If you want to use this site please update your browser!
29.10.2020

Grundtvig's Church, Copenhagen

Grundtvig Church is located in Bispebjerg district of Copenhagen, Denmark. It is a rare example of Expressionist church architecture. Due to its unusual appearance, it is one of the most famous churches in the city.

Commission for the construction of the church, which will be named after the Danish philosopher and hymn writer NF Grundtvig, was decided in a competition won by Peder Wilhelm Jensen-Clint in 1913. The foundation of the new church was laid only after peace. The First War, 8 September 1921, the birthday of Grundtvig. Construction was mainly carried out from 1921 to 1926, when part of the tower was completed, which led to the initial opening of the so-called Tower Church in 1927. Further work on the interior and surrounding buildings continued until 1940 and was completed by Clint's son Kaare Klint after his father's death in 1930. The church stands in the center of a residential building (1924-36), also made of yellow brick, designed by Jensen-Clint in harmony with the church.

Jensen-Clint's project for the Grundtvig church is a synthesis of architectural styles. In preparation for the project, the architect has studied many Danish village churches, in particular on the island of Zeeland with stepped pediments. Their traditional construction methods, materials and finishing inspired his design. Clint combined modern geometric forms of brick expressionism with the classical vertical of Gothic architecture.

The most striking feature of the building is its western facade, reminiscent of the western construction or appearance of the church organ. It includes a 49 m (160 ft) high bell tower. The imposing facade with its strong verticality stretches to the sky. The lower half of the tower is made of simple bricks, while the upper part is a solid wavy surface.

Clint decorated the nave with step pediments, typical for Danish churches, but in a new interpretation by doubling the top. The nave was designed with large dimensions: the three-nave hall of the church is 76 m (259 ft) long and 35 m (115 ft) wide; the nave is 22 m (72 ft) high.

The interior, inspired by Gothic architecture and comparable in size to the Copenhagen Cathedral, is suitable for 1440 parishioners. About five million yellow bricks, a typical Danish building material, were used to build the building. In terms of floor, the interior resembles a typical Gothic church with a nave, two side naves and a small transept. Its proportions are also Gothic: a long narrow nave, extremely high ceiling, columns rising to the pointed arches, and ribbed vaults in the groin above the nave and passages. But it is yellow brick and the lack of ornamentation that contribute to the Gothic verticality, while respecting the minimalist modern aesthetics.

The church has two organs. The one on the northern side of the nave, next to the altar, was built in 1940 by Marcussen & Søn and the facade was designed by Kaare Clint. It has 14 stops, two manuals and a pedalboard. A much larger tool by Marcussein at the western end of the aisle was added in 1965 with a facade designed by Kaare Clint's son, Esben Clint. It had 55 stops, four manuals and a pedalboard. The largest of its tubes weighs 425 kg (937 lbs) and is 32 lbs (11 m) long, the longest organ tube in Scandinavia.

The scheme also included the construction of a number of buildings known as "On a Hill" (da. På Bjerget) on each side of the church, placing them in a symmetrical context to enhance visual impact. Designed by Jensen-Clint in collaboration with Wilhelm Wittrup, Charles I. The buildings have a parish hall and apartments, built between 1924 and 1926.

A long tree-lined road leads through the Bispebjerg Cemetery directly to the church and the surrounding buildings, creating an axis of view similar to that of the Baroque period.

The church is open to visitors all year round, not only during services. The large Markussen organ is regularly used for concerts.

UP