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14.11.2020

The Nikolaj Contemporary Art Center, Сopenhagen

Modern Art Center of St. Nicholas is an art center in Copenhagen, which occupies the former St. Nicholas Church, one of the most prominent sights of the city. It is located on Hoibro Square, a few steps away from Amagertorv and Stroget. The church building is known for its fanciful neo-baroque style spire, which is 90 m (300 ft) long. The tower offers one of the best views of the city center.

The original church building was built in the early thirteenth century and was one of the oldest churches in Copenhagen. In 1530, the Lutheran theologian Hans Tavsen (1494-1561) read the first Lutheran sermon in Copenhagen at St. Nicholas Church. The fire of 1795 burned down most of the building, and since 1805, it is no longer an official church. Although the ruins of the church were demolished, the strong tower has survived to this day. The butcher's counters occupied the area around the tower until the second half of the 1800s, when it was closed.

The present building, opened in 1912, was designed by architect Hans Christian Amberg (1749-1815) and represents a modern reconstruction of the destroyed church. The current spire is also a modern reconstruction of the original, funded in 1909 on the initiative and at the expense of brewer Carl Jacobsen (1842-1914). He also financed the renovation of 1915-1917.

The tower served as a naval museum, and its attic was once a library. It was also the focus of Hans Christian Andersen's drama "Love for the Tower of Nicholas", staged in 1829 at the Royal Theater. When the world-famous Danish sculptor Bertel Torvaldsen returned to Copenhagen in 1838, after living and working 40 years in Rome, when his ship approached the tower was raised the flag to warn residents of his arrival.

Nikolai works with a number of organizations at the local, national and international levels in the field of new artistic forms and media. The Art Center specializes in Danish and international contemporary art. The first art exhibitions were held in Nikolai in 1957. Nikolai became famous after Fluxus performances of the 1960s.

Nikolai pays special attention to contemporary art with two annual exhibitions, one of which is intended for children and the other for an older artist who is considered to have had an innovative influence on contemporary art. Cananna Al-Ani, Leonard Cohen, Andreas Emenius, Helmut Newton and Kutlug Ataman especially participated in the exhibitions in Nicolae.

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