The fourth and present Botanical Garden – University of Copenhagen

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The fourth and present Botanic Garden



Copenhagen University's fourth botanical garden, Vold Garden, was created in accordance with the Demarcation Laws of 6 July 1867, §4, in which it was determined that an area of up to 11.6 hectares could be set aside for this purpose. After property rights, etc. were negotiated, the government made a provision in the 1871-1872 budget, giving the University 35,000 rigsdaler for the creation of a garden site on the remains of the earthen fortification that until that time had surrounded the city.

Landscape gardener H. Flindt designed the garden's layout and terrain, while Head Gardener Tyge Rothe and brewery owner J. C. Jacobsen planned and supervised greenhouse construction in the years 1872 to 1874. The architect of the Palmhouse was Peter Christian Bønnecke. The greenhouse complex was quite an impressive structure according to the standards of the day, built of cast iron, wood and glass, and it enclosed an area measuring 2400 sq. metres.

The garden was opened to the public on 9 October 1874, 274 years after the founding of the first botanical garden, Hortus Medicus. The garden has since suffered regrettable reductions in area due, in 1904 and 1905, to the building of the Technical University, and in 1955 to 1957, to the building of the Department of Biology. As compensation for the loss of garden area to the Technical University, the Botanical Garden was allowed on 9 October 1905 to lease an area adjacent to the garden that faced S›lvgade from the Municipality of Copenhagen with the provision that through-traffic could gain access to the garden via the main entrance to a gate that opened onto Soelvgade. The new area was designed for the cultivation of annuals and was expanded in 1963. It presently houses one of the garden's special collections. When the Botanic Garden had its centennial celebration in 1974, the Municipality of Copenhagen declared that the Botanic Garden could continue to lease the area indefinitely.

Despite the conservative attitude taken toward altering the garden's historical layout, it has been necessary for practical reasons to make changes of greater and lesser consequence. The growing trees have made it necessary to move the various herb beds to sunny areas where they could also be collectively tended. A system of walking paths has been laid out in order to make gardening and study more efficient. New sections of the garden have been opened up for cultivation in order to create better growth conditions and many of the rockeries have been moved.

By the 1960s, it became clear that the garden's buildings and greenhouses were either obsolete or badly corroded and over the last twenty years these have undergone comprehensive renovation. All greenhouses have either been restored or are newly constructed. The large palm house complex received particular attention, undergoing renovation from 1980 to 1982. The arctic, alpine and cold-temperature greenhouses were erected in 1959, 1973 and 1980, respectively, and three experimental greenhouses were constructed in the years from 1963 to 1980. One of the experimental greenhouses and the alpine greenhouse were gifts from the Carlsberg Foundation to celebrate the Garden's centennial.

In 1975, the old Head Gardener's building was converted into administrative office space and renovation of the palmhouse complex resulted in the installation of a new central heating station with workshops for the gardeners and a conversion of the engine room in the building complex facing Soelvtorvet to staff rooms, workshops and offices for garden personnel. These new accommodations replace the old ones behind the tropical greenhouse and the burned-out shed. In addition, the caretaker's quarters on Gothersgade have been remodelled and new quarters have been built facing Soelvgade.

Evergreen trees do not thrive in the city, and thus it was decided in 1904 that some parcels of land should be acquired in the Soroe forest district for the purpose of establishing a pinetum and a few smaller arboreta. The total area covered by these arboreta, including the Christiansminde Arboretum which was established in 1971, is about 5.4 hectares.

Botanical research has been conducted since 1874 in connection with the garden's propagation department. This experimental work was moved in 1954 to Albertslund and then to Hoejbakkegaard in Taastrup. This area was later expanded to encompass 5.4 hectares. In order to protect the garden from the many unfortunate attempts to reduce its size, it was declared a preserved site on 31 January 1977. The present Botanical Garden, as well as areas that may be added in the future are included in the preservation declaration, thus assuring the Garden's continued existence.