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Former Copenhagen Stock Exchange building catches fire

Former Copenhagen Stock Exchange building catches fire


The historic former Copenhagen Stock Exchange building, which houses one of Denmark's most valuable art collections, has caught fire. The fire gutted the roof and spire of the 17th-century Dutch Renaissance-style building, the Guardian reported Tuesday.

The Stock Exchange, as it is known, was under renovation and was surrounded by scaffolding when it caught fire. City firefighters first reported the fire at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday. Parliament and neighboring ministries were evacuated from the area. Police blocked the main road and part of the city center because of the fire.

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Clock installed on the wall.

The scaffolding unfortunately made it more difficult to fight the flames and the copper roof of the Bourse trapped the heat, according to firefighters. It appears that other areas of the building are inaccessible, as they are too dangerous to approach.

Sections of the roof have collapsed and the fire has already spread to several floors. Even with about 120 people fighting the fire, it was only about 40 percent contained. Firefighters expect to battle the flames for at least 24 hours.

According to local media, around 90 members of the Royal Life Guards military unit also helped barricade the area and secure valuable items.

“We are witnessing a terrible spectacle. The Stock Exchange is on fire,” wrote the X the Chamber of Commerce, which occupies the building next to Christiansborg Palace, seat of the Danish parliament. “Everyone is asked to stay away.”

The Stock Exchange was commissioned by King Christian IV and erected between 1619 and 1640. The structure was topped by a 184-foot spire in the shape of four intertwined dragon tails with three crowns. The dragons were seen as symbolically protecting the Danish stock exchange, which was housed at the Stock Exchange until 1974, from enemies such as fire. The crowns symbolized the kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

Danish Culture Minister Jakob Engel-Schmidt noticed on that, despite the loss of a major piece of Danish cultural heritage, it was “touching to see Stock Exchange staff, emergency services and passing Copenhageners… saving artistic treasures”.

The Stock Exchange has one of the most valuable art collections in the country. Although much of the work was removed before the renovation, people rushed to transport the building's artwork to the nearby parliament and the Danish National Archives for safekeeping. One of these works, carried out in the building by eight people, was From the Copenhagen Stock Exchange (1895) by the 19th-century Danish-Norwegian artist Peder Severin Krøyer depicting a large group of men in tailcoats gathered in the trading room.

Christiansborg Palace has burned several times, the most recent being in the Parliament Annex in 1990.

The cause of the Stock Exchange fire remains unclear.




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