Grundtvig’s Church by P. V. Jensen-Klint

Grundtvig's Church by Jensen-Klint Main facade

Grundtvig’s Church by P. V. Jensen-Klint

The Grundtvig’s Church is an exceptional architectural tour de force, decades in the making. The architect, Peder Vilhelm Jensen-Klint (1853 – 1930), won the competition in 1913, construction started in 1921, and part of the church was inaugurated in 1927. However, after the death of the architect, the church was not finished until 1940 by his son, Kaare Klint (1888 – 1954).

The Grundtvig’s Church is world famous for good reasons. The overall experience is just mind blowing like no other church or cathedral in Denmark. The church features an unmistakable Gothic ‘feeling’, of course, because of its pointed arches, tall, narrow windows, towering piers and ribbed vaults. Many, much older, Catholic cathedrals in the south of Europe share these same elements.

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Nothing but bricks

What sets this building clearly apart from Catholic churches is that decorations, gold and painted colours are entirely absent. These details are replaced with an absolutely sublime implementation of masonry. The building is a showroom of the many, many varied forms of brickwork. The church seems to glorify the brick as much as the divine.

This strikes something in the Danish culture, an appreciation of the simple, inconspicuous and modest. It is so imminently obvious in this building, that the extraordinary is a product of the generic.

Pastor Grundtvig

The church is dedicated to the probably most influential Danish pastor (and much more) N. F. S. Grundtvig (1783 – 1872), who played a central role in the shaping of the modern, Danish national identity and thinking. He did so through his theology and philosophy, through the so-called folk high schools, through hymns, through writings, through politics and more. Undisputingly a towering figure in the Danish cultural landscape to this day.

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