Hele verden går gennem Rundetaarn

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...

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The Round Tower Bomb

As it was King Christian IV who founded the Danish postal service, it seems rather natural that the Round Tower, which was also built on his initiative, should appear on a postage stamp. It did take a good while, however, from when the postal service was founded in 1624 until the Round Tower was actually depicted on a stamp. This was mainly due to the fact that for the first few hundred years of its life, the postal service did not use stamps at all. The first Danish postage stamp was introduced in 1851 but it shows no Round Tower...

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Eyes As Big

When Hans Christian Andersen (1805-75) travelled from the city of Slagelse to Elsinore at the age of 21 to continue his schooling there, he described his travel observations in a letter. He thought the letter was so well written that he immediately copied it and sent it to several of his acquaintances. Professor of literature, Rasmus Nyerup, also received a copy. Like Andersen, Nyerup came from the island of Funen. He had greeted the emerging poet in Copenhagen just after his arrival to the city some years earlier, and had allowed him to use the books in the University Library,...

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The Elements of Wind and Weather

Meteorology did not come into being in the Round Tower. As early as 340 BC the Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote a treatise about the elements of wind and weather entitled Meteorologica, and at least since then, generation after generation has tried to understand, measure and predict the weather of exactly their location on earth. However, it was in the Round Tower that the systematic collection of meteorological data gathered momentum on Danish soil. It happened from 1751 when the astronomer Peder Horrebow the Younger (1728-1812) began to carry out several daily observations of the temperature and atmospheric pressure as well...

Vandudsalget ved Rundetaarn 1850 0

A Good Glass of Water

“Nevertheless, we love the city”, the revue singer Lulu Ziegler sang about Copenhagen in 1937. There had been good reasons for being hesitant a century earlier, too, at least when it came to the capital city’s supply of clean drinking water. It was nothing to write home about – unless one wanted to write a dirge. It was bad, so bad in fact, that the Copenhageners, who have always had a flair for pithy word alterations, named the water that came out of their pumps, “The famous lukewarm eel soup”. And this was to be taken quite literally. Rotten Fish...