In Denmark, Copenhagen’s Iconic Stock Exchange Spire Collapses During Blaze

2024-04-17 06:00:01

The 5th anniversary of the fire that destroyed France’s Notre Dame cathedral and the collapse of its magnificent spire was this Monday.

Now comes news that another iconic European spire has been destroyed in a fire. The structure, which sat atop of Copenhagen’s famous Old Stock Exchange, toppled before the blaze that roared through the building was brought under control.

The fire broke out in the 17th century Dutch Renaissance-style building on Tuesday morning. It was quickly engulfed in flames while thick grey smoke rose above the city in scenes reminiscent of the 2019 blaze at Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral.

There were no reports of casualties.

Video showed the flaming spire breaking in half as it tumbled down, a chunk crashing to the ground next to a fire truck.

Emergency services, employees from the Danish Chamber of Commerce, including its CEO Brian Mikkelsen, and even passers-by were seen carrying paintings away from the building in a race to save historic artefacts from the flames.

Soldiers of the Royal Life Guards helped to cordon off streets and secure valuables.

Comparisons to the Notre Dame inferno were on many minds.

Denmark’s Deputy Prime Minister, Troels Lund Poulsen, called the fire “our own Notre Dame moment,” referring to the blaze that destroyed the roof and spire of the Paris cathedral, five years ago almost to the day.

The fire began at around 8.30 a.m. local time (2.30 a.m. ET), a Copenhagen fire department chief told CNN, and by 11 a.m. nearly half of the building had been destroyed. The fire was still burning by late afternoon.

The Chamber of Commerce said it is “at a loss for words for how great a tragedy this is.” It said it was “a sad day for our country” and that “the damage will unfortunately be very expensive.”

As in the case of the Notre Dame cathedral incident, the blaze broke out as the building was undergoing renovations and repairs.

The building and the spire had been encased in scaffolding, which later collapsed in the fire.

The roof, masonry, sandstone and spire of Boersen — built in 1615 and considered a leading example of Dutch Renaissance style in Denmark — was being renovated, said the Chamber of Commerce, which moved into the building after Copenhagen’s stock exchange left in 1974

The adjacent Christiansborg Palace has burned down on several occasions, and most recently in 1990 a fire broke out in an annex of the Danish parliament, known as Proviantgaarden. However, the Old Stock Exchange survived unscathed.

The cause of the blaze is still not known. Initial reports indicate one of the construction workers observed the fire break-out on the roof.

The cause of the fire in Copenhagen is also for the moment unknown but emergency services said the scaffolding made their operation more difficult. Officials said the fire was most intense around the tower.

One of the craftsmen replacing brickwork on the building saw the fire break out on the roof while he was on the scaffolding. Ole Hansen said he shouted to his colleagues they needed to get down and that he left the door unlocked for firemen to get in.

Fire department chief Jakob Vedsted Andersen said firefighters faced an almost impossible task accessing the area under the old copper roof. It was not until Tuesday afternoon that he said the fire had been brought under control, although much of the building was burned out.

“Furniture, floor partitions and everything that could burn has been affected by the fire,” he said.

The spire consisted of the four intertwined dragon tails of topped by three crowns, symbolizing the Scandinavian empire – Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. I had a chance to see it with my husband (who is half Danish) and my son in 2015…and it was magnificent.

Hopefully, the Danish will follow the French example…with reconstruction and recreation as an homage to their history and culture.


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In Denmark, Copenhagen’s Iconic Stock Exchange Spire Collapses During Blaze


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