Hele verden går gennem Rundetaarn

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Rune Stones in the Round Tower

Apparently the Enlightenment priest Jacob Nicolai Wilse (1735-1801) was also a man of reason when it came to utilisation of space. In 1792 he published the third part of his Travel Observations in Some of the Nordic Countries (Reise-Iagttagelser i nogle af de nordiske Lande), wherein he mentions the Round Tower. It is a place he knows very well since he used to wander up and down the spiral ramp on his way to and from the more than 40,000 volumes in the University Library during his time of study. In 1792 Wilse had been a priest in Norway for...

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A Moving Picture

When The Great Danish Encyclopedia issued its sixth volume in 1996, the extensive national encyclopedia had reached the entry words “Erna” and “fracture” and all that was between the two – which included the entry word “farvefotografi” meaning “colour photograph” in Danish. A detailed graphic representation and a photograph depicting a man surrounded by paint buckets accompanied the short article. The photograph was out on loan from the Round Tower’s collection and the tortuous road to here itself is a good story that leads us back to about 1910-12, when the picture was probably taken. It came about in the...

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Masonry in Royal Colours

What colour is the Round Tower? Well, if one looks at slightly older depictions of Christian IV’s iconic edifice in the middle of the King’s Copenhagen, it was mostly grey. And the images need not be that old. The grey cement plaster, which was applied to large parts of the tower’s surface last time during architect N. S. Nebelong’s restoration in 1870-71, was not removed until 1950. However, a small part of the tower’s exterior, more precisely the so-called lesenes, that is the flat vertical bands between the window areas, already stood with exposed bricks before 1950. And by having...

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Confirmands in the Round Tower

There are 457 steps to the Round Tower from the Church of the Holy Ghost (Helligaandskirken) in Copenhagen, only 385 from the Church of Our Lady (Vor Frue Kirke), and between the Trinity Church (Trinitatis Kirke) and the entrance to the spiral ramp there are only a few. But it is hardly the short distance alone that has caused generations of newly minted confirmands to climb the Round Tower, as it has been a tradition for them to do since the late 18th century, when their confirmation was successfully completed in one of the churches of Copenhagen. There is also a deeper, or...

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Sun over the Round Tower

The Round Tower is located in California. That is not the Round Tower that was inaugurated in 1642 and that stands exactly 34.8 metres tall from street level to the top platform. This Round Tower is indeed located where it always has been – on the street Købmagergade in Copenhagen. But in Solvang in the United States a replica has been built, only one third of the original tower’s size and with neither a spiral ramp nor an observatory. In turn, it is possible to buy several local favourites for lunch and dinner if one enters the portal. For here...

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The Water Tower in Købmagergade

On a wind-swept day in May 2015 a man, with a light swaying way of walking and an incipient trucker moustache, handed in his ticket to the Round Tower and headed toward the viewing platform. He then forced his way through the security fence, which has supplemented Caspar Fincke’s old wrought iron grille since 1890, took a sip of a canned beer that he had brought along, opened his fly – and urinated out over Copenhagen through the grille’s symmetrical embellishments. The performance artist Uwe Max Jensen (for it was him) was not just ordinarily in need of peeing, but...

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Scratched in the Windowpane

Kilroy might not have been here, but in exchange Mia and Gustaf, Charles Rasmussen and “forester P. Petersen” have all visited the Round Tower and left a memory that can still be seen. For each of them have scratched their name on one of the small leaded windowpanes, which separate the tower’s spiral ramp from the rest of the world. And they are not the only ones. If one looks closely, it is possible to discover dozens of names and dates on the windowpanes. Especially if the sun is shining, for then they appear particularly beautiful. Some of the names are written rather ineptly, others...