 May 2007.
The sales agreement required the final approval of more than 90% of the market’s owners, who gave the go-ahead at an extraordinary general meeting held on Wednesday, 27 June 2007, at Hotel Scandic in Hvidovre. The decision was a package solution, with the owners simultaneously agreeing to the market in Valby being sold, planning for ”The New Grønttorvet” in Høje Taastrup being started and a fund of DKK 50 million being set up with the aim of promoting research and development in market gardening, among other things through investment in ”The New Grønttorvet”. The fund was named the Østdanske Gartneres Fond.
It was announced on 6 February 2008 that the name of “The New Grønttorvet” in Høje Taastrup would be Copenhagen Markets, while the market site in Valby would in future be known as Christiansberg. A whole new neighbourhood was going to be built on the site in Valby.
The winning project and logo for Copenhagen Markets were announced on 10 June 2008, a beautiful summer day. The Copenhagen Markets website, www.copenhagenmarkets.dk, went live at the same time. It all happened in a marquee that had been put up specially for the occasion in a commanding position on the Høje Taastrup site. After the official programme, cold draught beer and grilled sausages were served to the owners and invited guests.
On 1-3 October 2008 Grønttorvet hosted the 26th WUWM Congress. WUWM is short for the World Union of Wholesale Markets, of which Grønttorvet is a member. A total of 200 people from 30 countries, representing every continent apart from Antarctica, attended the highly successful congress, which was held at the premises of the Danish Society of Engineers on Kalvebod Brygge in Copenhagen.
Thursday, 2 October 2008, was a special occasion, with Grønttorvet celebrating its 50th birthday. All Grønttorvet’s customers, members and tenants, their staff and the congress participants were invited to a grand breakfast in the market hall, where there was lots of entertainment on offer. The birthday party for Grønttorvet’s owners, together with their staff and guests, was held at Cirkusbygningen in Copenhagen on the evening of Friday, 3 October 2008, and included a live show.
The Copenhagen Wholesale Market is part of modern society. A society that is in constant development. The Copenhagen Wholesale Market has to be the natural choice when it comes to supplying modern society with fruit, vegetables, flowers and plants. The Copenhagen Wholesale Market is constantly developing. A mirror image of society.
In july 2009 it becomes clear that the sales agreement with CVM Development will run out. The international financial crisis, a very unsettled market for real estate, the authorities plans for making further reservations of the premises in Valby for new railway tracks and a prolonged city planning proces are the main causes why the sales agreement comes to an end.
The objective for the management of Grønttorvet in Valby is unchanged. A new buyer is seeked and the establishment of the new premises in Høje Taastrup – Copenhagen Markets – continues.