Grundtvig's Church, Bispebjerg, Copenhagen, Denmark

Peder Vilhelm Jensen Klint
Date Built
Initially opened as a temporary church 1927 but finally completed in 1940
På Bjerget, København
This amazing church in the parish of Bispebjerg, in suburban Copenhagen, was dedicated to Nikolaj Frederik Severin Grundtvig, an influential a Danish pastor, author, poet, philosopher, historian, teacher, and politician who died in 1872.  The church was designed by Jensen Klint but completed by his son Kaare Klint after his father's death in 1930.  The foundation stone was laid on September 8, 1921.

The church tower was the first part of the building to be erected and when it was completed in 1927, it became a temporary church known understandably as the Tower Church. 

The whole church wasn't completed until 1940.  The building was constructed using yellow bricks and red roof tiles.  The tower stands 49 metres high and the ridge of the nave is 30 metres high.   Originally the church had seating for 1,863, but after some reconfiguration over the years, that has been reduced to 750 chairs, although on special occasions 1300 seats can still be accommodated.

An article entitled "Michael Squire's Inspiration: Grundtvig's Church, Copenhagen", on, dated November 1, 2012, Pamela Buxton says of the church that, "

"Having viewed the exterior of the building, I didn’t really know what to expect of the inside — it could have been an over-scaled timber barn. Instead there was this poetic array of soaring vaults made from the same buttery brick used on the outside, but here they were polished and their colour preserved. The effect is calm and restrained, yet enormously powerful.  So many things are at play in this church but Jensen-Klint expresses them economically through the use of a single element manipulated in numerous different ways. In doing so, he turns everything that is gothic — except the structure — on its head and creates something poetic out of such a basic material. In this way, there is a link to Grundtvig himself, because he, too, celebrated the simplicity and ordinariness of traditional Danish culture, and believed education based on this simplicity would enrich rather than debase Danish cultural life."

The church sits at the heart of a housing development and within a square flanked by terraces of two storey houses.  The article referred to above says of the housing that, "The site found for Jensen-Klint’s competition-winning design was to be at the heart of a new housing development. Although classical plans were proposed for the housing layout by Copenhagen city planners, Jensen-Klint adapted these to a freer, more medieval layout. ....

 ... The original plans proposed positioning the tallest residential buildings closer to the church, stepping up in scale towards it, but Jensen-Klint typically wanted the opposite. The result is that the church rises dramatically with far greater contrast to the surrounding housing.  ...

... The housing was eventually almost entirely taken over and detailed by Jensen-Klint. The architectural language drew upon the arts & crafts movement, but understanding the cost and consequent elitism that led to its demise, Jensen-Klint kept the housing extremely simple and affordable with the exception of the articulated doorways that brought a uniqueness to each group of dwellings."