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Romantic Garden on Frederiksberg campus — historical pictures of the University of Copenhagen

It is nice to see pictures of the so-called Romantic Garden in old pictures. Also the Landbohøjskolen main building, one of many changes to the Frederiksberg campus

[This article has been updated after being originally published in 2016]

Although an artist and his pen rather than the precise lens of a camera created this depiction of the new addition to main building, the images are almost a perfect match.

The Landbohøjskolen main building. 
The Landbohøjskolen main building today.
image: Emma Flokstra Nielsson

Our photo reporter was able to capture the same angle as the print maker in 1923 by climbing onto a bench and taking the shot over a wall that now exists near Bülowsvej. According to Knud Høgsberg, Information Specialist at the SCIENCE Library on the Frederiksberg campus, this type of drawing, which was done approximately 30 years after the building’s erection, was very common at the time. The new addition at the time of its construction, however, was met with much criticism from those who had fallen in love with Bindesbøll’s work.

»It was a more economic building, and people at the time weren’t happy,« explains Høgsberg.

Connecting the two buildings

Because of the huge success and economic contribution of the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University to Danish society in the mid to late 1800s, it was decided that the main building constructed in 1856-1858 should be doubled in size. Between 1892 and 1895, a new building was erected in front of Bindesbøll’s original main building by architect Johannes Emil Gnudtzmann.

The two buildings are joined, creating a courtyard in the center where cultural events used to take place. If you look closely, you will be able to see where the old and new bricks intersect.

A royal attraction

The entrance, endearingly coined the Royal Gateway, has been used to welcome members of the royal family to the university over the years. There is even enough space to allow a horse and carriage through the entranceway.

In 2003, the queen rode through to inaugurate the Main Lecture Hall after it was destroyed in a gas explosion in 2000 and then meticulously re-created. For years, the courtyard created between the old and new buildings was used for summer ballets and orchestra concerts.

Alongside the main building are the gardens designed by the horticultural society’s gardener Julius August Bentzien in the mid-1800s. Like much of the Frederiksberg campus, the gardens remain almost exactly the same as they were one hundred and fifty years ago. The tree in the image was planted in 1860 and burned down in 2004. Since then, a new tree has been planted in its place.

A photo of the pond taken in the 1950s, prior to the willow tree burning down. Photo courtesy of the SCIENCE photo archive.
The pond as it looks today.

Like most other things, time has also brought a change in the students studying at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH). Høgsberg remembers a time when almost all the students coming to university to study veterinary sciences were male. Now, things are very different.

»When I started as a librarian nearly 30 years ago, nearly all veterinary students were male. Now there are many more females than males,« says Høgsberg.

Photo courtesy of the SCIENCE photo archive.

The photo captures some of the festivities taking place at the celebration of the campus’ 100th year of existence. The buildings have changed a bit, and the chimney in the photos from 1958 no longer exists, although the scene is still recognizable, even if the campus and its students have changed a bit.

Photos by Emma Flokstra Nielsson.