Copenhagen’s Old Stock Exchange Building Partly Collapses in Fire

The old stock exchange building in downtown Copenhagen – one of the city’s oldest structures, known for its elaborate spire of intertwined dragon tails – partly collapsed in a major fire on Tuesday morning.

No one was injured, according to a statement from King Frederik

It is not yet clear what caused the fire at the structure, which appeared to be undergoing renovation. As of early Tuesday afternoon, the fire was still burning with “pockets of fire” in the building, a Copenhagen fire official said.

The king said the building’s famous spire helped define Copenhagen as a “city of towers.”

“Until today, we consider the historic building to be a beautiful symbol of our capital and a building that we, as a nation, are proud of,” he said.

Authorities responded to the fire shortly after 7:30 a.m., officials said at a news conference Tuesday. Around 200 people were mobilized to fight the fire.

“It is still difficult to work in large parts of the building,” said Jakob Vedsted Andersen, executive director of the Greater Copenhagen Fire Brigade. “The whole structure collapsed inside, so there are pockets of fire. However, there is no risk of the fire spreading to other buildings.”

It will take days for authorities to understand what caused the fire in one of Denmark’s most popular buildings.

Jakob Engel-Schmidt, Denmark’s culture minister, said in an interview Tuesday that it was “horrible” to see the building in flames. “The building represents more than 400 years of Danish history,” he said, using “Borsen,” the building’s Danish name. “It is one of the last structures in the world in the Dutch Renaissance style, where trade took place throughout this period.”

Amid the chaos, Copenhagen police said on social media that they had evacuated several surrounding buildings and urged people to avoid the area.

The Old Stock Exchange Building, a 17th-century structure that was once Denmark’s financial center, also housed several historic paintings and other artifacts. Municipal authorities rushed the valuables out of the building after the fire started. At the time of the fire, the building was occupied by Dansk Erhverv, a commercial organization.

One of the most important works secured was “From the Copenhagen Stock Exchange” by Peder Severin Kroyer, according to local media. The work, painted in 1895 and depicting several key Danish financial figures, measures more than 13 feet long. It took six people to get him to safety.

National Museum of Denmark said on social media that she had sent dozens of workers to the building to remove cultural objects and assess the damage to others before storing them safely.

Mr. Engel-Schmidt said the artwork in the Old Stock Exchange “tells us something about ourselves as a nation and as a people.” He added that the building had been the scene of countless historical events and was ingrained in the Danish psyche.

“That’s why there are people in the streets, looking incredibly sad,” he said. “It affects me too.”

Several other officials deplored the fire, including Liberal Party MP Jan Jorgensen, who called for the reconstruction of the old stock exchange. “Probably the most iconic building in Copenhagen” he said on social media. “All forces must be united to rebuild this old and beautiful house in all its power and splendor. »

The building was built under the direction of King Christian IV, who recognized the importance of trade, according to tourism website Visit Copenhagen. The original structure contained at least 40 market stalls and was surrounded by water on three sides to allow ships to easily unload their cargo.

As firefighters battled the flames Tuesday, dozens of onlookers stood quietly in the street in shock, including Celeste Bolvinkil Andersen, who said she woke up when she heard her roommate screaming about the fire.

“It’s a bit like becoming a first-hand witness to history,” she said. “I can’t help but sit here deeply, deeply disappointed in myself, for not going in and seeing the Borsen from the inside. And now it’s completely gone.

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