Frederiksberg Park in Copenhagen

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Frederiksberg Park (Danish: Frederiksberg Have) is one of the largest and most attractive greenspaces in Copenhagen, Denmark. Together with the adjacent Søndermarken it forms a green area of 64 hectares at the western edge of Inner Copenhagen. It is a romantic landscape garden designed in English style.


The original Baroque garden

Frederiksberg Park was established by King Frederik IV in connecton with the construction of Frederiksberg Palace as his new summer retreat on high grounds atop Valby Hill. Work on the project began in the last half od the 1690s with inspiration from Ialy and France which Frederick, at that time still Crown Prince, had visited on several occasions. He commissioned the eminent Swedish architect Nicodemus Tessin to draw a proposal and the final plan was subsequently made by Hans Heinrich Scheel, a captain in the Corps of Royal Engineers.

The plan involved a parterre with a complex system of cascades on the sloping terrain in front of the new new palace. It was fed by a complicated but inefficient system of pumps which never came to work properly.

The summerhouse contained a hall, two cabinets, a kitchen and lavatory. The only window in the lavatory was in the shape of a half moon and was made of red glass. The furniture consisted partly of copies of Chinese furniture as well as a set of genuine Chinese bamboo furniture acquired through the Asiatic Company.

Both the exterior and the interoior has rich Chinese-inspired cecorations, pictures, characters and other ornaments, and there were bells on the roof. Imitation bamboo was used the ceilings.<ref name=Chinese/>

Apis Temple

The Apis Temple is located on the border to Copenhagen Zoo. It was designed in the style of a in the style of a Roman temple by the painter Nicolai Abildgaard and built in 1802. It is named for the Egyptian bull-deity Apis which is depicted on the fronton. The temple front consists of 10 columns of which 8 are recycled from a rebuilding of Moltke's Palace while he last 2 columns are replicas. Decorations include the Ox Cranium Frieze and the Bull Relief, both carved in sandstone.

On the inside, the temple consists of a barrel vaulted room with two windows which originally had stained glass. The room was furnished with a sofa, chairs and console tables which the royalties could use for drinking tea. From 1874 to 1970 the temple was used as entrance to the Zoo which had been in 1859 and the décor changed. The temple is occasionally open for the public and has been used for art exhibitions.

Swiss Cottage

Like the Apis Temple, the Swiss Cottage lies in the part of the park that was incorporated when the park was redesigned in the Romantic style. Designed by Abildgaard and built between 1800 and 1801, the contains a hall, a cabinet and some smaller rooms in which the royal family could take coffee after dinner or a stroll in the garden. In 1894, the house was converted into a residence for the castle gardener, and the interior was radically altered.

The style has little to do with Switzerland but the name bears testament to the period's fascination with mountainous regions. The cottage was built next to a small lake and the vegetation around the cottage was adapted, with conifers instead of deciduous trees, to create the right atmosphere of the setting.

The Pheasantry

Close to the Swiss Cottage stands the Pheasantry (Da. Fasangården) which was designed by J.C. Krieger and built in 1723. As the name suggests, the nuilding was originally built in connection with a pheasantry which raised pheasants for the royal household. When the park was redesigned around 1800, there were plans to tear down the house but instead it was turned into a residence for the king’s private secretary, P.C. Jessen, who had already used it during summer since 1798. The building was adapted in 1828 by Jørgen Hansen Koch. It served as summer residence for Adam Oehlenschläger and his family from 1842 to 1850.

Artificial waterfall

Another garden feature typical of the romantic garden is an artificial waterfall. The waterfall is 7 metres heigh and partly created out of marble blocks from the building site of the Marble Church. The waterfall was left as a ruin for many years but was reconstructed in 2004.

Elephant viewpoint

When Norman Foster in collaboration with the Danish landscape architect Stig L. Andersson designed the new Elephant House for the adjacent Copenhagen Zoo, it was done as anextension of Frederiksberg Park. A three-metre high wall that once separated the two has been replaced by a simple fence, so that visitors in the public park can now watch the elephants. In the same time it means the elephants have distant views as well. The enclosure steps up slowly away from the park, rising to the height of the domes. From a distance, these appear to be buried in the ground, surrounded by ferns and trees.

Events & activities

Every year on Midsummer Eve, the park is a rallying point for thousands of people who attend community singing, speeches, music and a "witch"-burning bonfire at the lakeside in front of the palace.

Cultural references

  • In Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale The Elder-Tree Mother, an old married couple remembers how they used to go to the Round Tiower, "and looked down on Copenhagen, and far, far away over the water; then we went to Frederiksberg [Park], where the King and the Queen were sailing about in their splendid barges!'.

See also

  • Parks and open spaces in Copenhagen

External links