ARCHITECT, Danish
(active around 1600 in Copenhagen)

Exterior view

1598-1604
Photo
Tøjhuset, Copenhagen

During the Middle Ages, Copenhagen became an important town for trade across the Baltic Sea, as did many other market towns along the Danish coast. To protect the trading centre, a huge fortification was erected encircling the town. In the middle of the 15th century Copenhagen became the royal residence and (in 1443) the capital of the Kingdom of Denmark, which at that time included all of Norway, the southern third of Sweden and large areas of northern Germany. Christian IV had new Renaissance buildings constructed in the medieval town, among them the Børsen (Exchange, 1619-40) by the Dutch architects Lourens van Steenwinckel and Hans van Steenwinckel the Younger; the Rundetaarn (Round Tower, 1643) with an Astronomical Observatory; the Rosenborg Palace (before 1613), a Renaissance parade castle not used as a permanent residence; and the Tøjhuset (Royal Arsenal, 1598-1604).

Shortly after King Christian IV was crowned, he decided to re-arm. The rivalry with Sweden for control over the Baltic Sea called for a strong fleet with a well protected base. He therefore decided to build a new naval harbour at Slotsholmen where Christiansborg Palace stands today.

There had been an arsenal on the site for half a century but it was a fairly small, half-timbered building, one of several such arsenals spread across the city, and it was now outdated. Between 1598 and 1604 a huge new arsenal was completed, 163 metres long and 24 metres wide with walls three metres thick at the base. Next to it a supply depot was built with the same length and design but a bit narrower. It was between these two buildings that the new harbour was to be constructed. The entire complex was completed around 1610.

The building served as an arsenal well into the 19th century. Presently it houses the Danish War Museum (Krigsmuseet).




© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.