Fire at Børsen causes national shock in Denmark

The fire is no longer burning at Børsen. Here is what happened on a day that schocked the nation

Many call the incident the Notre Dame of Copenhagen © Lotte van den Hout

On the morning of Queen Margrethe’s birthday, the 16th of April, the famous Stock Exchange building caught fire.

Four hundred years of history went up in flames.

Around 7:30am, the first alert came in about the fire in the former Stock Exchange.

The iconic spire collapsed an hour after the notification. The dragons on it, should protect the building from danger, including fires.

During the morning rush, several roads were closed in Copenhagen center. Those redirections stayed during the day and evening rush.

Streets shut down Wednesday

The police was later accompanied by the army to redirect the traffic. The Danish Road Directorate writes on X that the redirections will continue on Wednesday.

Knippelsbro, Slotsholmgade and Børsgade are closed for traffic.

National mourning

Peter Hummelgaard, Minister of Justice, reacts on X: “Thank you to our skilled firefighters, police officers and paramedics who are currently fighting a fierce battle against fire and inferno to save lives and our historical heritage.”

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen writes to Ritzau that an item of Danish history went into flames.

“The images are horrible. Boersen is one of the most iconic buildings of Copenhagen. The symbol of 400 years of companies. It’s unreplaceable cultural heritage, it hurts to see it,” she wrote.

The Royal Family toned down the celebrations for the birthday of Queen Margrethe and expressed their gratitude for the aid workers.

Difficult operation

The brass roof and the scaffolds made it hard to control the fire, so the operation took all day. Firefighters controlled the fire since the afternoon, but they were still working to extinguish it in the evening.

Mads Damsoe, head of the National Museum of Denmark, told on a press conference of IPC that they could only combat the fire through the windows.

“Everything inside the building is fragile and made from wood. So, it’s a little like having an oven going on with a fire inside it. This is also one of the reasons why the fire got so violent during the day,” Damsoe said.

The right side of the building, close to Christiansborg, is strongly affected by the fire, the inside collapsed. TV2 stated that all the operations are made with one main goal in mind, to safe the exterior walls.

Risk of walls collapsing

Forty containers will support them, until they find a better solution to maintain the outside structure of the building since there’s still a change that the walls will collapse.

Jakob Vedsted Andersen, leader of the rescue operation, told TV2 that the fire will not spread to the left wing of the building. More than half of the building is torched.

Luckily, the only building affected by the fire is Børsen itself. According to Mads Damsoe, certain historic buildings are incredibly fragile.

“But despite all the measurements one takes, there’s always this element of risk and bad luck perhaps,” he said.

Historic heritage

The whole building was evacuated on time, nobody got injured. A few hundreds of valuable objects and paintings were saved from the building and brought into Christiansborg.

Later they’ve been transported by truck to an unknown location.

Mads Damsoe tells that’s not clear yet how many valuable items are saved.

“I think we can all agree that the building itself is by far the most important cultural artifact that has been lost today.”

The Børsen is one of Copenhagen’s oldest buildings, celebrating its 400th birthday

this year. The former stock exchange was under reconstruction to correct renovation mistakes from the 19th century.

The building will be rebuild

The building is owned by the Danish Chamber of Commerce. The director, Brian Mikkelsen, told TV2 that they are all mourning.

‘We want to rebuild the Stock Exchange, no matter what,” Mikkelsen said.

Børsen can be rebuilt, tells Kent Martinussen, director of the Danish Architecture Centre, to Ritzau.

“The reconstruction will be a technical complicated job, but Danes are good at rebuilding to modern standards with respect for the historical value. The price can incur to hundreds of millions of kroner or more,” Martinussen said.

The cause of the fire is still unclear. The police stated that it will take a couple days to find out what started it.

They suspect it has something to do with the renovations that took place, since the fire started at the place where work was being carried out.