During a quick visit to Copenhagen, I managed to squeeze in enough time away from the typical tourist sights to visit a hackerspace. Google told me that Labitat is what I want to see, and their website made it apparent that there is almost always someone there. I gathered up my family and we set off in search.

The entry was not too difficult to find, even for a criminally non-observant person like myself. I knocked on the door and luckily enough, people were there to let me in! I didn’t even have to get through a full introduction before our host (sorry, I forgot his name) was showing us around and telling us about the space.

Just inside the door was a little dirty shop area for fabrication as well as a few 3D printing stations. Our host explained that they were in the process of relocating items to build a few more work benches.

Every hackerspace deals with the constant struggle to keep the junk from piling up. You can see the system that Labitat uses in the picture above. Items come in and are placed in “input.” After two weeks, they move to “limbo.” Two more weeks and they go to “output.” If they don’t get used by the end of that two weeks, they go into recycling or the landfill. Despite this fairly smooth method of dealing with trash, Labitat still has tons of material in storage.

After moving a bit further into the hackerspace, we find the chill out area. Two sofas, a projector, a stereo, and (of course) a few Make: magazines filled the room. It is connected to a kitchen and a general use area that also holds the library.

General work. A paint can shaker and some programming were happening here.

Moving further into the space, we found a little bio lab. Again, everything was in the process of being shuffled around in-between projects, so nothing was quite set up to check out. This is very common in hackerspaces.

The whiteboard in the bio lab had helpful notes

We saw another storage area further back in the hackerspace. The space appears to also store the main racks are for the computing.

Finally, at the very deepest area of the hackerspace, we found the electronics work area.

We stayed and chatted for a while. I was curious how their membership system worked and they explained that there was no set fee to be a member or come hang out, but if you donate roughly 20 Euros or more per month, you get a key and 24 hour access. This is incredibly cheap compared to most of the places I’ve visited.

Looking back at these pictures, it might appear as though this place is a mess. Sure, there’s a bit of chaos in the piles that accumulate in any hackerspace. However, having been to many of them all over the world, I can tell you that this place is surprisingly well organized. Most of those piles were clearly labelled and sorted, something which takes lots of time and effort. These folks seem to have their act together!

They hold an open house every Tuesday at 19:00, so if you happen to be in Copenhagen swing by. The space welcomes visitors anytime though, so even if you can’t go on a Tuesday, you should try to get there some other time.