Hele verden går gennem Rundetaarn

Siegfried Wagners buste af Tycho Brahe 0

Tycho Brahe Was Not Here

In 1805, the English travel writer John Carr (1772-1832) used both flattering and less flattering words to portray Denmark and the Danes, when he wrote about the journey he had made through the country the previous year as part of a larger trip across Northern Europe. Among the things he was not too excited about, was the newly inaugurated memorial on Holmens Cemetery that commemorates the fallen soldiers of the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801. The memorial was, he thought, too small to serve as a national monument. He was more positive when it came to the Round Tower, an...

Københavns bombardement 1807 0

The Silver Lining

There is an old Danish saying that advices one never to go back to a dud. Nevertheless, this was exactly what the Danish second lieutenant Andreas Anton Frederik Schumacher (1782-1823), who came from Holstein, did on a September day in 1807. And the fact is that neither the military history, nor the history of science, nor the Round Tower’s history would have been the same if he had listened to the old advice. The dud he went back to was one or two of the so-called fire arrows that were shot over Copenhagen during the British bombardment of the city...

Vor-Frue-Taarns Brand 1807 set fra Landemærket 0

Behind Protective Walls

Most people are familiar with a fireproof dish. What is more unusual is to talk about a “fireproof house”. It is, nevertheless, what the Round Tower has been called. And rightly so, since its robust walls have offered protection for centuries to Copenhageners who sought shelter from fire and bombs. Many of the latter were dropped during World War II. Thus, when Denmark was occupied in 1940, the question of how to provide protection for the people during the Allied air raids quickly arose. In Copenhagen, dugouts and air raid shelters started being built and arranged in parks, green spaces...

Pôq og Qiperoq på frimærke fra 1968 0

Fell with a Screw

In the middle of the open sea, there is no fell. That was what two young Greenlanders came to realise when they set out on the long and highly unusual journey from their own shores to those of Denmark in 1724. If we are to believe the drum song that one of them later wrote about the trip, he even climbed up the ship’s mast to look for land and fells. But it made little difference. Surprisingly enough, he found exactly what he was looking for when he arrived in Copenhagen. For, here stood what he in the song refers...

Indgangen til Kokkenborg 1

A Bulletproof Connection

One of the most charming features of the Round Tower is its distinctive spiral ramp, which runs just over 200 metres from the entrance on the street of Købmagergade to the entrance of the observatory at the top of the tower. The spiral ramp is, however, also one of the greatest mysteries of the old tower. For, why on earth build such an odd thing in the middle of Copenhagen? This is a question many have tried to find an answer to, and the answers point in different directions. As is often the case when one is dealing with the...

Rundetaarns rebus 0

The King’s Heart

There are no limits to the different kinds of utility items that have masked themselves, over time, as the Round Tower. It is possible to find a Christmas tree decoration shaped as the old tower as well as money boxes and candlesticks, and the easily recognisable exterior of the tower has even been borrowed by such diverse things as salt and peppershakers, a children’s book, a stove and an umbrella stand. Common to many of these effects is that King Christian IV’s rebus, which shines with a golden glow out towards Copenhagen on the façade above the entrance, is not...

Det grønlandske flag på toppen af Rundetaarn på Grønlands nationaldag 0

The Universe in Greenlandic

People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. On the other hand, one could accidently throw not just grit, but stardust and lunar rocks in the great cosmic machinery if one tries to make it comprehensible to a wider circle of people. This is roughly how one can summarize at least part of the astronomer and mathematician Georg Frederik Ursin’s (1797-1849) popular science business, which, among other things, includes popular lectures on astronomy. He began to lecture in the 1820s while he was an observer at the Round Tower and he continued to spread the knowledge of space after...

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Moving the Round Tower

As far as is known, no one has yet made serious plans to make artificial snow and do ski jumping in the spiral ramp, but apart from that, it is hard to come up with a crazy idea about the Round Tower that has not already been thought of. For instance, we had engineer Lorenzen from Baden in Southern Germany driving up and down the spiral ramp with his car on an early Sunday morning in July 1902. There was, too, that time it was suggested to construct a passenger lift in the hollow core in the middle of the...

Vignet fra Picards Voyage d'Uranibourg 0

The First Tourist

In one of his records the well-travelled doctor Holger Jacobæus (1650-1701) lists what different Danish localities are famous for. For instance, Jacobæus writes that Ringkøbing is famous for its oysters, Kerteminde for its beer and filthy women, and Herlufsholm for its drunkards and thieves as well as for its orchard. The country’s capital, on the other hand, is according to Jacobæus, besides its snuff, especially known for its edifices, namely the arsenal, the harbour and of course the city’s ”Turris Astronomica” or “astronomical tower”. In other words the Round Tower. Favoured by the King Jacobæus is not the only one...

På fuglejagt på Trinitatis Kirkeplads 0

All the Animals of the Cemetery

The Round Tower is so deeply rooted in the soil of Copenhagen, that one might think it has always been there, standing in the same exact shape as now. However, one should not confuse immovability with changelessness since changes indeed have been made, both on and around the tower, in the time after it was inaugurated in 1642. The biggest changes have occurred around the Round Tower. Thus, the year after the inauguration of the Church of the Holy Trinity, which is built alongside the tower, the surrounding area of the church started being used as cemetery. A wall encircled...