Architecture in Denmark Part 2

Baroque and Rococo

The Church of Our Savior in Copenhagen

The Church of Our Savior in Copenhagen with its characteristic twisting spire – Denmark’s first Baroque church.

Significant for the development of the Danish Baroque, ca. 1660-1730, was the introduction of the monarchy and the emphasis that was placed on making Copenhagen a worthy residential city. An important monument from the first part of the period is the castle Charlottenborg in Copenhagen (1672–83), which was of great importance for the design of a number of other representative buildings and manor houses. Our Church of Our Savior in Copenhagen, which was mainly erected in 1682–96 by drawings by Lambert von Haven, was, like Charlottenborg, marked by Dutch Baroque.

At the beginning of the 18th century, the Italian influence became stronger. in the form of plastered facades, as can be seen in Frederiksberg castle which Frederik 4 had erected outside Copenhagen (1699-1709) with E. Brandenburger and Johan Conrad Ernst as architects.

A fierce fire in 1728 left much of Copenhagen in ashes. Instead of the former half-timbered houses, buildings with brick facades were erected. Some of these are still preserved, among other things. in the Greyhound quarter.

Late Baroque and Rococo, approx. 1730–54, became a rich time for Danish architecture. The new Rococo influence came to the country already while the Baroque was still fully viable, and the two styles of direction flourished side by side. Christian 6 had in Copenhagen built the splendor of Christiansborg with ED Häusser as the central architect, but where also the period’s foremost architects, Laurids de Thurah and Nicolai Eigtved, got their first assignments. The castle building itself was lost in a fire in 1794, but even the preserved equestrian center (1733–45) is a significant Baroque monument even by European standards.

Another important Baroque monument from the period is the small Hermitage in Jægersborg Zoo (1734–36), with Thurah as architect. Together with Johan Cornelius Krieger, Eigtved and Thurah were responsible for the design of Ledreborg Castle at Roskilde (1739-48), which is considered one of the most beautiful manor houses in Denmark.

Eigtved’s main work was the design of Frederiksstaden in Copenhagen with the octagonal Amalienborg square, where four almost identical palaces were built for four prominent nobles (1750–54). The space is one of the central monuments of European rococo. After the fire at Christiansborg Castle in 1794, the four palaces were purchased for housing for the royal family.


In 1754, the Frenchman NH Jardin was appointed professor of architecture at the Royal Academy of Arts, which had been established the same year. He began the classicist period in Danish architecture which was to last for approx. 1850. The most significant of Jardin’s students was Caspar Frederik Harsdorff. As his main work he counted the tomb of Frederik 5 at the cathedral in Roskilde, completed in 1825 by Christian Frederik Hansen according to Harsdorff’s drawings. He was also of great importance for the development of the more anonymous buildings in Copenhagen.

Another prominent student of Jardin was the architect P. Meyn. His influence on Roman Baroque made his main work, the Surgical Academy in Copenhagen (1787), quite unlike Harsdorff’s more Greek-influenced architecture.

Parallel to the strict classicist requirements of the building art, a liberated romance also flourished, which was reflected in romantic courtyards and gardens with exotic pavilions. A central example is the Liselund plant on Møn (1792–95), designed by A. Kirkerup.

At the bombing of Copenhagen in 1807, new quarters were laid in ashes. Christian Frederik Hansen was central to the restoration work. Copenhagen is largely characterized by his simplified form of expression. He had Roman architecture as his role model and was also influenced by contemporary French neoclassicism with the use of simple geometric shapes. Hansen was the architect for the restoration of the Cathedral Our Lady Church (1811–29), and Christiansborg, where only the castle church (1801–26) remains.

Also, a number of the other cities in Denmark were characterized by the same classicist ideals in the form of houses on one and two floors with simple, polished facades, around 1800. In smaller cities such as Sæby in Jutland and Kerteminde in Funen, well-preserved areas can still be found. In some parts of the country, such as in Rønne on Bornholm, the use of half-timbers continued well into the 19th century.

Among the important architects of classicism are Gustav Friedrich Hetsch, whose foremost building is the synagogue in Copenhagen (1831–33). stood for the erection of the University of Copenhagen (1831–36), with an element of English gothic, and the brothers Christian and Theophilus Hansen and who in the 1830s were called to Athens where they stood for the erection of several monumental buildings.

Architect Michael Gottlieb Bindesbøll represents the end of the classicist period. Admittedly, his main work, Thorvaldsen’s Museum in Copenhagen (1839–48), was kept in a strictly classicist form, but in other of his works you can also see examples in other eras.


Palace Hotel in Copenhagen

Palace Hotel in Copenhagen (1907-10), one of the main works of Danish Art Nouveau architecture.

Bindesbøll’s death in 1856 ushered in an era in which, in the absence of a unifying example, one freely traced back in the history of architecture. The foremost architect of the period was Johan Daniel Herholdt. His breakthrough work was the University Library in Copenhagen (1856–61), where he largely made use of glass and cast iron. The detention also made an important contribution to the beginning residential building, where he, with inspiration from English architecture, laid the groundwork for a freer planning of housing.

Christian Hansen returned to Denmark after his stay in Athens. for the construction of the Byzantine- influenced Municipal Hospital in Copenhagen (1859–63). Another prominent architect was Niels Siegfred Nebelong, who made a special effort for the development of a separate architecture for industry and other construction projects without relevant historical examples. The Lighthouse of Skagen (1858).

Towards the turn of the century, historicism became stronger and people worked consciously in different styles, depending on the nature of the building task. The foremost architect of the period was Ferdinand Meldahl. He completed Frederik’s Church in Copenhagen, the so-called Marble Church (1876–94), following the example of St. Peter’s Church in Rome. Another important architect was Vilhelm Dahlerup, who in collaboration with Ove Petersen was responsible for the construction of the Royal Theater in Copenhagen (1872–74).

Kronborg Castle

Kronborg Castle and Fortress in Helsingør. The original Kronborg was built in 1574–85, under Frederik 2. His current appearance in the Dutch Renaissance style got the castle 1629–37 after the old castle was destroyed by fire.