Copenhagen City Hall: Details at Towering Heights


© Daniel Rasmussen

Copenhagen has had at least six city hall buildings in different parts of the city. With the current one, architect Martin Nyrop aimed to give the citizens a people’s house imbued with a love for the city.

As Copenhagen’s population tripled during the 19th century, C.F. Hansen’s old city hall and courthouse on Nytorv eventually became too small. After a competition, architect Martin Nyrop won the task of designing the current city hall, which was constructed from 1892 to 1905. Today, Copenhagen City Hall stands as one of the main works of the National Romantic style. It is recognizable especially by its 105.6-meter-high city hall tower, which is asymmetrically placed and inspired by the city hall tower in the Italian city of Siena.

The Building’s Symmetry and Spatial Layout

Aside from the tower, the city hall building is completely symmetrical. The complex consists of a rectangle divided internally by a transverse wing, creating two courtyards: the courtyard nearest to City Hall Square is smaller and covered with a glass roof, while the courtyard furthest from City Hall Square is larger and open.

All the representative rooms are arranged around the covered courtyard. Thus, the banquet hall faces City Hall Square, while the City Council Hall, wedding hall, and city archives are in the transverse wing, forming the symbolic core of the building.

Behind this are the offices, placed in lower wings around the open courtyard and around an elongated hall that is open through all floors at the building’s rear entrance.

A New Democratic Architecture

Copenhagen City Hall was not only a breakthrough for Martin Nyrop. The building also paved the way for a more democratic perception of architecture. This perception freely drew inspiration from various models independent of classical teachings. This form of architecture was enriched by Nyrop’s pronounced sense of texture, materials, and details. The building is characterized by solid materials, an extremely high standard of craftsmanship, and vibrant decorations executed by some of the best artists of the time under Nyrop’s leadership.

Thus, Nyrop succeeded in creating a building that was practical, but at the same time provided citizens with an artistic experience borne out of love for the city and the homeland.

Near Copenhagen City Hall

Copenhagen City Hall is centrally located and surrounded by several cultural gems. Right next door, you will find the world-famous Tivoli Gardens, offering magical experiences for both locals and tourists. Nearby is also the Museum of Copenhagen, where one can delve into the city’s history, as well as The National Museum of Denmark, the largest cultural history museum in the country. These places, along with the Copenhagen City Archives in the City Hall itself, are part of Copenhagen’s Cultural Quarter and contribute to the rich cultural life in the area.


This translation was performed by an AI-based service and subsequently reviewed by an editor. For any clarifications, refer to the original Danish version. 


Copenhagen, Inner City


Martin Nyrop