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Stock market fire in Copenhagen: Building owner promises reconstruction

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The iconic Børsen building from the 17th century was undergoing renovation when a fire broke out on Tuesday morning. The building will be rebuilt, promises the organization Dansk Erhverv. Photo: Emil Nicolai Helms / Ritzau Scanpix / NTB

Of NTB | 16.04.2024 18:12:59

Accidents and natural disasters: It was around 7.30 on Tuesday morning that the fire alarm went off. The nearly 400-year-old building in central Copenhagen has currently undergone an extensive restoration process, where the entire building is covered with scaffolding and tarpaulin.

But later in the morning, shocked Danes witnessed that one of the country’s oldest buildings was fully engulfed in flames. At one point, large parts of the roof also collapsed, as did the building’s iconic spire “The Dragon Spire”. The spire was shaped like four dragon tails that twist around each other. It had three crowns on top, symbolizing the great kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

– Terrible pictures we see now. The stock exchange is one of Copenhagen’s most iconic buildings. Irreplaceable cultural heritage. It hurts to see, said Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen to the Danish news agency Ritzau.

– 400 years of Danish cultural heritage in flames, signed Denmark’s Minister of Culture Jakob Engel-Schmidt X, formerly Twitter.

It is currently unknown how extensive the damage is, but on Tuesday afternoon pictures from the scene showed that the fire brigade was flushing water into the building, which appears to be completely damaged. The after-extinguishing is expected to last for just over a day.

But there is no doubt that the building will be rebuilt, assures the business and employer organization Dansk Erhverv, which owns the building.

– We have agreed with our board that “no matter what”, we will rebuild the Stock Exchange, said director Brian Mikkelsen at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

When asked how this work will be financed, Mikkelsen replied that “we will find a solution for that”.

Director of the Danish Architecture Center, Kent Martinussen, says a reconstruction will probably take several years.

Several people in Denmark draw parallels to the Notre-Dame fire.

– Terrible pictures from Børsen. So sad. An iconic building that means a lot to us all. Our own Notre-Dame moment, wrote Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen in social media.

As in the Børs fire, the iconic spire also collapsed in the Notre-Dame fire, where the spire collapsed in the violent sea of ​​flames. And here, too, it was almost immediately decided to rebuild the cathedral after the fire. In addition, last month it was announced that the reopening is on schedule for 8 December this year.

Camilla Bastholm at the Danish National Museum says it is a small glimmer of light in the sadness that many works of art have been saved.

– We have secured several hundred works of art from Børsen. They have been transported to the National Museum’s magazine with a police escort because of their great value, she says.

Bastholm says they are now working to get an overview of what has been rescued and what will happen to the works.

In a statement, Denmark’s King Frederik thanked everyone who ensured that no one was injured in the fire. He and Queen Mary also thanked everyone who worked to save the building and the heritage it housed.

This was an important building for Norwegian trade in the 17th century, writes the Norwegian National Archives in a press release.

– It is unbelievably sad to see the dramatic fire that is now affecting one of the most important cultural monuments in Denmark, said national antiquarian Hanna Geiran on Tuesday.

– This is a cultural monument that is also important to us here in Norway. It is part of our shared history with Denmark, and is one of the most important buildings from the time of the Union, she added.

The cause of the fire is currently unknown. By 4 p.m., the fire service had the fire under control and started extinguishing work.

The fire occurred the day after the fifth anniversary of the great fire in Notre-Dame in Paris. On 15 April 2019, the world was shocked by the images of the great fire that partially destroyed the famous cathedral.

The building from the 17th century was filled with historical objects, and it is currently unknown how many of these have been lost. But a great effort was made to salvage a number of objects and paintings while the flames raged.

The stock exchange building is located on Slotsholmen in the center of Copenhagen, a stone’s throw from Christianborg Castle, where, among other things, the Danish Parliament and the Prime Minister’s office are located. The stock exchange building was built as a trading house for Christian IV and functioned as a stock exchange until the end of the 19th century.

(© NTB)

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