Frederiksberg Church, completed in 1734, it is built to an unusual octagonal design in Baroque style. Frederiksberg was founded when King Christian III transferred 20 Dutch families from Amager to the area, which became known as Ny Hollænderbyen ('New Dutch Town'), or Ny Amager ('New Dutch Town). The residents of this community constructed a small wooden church in 1653. It was burned down by Swedish troops in 1658 during the Assault on Copenhagen in the Second Northern War. After the war, the Dutch community returned to the area but, struck with deep poverty, a new church was not completed until 1681.
After the turn of the century, the area changed dramatically when King Frederick IV built Frederiksberg Palace on a nearby hilltop. The Dutch farmers were forced away from the area which became a fashionable summer destination, from 1710 known as Frederiksberg. In 1732 it was finally decided to build a new church. The King contributed with 2000 rigsdaler and a piece of land to build it on, and his sister, Princess Sophie Hedevig, donated her entire income from tithe for the year of 1732.
The architect Felix Dusart was charged with the design of the new church. He had come to Denmark from the Netherlands after the Copenhagen Fire of 1728 to work on the rebuilding of the city and mainly worked for Philip de Lange. The church was consecrated on 6 January 1734 by Christian Worm, the Bishop of Zealand, at a ceremony attended by King Christian VI and Crown Prince Frederick (V).
Up through the 19th and 20th century the church was adapted and modernized om several occasions. In 1824 the current rectory was built and in 1865 the church was expanded westward with the porch while the two original entrances, one for men and one for women, are blinded.
In 1868 the church was transferred from state to municipal ownership and in 1898 it became an independent institution.
Installed in 1754, the church's first organ had 10 steps and was built by Hartvig Jochum Müller. Its first organist was Joachim Conrad Oehlenschläger, father of the poet Adam Oehlenschläger. The current organ, its third, was built in 1947 by Marcussen & Søn in Åbenrå and has 34 steps, 3 manuals and pedal. The combined altar and pulpit is executed by the sculptor Johan Christopher Hübner and carpenter Christian Holfeldt.
The altarpiece from 1841 is painted by Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg and depicts the scene from John 17:6-19. According to Dutch reformed tradition it is placed below the pulpit. There are two memorials in the church, both of which were inaugurated on 16 January 1873. One commemorates soldiers fallen in the Second Schleswig War and the other Adam Oehlenschläger.References:
From 1239, Raynaud, the Bishop of Quimper, decided on the building of a new chancel destined to replace that of the Romanesque era. He therefore started, in the far west, the construction of a great Gothic cathedral which would inspire cathedral reconstructions in the Ile de France and would in turn become a place of experimentation from where would later appear ideas adopted by the whole of lower Brittany. The date of 1239 marks the Bishop’s decision and does not imply an immediate start to construction. Observation of the pillar profiles, their bases, the canopies, the fitting of the ribbed vaults of the ambulatory or the alignment of the bays leads us to believe, however, that the construction was spread out over time.
The four circular pillars mark the start of the building site, but the four following adopt a lozenge-shaped layout which could indicate a change of project manager. The clumsiness of the vaulted archways of the north ambulatory, the start of the ribbed vaults at the height of the south ambulatory or the choice of the vaults descending in spoke-form from the semi-circle which allows the connection of the axis chapel to the choir – despite the manifest problems of alignment – conveys the hesitancy and diverse influences in the first phase of works which spread out until the start of the 14th century.
At the same time as this facade was built (to which were added the north and south gates) the building of the nave started in the east and would finish by 1460. The nave is made up of six bays with one at the level of the facade towers and flanked by double aisles – one wide and one narrow (split into side chapels) – in an extension of the choir arrangements.
The choir presents four right-hand bays with ambulatory and side chapels. It is extended towards the east of 3-sided chevet which opens onto a semi-circle composed of five chapels and an apsidal chapel of two bays and a flat chevet consecrated to Our Lady.
The three-level elevation with arches, triforium and galleries seems more uniform and expresses anglo-Norman influence in the thickness of the walls (Norman passageway at the gallery level) or the decorative style (heavy mouldings, decorative frieze under the triforium). This building site would have to have been overseen in one shot. Undoubtedly interrupted by the war of Succession (1341-1364) it draws to a close with the building of the lierne vaults (1410) and the fitting of stained-glass windows. Bishop Bertrand de Rosmadec and Duke Jean V, whose coat of arms would decorate these vaults, finished the chancel before starting on the building of the facade and the nave.
Isolated from its environment in the 19th century, the cathedral was – on the contrary – originally very linked to its surroundings. Its site and the orientation of the facade determined traffic flow in the town. Its positioning close to the south walls resulted in particuliarities such as the transfer of the side gates on to the north and south facades of the towers: the southern portal of Saint Catherine served the bishop’s gate and the hospital located on the left bank (the current Préfecture) and the north gate was the baptismal porch – a true parish porch with its benches and alcoves for the Apostles’ statues turned towards the town, completed by an ossuary (1514).
The west porch finds its natural place between the two towers. The entire aesthetic of these three gates springs from the Flamboyant era: trefoil, curly kale, finials, large gables which cut into the mouldings and balustrades. Pinnacles and recesses embellish the buttresses whilst an entire bestiary appears: monsters, dogs, mysterious figures, gargoyles, and with them a whole imaginary world promoting a religious and political programme. Even though most of the saints statues have disappeared an armorial survives which makes the doors of the cathedral one of the most beautiful heraldic pages imaginable: ducal ermine, the Montfort lion, Duchess Jeanne of France’s coat of arms side by side with the arms of the Cornouaille barons with their helmets and crests. One can imagine the impact of this sculpted decor with the colour and gilding which originally completed it.
At the start of the 16th century the construction of the spires was being prepared when building was interrupted, undoubtedly for financial reasons. Small conical roofs were therefore placed on top of the towers. The following centuries were essentially devoted to putting furnishings in place (funeral monuments, altars, statues, organs, pulpit). Note the fire which destroyed the spire of the transept cross in 1620 as well as the ransacking of the cathedral in 1793 when nearly all the furnishings disappeared in a « bonfire of the saints ».
The 19th century would therefore inherit an almost finished but mutilated building and would devote itself to its renovation according to the tastes and theories of the day.