The Amazing Architecture of Denmark

July 19, 2019

Denmark is the land of Danes; officially known as the “Kingdom of Denmark”. People from Eastern and Southern parts of Europe have migrated to the Northern area which we now know as Denmark. The flat terrain and the harsh climate have shaped Danish history. Denmark is considered to be one of the socially and economically developed countries in the world. It has one of the world’s highest per capita incomes and highest personal income tax rates. The first Danes were hunters and fishermen. They have come along a long way and have strived to be where they are now.

Denmark is reported to be the happiest country in the world. The reason behind this is they practice a high level of equality and a sense of common responsibility for social welfare. Denmark also has relatively less corruption and crime rate. Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark and is home to royal palaces, Nyhaven harbor, and the iconic “Little Mermaid” statue.

Climate of Denmark

Denmark consists of the peninsula of Jutland and 443 other islands. Among all the islands, New Zealand is the largest. The country is positioned between a continent and an ocean. Therefore, there are frequent weather changes. Denmark enjoys a temperate climate almost throughout the year. However, people do have to face harsh climatic changes during the winter and summer months. The temperatures are extreme in January (1.5°C/ 34.7°F) and August (17.2°C/ 63.0°F).

The country has 179 days of precipitation per year. Here the wettest season is autumn and the driest is spring. There are large seasonal variations in the daylight of Denmark because of its northern location. There are short winter days when the sun rises at around 8:45 am and sets at 3:45 pm. Summer days are long with sunrise at 4:30 am and sunset at 10 pm.

Interesting facts about Denmark

  • Denmark is an archipelago that is made up of more than 100 islands. Some of them are not even inhabited.
  • The Danish Monarchy has existed for over 1000 years and the oldest one.
  • The number of bicycles (4.2 million) in Denmark is twice the number of cars (1.13 million) there.
  • All Danes practically know how to swim. The swimming lessons are a part of the compulsory curriculum in schools.
  • All the places in Denmark are within 30 miles (50km) from the sea.
  • Denmark is the fifth-largest food exporter in the world in spite of its small population count. The Danes are known to be great foodies.
  • The national sport of Denmark is Soccer.
  • Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens helped to inspire the creation of Disneyland. Walt Disney once visited Tivoli Gardens and was so inspired that he decided to create something similar in America which is known as Disneyland.
  • Denmark is the world’s biggest producer of ranched minks.
  • About two-thirds of all Danes have a surname ending in “sen”.
  • Danish explorer Knud Rasmussen was the first European man to cross the Northwest Passage by dog sled.
  • Denmark is considered to be the “least corrupt” country in the world.
  • In Denmark, pornography can be purchased at the local petrol pump stations.
  • Denmark has a place to surf called Cold Hawaii. It is the best beach in Scandinavia for surfing.
  • The country’s divorce rate is one of the highest in Europe. Nearly 20% of Danish couples stay together without getting married at all. These are called paperless marriages.

Architecture of Denmark

Most of Denmark’s traditional and historic architecture are wooden structures. Therefore, unfortunately, many of the buildings are no longer standing now. Stave churches which were supported by ship masts were some of the notable buildings. There are a few Romanesque buildings that managed to survive for nearly a millennium. The architecture of Denmark originated in the Viking period. It became more form in the middle Ages with Romanesque, Gothic and Cathedral Churches built-in throughout the country. In this period the country had little access to stone and bricks. Let get a deeper insight into the architecture of all the ages.

Learn more about Vikings period in this article from History.

  • Viking Age

Archaeological excavations of Denmark reveal much about the lifestyle of Vikings. Hedeby is one of the places where they lived. It is located south of the Danish border near Schleswig. The Danish Vikings were influenced by the countries they conquered. They have specially adapted the Anglo-Saxon art style. The first masterpiece that was discovered in Denmark was “The Sun Chariot”. It belonged from the 14th century B.C.

  • Romanesque

The Romanesque period overlapped the Viking period. Many stone churches in the Romanesque style were built in the 12th and 13th centuries. The building materials initially used at that time were granite and limestone. Brick production reached Denmark in the middle of the 12th century. Frescos were used to decorate the churches beautifully. The churches had a flat ceiling with small rounded windows. There were round arches as well. The best examples of that era are St. Bendt’s Church in Ringsted and the Church of Our Lady in Kalunborg.

  • Gothic Era

The buildings of the great cathedrals of Denmark mark the Gothic period. The sculptures of the medieval era have German influence. The older Romanesque churches were rebuilt to adapt to the Gothic style. The flat ceilings were replaced by high cross vaults. The small round windows were enlarged and the interiors were decorated with murals. This time Red brick was the material of choice. Most of the Gothic architecture of Denmark is found in churches and monasteries. The important buildings of the Gothic period are St. Canute’s Cathedral at Odense and St. Peter’s Church at Naestved.

Related: Here’s an article from The Guardian talking about preserving historic buildings.

  • The Renaissance

Renaissance architecture prevailed during the reigns of Frederick II and Christian IV. The architecture was inspired by the French castles of that time. The architectural achievements were reflected in castles, private villas, and royal palaces. Most of the time Flemish architects were imported to work on the buildings; however, they did employ several Danish architects as well. Christian IV attempted to turn Copenhagen to a modern city. Paintings were done mainly by the court artists imported from Amsterdam. Masterpieces of Renaissance period include Kronborg Castle in Helsingr and Frederiksborg Palace in Hillerod.

  • Neoclassical Era

Neoclassical Era was during the reign of Frederic IV. During this period people relied on inspiration from ancient Greece and Rome. This influence was brought to Denmark by the French architect Nicolas-Henri Jardin. One of his pupils, Casper Frederik Harsdorff became one of the most prominent architects of the 18th century. He is also known as the Father of Danish Classicism. Magnificent works of this era include neoclassical buildings Bernstorff Palace in Gentofte and Marienlyst Palace near Helsingr.

  • Modern Period

The innovations that occurred in the modern period were for the housing project for people. Apartment houses were being designed for city dwellers. Modern Danish architecture came into existence “between the wars”. The important aspects of Danish architects were scale, materials, and color. The interiors of the houses were painted bright to fight against the coldness of Danish winters. Danish artisans were following contemporary international trends in this period. The architecture was getting inclined towards Neo-Modernism. The most appealing structure in Denmark is the new Opera House in Copenhagen. It was constructed in 2004.

Some of the modern-day architectures

Danish architecture is worldwide famous. They have the perfect cutting-edge design for the buildings. Some of the iconic modern-day buildings which are worth seeing are mentioned below.

  • Louisiana Museum of Modern Art –The Louisiana Museum of Modern art is situated at Humlebaek, north of Copenhagen. The museum is famous for its exhibitions. The building has several wings and a series of the pavilion where the exhibitions are held. There is a glass corridor that attracts visitors. The location is an exquisite one.
  • The BLOX– It is a huge building. It is situated in Copenhagen’s harbor front where new creative offerings will unfold. This building attracts many visitors every year.
  • The Black Diamond– Royal Library – This is a dramatic extension to Denmark’s Royal Library. Its architecture has a hint of modernization. The building is located on Copenhagen’s harbor. The design of the building is unique and you would love to take a walk inside it. You will also be able to see it from the water if you take the canal tours by taxi boats.
  • Copenhagen Opera House– Opera House of Copenhagen has become the city’s iconic building. The Royal Danish Opera was a donation to Denmark by the A.P. Moller and Chastine McKinney Moller Foundation. The building is designed by Henning Larsen architects.
  • The Iceberg– The Iceberg building is easily recognizable due to its extraordinarily uncommon design. It is located at Aarhus waterfront. It is an interesting and exciting architecture in Aarhus. The harbor area is becoming a cultural attraction to visitors from around the world.

Danish life is famous for three aspects: simplicity, politeness, and equality. Women and men are treated equally in Denmark in terms of social respect and equal pay. All the positivity and the beautiful building make Denmark one of the best places to reside. And you are planning a visit to Denmark do sneak into the buildings mentioned in the article.