A noble visit to the maidens’ convent
Roskilde Abbey is a combined manor and convent in Roskilde’s city center. Here you will find buildings from different eras and an extraordinary knight’s hall.
Af Jakob Fälling
These beautiful buildings, with their characteristic jagged gables, are located in close proximity to Roskilde Cathedral. The centuries-old garden behind the convent wall, whose diverse greenery includes a variety of exotic trees including katsura and Persian ironwood, is well worth a visit.
But it is not until you step inside that you discover the magnificence of Roskilde Abbey.
The part of the abbey closest to Roskilde Library is a manor built in 1565. This building’s staircases, church and knight’s hall are quite exceptional. The knight’s hall is illuminated by candlelight only.
The walls of the hall are clad in gilded leather and the large paintings of historical figures hang in highly ornamental, golden picture frames. Three giant chandeliers hang from the ceiling, and the ceiling itself is adorned with 60 square paintings of scenes from the Bible.
The “Ladies’ Wing”, built in 1907, does not particularly stand out from the manor upon first glance. However, it is a historicist work whose interior is full of national romantic decor, including stone pillars in alternating red and white stone, brass door handles in the shape of squirrels, and walls painted in the style of a Medieval knight’s castle.
- The monastic order of the Black Brothers had an abbey on this site from 1231 until the Reformation, at which time it was demolished and replaced by a manor built with recycled materials from the abbey. The manor included large areas of land in and around Roskilde.
- Roskilde Noble Convent was established in 1699 and had capacity for 15-20 unmarried women from noble families. They lived in a half-timbered building that was demolished and replaced by the Ladies’ Wing in 1907.
- Roskilde Abbey is presently home to around 20 people. The residents include married couples and singles.
Roskilde Abbey is located on Kulturstrøget (The Culture Street), and many of its neighboring buildings are also of interest. Facing the pedestrian street is the former abbey steward’s residence, erected in 1901. The building is now home to a children’s cultural center and its garden is a public park.
Sukkerhuset (The Sugar House), located at Sankt Ols Stræde 1, is a warehouse from 1763 that was originally used in connection with shipments of sugar from the West Indies. The building is now home to Roskilde Museum and a delightful cafe.
The abbey’s forested garden is alongside Folkeparken (People’s Park), which is connected to Byparken (City Park) and Roskilde Harbor. Together, these parks and recreational areas help to make Roskilde city center more green.