Kongens Nytorv

Kongens Nytorv

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Kongens Nytorv is a public square
Town square
A town square is an open public space commonly found in the heart of a traditional town used for community gatherings. Other names for town square are civic center, city square, urban square, market square, public square, and town green.Most town squares are hardscapes suitable for open markets,...

 in Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

, Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

, centrally located at the end of the pedestrian street Strøget
Strøget
Strøget is a carfree zone in Copenhagen, Denmark. This popular tourist attraction in the centre of town is the longest pedestrian shopping area in Europe....

. The finest and largest square of the city, it was laid out by Christian V
Christian V of Denmark
Christian V , was king of Denmark and Norway from 1670 to 1699, the son of Frederick III of Denmark and Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg...

 in 1670 in connection with a major extension of the fortified city, and has an equestrian statue of him at its centre. The initiative moved the centre of the city from the medieval area around Gammeltorv
Gammeltorv
Gammeltorv is the oldest square in Copenhagen, Denmark. With adjoining Nytorv it forms a common space along the Strøget pedestrian zone. While the square dates back to the foundation of the city in the 12th century, most of its buildings were constructed after the Great Fire of 1795 in...

, at that time a muddy medieval marketplace
Marketplace
A marketplace is the space, actual, virtual or metaphorical, in which a market operates. The term is also used in a trademark law context to denote the actual consumer environment, ie. the 'real world' in which products and services are provided and consumed.-Marketplaces and street markets:A...

, to a cobble
Cobblestone
Cobblestones are stones that were frequently used in the pavement of early streets. "Cobblestone" is derived from the very old English word "cob", which had a wide range of meanings, one of which was "rounded lump" with overtones of large size...

d new square with a garden complex, inspired by the Royal city planning seen in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 from the early 17th century.

Important buildings facing the square include the Charlottenborg Palace
Charlottenborg Palace
Charlottenborg Palace is a large town mansion located on the corner of Kongens Nytorv and Nyhavn in Copenhagen, Denmark. Originally built as a residence for Ulrik Frederik Gyldenløve, it has served as the base of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts since its foundation in 1754...

 from 1671, the Thott Palace from 1683 (now the French Embassy
Embassy of France in Copenhagen
The French Embassy in Copenhagen is the main diplomatic mission of France to Denmark. It is located in the Thott Palace at Kongens Nytorv 4 in central Copenhagen, Denmark...

), and the Royal Danish Theater from 1874.

New Copenhagen


In the beginning of the 17th century, the eastern city gate, Østerport, was located at the eastern ramparts of Copenhagen, Østervold, which ran along the western edge of the area later to become Kongens Nytorv with the eastern city gate located at the end of the street Østergade. Outside the gate, an undulating terrain extended towards the sea. As part of Christian IV
Christian IV of Denmark
Christian IV was the king of Denmark-Norway from 1588 until his death. With a reign of more than 59 years, he is the longest-reigning monarch of Denmark, and he is frequently remembered as one of the most popular, ambitious and proactive Danish kings, having initiated many reforms and projects...

's ambitious plans to strengthen Copenhagen as a regional centre, he wanted to double the area of the fortified city, he acquired 200 hectares of land outside Østerport in 1606. To protect the new city district, called New Copenhagen (Danish: Ny København) or Saint Anne's Town (Danish: Sankt Annæ By), he started construction of a redoubt
Redoubt
A redoubt is a fort or fort system usually consisting of an enclosed defensive emplacement outside a larger fort, usually relying on earthworks, though others are constructed of stone or brick. It is meant to protect soldiers outside the main defensive line and can be a permanent structure or a...

, Saint Anne's Post (Danish: Sankt Annæ Skanse), at the site later to become Kastellet. In 1627 a customs house
Custom House
A custom house or customs house was a building housing the offices for the government officials who processed the paperwork for the import and export of goods into and out of a country. Customs officials also collected customs duty on imported goods....

 was added at the site. In the beginning of the 1640s the old Østervold was abandoned altogether in favour of the new ramperts further north, and the location of the King's new square, Kongens Nytorv, was decided in 1647 with the construction of the street Godtersgade in 1647. According to a masterplan from created by the fortification engineer Axel Urups, Kongens Nytorv was to be connected to the sea by a canal.


At this time, under the reign of Frederik III, the site was a chaotic area, dominated by remains of the old ramparts and piles of garbage, almost made unpassable when wet weather transformed it into a muddy morass. Due to the topography and obstructed character of the premises, the site was popularly known as Hallandsås
Hallandsås
Hallandsås is a horst on the border between the Swedish counties Skåne and Halland.It is part of a geological formation that includes an island in the sea outside the village of Torekov near Båstad called Hallands Väderö. The geological formation continues with the Linderödsåsen in Skåne. It was...

en, a reference to the horst
Horst
Horst is a Germanic word meaning "eagle's nest" and "man from the forest" . It may refer to:-Given name:* Horst * Horst Buchholz, a German actor* Horst Bulau, a Canadian ski jumper...

 by the same name which had to be traversed when traveling from Scania
Scania
Scania is the southernmost of the 25 traditional non-administrative provinces of Sweden, constituting a peninsula on the southern tip of the Scandinavian peninsula, and some adjacent islands. The modern administrative subdivision Skåne County is almost, but not totally, congruent with the...

 and Halland
Halland
' is one of the traditional provinces of Sweden , on the western coast of Sweden. It borders Västergötland, Småland, Scania and the sea of Kattegat.-Administration:...

.

Lay out of the King's New Square


Shortly after Christian V was coronated in 1670, he decided to level and cobble the square. This decision was taken mainly for military reasons, its strategic location with almost the same distance to all points along the ramparts of the city making it well suited as a central alarm square. In the same time, the square was to serve as a place royale
Place des Vosges
The Place des Vosges is the oldest planned square in Paris.It is located in the Marais district, and it straddles the dividing-line between the 3rd and 4th arrondissements of Paris.- History :...

with inspiration from France. Land around the new square was distributed among interested wealthy citizens, including people from the new ranks. Buildings facing the square were required to be in at least two stories and meet certain standards.

In 1688, a baroque garden complex with trees around a parterre and a guilded equestrian statue of Christian V in its centre, was inaugurated. In 1747 the entire square was rebuilt by Frederik V as a military drill and ceremony ground for the King's troops until 1908, where the square was re-shaped into its original design.

Features



Equestrian statue


The equestrian statue of Christian V was created by the French sculptor Abraham-César Lamoureux. Dating from 1688, it is the oldest equestrian statue in Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

. Originally made in gilded
Gilding
The term gilding covers a number of decorative techniques for applying fine gold leaf or powder to solid surfaces such as wood, stone, or metal to give a thin coating of gold. A gilded object is described as "gilt"...

 lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

, it was recast in bronze
Bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

 1939.

With direct inspiration from the equestrian statue of Louis XIII
Louis XIII of France
Louis XIII was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and of Navarre from 1610 to 1643.Louis was only eight years old when he succeeded his father. His mother, Marie de Medici, acted as regent during Louis' minority...

 erected at the centre of Place des Vosges
Place des Vosges
The Place des Vosges is the oldest planned square in Paris.It is located in the Marais district, and it straddles the dividing-line between the 3rd and 4th arrondissements of Paris.- History :...

 in Paris in 1639, it depicts the king dressed like a Roman imperator
Imperator
The Latin word Imperator was originally a title roughly equivalent to commander under the Roman Republic. Later it became a part of the titulature of the Roman Emperors as part of their cognomen. The English word emperor derives from imperator via Old French Empreur...

 with a Laurel wreath
Laurel wreath
A laurel wreath is a circular wreath made of interlocking branches and leaves of the bay laurel , an aromatic broadleaf evergreen. In Greek mythology, Apollo is represented wearing a laurel wreath on his head...

ed helmet
Helmet
A helmet is a form of protective gear worn on the head to protect it from injuries.Ceremonial or symbolic helmets without protective function are sometimes used. The oldest known use of helmets was by Assyrian soldiers in 900BC, who wore thick leather or bronze helmets to protect the head from...

.

At the foot of the plinth
Plinth
In architecture, a plinth is the base or platform upon which a column, pedestal, statue, monument or structure rests. Gottfried Semper's The Four Elements of Architecture posited that the plinth, the hearth, the roof, and the wall make up all of architectural theory. The plinth usually rests...

, Lamoureux placed four allegorical statues
Allegorical sculpture
Allegorical sculpture refers to sculptures that symbolize and particularly personify abstract ideas as in allegory.Common in the western world, for example, are statues of 'Justice', a female figure traditionally holding scales in one hand, as a symbol of her weighing issues and arguments, and a...

. Facing Charlottenborg Palace stand figures of Minerva
Minerva
Minerva was the Roman goddess whom Romans from the 2nd century BC onwards equated with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, magic...

 and Alexander the Great, representing prudence
Wisdom
Wisdom is a deep understanding and realization of people, things, events or situations, resulting in the ability to apply perceptions, judgements and actions in keeping with this understanding. It often requires control of one's emotional reactions so that universal principles, reason and...

 and fortitude
Courage
Courage is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation...

, while the opposite side features statues of Herkules and Artemisia
Artemisia I of Caria
Artemisia I of Caria became the ruler, after the death of her husband, as a client of the Persians – who in the 5th century BC ruled as the overlords of Ionia....

, personifications of strength
Courage
Courage is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation...

 and honour
Honour
Honour or honor is an abstract concept entailing a perceived quality of worthiness and respectability that affects both the social standing and the self-evaluation of an individual or corporate body such as a family, school, regiment or nation...

.

Even though Lamoureux depicted the horse in a trot
Trot (horse gait)
The trot is a two-beat diagonal gait of the horse, where the diagonal pairs of legs move forward at the same time. There is a moment of suspension between each beat....

-like gait
Horse gait
Horse gaits are the various ways in which a horse can move, either naturally or as a result of specialized training by humans.-Classification:...

, with inspiration from Marcus Aurelius
Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius
The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius is an ancient Roman statue in the Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. It is made of bronze and stands 3.5 m tall. Although the emperor is mounted, it exhibits many similarities to standing statues of Augustus...

' horse at the Capitoline Hill
Capitoline Hill
The Capitoline Hill , between the Forum and the Campus Martius, is one of the seven hills of Rome. It was the citadel of the earliest Romans. By the 16th century, Capitolinus had become Capitolino in Italian, with the alternative Campidoglio stemming from Capitolium. The English word capitol...

, the design caused severe problems due to the soft metal used for the casting. The construction therefore had to be strengthened, and Lamoureux introduced a figure of a naked man crouched underneath the horse's hoof, personifying envy
Envy
Envy is best defined as a resentful emotion that "occurs when a person lacks another's superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it."...

 but in the same time affording support for the horse's barrel as the weakest point of the statue. However, over the centuries the problems with the statue continued, particularly with the horse's front left leg, and finally Professor Einar Utzon-Frank
Einar Utzon-Frank
Aksel Einar Utzon-Frank was a Danish sculptor and professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. During his lifetime, he produced a large number of sculptures, many of which stand as public monuments...

 from the Danish Academy of Fine Arts was commissioned to recast the statue in bronze. This happened from 1939 to 1942 and the new cast was inaugurated on May 22, 1946.

"Krinsen" Garden Complex


Krinsen is an old form of the Danish word Krans, meaning circle or wreath
Wreath
A wreath is an assortment of flowers, leaves, fruits, twigs and/or various materials that is constructed to resemble a ring. They are used typically as Christmas decorations to symbolize the coming of Christ, also known as the Advent season in Christianity. They are also used as festive headdresses...

. It is an elliptical
Ellipse
In geometry, an ellipse is a plane curve that results from the intersection of a cone by a plane in a way that produces a closed curve. Circles are special cases of ellipses, obtained when the cutting plane is orthogonal to the cone's axis...

 parterre
Parterre
A parterre is a formal garden construction on a level surface consisting of planting beds, edged in stone or tightly clipped hedging, and gravel paths arranged to form a pleasing, usually symmetrical pattern. Parterres need not have any flowers at all...

 surrounding the statue of Christian V. The ellipse was a favoured geometrical shape at the time, an obvious example bing the elliptical pattern in the paving around the Marcus Aurelius statue at Piazza del Campidoglio. Around the parterre, two rows of trees were planted. In 1711, the garden complex was remodelled, before it was given up in 1747 the garden was removed to make room for military drils, with some of the trees being dug altogether up, leaving only the equestrian statue. Some of the trees were dug up and reused for the establishment of the avenue Østre Allé. New rows of elm trees
Elm
Elms are deciduous and semi-deciduous trees comprising the genus Ulmus in the plant family Ulmaceae. The dozens of species are found in temperate and tropical-montane regions of North America and Eurasia, ranging southward into Indonesia. Elms are components of many kinds of natural forests...

 were planted around the statue in 1855-56, but by 1998 they were dying from Dutch elm disease
Dutch elm disease
Dutch elm disease is a disease caused by a member of the sac fungi category, affecting elm trees which is spread by the elm bark beetle. Although believed to be originally native to Asia, the disease has been accidentally introduced into America and Europe, where it has devastated native...

 and removed. In 2001, 80 lime trees
Tilia
Tilia is a genus of about 30 species of trees native throughout most of the temperate Northern Hemisphere. The greatest species diversity is found in Asia, and the genus also occurs in Europe and eastern North America, but not western North America...

 were planted as part of a major refurbishment of the square.

Old kiosk


On the square stands an old kiosk and telephone stand from 1913. It is built in Baroque Revival style with a copper-clad roof and hand-carved ornamentation. It also used to offer the first public telephonic connection
Telephone booth
A telephone booth, telephone kiosk, telephone call box or telephone box is a small structure furnished with a payphone and designed for a telephone user's convenience. In the USA, Canada and Australia, "telephone booth" is used, while in the UK and the rest of the Commonwealth it is a "telephone...

 in Copenhagen from where it was possible to call every day except Sunday from 10 am to 8 pm. Today it houses a small café with outdoor service.

Surrounding buildings

  • Royal Danish Theatre
    Royal Danish Theatre
    The Royal Danish Theatre is both the national Danish performing arts institution and a name used to refer to its old purpose-built venue from 1874 located on Kongens Nytorv in Copenhagen. The theatre was founded in 1748, first serving as the theatre of the king, and then as the theatre of the...

    , at No. 1, (built 1872–74)
  • Charlottenborg Palace
    Charlottenborg Palace
    Charlottenborg Palace is a large town mansion located on the corner of Kongens Nytorv and Nyhavn in Copenhagen, Denmark. Originally built as a residence for Ulrik Frederik Gyldenløve, it has served as the base of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts since its foundation in 1754...

     (built 1672-1683)
  • Herdorff's House, at No. 3-5, (1780)
  • Thott Palace, at No. 4, now housing the French Embassy
    Embassy of France in Copenhagen
    The French Embassy in Copenhagen is the main diplomatic mission of France to Denmark. It is located in the Thott Palace at Kongens Nytorv 4 in central Copenhagen, Denmark...

     (built 1683)
  • 8 Kongens Nytorv, until 1979 the headquarters of A. P. Moller-Maersk Group, then until 2010 housing Jyllands Posten's Copenhagen office (Hans Næs, 1908)
  • Magasin du Nord, at No. 13, a leading department store (built 1893-94)
  • Café a Porta, at No. 17, (built 1792)
  • Lihmes Gård, at No. 18, (built 1787)
  • Hviids Vinstue, at No. 19, the oldest tavern in Copenhagen (built 1767)
  • 26 Kongens Nytorv, until 2003 the headquarters of Great Northern Telegraph Company
    Great Northern Telegraph Company
    The Great Northern Telegraph Company was a Danish telegraph company founded in June 1869...

     (built 1893)
  • Hotel D’Angleterre
    Hotel D’Angleterre
    Hotel d'Angleterre is one of the first deluxe hotels in the world. Situated in Copenhagen, Denmark. It is located on Kongens Nytorv opposite Charlottenborg, the Royal Opera and Nyhavn. Tracing its history back to 1755, the current building was built 1873-75, the work of leading Danish architect...

    , at No. 34, (built 1874)
  • Erichsens Palæ, headquarters of Danske Bank
    Danske Bank
    Danske Bank is a Danish bank. The name literally means "Danish Bank" It was founded 5 October 1871 as Den Danske Landmandsbank, Hypothek- og Vexelbank i Kjøbenhavn ....

     (built 1797-99)

Outdoor exhibition space


The square is frequently used as an open air exhibition venue, especially for photo exhibitions.

Ice skating rink


In winter a 2,200 m² circular ice skating rink
Ice rink
An ice rink is a frozen body of water and/or hardened chemicals where people can skate or play winter sports. Besides recreational ice skating, some of its uses include ice hockey, figure skating and curling as well as exhibitions, contests and ice shows...

is constructed around Krinsen. Skating is free of charge and ice skate rental is available.

High school graduation celebrations


As an old tradition, graduating high school students from the Copenhagen area, when they graduate in June, come to Kongens Nytorv in buses, trucks or horse wagons to dance and run around Krinsen, throwing their graduation caps into the air, celebrating their graduation.