Roskilde Cathedral is made of red brick in the Gothic style, and dates from about 1280. Since then each century has added its own extensions in various styles. The interior of the cathedral has been changed in the course of time too. Before 1536 the cathedral was Catholic. After the Reformation the side altars were removed and new furniture was installed for the new Protestant service.
Roskilde Cathedral was admitted to the World Heritage List in 1995. As reasons for inclusion its role in the use of brick for religious buildings, the succesive architectural styles and the mausoleum of the Danish Royal Family were named.
Visit October 2005
Of the about 100 Christian sites (churches, cathedrals, monasteries) on the List, only a few are related to Protestantism. The Luther memorials in Germany are the most prominent example of these. Roskilde Cathedral is another one: not so obvious maybe (it started out as a Catholic church), but the Reformation had a profound influence here. The interior was profoundly changed after the transition to Protestantism. In a way, its brick walls (already devised in the 1170's) add to the purity and austerity of the Reformation too.
Usually I don't get too excited about visiting another Gothic cathedral, but I must admit that this one has something 'extra' that a spot in the Top 1000 of world monuments seems to be deserved.
This 'extra' can be contributed to it being Protestant (as explained above), but also to all add-ons that were attached over the ages.
Each chapel has its own look, both inside and outside, and is an example of the fashionable architectural style during the period of its construction. One of the most beautoful of these, the Chapel of the Magi (1463), unfortunately was closed for restoration when I visited. However you can peek inside and admire its delicate mural paintings.
More photos can be found in the Picture Gallery
|Klaus Freisinger (Austria):|
Roskilde is quite a pleasant town to the west of Copenhagen, but doesn't have the same importance today as it used to have when it was the capital of Denmark and one of its religious centres. The cathedral is not only very large, but is also the necropolis of the Danish royal family, resulting in a large number of graves and tombstones from many centuries. For a Protestant church, it is rather lavishly decorated, and is unique for its brick architecture. Don't miss the other major highlight of Roskilde, though - the great Viking Ship Museum, only 10-minute walk away. It shows several original ships from the Viking era, and you can also set sail in a rebuilt Viking ship, which is really a unique experience.
| Date posted: August 2012|
|Ian Cade (England):|
Having seen a lot of cathedrals in the process of visiting World Heritage Sites, it takes something a little different to linger in my memory. Roskilde certainly does that. As Els points out it is a Protestant cathedral, and this means that it has a slightly austere brick and whitewash interior. This was actually very impressive and helped to focus attention on the other artistic details, and I guess for parishioners there it helps them focus on their worship. I really enjoyed studying the intense detail of the carved altar piece and choir stalls, which were elegantly lit and open to allow close inspection.
The main thing that impressed me though was the side chapels with the tombs of Danish royalty. This was a big surprise to me as this type of monument normally leaves me indifferent. They were very elegant, and the use of space within the chapels was very restrained. At no stage was I overwhelmed by what I was seeing, this allowed my focus to remain on the works of art. This may not be the most impressive looking cathedral interior on the list, but actually that is its main advantage.
I almost missed seeing the interior, but I am very glad that I made time for the short hop out from Copenhagen to get inside. The exterior of the cathedral is nice but not particularly remarkable, but the real highlight is the restrained yet outstanding interior.
Roskilde is a little different to the other European Cathedrals on the list and well worth a trip to see.
[Site 7: Experience 7]
| Date posted: January 2012|
|christine BALLE (NEW ZEALAND):|
i am also from new zealand and have visited Roskilda Cathedral and have sat beneath the portrait of my great great cousin Dr Nikolaj Edingar BALLE, the whole experiance for me was very humbling. My name is christine daphne kiritiana BALLE, i have visited Danmark several times and had intended to go back again this christmas to hear the music composed by my great grandfather Carl Christian Nicolaj BALLE ( my father was Emanuel BALLE oldest son of Charles and Angilena BALLE) but at the moment i am in Australia but will be going back in the spring of next year 2011. On previous visits to Danmark i have been to the church cemetary at Nebsager where my great grand father is buried, i would like on future visits to make contact with family relatives, if any one can be of help to me my email address is christinewilliamsnz@gmail, i also have some history on my family and photos and would love to share these
| Date posted: September 2010|
My name is Carolyn Balle and like Annie I too are related to the Balles mentioned in her story.I had the privilege of staying with direct relatives in Denmark in September this year.Eric and Lise Balle.I was taken to the town of Balle where our ancestors once resided.We visited the local Church where our great grandfather has written numerous carols.My trip was a tribute to my late father Ivan Stanley James Balle and to whom I promised that I would get to Denmark one day and see our roots.I am going back next year to celebrate a 40th birthday party of one of our distant cousins.I now reside in the UK.
You are very fortunate to have visited this church. My grandfather is Joseph Balle who is the son of Charles Edinger Balle who came to New Zealand with his brother Jacob and are the two men who are responsible for all the Balle's in NZ. My father's cousin Mavis Smallbone (Leena's daughter - Leena is my grandfather's sister) sent me a copy of the Balle's Coat of Arms and I have a potraits of Carl Christian Nicolaj, Nicolaj Edinger and my great grandparents Charles and Alice Balle. If you haven't already got copies I would be happy to send them.
|Gerry Devine (Ireland):|
My name is Gerry Devine from a small fishing village called Rush 17 miles north of Dublin City.I named my house "Roskilda" after I heard a local story.The story goes that when the vikings left Ireland for the last time in the 11th century,the last boat sailed out from Rush and the boat was called Roskilda.In the Irish language Rush is called "Ros" which may have got its name from this boat or visa versa as Rush at the time was an important port fot the Vikings.I am not sure how true the story is but is part of the folklore in my home village
| Date posted: July 2005|
I am from new zealand, and visited Roskilda Cathedral in September of this year to look for a portrait of my great great cousin Dr Nikolaj Edinger Balle who was Bishop for Roskilda from 1805 to 1816. Sadly we arrived there a bit late as the cathedral was closing early that day, but we were shown the portrait by a very helpful staff member, and were able to have a quick look around that beautiful place, we would of dearly loved to have gone back and spent more time but we were pressed for time. Maybe sometime we will come back again as i would like to find out more about my great grandfather who was also a pastor his name is Carl Christian Nicolaj Balle, and i Am also trying to find some details of the Balle coat of arms, maybe if you have some ideas as to where i maybe able to write too i would be most greatful to here from you.
For the brief time that we were at the Cathedral we very truely left speachless.
If frankly - I was not especially impressed by this monument. I appreciate the tremendous historical importance of this church for Denmark - but visually, especially from outside - not a world-class monument.
|delor lauchang (us of a):|
it is a travel back in time. the magnificence of its architecture, and everything around and inside the place is a work of art and inspiration.
the column that inscribes the height of each prince and princess as they visit each time, immortalizes the history of the monarchy.
the tomb also will give you in detail the love and care, that they have for each other. it is truly a place to see.
Have you been to Roskilde Cathedral? Share your experiences!
Add your own review