Børsen: Copenhagen’s Historic Stock Exchange


Foto: Realdania

Christian IV built Børsen to enhance Copenhagen’s role as a trading hub. Since then, the building with the iconic spire has undergone several changes in appearance. Most recently, the devastating fire marks yet another chapter in its changing history.

Børsen is one of the oldest buildings in Copenhagen. Alongside Rosenborg Castle and the Round Tower, it is also one of the buildings we remember King Christian IV for. He built Børsen because he was interested in promoting trade and turning Copenhagen into a trade center.

Construction of the building began in 1620 on a causeway between Slotsholmen and the first Knippelsbro – the bridge that was built at the same time, leading to the new district of Christianshavn, founded in 1618. Brothers Lorenz and Hans van Steenwinckel the Younger were behind Børsen’s Dutch Renaissance style, but as usual, the king had influence on the project.

Børsen was built as a simple sales hall – a market place – with storage rooms on the ground floor and shops and offices on the upper floor. By the late 1620s, the building was in use. The ground floor’s 40 booths, accessible from the street, were rented out.

More Splendor

However, Christian IV wanted a more splendid exchange. Therefore, in 1624-25, the building was equipped with the Dragon Spire designed by Ludvig Heidtrider. The spire consisted of four intertwined dragon tails. At the same time, dormers on the canal facade were added, and later the richly decorated gables. The Dragon Spire was renewed in 1772-77.

In 1857, the building was redesigned as a proper modern exchange by the architect H.C. Stilling. It is from this time the large exchange hall dates. From 1880-83, the original masonry of yellow, red-flamed bricks was faced with thin, red clay tiles. At the same time, dormers were built on the facade facing Slotsholmsgade.

Lead Roof Turned into Cannonballs

Originally, Børsen had a lead roof, but during the Swedish siege of Copenhagen in 1658-59, some of the lead was removed and recast into cannonballs. The holes in the roof were only partially covered with tin and tiles, and it was not until the end of the 1800s that the copper roof, that Børsen has today, was laid. In addition, the sandstone ornaments were replaced in 1902-06, and the building underwent restoration in the 1920s and 1950s.

Fire in Børsen

On the morning of April 16, 2024, a fire broke out in Børsen. The fire resulted in the collapse of the iconic Dragon Spire, and large parts of the building were destroyed. The large exchange hall burned down, and all floors of the building facing Christiansborg were also destroyed.

Since 2022, Børsen had been undergoing extensive restoration, which was to be completed in 2029. The restoration focused on the exterior of the building, including replacing the copper roof and the facade’s bricks. The purpose of the restoration was also to correct previous inappropriate renovations from the 1800s and to reestablish the facade’s original Renaissance expression.

The Danish Chamber of Commerce has owned the building since the 1850s.


Copenhagen, Inner City


Lorenz van Steenwinckel
Hans van Steenwinckel den yngre