The East Route

We start outside one of Frederiksberg’s old country houses, 1. Møsting’s House.


    We start outside one of Frederiksberg’s old country houses, 1. Møsting’s House. This clas­sicist house was built in year 1800. In 1809 the then Minister of Finance, Johan Sigismund Møsting, moved in. In connection with an extension of Smallegade, the house was demolished in 1959 and rebuilt in 1976-78. Right outside the house are Frede­riksberg Bredegade and the pond Andebakkedammen. The village Solbjerg was built around this windy street and Andebakkedammen was the village pond. Solbjerg and the younger village Nyby emerged in the Middle Ages, and the surrounding fields covered most of Frederiksberg as we know it today. In the 1620s King Christian IV dissolved the villages, and the fields and surrounding areas became part of the newly built farm Ladegård, which was to supply agricultural products to the Copenhagen Castle. But Bredegade continued to exist and still filled Solbjerg’s old communal area when Smallegade was made in 1697.

    If we continue along Bredegade, we pass no. 13, Hassager’s Residence Hall, originally a country house built in 1805. When the widow of minister Carl Hassager died in 1897, the house was converted into a residence hall for ten students.

    Across from Bredegade is the country house 2. "In Memory of Ludvig", which was built around 1770 for surveyor J. J. Berner. Now we have reached Allégade. As it was difficult to get the tenant farmers in the surrounding villages to do the necessary villeinage at Ladegården, King Frederik III decided that 20 descendants of King Christian II's Dutch peasants from Store Magleby on Amager would be given Ladegården’s fields and become tenant farmers in 1651. They built the village "Ny Amager" with two parallel rows of farms built very close together, standing back from the village street Allégade. Though the farmer’s new village "Ny Hollænderby" as it was also called enjoyed special privileges, it was still poor. The siege of Copenhagen by Sweden in 1658 destroyed both the fields and the village, and due to failure of crops and not particularly fertile land the farmers fell behind schedule with the supplies demanded by the King as rent for the fields. When the village burned down in 1697, the government lost patience. The Crown took back the fields and they were laid out as hay fields for the royal stables. New farms were built, but now only with a small garden for each. Farming was replaced by new occupations, for instance, workmen and butchers, and there was an illicit bar in almost every house. Copenhagen’s middle classes came here to fortify themselves; the King turned a blind eye to this ”traffic". One of the oldest bars is Lars Mathiesen’s "Hope" in no. 7 to the right, which is part of Lorry today. The oldest restaurant is "Allégade 10", which was founded in 1780.

    Now we have reached 3. Frederiksberg Circus. The circus, which was never really circular, was built around 1670 when Queen Sophie Amalie had the Princesses’ House built where the entrance to Frederiksberg Park is now. The three-wing house was later given to Crown Prince Frederik (IV) and was renamed the Prince’s House. The house burned down in 1753 and only the side wings were rebuilt. The elegant lattice fence with the decorated sandstone pillars was erected between the two wings. Today the south side wing houses i.a. the Danish Revenue Museum. Another museum is also situated close to Frederiksberg Circus; the museum of the Danish humorist Storm P. The Storm P. Museum is housed in a building (1886), which previously housed the police station and burial authorities. Behind this building are the beautiful exhibition building ”Brøndsalen” from the 1880s and the Royal Danish Horticultural Society’s Garden, which was originally one of the palace garden’s nursery and vegetable gardens.

    Right across from the Storm P. Museum is 4. Frederiksberg Church. The church was built in 1734 by Felix Dusart, and its octagonal shape originated in Holland, as did the architect. At the cemetery, you can take a walk through history and i.a. visit the graves of Adam Oehlenschläger, Kamma and Knud Lyne Rahbek and many other famous Danes. Next to the church are the parsonage from 1825 and the parish hall from 1912. Originally this was the location of an oblong building from 1737, which housed the oldest parsonage and the school. Farther down Pile Allé you find The Little Gardens, which date back to the 19th century. The licences for the famous beer gardens were originally granted to the palace officials who lived in these small houses.

    We have now reached 5. Frederiksberg Allé which was established in 1704 as the King’s private avenue from Vesterbrogade to Frederiksberg Palace and Park. To make sure that everybody knew, King Christian VII installed a gate at the end of Værnedamsvej in 1785. As country houses gradually sprouted up along the avenue, however, the King descended to giving the owners a key to the gate. The beautiful country houses, such as e.g. Sans Souci on the north side of the avenue, were built in the years after 1780, but from around year 1900 they were replaced by multi-storey houses. The same happened on the south side, where houses were far apart until residential building took off around 1850. Frederiksberg Allé quickly became an entertainment avenue. Alléenberg and Sommerlyst close to Allégade were popular attractions throughout the 19th century; they were real amusement parks with large parks, swing boats and merry-go-rounds. The French School was erected at Frederiksberg Allé in 1923/­24. The school was mistakenly bombed in connection with the Shell House bombing in March 1945, killing almost 100 pupils and teaches – there is a memorial on the site. After the bombing, four seven-storey blocks of flats were built on the site in 1948-50. 14 years after founding Tivoli, Georg Carstensen founded Alhambra in 1857, farther down the avenue. The place was a serious competitor to Tivoli, but 12 years later the money had gone and the big park was replaced by the residential area of Alhambravej and Hauchsvej. Frederiksberg Allé also has theatres: The Betty Nansen Theatre was built in 1857 as the concert hall Odéon, but in 1869 it was converted into Frederiksberg Entertainment Theatres – owned by actress Betty Nansen from 1917 to 1943. The ABC Theatre (1948), where many of Stig Lommer’s famous revues played in the 1950-60s – the theatre disappeared in 1999 and was replaced by the residential unit ABC-Huset. And Aveny-T, which until 2001 was called Dr. Dantes Aveny, formerly the Phoenix Theatre (1919) and the Aveny Theatre (1957).

    From the avenue we continue down Platanvej. In 1830 the old farm land was laid out as a nursery and vegetable garden, but in 1866 the land was parcelled out and the road was build and planted with plane trees. Before 1880, real idyllic Fredeiksberg villas had been built along the entire road. During the 1960s, the villas disappeared and were replaced by the present concrete blocks of flats. Here we turn into the part of Vesterbrogade that is in Frederiksberg, and from here we go to Rahbeks Allé. This avenue was originally, together with Vesterbrogade and Valby Langgade, part of the old main road between Copenhagen and the cathedral city of Roskilde. The most famous property on the avenue is 6. The Hill House, which dates back to the 17th century where it was one of the three houses used as residence for the attendants of Ladegården, located on the edge of the field. Situated at the main road, The Hill House later became an inn for travellers, but when the road was re-sited to Roskildevej that era was over. In 1802 professor Knud Lyne Rahbek purchased The Hill House, which he had already been using as a summer residence for several years. The Hill House was visited by many big and small poets of the Golden Age. Oehlen­schläger, Heiberg and Hans Christian Andersen often popped by, especially to meet the pro­fessor’s beautiful and intelligent wife, Kamma Rahbek. In 1855 The Hill House became an “asylym for idiot and weak-minded children”, but the actual asylum was built next to it in 1860. In 1925 The Hill House was turned into a museum, not only in honour of the memory of Kamma and Knud Lyne Rahbek, but in memory of the entire literary group that frequented The Hill House. We continue along Bakkegårds Allé and Halls Allé. These avenues have beautiful residential properties with large and well-equipped flats from the period around year 1900. From here we turn back into Vesterbrogade. Until 1872 this part was called Roskildevej. The blocks of flats were not erected until the turn of the last century; previously the area had only been sparsely built-up. Between Vesterbrogade and Frederiksberg Allé there was once several residential streets, but many have disappeared today.

    We pass Pile Allé and then reach Roskildevej and go up Valby Hill, which we here in Frederiksberg call Frederiksberg Hill. The hill was originally called The Sun Hill, an ancient name, possibly dating back to the Bronze Age – and it is not entirely unlikely that the peasants gathered on this cult site to the sun god more than 3000 years ago. This part of Roskildevej over Frederiksberg Hill and further west was established in the 1770s. Down to the right we have the small farms of the palace, and here on top of the hill sits 7. Frederiksberg Palace, which was built in several stages. Following a grand tour of Italy, Frederik IV was inspired by the Italian Baroque style and had the first part of the palace built in 1699-1703. An extension was added already in 1708/­09, and with the side wings built in 1733-38 the palace got its present shape. Not all kings appreciated Frederiksberg Palace, but Frederik IV (1699-1730), Christian VI (1730-1746), Christian VII (1766-1808) and particularly Frederik VI (1808­-1839) spent a lot of time in the palace. In 1869 the State gave the palace to the Royal Danish Army Officers’ Academy, which still uses it. Today young cadets conduct the tours of the palace. An excellent view can be enjoyed on the east side of the palace. Numerous artists have since the end of the 16th century set up their easel here to reproduce the view of the eastern part of Frederiksberg and the city of Copenhagen.

    From the palace you can take a walk in 8. Frederiksberg Park, which was established together with the oldest part of the palace. The design of the park was originally rigidly symmetrical as required by the rigid, French Baroque style, but in the period 1795-1804 it was re-landscaped in the English country style. This way the garden you see today was created, with winding paths, the canals, the little islands, dense vegetation and the beautiful small cottages so typical of their time, for instance, The Chinese Pavilion (1801) and The Apis Temple (1802-1804). The much older Pheasant Farm close to Søndre Fasanvej was built in 1723-24 in connection with the Park's pheasant warren. The farm was rebuilt in 1828 and was i.a. the summer residence of Adam Oehlenschläger in the period 1842-50.

    On the opposite side of Roskildevej is the second palace garden 9. Søndermarken, which was re-landscaped in the English style in the period 1785-88. However, the remains of the original French Baroque garden are still visible in the three main paths which almost radiate from the palace gatehouse. The Søndermarken Park also had various small buildings, but only The Norwegian House and the Spring Grotto still exist. Below the large lawn closest to the palace is a water reservoir that was established in 1860 in connection with Copenhagen waterworks which was located near Søndermarken. Today the reservoir, called The Cisterns, is used for various underground art exhibitions. The Cisterns are accessed from the lawn.

    As we leave the palace parks, we reach Roskildevej where we have 10. The Copenhagen Zoo with the characteristic Zoo tower from 1905. The Zoo began in 1858 when ornithologist Niels Kjærbølling was given Princsess Vilhelmine’s Garden close to the palace. It grew bigger and bigger and has been expanded several times, e.g. part of the Zoo is in Søndermarken. At the Roskildevej/Søndre Fasanvej crossing, we leave the oldest part of Frederiksberg. Though the first part of Søndre Fasanvej was built already in 1682 as a connecting road to the pheasant warren behind Frederiksberg Park, it was not extended until almost 200 years later when houses were also built along it. The first part of Roskildevej to the west had scattered houses and factories and large cemeteries, but this development did not start until the last half of the 19th century. On the other side of the railway, there were nursery and vegetable gardens and open fields far into the 20th century.

    If you want to know more about the more recent history of the City, just go straight ahead to the City Hall and take the West Route.