Churches on Sjælland, Denmark   Dansk
An Astoft gallery illustrating the architectural styles

Bagsværd 1973-76 Jørn Utzon
Bjernede 12th century Romanesque
Haraldsted 12th, 14th, 15th century Romanesque, Gothic
Hørsholm 1823 Neoclassical
Kalundborg c.1200, 15th-16th century Romanesque, Gothic
Kirke Såby 1100, 1500 Gothic rebuild
Lyngby 12th century, 1350, 1450-1500 Gothic rebuild
Rye 12th century, 1658, 18th century Romanesque, Gothic
Skibby 1100-1150, 1500, 1860 Romanesque, Gothic
Sorø 1165-85 Romanesque
Churches on Fyn and Tåsinge

Click photos to enlarge

Bagsværd Church
Copenhagen suburbs

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By  Jørn Utzon 1973-76 . "I am inspired by the clouds and have made a space which disappears upwards". The light pours in from a window area at the very top of the room where two vaults meet and from overhead light in the aisles. Largely made of pale concrete. The shape of the vaults have given it perfect acoustics. The central carpet and the altar coverings are by Utzon's daughter Lin.
Jørn Utzon was the architect of the Sydney Opera House.

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Externally a very closed building (and well covered by birch trees planted close to it). A long building of which only the tall nave is visible here.

More about the building at 

Bjernede Church
North-east of Sorø

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In Latin over the south door in the porch: "Ebbe Skjalmson and his wife Ragnhild built this church, which later his son Sune raised in stone in honour of God, St. Mary and St. Laurentius". That was in the years 1125-75. It has been assumed that Ebbe built the church of wood and that Sune later reconstructed it in stone. It could be, however, that Sune meant brick ("tile-stone" or "wall-stone" in Danish) - in other words that Ebbe started it in granite and Sune heightened it further with the second story using the new brick-making technique introduced into Denmark in the 1160s.

It is one of Denmark's seven remaining medieval round churches and the only one on Sjælland. But it isn't completely circular; the east side joining the chancel is a little flattened. The church has Romanesque round-arched windows, apart from the large west window of the 17th century. The porch was added c. 1500. The tower was altered in the 15th century but returned to its original appearance in the 1890s.

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The church is not large and the space is well filled by the four enormous granite columns which support the round-arched vaults. They stand on granite plinths and are topped by stone capitals. The font is of the same period and has the shape of a quatrefoil.

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A high narrow arch resting on imposts leads into the chancel.

A narrow spiral staircase leads to the upper room which has four heavy square pillars of brick.

North of Ringsted

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The original Romanesque church was built in the 12th century, but only the white-washed walls of the nave date from that time (see pictures below).The lowest part of the tower was built in the 14th century of limestone with stretches of stonework and a few bricks mixed in. The upper part is from the late 15th century and is basically of brick but with bands of limestone and a few large stones. Brick buttresses on the north and south sides. The work is attributed to five people named on a band of limestone with the date 1478 (photo on the right). The gables with blind arcades were restored in 1866.

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The porch on the south side, the chancel and the sacristy on the north side are late Gothic from around 1500.

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Haraldsted is connected with a famous event in Danish medieval history, the treacherous murder of Duke Knud Lavard by his cousin Magnus in 1131 in a wood just north of the village. Both were contenders for the crown. Soon after a chapel was raised at the scene of the murder. The foundations are shown above with the plaque describing the event (English summary in the right-hand column).

(separate web page)

(separate web page)

Kirke Såby
West of Roskilde

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One of Sjælland's oldest churches, built around 1100 but much altered in later periods. Romanesque twin towers were joined up as one tower around 1500. Of the same period is the wing on the south side with the unusual blind gable shapes. The tiled pyramidical roof on the tower is from 1744.  The chancel dates from the 15th century when it replaced the original apsidal choir.

Lyngby Church
Kongens Lyngby, north of Copenhagen

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From the south (two photos), west and  north

Originally from mid-12th century but changed essentially into a Gothic brick church in subsequent periods. Crowstep gables and a north-facing tower dictated by the position of the church on a steep hillock. The three lower floors built c.1350, the rest of the tower together with the church's western extension, chancel and south chapel are from 1450-1500. 

Rye Church
West of Roskilde

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South Northwest East Apse

Built mid-12th century but only the eastern apse stands out from that period. Considerably rebuilt after a fire in 1658. Further alterations in the 18th century (see year on tower facade and roof). Porch 1886. In the apse a Romanesque wall-painting of the 12th century representing Christ on his throne.

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Memorial to Holger Trolle died 1680

Skibby Church
North-west of Roskilde

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Built 1100-1150. Of the Romanesque church only the apse is visible with its round-arched blind arcading. The rest is encapsulated within a cement covering of the 1860s. Late Gothic porch of brick from about 1500. The tower is of the same period but partly renewed in 1700. 

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Unusual nave with a series of columns down the middle.

Romanesque wall-painting in the apse from the time the church was first built.

Gothic wall-painting on the choir vault from the mid-14th century.

Sorø Church and Academy
(separate web page)

Churches on Fyn and Tåsinge


Map of Denmark
Danmarks Kirker -  web-site about the major published reference work on Danish churches
Kalkmalerier i danske kirker
  - web-site of wall-paintings in Danish churches

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