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02.11.2020

Gammel Strand, Copenhagen

Gammel Strand is a street and public square in downtown Copenhagen, Denmark. On the south side it borders on the narrow Slotsholmens canal, and on the north side it borders on a number of brightly colored 18th and 19th century houses. Through the canal on the island of Slotsholmen you can see the Torvaldsens Museum and the Christiansborg Palace.

The Kunstforingen Art Gallery and the Ministry of Culture are the most prominent institutions overlooking the street.

Cradle of Copenhagen

Gammel Strand used to be a natural harbor, protected by several small islands, which later turned into Slotsholmens. It was around this harbor that Copenhagen was founded in the 11th century as a small fishing and trading settlement. However, archaeological finds show that the beach was much further inland at that time. The area was marshy, and boats just pulled up to the beach. Later, after land reclamation, the coastline was shifted and the appropriate harbor developed.

Fish Market

Later, Gammel Strand became the venue of a fish market, known to women who sat on the square all seasons to sell their fish. Also known as Skovserkoner Women, because they would buy their fish in the small fishing village Skovshoved north of Copenhagen and go a long way to Gammel Strand to sell them at the market. They were recognized by their distinctive white scarves. Eventually, space became too scarce, and in 1958 a new fish market opened in the South Harbor.

Destroyed by fire

Most of the buildings along Gammelstran were completely destroyed in a fire in Copenhagen in 1795. It began in the coal and wood storage facility in Gammelholm and spread to the area around the Church of St. Nicholas, then moved along Gammelstrand to the area around Gammeltorv and Nitorv. In subsequent years, the houses were restored.

Buildings

Most of the houses have been rebuilt and extended with additional history over the years and showcase many different styles. Despite this, the overall impression is very harmonious, and today Gammel Strand is considered one of the most delightful urban spaces in Copenhagen.

The oldest house on the street is № 48. Built in 1750 by Philippe de Lange, it survived the 1795 fire without serious damage. In 1796 it was supplemented with additional history. Today, it houses the Kunstferningen Art Gallery.

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