Grundtvig’s Kirke

March 31, 2012 § 8 Comments

On a sunny day last week, I took a bike ride north of Copenhagen to visit the historic Grundtvig’s Kirke (Grundtvig’s Church).  After listening professor after professor reference the church, I felt like it was time I finally make a trip up to Grundtvig’s and experience the church myself.

Danish architect, P.V. Jensen Klint, won the church design competition for a church named after Danish philosopher and hymn writer Nikolai Frederik Severin Grundtvig in 1913.  Most construction took place mostly from 1921-1926, with the final completion date in 1940.

N. F. S. Grundtvig is one of the Denmark’s most influential historical figures and is largely responsible for the modern Danish national consciousness.  Just some of his job titles include pastor, author, poet, philosopher, historian, teacher and politician.  Clearly, he was a busy man!

The church was commissioned to be a memorial for the man that has such a large impact on Danish society.

With influences from traditional Danish village churches, Gothic proportions and Brick Expressionism, this church creates in own architectural expression.

The church is an extraordinary example of the Danish Craft. During the main years of construction 5 master-brick layers worked  tirelessly laying the some 6 million traditional Danish yellow bricks.  Job well done!

With father, P.V. Jensen Klint as grand architect of Grundtvig’s and sons Kaare and Essen Klint as influential furniture and lighting designers respectively, the Klint family is extremely influential part of Denmark’s famous design tradition.

By far my favorite aspect of the church is the yellow brick.  Yellow brick is extremely common in Denmark, especially at the time of the church’s construction.  The building’s simplified gothic proportions of a tall and narrow nave with high ceilings allow light to stream within.  The yellow bricks provide a pure canvas for the majestic Scandinavian light to dance within the space.

Ahhh! Got to love that Scandinavian light!

Upon the death of his father in 1930, Kaare Klint assumed the role as head designer of Grundtvig’s.  Kaare Klint is best known for his work as a furniture designer and founder of the Furniture Department at the Royal Academy for Fine Arts in Copenhagen in 1924.  Kaare Klint’s influence on Danish Design cannot be overestimated.  Almost all prolific furniture designer’s from Denmark’s Golden Age of the ’50 and ’60s are directly influenced by the so called ‘Klint School.’ including Børge Mogensen, Poul Kjærholm and Hans J. Wegner.

Kaare Klint designed these chairs, known as the Church Chair, specifically for Grundtvig’s Church.  Klint used furniture precedents from the American Shakers and English Arts and Craft Movement to design this high craft and functional chair.

See mom! I am paying attention in my Danish Design class!

Regardless of Grundtvig’s massive size, the church still feels intimate and personal.  The warmth, glow, and hygge chairs within provided a peaceful setting to praise Our Creator.


§ 8 Responses to Grundtvig’s Kirke

  • complynn says:

    I wish I hadn’t missed this when I visited Copenhagen. The pictures do a good job showing off the Danish sunlight, so being there must have been beautiful.

    Is there a story behind the suspended ship in the final photo? Sea captain wasn’t on Grundtvig’s list of accomplishments.

    • kstabler2 says:

      Thank you!

      Boats are typical in Danish church architecture. Almost all churches have a boat suspended somewhere in the church. I believe it’s part of their Viking and ship building history.

    • AM says:

      It has nothing to do with Grundtvig. There are ship models in almost all Danish churches. Some are ex-voto (
      gifts but many are just there because of tradition and because the sea is never more than 70 km/45 miles away and also that part of a chursh is called “the ship”.

  • Stunning. Your pics of the brickwork are fantastic.

  • rangewriter says:

    Thanks for sharing not only the stunning images but the fascinating history and architectural notes.

  • inyomouth says:

    This cathedral is absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for taking such beautiful photos Kirsten 🙂 I loved reading about the history too

  • inyomouth says:

    Such beautiful photos and a lovely description Kirsten 🙂

  • Matt says:

    Anyone who loves this church should also see Bethlehem’s church Copenhagen, a smaller yet also stunning Jensen-Klint interior

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