Rådhusplads (en) ( German (der) Rathausplatz ) is a square in the center of the Danish capital Copenhagen . It is located in the Indre By district between Vester Voldgade and Hans Christian Andersens Boulevard . The Vesterbrogade and Strog , one of the longest pedestrian street in Europe, open to the square. It was named in 1893 after the town hall, the construction of which had started a year earlier.
Rådhuspladsen has an area of 29,300 m² and is one of the liveliest places in the capital, where, among other things, open-air exhibitions, concerts and large-screen broadcasts are held. It is also regularly used as a meeting place at New Year's Eve celebrations or demonstrations. The adjacent buildings have represented the largest range of neon signs in Denmark since the 1920s .
Vester Torv and Halmtorvet
Where the square is today, there was originally part of the western ramparts , which were expanded in the 17th century with the bastions of the noble families Schack and Gyldenløve. The last-named bastion was on the spot where the town hall was later built.
In front of one of the four city gates of Copenhagen, the Vesterport (west gate) at the end of Frederiksgade , a small market called Vester Torv was set up in 1760 , where the farmers' wagons laden with hay and straw were weighed after they had passed the city gate. Therefore, the square was later renamed Halmtorvet (straw market). After the Vesterport was demolished and the Copenhagen ramparts razed in 1857, the square got its open character.
Nordic Exhibition 1872
From 1872 to 1889, in connection with the Tivoli amusement park, there was an exhibition area for industrial products and art at Rådhusplads . The first major exhibition, the "Nordic Industry and Art Exhibition", was held on June 13, 1872 by the Danish King Christian IX. solemnly opened.
On the occasion of the exhibition, the Industribygning (industrial building) was built on the corner of Vesterbros Passage , today's Vesterbrogade . The building was built from 1870 to 1872 on behalf of the industrial association according to plans by the architect Vilhelm Klein. The two-storey, red brick building consisted of four wings with corner pavilions. The style was based on the Italian Renaissance . In 1879 the middle building was converted into a large hall - again according to Vilhelm Klein's plans. A café, the Industricafé , was added in 1908, and in the 1930s the Palladium cinema moved into the building, which was redesigned in the functionalist style by the architect Ernst Kühn . The constant changes gave the complex an inconsistent style, which is why it was finally demolished in 1976 and replaced by the House of Industry .
Second Nordic Exhibition 1888
The "Nordic Industry, Agriculture and Art Exhibition in Copenhagen" opened in 1888 on Rådhusplads; it was also a great success for Denmark. The main attraction was a large exhibition hall designed by Martin Nyrop in 1887 . Its construction reached almost from Vesterbros Passage over the former Halmtorv , where the Lurblæserne Monument stands today, to what was then the extension of Vester Voldgade . The exhibition building in the style of national romanticism was an impressive wooden construction, which was crowned by a large dome with a flagpole on top. Another attraction was the Tuborg brewery , which used Tuborg bottles to erect an approximately 30-meter-high observation tower in the form of a beer bottle. After the exhibition, the tower was transported to Hellerup , where it still stands today.
First film premiere in 1896
Almost half a year after the world's first public film screenings in Paris, Denmark's first film premiere took place on June 7, 1896 in the Panorama entertainment establishment . It was part of a larger concept. A repertoire of foreign films with a duration of about one minute was shown.
Construction of the town hall 1892–1905
Martin Nyrop was also the architect of the town hall that replaced the exhibition hall. First the exhibition area was cleared. In competition with Vilhelm Dahlerup and Valdemar Koch, among others, Nyrop delivered his first design for a new town hall. He still had to share the prize money with Koch. After Koch gave in in favor of Nyrop, Nyrop prevailed in a second competition. Thereupon the construction work began in 1892, which dragged on for thirteen years until the inauguration of the town hall in 1905, whereby the town council moved in as early as 1903. Before the foundation stone was laid , the name of the square, Halmtorvet , was changed to Rådhuspladsen in 1893 .
The town hall bell rang for the first time on New Year's Eve at the turn of the century. Since then it has rung every quarter of an hour between eight in the morning and midnight. Even today, every year on New Year's Eve, thousands are waiting on site and in front of the TV screen all over Denmark for the ringing of the town hall bell to toast the New Year.
In the course of time there have been many suggestions for redesigning the square, including by Vilhelm Klein, who provided a roundabout with monuments based on the model of the Great Star in Berlin's Tiergarten . Nyrop finally created a bowl-shaped recessed square in front of the town hall, similar to a conch shell and inspired by the square in front of the town hall in Siena, Tuscany . The recess was intended to highlight the architectural value of the town hall and serve as a meeting place.
Politics Christmas Tree 1914
In 1914, the local daily Politiken had a large Christmas tree set up on the square for the first time, establishing a tradition that will soon be 100 years old. Today the city administration takes care of the Christmas decorations.
In the first decades of the 20th century there was still space for green areas. That changed with the advent of trams, buses and cars, and the square developed into a busy transport hub until it was redesigned in 1996. Almost all of the city's tram lines passed from all four corners of the Rathausplatz and thus formed a large cross of rails until they were relocated in 1931. A number 16 tram passed the square for the last time in 1970, and in 1972 tram operations in Copenhagen were finally shut down.
War and post-war years
During the German occupation , toilets were built underground and some unaesthetic bunkers above ground. In the process, the "mussel shell" and the tram stop designed by Thorvald Jørgensen in 1903, affectionately called Feslottet (the fairy castle), disappeared. The house is now in the town of Espergærde. The traffic guard, also built in 1903, in the middle of the square disappeared a short time later. It was a characteristic wooden structure, popularly called Stavkirke (" stave church ").
From 1954 to 1955, Vesterboulevard on the west side was expanded into a wide road for car traffic and renamed HC Andersens Boulevard . The Rådhushaven park (the town hall garden) disappeared when the carriageway was expanded .
Copenhagen's living room
The lively urban square is a meeting point and central gathering place for a variety of occasions. On the eve of the referendum on Denmark's accession to the European Community on October 1, 1972, around 80,000 people demonstrated on Town Hall Square for Danish sovereignty and against accession. The demonstration was initiated by the popular movement against the EC founded in advance .
When the Danish national football team was welcomed after the European Championship in Sweden in 1992, a huge crowd gathered on Rådhusplads; this time to enthusiastically cheer the European champions on the town hall balcony.
The closing events of many mass events like Copenhagen Gay Pride take place here.
Redesign of the 1990s (HT bus terminal)
From 1995 to 1996 the square was renovated on the occasion of the European Capital of Culture initiative (Kulturby 96) and redesigned with concrete and granite. Since then, private car traffic has no longer flowed through the middle of the square, which means that the Rathausplatz was no longer divided into two halves and appeared much stronger than before as a closed unit.
A bus terminal for the transport company Hovedstadsområdets Trafikselskab (HT) was built on the north side , which initially housed the headquarters of the European Capital of Culture initiative. The terminal shielded the open space in front of the town hall from the bus stops and was intended to bring more tranquility to the square and make it more attractive as a place to stay. The black and glass futuristic building was already extremely controversial when it opened in 1996. Many were of the opinion that it looked misplaced and oversized in relation to the surrounding area and would destroy the aesthetics of the square. In the building, which served as an information center and ticket sales, the live program Aftenshowet (the evening show) of the TV channel DR1 was broadcast from 2007 to 2009 .
Redesign 2010s (Metro)
After only 14 years, the bus terminal was demolished in winter 2010 to make way for a new underground station . The Rådhuspladsen metro station opened in 2019 as part of the new metro city ring (line M3). For the year 2025, 11,000 passengers are expected to get on and off here.
Buildings on Rådhusplads
The Copenhagen City Hall ( Københavns Rådhus ) was built from 1892 according to plans by the architect Martin Nyrop in the national romantic style . It was inaugurated on September 12, 1905 as the sixth town hall in the town's history. It has been a listed building since 1981. The richly structured brick facade with the gilded statue of the city's founder, Bishop Absalon above a balcony of apparitions, is striking . It is not only reserved for the Queen, when she is a guest in the town hall and waves to the willing people, but is also used by sports heroes and other people who are able to trigger national cheers.
The town hall tower measures 105.6 meters and is therefore only slightly smaller than the tower of Christiansborg Palace .
The chiming of the town hall clock is broadcast every noon at 12 noon on Danish radio - live until February 8, 2003, since then a recording has been used. The Danish New Year is also heralded in this way. The characteristic bell prelude in Denmark has an emotional value comparable to that of Big Ben's voice in Great Britain.
The Helmerhus , also known as Utrecht-bygningen , is opposite the town hall on the corner of Rådhuspladsen 2–4, Vester Voldgade 10–14, Studiestræde and HC Andersens Boulevard 15–17. The house was built from 1892 to 1893 by Knud Arne Petersen and Henrik Hagemann.
Nye Danskes hus
The Nye Danskes hus is located at Rådhuspladsen 14 at the corner of Jernbanegade and was built in 1960 by Ejner Graae and Henning Helger.
The functionalist Richshuset on the corner of Rådhuspladsen 16 and Vesterbrogade 2 was built in 1938 by Alf Cock-Clausen. It was named after the coffee substitute producers CF Rich & Sønner ("CF Rich & Sons"), who had their headquarters here until 1969. The house is known for its gilded “weather girl” statues and a huge neo-lit thermometer on the tower as well as the neo advertising. The decorations were designed by Einar Utzon-Frank in 1936. Today the house is home to a Scottish pub and nightclub, among other things.
The Politiken Hus at Rådhuspladsen 37 corner Vester Voldgade 35 is home to the Danish media company since 1912, JP / Politiken Hus , including newspapers such as Jyllands-Posten , policies and Ekstra Bladet belong. The house was built by Philip Smidth from 1904 to 1905 and expanded by him from 1906 to 1907. A glowing message display at the top of the facade provides information about world events.
At Rådhusplads 45, the Hotel Bristol was built by Vilhelm Fischer from 1901 to 1902 and in 1903 the Copenhagen municipality won first prize in a competition. The hotel, in which the world-famous composer Jacob Gade entertained the audience with his violin playing, rivaled the Palads Hotel in the immediate vicinity. After the hotel went bankrupt in 1917, the Absalon insurance company took over the building and had its headquarters here. Absalons Gaard (Hof Absalon) still stands above the gate . In the mid-1980s, the newspaper company A- pressen bought the building that served as the press house for Det Fri Aktuelt for ten years .
In 1914 , Berlingske Tidende opened BT Central in the Metropol house at 55 Rådhusplads at the entrance to Strøg , which was the headquarters of the BT newspaper until 1977 . Initially, the Copenhageners were informed about the course of the First World War on large posters . Then, in 1924, a hypermodern innovation kicked in for the flow of news when the first illuminated headlines ran across an illuminated banner in Denmark. The house was built by Philip Smidth in 1896. Bent Helweg-Møller carried out renovations on the house in 1924 and 1929. After BT left the building in 1977, Danish eating habits began to change here with the opening of Burger Kings .
The Palace Hotel , formerly Palads Hotel , on the corner of Rådhusplads 57 and Mikkel Bryggers Gade 8 was built by Anton Rosen from 1909 to 1910 and has been a listed building since 1985. The hotel is part of the Scandic Hotels chain. The building was convincing at the time with its modern expression and elements from Art Nouveau . The huge roof with an abundance of mansards is dominated by a 65 meter high tower.
Construction of the house at Rådhusplads 57 began in 1928 according to plans by Einar Ambt and was completed in 1929 under the direction of Gunnar Juul Brask after Ambt's death. Denmark's first real estate credit institution , Kreditkassen for Husejere i Kjøbenhavn (the homeowners credit facility in Copenhagen) was based in the house until 1975.
The St. Clementshus on Rådhuspladsen 75 was built in 1927 by Arthur Wittmaacks and Vilhelm Hvalsøe.
The functionalist office building Dagmarhus is located on the corner of HC Andersens Boulevard 12 and Jernbanegade 2 and was built from 1937 to 1939 by Christian Kampmann and Hans Dahlerup Berthelsen. The building replaced the city's leading theater for decades, the Dagmarteatret , which was built by the architect Ove Petersen from 1881 to 1883 and demolished again in 1937. The name is derived from the Danish princess Dagmar , who became Tsarina of the Russian Empire in 1881 . During the occupation in World War II, the German embassy set up its headquarters for the German civil administration for Denmark here in 1943, which at the end of the day employed around 200 people in four departments (foreign service, internal affairs, administration and economy including culture, press and radio) . Danish informers also went in and out here.
The old Nazi headquarters now houses the Dagmar Teatret cinema , one of the oldest cinemas in Copenhagen. The opening of an 8000 m² hotel with 238 rooms is planned for autumn 2018. From the roof of the house, a restaurant will allow a view over the city.
The House of Industry ( Industriens Hus ) is on the corner of HC Andersens Boulevard 18 / Vesterbrogade 1 and houses the employers' association Dansk Industri . Your predecessor organization acquired the property in 1878.
The uneven original development was demolished in 1977. Arne Jacobsen , Denmark's most important architect and designer, submitted a proposal for a new building. He planned a series of cubic blocks, but those responsible found them to be too uncompromising. A design by Erik Møller was realized in 1977/79 . The house was known for the neon signs on the facade that represented some of Dansk Industri's member companies . With mocha-colored stones and the copper roof, the materials echoed the colors of Copenhagen's prominent buildings.
Extensive renovations were carried out from September 2010 to May 2013, during which the house was expanded and provided with an LED-illuminated glass facade. Critics fear that the house will be perceived as a foreign body after the expansion and that it will reduce the town hall's dominance on the square.
Monuments at Rådhusplads
- The Dragespringvand (dragon fountain ) made of bronze and granite was inaugurated in 1904. The fountain was created after a collaboration between Thorvald Bindesbøll and Joakim Skovgaard and on the initiative of the committee for the exhibition “Danish Art”. The fountain was initially heavily criticized and therefore changed several times. It has been surrounded by a shallow granite basin since 1908 and in 1923 a bull was placed on it that fights a dragon. With the expansion of HC Andersen's Boulevard, the fountain was moved a few meters towards the center of the square.
- The statue of Hans Christian Andersen stands on HC Andersens Boulevard and looks towards Tivoli . It dates from 1961 and was set up by Henry Luckow-Nielsen.
- "The Landsoldat with the little hornblower" (Landsoldat med den lille hornblæser) from 1899 comes from HP Pedersen-Dan and B. Fischer and is intended to commemorate the fallen soldiers of the two Schleswig Wars .
- Lurblaeserne , two Lurenbläser on a high pedestal are of the Column of San Marco in Venice inspired and built by Siegfried Wagner and Anton Rosen in the years 1911-1914. The monument is a gift from the Carlsbergfonde Foundation on the occasion of the 100th birthday of master brewer CJ Jacobsen. Since the two figures stand huddled together on the narrow base, they were popularly referred to as "stacked sacks of flour".
- The zero point ( milestone ) is reminiscent of the former city gate Vesterport and was set up by PV Jensen Klint in the 1920s. In the past, such stones on the city gates indicated the distances to different cities.
In the first official edition of Matador , the Danish version of the well-known board game Monopoly , Rådhuspladsen occupies the most expensive place among the exclusively Copenhagen street tiles; thus it corresponds to the Schlossallee in the German Monopoly variant.
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