Denmark’s oldest housing development, Nyboder, is found just past Store Kongensgade. The construction of the long rows if ochre-colored houses began in 1631, after Kristian IV addressed the urgent need for housing for Danish Royal Navy personnel.
The 616 apartments are still used for staff and retired officers. The Nyboder seen today was in fact, except for a single row of houses in St. Paulsgade, built from 1757.
Nyboder (Small houses) is very much associated with their yellow color and “Nyboder yellow” is in Danish often used as a generic term to refer to their exact hue of yellow. However, the original color of the development was red and white.
From its early days, the Nyboder area included a guardhouse which was replaced by a new building in the 1780s. It had an external bell which was used to gather people in the event of a military attack or fire. The building also houses the Nyboder barracks’ own guard and contained a jail, where trouble-making residents were deposited.
It has several times been proposed to sell the houses and use the proceeds for various purposes, including investments in improved infrastructure in Copenhagen, but so far it has been rejected. In 2009 the A. P. Møller Foundation made a donation of DKK 50 million for a refurbishment of some of the houses
Related: Art in Copenhagen
Fine Art Collections in Copenhagen
Nearby, where Øster Voldgade and Sølvgade meets, you’ll find the superb National Gallery of Denmark. A new extension houses four storeys of modern art within stunning glass and whitewashed walls. Other Danish and European works are displayed permanently, along with changing international exhibitions.
National Gallery and Danh Vo
Until 2 December 2018, the National Gallery of Denmark (SMK) presents a large-scale retrospective exhibition featuring one of Denmark’s most internationally acclaimed contemporary artists: Danh Vo. The exhibition at SMK is the result of a unique collaboration with The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.
On display are also full-scale replicas of the folds of the Statue of Liberty’s robes, a chandelier that has witnessed major turning points in history, and letters from a warring and ballet-loving Henry Kissinger.
The Hirschsprungske Collection
Behind the museum and across the park is the Hirschsprungske Collection, a private collection of 19th century Danish art assembled by tobacco tycoon Heinrich Hirschsprung – including many of the originals from the Skagen painters.
In 1902, Pauline and Heinrich Hirschsprung gave their vast collection of Danish nineteenth-century art to the Danish nation. A museum was built to house the collection, opening in 1911.
Heinrich Hirschsprung’s family was of German-Jewish origin. His father, Abraham Marcus Hirschsprung, who originally came from Friedberg near Frankfurt, set up a tobacconist’s shop in the end wall of the prestigious Hotel d’Angleterre in Kongens Nytorv in Copenhagen in 1826. However, it was not until his sons Bernhard (1834–1909) and Heinrich Hirschsprung (1836–1908) took over the company in 1859 that it grew into a modern enterprise specialising in the manufacture of cigars at its own factory in Tordenskjoldsgade – entirely in keeping with the ‘Wirtschaftswunder’, the process of industrialisation that transformed Copenhagen into a modern city in the 1870-80s.
Feature image (on top) The Hirschspringske Collection
Fine Art Collections in Copenhagen, written by Tor Kjolberg