Copenhagen Court House
The Copenhagen Court House is a historic building located on Nytorv
Nytorv is a public square in the centre of Copenhagen, Denmark. Together with the adjoining Gammeltorv it forms a common space, today part of the Strøget pedestrian zone...

 in Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

, Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

. Originally built as a combuined city hall
City hall
In local government, a city hall, town hall or a municipal building or civic centre, is the chief administrative building of a city...

 and courthouse
A courthouse is a building that is home to a local court of law and often the regional county government as well, although this is not the case in some larger cities. The term is common in North America. In most other English speaking countries, buildings which house courts of law are simply...

, it now serves as the seat of the District Court of Copenhagen
Courts of Denmark
The Danish Supreme Court is the highest civil and criminal court responsible for the administration of justice in Denmark. The Kingdom of Denmark, consisting of Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands, does not have a single unified judicial system – Denmark has one system, Greenland another, and...

. Inauguated in 1815, it was built to the design of Christian Frederik Hansen
Christian Frederik Hansen
Christian Frederik Hansen , known as C.F. Hansen, was the leading Danish architect between the late 18th century and the mid 19th century, and on account of his position at the Royal Danish Academy of Art the most powerful person in artistic circles for many years...

 in Neoclassical style
Neoclassical architecture
Neoclassical architecture was an architectural style produced by the neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century, manifested both in its details as a reaction against the Rococo style of naturalistic ornament, and in its architectural formulas as an outgrowth of some classicizing...



A modern style court of justice
A court is a form of tribunal, often a governmental institution, with the authority to adjudicate legal disputes between parties and carry out the administration of justice in civil, criminal, and administrative matters in accordance with the rule of law...

, Hof- og Stadsretten, was introduced in Denmark, specifically for Copenhagen, by Johann Friedrich Struensee
Johann Friedrich Struensee
Count Johann Friedrich Struensee was a German doctor. He became royal physician to the mentally ill King Christian VII of Denmark and a minister in the Danish government. He rose in power to a position of “de facto” regent of the country, where he tried to carry out widespread reforms...

 in 1771. Located in Viborg
Viborg, Denmark
Viborg , a town in central Jutland, Denmark, is the seat of both Viborg municipality and Region Midtjylland. Viborg is also the seat of the Western High Court, the High Court for the Jutland peninsula...

 and Copenhagen, two High Courts were introduced as courts of appeal in 1805. It was for this emerging legal system that a new courthouse was needed.

In the Great Fire of 1795
Copenhagen Fire of 1795
The Copenhagen Fire of 1795 started Friday the June 5, around 3 p.m. at the Navy’s old base at Gammelholm in the fleets warehouse for coal and barrels...

, Copenhagen's city hall, lacated between Nytorv and Gammeltorv
Gammeltorv is the oldest square in Copenhagen, Denmark. With adjoining Nytorv it forms a common space along the Strøget pedestrian zone. While the square dates back to the foundation of the city in the 12th century, most of its buildings were constructed after the Great Fire of 1795 in...

, was among the many buildings lost to the flames. It was the second consecutive city hall at that spot to meet this fate; the first, built in 1679 at the same site, had been lost in the Fire of 1728
Copenhagen Fire of 1728
The Copenhagen Fire of 1728 was the largest fire in the history of Copenhagen, Denmark. It began on the evening of October 20, 1728, and continued to burn until the morning of October 23. It destroyed approximately 28% of the city , left 20% of the population homeless, and the reconstruction lasted...

After the fire, it was decided to build a combined city hall and courthouse at Nytorv, at a site previously occupied by the Royal Orphanage built in 1728. The project also included a jailhouse
A prison is a place in which people are physically confined and, usually, deprived of a range of personal freedoms. Imprisonment or incarceration is a legal penalty that may be imposed by the state for the commission of a crime...

. Christian Frederik Hansen
Christian Frederik Hansen
Christian Frederik Hansen , known as C.F. Hansen, was the leading Danish architect between the late 18th century and the mid 19th century, and on account of his position at the Royal Danish Academy of Art the most powerful person in artistic circles for many years...

, the leading Danish architect of the time, was charged with the commission. Construction started in 1803 and was completed in 1816. The project was delayed by scarcety of building materials as well as the British bombardment of the city in 1807 in the Battle of Copenhagen
Battle of Copenhagen (1807)
The Second Battle of Copenhagen was a British preemptive attack on Copenhagen, targeting the civilian population in order to seize the Dano-Norwegian fleet and in turn originate the term to Copenhagenize.-Background:Despite the defeat and loss of many ships in the first Battle of Copenhagen in...

. Materials from the demolition of Hirschholm Palace
Hirschholm Palace
Hirschholm Palace, also known as Hørsholm Palace, was a royal palace located in present-day Hørsholm municipality just north of Copenhagen, Denmark...

 were used for the building.

The building served its dual purpose for almost one hundred years, until the current Copenhagen City Hall
Copenhagen City Hall
Copenhagen City Hall is the headquarters of the Municipal Council as well as the Lord mayor of the City of Copenhagen, Denmark. The building is situated on The City Hall Square in central Copenhagen....

 was inaugurated in 1905. After that it has exvlusively been used for the District Court of Copenhagen.


The facade is dominated by six large Ionic
Ionic order
The Ionic order forms one of the three orders or organizational systems of classical architecture, the other two canonic orders being the Doric and the Corinthian...

A column or pillar in architecture and structural engineering is a vertical structural element that transmits, through compression, the weight of the structure above to other structural elements below. For the purpose of wind or earthquake engineering, columns may be designed to resist lateral forces...

s, flanked by masonry with a minimal number of windows. Behind the columns a staircase leads up to the vestibule
Vestibule (architecture)
A vestibule is a lobby, entrance hall, or passage between the entrance and the interior of a building.The same term can apply to structures in modern or ancient roman architecture. In modern architecture vestibule typically refers to a small room or hall between an entrance and the interior of...

 with four more Ionic columns. From here a complex network of corridors and stairs connects to the rest of the building. Although the courthouse has been renovated several times, the overall layout of rooms with columns, relief
Relief is a sculptural technique. The term relief is from the Latin verb levo, to raise. To create a sculpture in relief is thus to give the impression that the sculpted material has been raised above the background plane...

s and stucco
Stucco or render is a material made of an aggregate, a binder, and water. Stucco is applied wet and hardens to a very dense solid. It is used as decorative coating for walls and ceilings and as a sculptural and artistic material in architecture...

 has been preserved.
On each side of the building, it is flanked by a large arch. On the left the arch provides a walkway above the street, connecting the courthouse to the jail on the other side. The jail building has an austere expression with small windows.

Both the facades of the courthouse and the jail features inscriptions. The inscription above the entrance of the courthouse, "Paa lov skal land bygges" (English: "With law shall land [i.e. the nation] be built"), is a quotation from the preamble
A preamble is an introductory and expressionary statement in a document that explains the document's purpose and underlying philosophy. When applied to the opening paragraphs of a statute, it may recite historical facts pertinent to the subject of the statute...

 of Codex Holmiensis
Codex Holmiensis
Codex Holmiensis is the manuscript of the Danish Code of Jutland, a civil code enacted under Valdemar II of Denmark. The code covered Funen and Jutland down to the Eider River....

, while the inscription on the jail reads " For almeen sikkerheden" (English: "For the public security").
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