National Bank of Denmark: Protector of Denmark’s Gold Reserves
Legendary architect Arne Jacobsen died before the building was completed. He therefore never saw the end result of what is considered today to be one of his seminal designs.
Danmarks Nationalbank houses the only people who know for certain whether Denmark’s 67 tons of gold bars actually are in London as claimed. Until 2016, all Danish banknotes were printed in the high-security facilities, and supposedly there is still a sizable cash reserve locked up tight inside the building. This is where the financiers work, keeping watch over the stability of the Danish kroner.
Danmarks Nationalbank is situated at the center of power close to the seat of the Danish parliament, Christiansborg, and the Danish stock exchange, Børsen, and discreetly guarding the realm’s gold. You won’t see showy spires and fancy ornamentation here like you do on neighboring buildings. Just enormous blocks of marble and walls without entrances. The only variation is the light and reflections off the giant window sections.
You can only enter through a discreet door that is secured behind a copper gate after hours. It is worth checking out if you want to experience exquisite quality – even if you don’t make it any further than the lobby. Danish carpenters and cabinet-makers worked for years with vast amounts of wood to give the interior a warm finish.
When Arne Jacobsen died suddenly in 1971, the building was only half-finished. His partner, Otto Weitling, completed the project in collaboration with the architect Hans Dissing.
- In the lobby, you will find an exhibition of old banknotes as well as a genuine gold bar. The lobby is open every day from 9 am to 4 pm.
- All marble is of Norwegian Porsgrunn, which was Arne Jacobsen’s favorite. If you look very closely, you might even spot traces of coral.
- At the center of the building there is an atrium and on the roof a garden, both of which are particularly sculptural. Unfortunately, there is no public access.
- Denmark’s gold reserves have been kept safe outside Denmark since 1939 when the Nazis began gaining ground.
- The production of Danish banknotes and coins became too expensive as the Danes’ consumption of cash was gradually surpassed by technological money transfers. The production has therefore been moved to Finland.
Through the gate at Christiansborg, you will find an opening on the left leading to a peaceful oasis that not many know about. This is the garden of the Royal Danish Library, where there is a cute little café in the summer.
Along the waterfront and toward the left, you can see The Standard. This is an exclusive dining venue housing three restaurants in an old ferry terminal. The building is from 1937 and has been renovated with great respect for its history. The gourmet restaurants are priced accordingly.