Historic Copenhagen Stock Exchange Building Collapses After Devastating Fire

Historic Copenhagen building collapses after devastating fire, raising concerns about preservation of aging landmarks. Danish authorities vow to rebuild the iconic 400-year-old stock exchange building.

Wojciech Zylm
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Historic Copenhagen Stock Exchange Building Collapses After Devastating Fire

Historic Copenhagen Stock Exchange Building Collapses After Devastating Fire

On Thursday, April 18, 2024, large parts of the outer walls of the historic 400-year-old building in Copenhagen, Denmark collapsed, two days after a fire ripped through the structure. The facade collapse occurred with a loud bang, enveloping the building in a cloud of ash. Around 40-50% of the facade in the half of the building that caught fire on Tuesday has now crumbled.

The fire, which broke out on Tuesday, April 16, had already caused significant damage, toppling the building's iconic 54-meter spire and collapsing a large part of the roof. The blaze drew comparisons to the devastating fire that engulfed the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris in 2019. Firefighters worked tirelessly through the night to quell the flames in the basement, but smoke was still rising from the structure on Thursday as the walls gave way.

According to the fire department, the walls had been exposed to immense physical stress over the past few days. As the supports burned away, the walls were heated to high temperatures, then cooled again, and also exposed to water from the firefighting efforts. This extreme stress ultimately led to the collapse of the facade.

The Borsen building, commissioned by King Christian IV and constructed between 1619 and 1640, is one of Copenhagen's oldest and most well-known landmarks. It housed the Danish stock exchange until the 1970s and is currently owned by the Danish Chamber of Commerce. Several hundred valuable artworks were rescued from the building during the fire.

Fortunately, no injuries were reported in the collapse, as rescue services had evacuated all workers from the site. However, nearby streets remain closed as authorities assess the structural integrity of the remaining portions of the building.

Why this matters: The partial collapse of the Copenhagen stock exchange building marks a significant loss for Denmark's cultural heritage. As one of the capital's most iconic historic landmarks, the 400-year-old structure holds immense architectural and historical value. The incident also raises concerns about the preservation and safety of other aging buildings in the city.

The Danish Chamber of Commerce has vowed to rebuild the exchange, but the cause of the fire is still under investigation and could take months to determine. Copenhagen's mayor has reached out to her counterpart in Paris to learn from the reconstruction efforts of the Notre-Dame Cathedral. As the city grapples with this cultural tragedy, the focus now turns to carefully assessing the damage and planning for the restoration of this beloved landmark.

Key Takeaways

  • 400-year-old Copenhagen building partially collapsed after 3-day fire.
  • Facade collapse occurred after walls were exposed to extreme stress.
  • Building housed Danish stock exchange until 1970s, owned by Chamber of Commerce.
  • No injuries reported, but nearby streets closed for structural assessment.
  • Danish authorities vow to rebuild the historic landmark, cause of fire under investigation.