Category: History

Kronborg-tapetet med Frederik II og den senere Christian IVKronborg-tapetet med Frederik II og den senere Christian IV - Kopi - Kopi 4

The King Returns

If one can say that the Round Tower belongs to anyone, then it must belong to King Christian IV (1577-1648). It was he who, as early as February 1637, slightly less than half a year before the foundation of the tower was laid, had made an agreement with a citizen in the important Northern German Reformation city of Emden to deliver shiploads of brick for its construction. And it was he who, five years later, in July 1642, sat down at Rosenborg Castle and wrote in a letter that he had drawn a plan of the upper platform of “the...

Rundetaarns portal 0

Gateway to the Round Tower

A tower is like a story: it has a beginning, a middle and an end. When it comes to the Round Tower, the middle is the spiral ramp and the end is the platform with its observatory on top of the tower. These two parts of the tower have attracted most of the attention throughout the tower’s history. The Round Tower’s beginning, its entrance with the gateway to the tower, has received less notice. The gateway of the tower is, however, too interesting to simply be brushed aside as something one passes in order to reach something else. The gateway...

Skagens fyr på afbildning fra 1787 0

Light in the Lantern

There is something about the Round Tower and lighthouses. If one starts in the periphery of things that connect them, one can mention that the Round Tower was thoroughly restored in 1870-71 by the architect N. S. Nebelong (1806-71) who covered the majority of its façade with grey cement plaster. A dozen of years prior to this, the same Nebelong had designed a lighthouse in Denmark’s northernmost area Skagen. The lighthouse reaches a height of 46 metres and was the tallest in Denmark until the lighthouse in Dueodde on the Danish island of Bornholm surpassed it with one metre a...

Røsnæsstuen på Dansk Folkemuseum tegnet af Karl Jensen i Illustreret Tidende 0

Peasant Rooms at the Bell Loft

It cost 50 øre to enter, 5 øre to put one’s stick in the wardrobe, and if one still had some money left at the new Danish Folk Museum, which opened in the Panopticon Building on the street Vesterbrogade in Copenhagen in August 1885, it was possible to get hold of a catalogue with a detailed description of the museum’s rooms in exchange of 30 øre more. The rooms contained furniture and items from various civic and peasant homes in past and present Denmark. A couple of years after the inauguration, the price of the catalogue was raised to 35...

Den første biltur i Rundetaarn med dobbeltdøren i baggrunden, 1902 0

Spiral Ramp with Obstacles

It has always attracted attention that Peter the Great (1672-1725) rode up and down the Round Tower’s spiral ramp in October 1716, but the story about the famous ride has never been as popular as it was in the 20th-century’s newspapers. When journalists were writing about the Round Tower, they repeatedly mentioned the Russian Tsar, whose visit in this way became the benchmark for all the traffic in the tower. “Not a week goes by without inquiries from people who want to do as Peter the Great did,” Poul Sørensen, who was the inspector of the Round Tower from 1968...

Peter den Store i sneglegangen tegnet af Ida Gantriis 0

The People’s Love

Among the list of Danish kings the nickname “the People’s King” is usually reserved for Frederik VII (1808-63) who had the royal motto “The people’s love, my strength” and who, a few months after his accession to the throne in 1848, renounced absolutism and instead became the leader of a constitutional monarchy. If one is to believe a story that was going around in the days surrounding Frederik VII’s reign, there was, however, another “People’s King” called Frederik. The story unfolds in the Round Tower and one of its leading characters is Frederik VII’s namesake, the absolute King Frederik IV...

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...

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...

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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...