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Central courtyard — historical pictures of the University of Copenhagen

The church and the main building we see at Frue Plads today were reconstructed after they were destroyed during the British bombardment of Copenhagen in 1807

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

Fire destroyed the area around Frue Plads during the British bombardment of Copenhagen between the 3rd and 5th of September, 1807. The main building, as well as the buildings at the corner of Fiolstræde and Store Kannikestræde, burned along with the church. Where the old graveyard had been before the bombardment, a new square now lies in its place.

These paintings were done between 1850 and 1860, after the reconstructions were complete. While the buildings remain the same, the people and the surroundings have changed quite a bit.

Following the war with England, many buildings around the city needed to be rebuilt. During the time, the university used various temporary locations while a new building was built to replace the one that had burned down during the bombardment.

The new main building

Christian Frederik Hansen was responsible for rebuilding the Church of Our Lady, and one of his students, Peter Malling, was charged with designing the new building for Our Lady’s School at the east end of the square.

The Danish economy was struggling after the war with Britain, and the proposal was deemed too expensive, but a smaller version of Malling’s original design was finally approved in 1829. The school’s name changed from Our Lady’s School to Metropolitan School in 1917, and was then taken over by University of Copenhagen (UCPH) in the 1930s.

Painting from 1860 of the university's new main building at Frue Plads. Photo courtesy of the University of Copenhagen picture archive.
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