The Round Tower: Eternal Youth in a Twisted Mind


© Morten Jerichau

The Round Tower is far from just a cozy tourist attraction from bygone days. It’s a reminder that quality, uncompromising detail, and the ability to think creatively are elements from which long-lasting architecture is made.

The Round Tower is one of Denmark’s most beloved destinations, and together with the Trinitatis Church, it forms one of the more peculiar architectural works of the construction-loving King Christian IV (1577-1648).

On the premises on Købmagergade, part of the pedestrian streets in central Copenhagen, you’ll find three vastly different functions united in one building: The Round Tower with its astronomical observatory on the roof, the Trinitatis Church, and the library in the church’s attic.

A Tribute to Science

When the foundation stone was laid in 1637, reportedly by the king himself, Copenhagen’s skyline was dominated by church towers that soared upwards, reminding citizens of God’s greatness. The new Trinitatis Church was also to have a tower, but the Round Tower was far from a traditional church tower. It is a tribute to science and the exploration of space, and famous scientists like Ole Rømer and Peder Horrebow have worked in the observatory.

It was Christian IV’s court architect Hans van Steenwinckel the Younger (1587-1639) who was responsible for the design. The Round Tower’s circular walls in the royal colors of yellow and red contain the tower’s famous helical corridor, which runs from the entrance on Købmagergade up to the stairs leading to the top of the tower. The helical corridor provides access to the Library Hall, the Ringer Loft, and the hollow core. It is unique in Denmark, drawing inspiration from both German Renaissance castles and ancient buildings.

Near the Round Tower

If you want to experience other masterpieces from Christian IV and Hans van Steenwinckel the Younger, you just need to cross over to the other side of Købmagergade. Here you’ll find Regensen, serving as a dormitory for university students. East of the church is the King’s Garden with the beautiful Rosenborg Castle. If you walk south on Købmagergade instead, you’ll come across the Stork Fountain and Højbro Plads, offering a fine view of Christiansborg Palace.


Copenhagen, Inner City


Hans van Steenwinckel


Christian IV