Early in 1996, the East side of Copenhagen Harbor, which for centuries has been the domain of the Danish Navy, was almost totally opened to the public. All, except for a small area on the North side of Holmen, which is still used by the Royal Danish Navy. The following pictures offer a rare glimpse of the sights within the remaining naval compound.
One of the major landmarks on Holmen is the old mast crane, which was used to raise huge oak masts and place them on sailships. The fact that oak takes about 100-200 years from being planted till it reaches a size which is suitable for a mast on a warship with sails, didn't seem to worry the Danish kings in the 18th century. Huge forests were planted in order to provide the naval shipyards with oak planks and masts.
However, before the oaks in the forests reached the right size, iron had taken over in ship building, and the steam engine changed ship design dramatically, removing the need for oak masts.
Since all the naval vessels were assigned new stations at the naval harbor in Korsør on the West coast of Zealand, one of the main tasks still resting with the remaining Holmen naval base is maintaining the Danish Royal Yacht - Dannebrog (named after the Danish flag).
From the two little pavillions in the background to the left, the Royal Family is sailed out by the royal barges (front left in the picture) to Dannebrog when going on a cruise.
Just South of the naval part of Holmen, the area has been turned into a cultural and academic concentration of theatres, schools and think tanks of various kinds. But besides these, the still absolutely usable quays are now taken over by the ships of the Ministry of the Environment as well as the square rigger Georg Stage, which with its three masts and impressive presence still lends an atmosphere to Holmen of what used to be in the naval harbor.
On January 1, 2005, the new opera opened on Holmen. The Copenhagen Opera House is the solution to the limitations the Royal Theatre had to deal with at the Royal Theater on Kongens Nytorv. The opera is the new venue for opera and ballet, with state of the art facilities. The entire project is a donation made by the A.P. Møller and Chastine Mc-Kinney Møller Foundation.
Copyright © Hans-Henrik T. Ohlsen 1996-2009