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The West Route

We start from 1. Frederiksberg City Hall, which was built in the period 1941-53.


    We start from 1. Frederiksberg City Hall, which was built in the period 1941-53. Before the City Hall was built, there was an old urban quarter with 30-40 houses of which several dated back to the 18th century in the area between Bredegade and Smallegade, which was part of the old village. From the City Hall we reach the road Falkoner Allé, which was established around 1670 as an extension of Allégade to the newly built falcon farm, which was the only farm in Denmark dedicated to breeding gerfalcons. Originally, the road was a private road belonging to the King with gates at Allégade and Jagtvej. At the end of the 18th century, it became a public road, leading to all the new country houses. From the mid-19th century a few houses and villas were also erected along the planted avenue. When Frederiksberg was transformed into a big city half a century later, Falkoner Allé and the shopping street Gammel Kongevej became the main street of the new urban centre that sprang into existence north of the old village at Allégade and towards the railway. Adjoining blocks of flats were now built along the avenue with shops on the ground floor and close to public institutions. 2. The Falconer Centre was built in 1957-59. From the end of the 19th century and until the mid-1950s the site housed Frederiksberg’s first city hall, an old fire station and two of the City’s first municipal primary and lower secondary schools, which were discontinued and the premises used for city hall purposes after year 1900.

    Passing along the south side of the centre, we reach Howitzvej. The road was formed behind Smallegade sometime during the 18th century, and together with the current Finsensvej it was the new access road to the farms west of the City. For hundred years this road had been called Lampevej (lamp road), presumably because the City’s midwife lived there and was the only one with a lamp outside her house. Lampevej got a bad reputation after a brutal murder in 1889, and in 1905 the road was renamed after the famous obstetrician Frantz Howitz. A littler farther to the right we have 3. Frederiksberg Workers’ Home from 1875 – an example of the philanthropic housing for workers, like The Classen Terraces at Godthåbsvej. On the large area between Howitzvej and Solbjergvej, transversed by the railway path, the City of Frederiksberg built the poor-law authorities’ 4. institu­tions. Construction work began in 1863 and continued throughout the rest of the century, and the institutions i.a. comprised hospital, poorhouse, old people’s home, orphanage and nursing home for old people. When the institutions moved to Nordre Fasanvej, new institutions were built: Solbjerg Church from 1907-08, the police station from 1918-19, the courthouse from 1920-21, the fire station from 1931-32 and the central library from 1933-35.

    The library overlooks 5. Frederiksberg’s old railway station area. In 1864 Copenhagen Central Station was moved to an area close to Vesterport Station, and the western railway on Zealand ran from there and across the embankment between Sankt Jørgen’s Lake and Peb­linge Lake, through eastern Frederiksberg and having passed Falkoner Allé and downtown Frederiksberg, it ran south west to Vigerslev and from there on to Roskilde. A station was built on Solbjergvej, which is the oldest railway station designed by a Dane today. In 1934 S-train services from Frederiksberg to Vanløse were introduced, and a modern station was built at Falkoner Allé. Operations were discontinued in 1998, and in 2003 Frederiksberg became a station on the new metro line from Vanløse over downtown Copenhagen to the Ørestad. A large goods yard was part of the old station area, and it was frequently used well into the 20th century, even after the railway to Frederiksberg became a blind track ending at Falkoner Allé with the opening of the present Copenhagen Central Station in 1911. Today the station’s big shunting yard provides the setting for the Frederiksberg Centre, built in 1995-96, at Falko­ner Allé and the Copenhagen Business School, built in 1999-­2000. In the beginning of this century Frederiksberg Upper Secondary School and a large underground parking lot wad builded. Copenhagen Business School expanded in the old shunting yard towards Fasanvej Station.

    After the bend where the Fre­deriksberg Centre is today, Falkoner Allé con­ti­nu­­ed north to Lade­gård­så­en (Ågade) where a stone bridge across the small river connected it with Jagt­vej on the land of the City of Copenhagen. In 1765 the State put the last part of the hay field up for auction, thus making Frederiksberg a private village. A number of country homes were built at the avenue for wealthy Copenhageners, e.g. Sindshvile, Mariendal and Rolighed. Having housed some villas after 1850, blocks of flats and several industrial plants were erected along the avenue during the last half of the century.

    We leave Falkoner Allé at Rolfsvej and now enter the swimming baths quarter which emerged on the lands behind one of the old country houses. The areas were built up at the end of the 19th century and for the first years after the change of the century with small residential properties with small flats, very much like similar working-class quarters in outer Copenhagen. Central in this quarter is 6. Aksel Møller’s Garden, which was laid out in 1960 and named after a former mayor (1948-50, 1954-58). Previously, the area had housed the philanthropic housing The Classen Terraces, built in 1866-1881 and stretching in a wide belt from Godthåbsvej towards Nyelandsvej. The charitable Classen Trust was behind these good, healthy and cheap workers’ houses. The buildings were low-rise blocks of terrace houses with small gardens like the Medical Association’s housing at Østerbro. These houses were the beginning of social housing in Denmark. The Classen Terraces became a slum area, and demolishing began even before Word War I. Frederiksberg swimming baths were built there from 1934 and west of the swimming baths the ten-storey block of flats from 1946. Close to Godthåbsvej is the House of Building, which was built in connection with Culture Capital 1996. The house is primarily used for various exhibitions.

    Now we turn into Godthåbsvej. Together with Rolighedsvej, it was part of the old main road from Copenhagen. Small houses with one to three storeys were built along the first part of Godthåbsvej, and around year 1900 the present blocks of flats sprang up.

    After Nordre Fasanvej, Godthåbsvej continues to Grøndal S-train station at the City border. Before 1901 this was the entrance to the fields of Brøns­høj and Utterslev in the rural district of Brønshøj-Rødovre, after 1901 in the City of Copenhagen. Except for two industrial plants from the 1890s and some allotment gardens, Godthåbsvej, on the other side of Nordre Fasanvej, was undeveloped until well into the 20th century. After that, the characteristic housing with blocks of flats facing the street and residential neighbourhoods behind emerged.

    When we have passed Nordre Fasanvej, 7. Frederiksberg Hospital appears on the left. When the City of Frede­riksberg ceased to be part of the Copenhagen county council from year 1900, it had to handle all tasks in the hospital area, and as the institutions at Howitzvej had long been too cramped, the institutions were moved to Nordre Fasanvej. From 1903 and for the next 10 years, more than 20 buildings were erected on the large site between Nyelandsvej and Godthåbsvej. The poor-law authorities’ buildings were gradually acquired for hospital purposes and the hospital was regularly expanded, i.a. with the large functionalistic yellow-brick building facing Godthåbsvej in the late 1930s. In front of the hospital is the country house 8. Store Godthåb whose main building and yard were built by powder and starch manufacturer Henrich Wium in 1770. It is an example of the big country houses built in the northern parts of the hay fields after they had been auctioned off in 1765. At the end of the 18th century, the country house Store Godthåb had extensive lands on both sides of Godthåbsvej.

    Further ahead we find the old people’s home 9. Østervang which was built by the City in 1923 as a supplement to the older home on the hospital site.

    We continue along Tesdorpfsvej and thus into the quarter surrounding the Square of 5 June. This quarter originally adjoined the farms Grøndal and Lykkesholm. The first part of 10. Tesdorpfsvej was built in 1785 from Lykkesholm to Godthåbsvej. The land was parcelled out in the 1890s, and most of the roads were built right after the turn of the century. The quarter was developed in the first half of the 20th century with large villas, double houses, terrace houses and low-rise blocks of flats. The houses at Emanuel Olsens Vej to the right are excellent examples of the special functionalist style of the 1930s.

    The broad and planted 11. Square of 5 June was laid out in 1905-07 and named in memory of the Danish Constitution from 1849. No. 1 to the right is the main building of the country house Lykkesholm, which was built by shipbuilder Lars Jørgensen Humble in 1807. The building, which was originally part of a four-wing farm together with the farm buildings, replaced an ordinary timber frame farm from 1785.

    We have now reached Nyelandsvej whose western part after Nordre Fasanvej was built in 1884. Blocks of flats and villas were built along the road around year 1900. The red hospital buildings we see farther ahead to the left were built at the beginning of the 1890s and were the county hospital of Copenhagen. When the last departments had been moved to the new county hospital in Gentofte, the buildings became part of Frederiksberg Hospital in 1939. Now we turn into Emil Christian Hansens Vej. At the left we have the residential home Søndervang, which was built around 1970 and was expanded 15 years later with a large sheltered housing complex. On the right, we have La Cours Vej School which was built in 1910-11 and had playing fields and school gardens and developed into an educational model school in the inter-war period.

    We are approaching Stæhr Johansens Vej – named after one of Frederiksberg’s mayors (1950-53, 1958-78). Until a few years ago, the name of the road was Fabrikvej. At the end of the 19th century the entire area between Nyelandsvej and the railway line was laid out as one of Frederiksberg’s large planned industrial districts, which housed i.a. the paper mill Ferslews Papirfabrik from 1881, the dairy Trifolium from 1908 and the City’s waste incineration plant from 1903, which was the first in Denmark to incinerate the City’s waste and produce central heating i.a. for Frederiksberg Ho­spital. The old factories are gone now and have been replaced by new residential housing, the district heating power plant and educational institutions.

    This City transformation process is very pronounced in 12. Dalgas Have, which we have now entered. The area houses the CBS Faculty of Languages and horseshoe-shaped residential flats and tower blocks with a square ground-plan. From 1906 the huge industrial and administration buildings of the cable and wire factory Nordiske Kabel- og Trådfabrikker were domiciled here, but in the 1970's the entire company moved to Glostrup. Now we pass under the old S-train railway which was originally established in 1879 as a branch line to Frederikssund. In 1934 it became an S-train line and from 2003 it has been part of the metro, which farther out meets the new Flintholm Station. In terms of passenger numbers, this station will be Denmark’s third largest station; connecting the metro and the S-train lines to Frederikssund and the Ringbanen from Hellerup to Ellebjerg.

    Now we cross Finsensvej, which mainly dates back to the first half of the 20th century, except for the first section right after Nordre Fasanvej, where a number of big factories were built along the railway line around year 1900. Farther out, on the right, areas were laid out for municipal utilities around year 1900 – a new gasworks (1895) and the power plant ”Finsensværket” from 1908. The area became part of the urban area around 1980 when the residential area Solbjerg Have was established, which in addition to a number of social institutions also housed the untraditional housing complexes of Frederiksberg’s housing association. The buildings on the final and westernmost part of Finsensvej before the border to the City of Copenhagen are from the 1930s and 1940s, and in style and planning they are brilliant examples of the plan arrangement of the functionalist style. At Finsensvej and Dalgas Boulevard we enter the 13. Lindevang quarter, which is a good example of city planning and housing from the period around World War I and until the beginning of the 1930s. The park "Lindevangen" offers light and air and centrally in the quarter, surrounded by playing fields, is the school Lindevangskolen, which dates back to the late 1920s. The residential properties are large blocks of flats with substantial open spaces and green oases in the backyards. Most were built by the City or by social housing associations. Due to an extensive shortage of housing and considerable government and City grants many of the social housing associations were established in this period.

    From Dalgas Boulevard we turn left into Peter Bangs Vej, which for several hundreds of years was one of the western exit roads from the metropolitan area. The area was not developed until the end of the 19th century and particularly during the first half of the 20th century. The buildings along Peter Bangs Vej are also characteristic of the planned city development from the period around Word War I and until approx. 1950, similar to what we saw in the western part of Frederiksberg and on Godthåbsvej and Finsensvej.

    Farther down Peter Bangs Vej we visit 14. The White City built in 1898 by the Building Association of Frederiks­berg’s Workers. This is the reason why the Danish names of the roads include the words freedom, equality and brotherhood and the people. The Association’s nice little double houses are an example of the many small cooperative building associations that sprouted up in Denmark around year 1900. At this time, there was a housing shortage as well, because people began moving to the cities, and the first government loan schemes for housing had just been introduced.

    A number of large factories were built in the north area on part of Peter Bangs Vej and towards Finsensvej around year 1900. Only very little remains from that era. To the left, we have 15. Fisker & Nielsen’s old factory. The company was founded in 1906, and many people still remember the Nimbus motorcycle and the high, old Nilfisk vacuum cleaners manufactured here. Like many of the other factories in Frederiksberg, Fisker & Nielsen also moved west some years ago. The buildings are now used for small business enterprises and the trade union The Danish Association of Masters and PhDs. The residential and business complex, the Nimbus Park, are now behind it. While merely 20-30 years ago the City was characterised by a number of big factories and traditional urban trades, the business development has meant that Frederiksberg has grown into a service city with specialised shops, business centres, professional services, interest groups and institutions of further and higher education.

    The curious round building at Lindevangs Allé from 1990 is the home of another trade union, the Danish Union of Librarians – 16. The House of the Danish Union of Librarians.

    On your right, you now have 17. The Danish Deaco­ness Community, which was established in Frederiksberg in 1863 with the purpose, as stated in its statutes, of "training young Christian women in nursing and other acts of mercy". In its early years, the Community was housed in various buildings in Smallegade, but in 1876 the Community moved to the medieval monastic three-wing hospital building. 

    Having passed Nordre Fasanvej, we reach Smallegade and pass the porcelain manufactory 18. Royal Copenhagen on the right. At this end of Smallegade, there was a tileworks from the 17th century. The tileworks closed, but the buildings remained until demolished in 1890. The tileworks’ nearest neighbour was Nobel’s tobacco factory, which was built in 1860. However, Nobel exchanged the tobacco factory for the porcelain factory Aluminia eight years later. Porcelain was made first by Aluminia since Royal Scandinavia until the company moved from the grounds in the beginning of this century. The area instead became a residential and business area with room for educational institutions.

    If you continue down Smallegade, you will get back to the part of Frederiksberg from before 1850. If you want to know more about the history of this part of the City, just go on straight ahead till you reach Møsting’s House and take the East Route.