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20.11.2020

Gefion Fountain, Copenhagen

Gefion is a large fountain at the harbor front in Copenhagen, Denmark. It shows a large group of bulls pulling a plough and controlled by the Norwegian goddess Gefion. It is located in the Nordre-Toldbod area, near Castellet and directly south of Langelini.

The fountain was donated to the city of Copenhagen by the Carlsberg Foundation on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the brewery. Originally it was supposed to be located in the main square of the city outside the City Hall, but it was decided instead to build it next to Eresund in its current location near Kastellet ("Citadel").

It was designed by the Danish artist Anders Bundgaard, who created naturalistic figures from 1897 to 1999. The shells and jewelry were completed in 1908. The fountain was first activated on July 14, 1908.

Since 1999, the fountain has undergone a major reconstruction. The fountain did not work for many years and was opened in September 2004.

The fountain depicts the mythical history of the creation of the Island of Zealand, where Copenhagen is located. The legend appears in Ragnarsdrap, a scaldy poem from the 9th century recorded in Prose Edda from the 13th century, and in the saga of the Englings recorded in Heimskringla by Snorri Sturluson from the 13th century.

According to the Inglings saga, the Swedish king Gylfi promised Gefjun the territory she could plough in the night. She turned her four sons into oxen, and the territory they ploughed from the ground was then thrown into the Danish Sea between Scania and the island of Fun . The hole became a lake called Loegrinn. Snorri identifies Lake Leginn as Lake Old Sigtuna west of Stockholm, i.e. Lake Melaren, an identification to which he returns later in the saga of Olaf the Saint. The same identification Leginn / Leginum as Melaren appears in the saga of Asmundar Kappabana, where it is a lake at Agnafit (modern Stockholm), as well as in the saga of Knitling .

Despite the identification of Snorri, tourist information about the fountain identifies the resulting lake as Vänern. The largest lake in Sweden, citing the fact that modern maps show that the lake and the lakes resemble each other in size and shape.

Snorri, however, was well acquainted with Vänern, as he visited Westergöttland in 1219. When he mentioned this lake, he called it Venus.

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