COPENHAGEN CITY HALL
1550 København V
Copenhagen City Hall built 1894 – 1905, is one of the world’s most important works within the Arts and Crafts movement.
Architect Martin Nyrop (1849-1921) had totally free hands, designing everything, from keys and doorknobs to the construction, from the basement to the top of the tower. It´s a marvelous “gesamtwerk”.
The theme of the City Hall is our history, of how Copenhagen developed from a small fishing village on the shores of Øresund to become a great thriving city of business and trade. It’s the people’s tale, a journey from the myths to present day modern democracy. Nyrop let historians decide which historic events to write on the walls. The architect himself used other means to tell the story. He used building styles and craftmanship from ancient Nordic culture, decorating seashells, rope, basketmaking, in other words, old techniques. He then combined the old techniques with modern techniques: electricity, hot and cold water in the pipes and elevators hidden in the walls. The City Hall of Copenhagen was both old and extremely modern in 1905. The crescendo is the glass roof in the hall measuring 24 x 44 meters, the largest such engineering work in northern Europe. The building can be likened to Jules Verne and early science fiction.
Three historical events stick out: Bishop Absalon built the first castle 1167; the battle with the Swedish king known as “the Storm of Copenhagen”, the night between 10th - 11th of February 1659 and the day known as “Folketoget”, the 21st of March 1848, when the Danish king Frederik VII promised to step back from sovereign rule. The golden figure above the main gate shows Bishop Absalon, the founder of Copenhagen. The coat of arms above the gate symbolizes the strength of the bourgeoisie who fought the Swedish attack and saved Denmark. But most important, the tower of the City Hall symbolizes our democracy.
There is no entrance fee. For guided tours and towertours, ask at the information office. There are two staircases on each side of the building. Have a tour to the second floor. The right staircase shows the seagod of Ægir and the beach. The left staircase shows the city with its harbour 1587-1611. The two staircases themselves sum up the story of the fishing village that became our beloved city.