In addition to the 22 construction sites that are open in downtown Copenhagen to build the Cityringen, the metro ring that will guarantee efficient mobility for 130 million passengers a year, Salini Impregilo workers have in recent days opened a 23rd. The carpenters do the tree, engineers and technicians prepare the tables and add the decorations, while the construction manager and site supervisors coordinate the operations and busy themselves with buying what is necessary.
The site within the site is an informal working group that has decided to bring color to the working day in the Danish capital in the best way possible. Peter Michael Muller, a German site manager at Frederiksberg Allé, has been doing it for the past four years. In 2012, he had built the first Christmas tree in plywood. It was done again this year by carpenters at the Frederiksberg Allé site in a three dimensional pattern with a star at the top and lights to illuminate it. The tree was put at the entrance to the site to be admired by passersby. The tree kicks off the festivities ahead of the holiday season.
The real Christmas party is usually held on December 19 before most of the workers leave the site to return home to their families. A barbecue is organized, with workers bringing dishes that are representative of their respective countries of origin. The Polish bring sausages, while a Danish colleague of Afghan origin brings halal food. Muller said he was bringing a German Christmas cake called Christstollen, a fruit bread with dried fruit covered often with sugar or icing sugar. “It’s like family,” says Muller. “People are away from home.”
Going around the ring of the future metro line that will connect the city, the faces of the workers change but the traditions and the way of living together specific moments always remain the same. That’s what Roberto Barone has learned after eight months in Copenhagen as an intern with Salini Impregilo’s Tomorrow’s Builders programme for recent graduates in engineering.
Barone works at the NØrrebros Runddel site. “Even here we’re building a Christmas tree made of wood with the help of the carpenters from the construction site. It’s a symbol for everyone who works here. Then everyone contributes in their own way. I, for example, have the task of buying the Christmas stars to decorate it.”
This sense of belonging to a group is renewed every time there is an occasion to celebrate, like the day of Saint Barbara on December 4, another occasion to celebrate Christmas before many workers leave the site to spend the holidays with their families. “The party started at 5 in the afternoon and lasted until 10 at night,” he says. “We were about 60 people. We set up a barbecue, prepared the Christmas decorations, and ate and drank together.” A long celebration that ended in an ideal way with the December 11 dinner when all the (Salini Impregilo) Group’s workers at Cityringen - nearly 300 – got together at a place in Copenhagen to exchange Christmas greetings.