Unlike the army cemetery on the other side of Dag Hammerskjölds Allé, which has been described as a ‘charming mess’, there’s plenty of order in the navy’s counterpart, Holmen Cemetery. There are carefully laid-out paths, a long, straight avenue of lime trees and trimmed low beech hedges. But it wasn’t always like that.
Holmen’s Cemetery is Copenhagen’s oldest cemetery, which is still in use. It was founded in 1660 when it started to pinch on cemeteries within the city walls.
At first it was a cemetery for the Navy ratings and destitute sailors and was named ship graveyard where it was not allowed to erect memorials in the form of gravestones or wooden cross, why they broke more affluent naval officers not like to be buried here. Another reason was that grazing cattle from the surrounding fields to penetrate the cemetery and stir up the graves.
In the late 1700s, however, set matters instead. There was dug a moat around the cemetery and erected a hvidtjørnehæk that could keep the cattle out. The other was the tight schedule of the layout of the cemetery, which eventually gave permission for memorials.
Diagonally through the cemetery was built a long beautiful poplar avenue, in accordance with the place of origin was called Admiral passage. This could ligtogene stroll from the entrance up to the tomb. From this main passage where the poplars since been replaced by tall lime trees runs in a half star three straight paths.
The current monumental wooden chapel originated in 1902 and over time it has met much criticism from aesthetic feinschmekere because it modeled has a Norwegian stave church.
Today Holmen’s Cemetery one of the city’s peaceful oases where parents strolling with prams and pushchairs and settle down on the benches, and where many well-known artists from the past two centuries are buried.
Photo: Søren Rud