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1746 Frederik V ascends the throne as King of Denmark, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, the Faroe Islands, the Danish West Indies and becomes the Duke of Schleswig and Holstein.

1754 The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts is founded by King Frederik V.

1766 Christian VII (son of King Frederik V) ascends the throne, but proves to be insane, a catastrophic situation because in absolutism all governmental power is vested in the king.

1770 The king’s physician, Dr. J.F. Struensee, assumes the insane king’s power and implements a large number of controversial reforms.

1772 Struensee is accused of usurping power and of an intimate relationship with the Queen Caroline Mathilde; he is condemned to death by the king. She is exiled to the town of Celle in the Duchy of Hannover in the north of Germany where she dies in 1775 at the age of 24.

1777 Great and Good Deeds by Danes, Norwegians and Holsteiners by Ove Malling is published and is later translated into English.

1778 Nicolai Abildgaard is appointed as a professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and starts painting a series of historical paintings for the royal palace of Christiansborg I in Copenhagen.

1784 Crown Prince Frederik takes power from his stepmother Queen Juliane Marie in a coup d’état. Artist Jens Juel becomes a professor at the Academy.

1791 Abildgaard’s decoration of Christiansborg Palace is completed.

1794 The Christiansborg Palace is destroyed by fire; the royal family moves to the Amalienborg palaces.

1795 The second great fire of Copenhagen occurs; a big church, the town hall and almost a thousand houses are destroyed.

1801 As the result of Denmark’s Armed Neutrality agreement with Sweden and Russia, England sends a fleet to Copenhagen, but is stopped in the Battle of Copenhagen.

1807 Denmark enters an alliance with France; England declares war on Denmark. Copenhagen is bombarded by the English who confiscate the Danish fleet. Battle of Sjællands Odde (the spit of Zealand) against the British fleet takes place.

1808 Napoleon’s armies move into Jutland. Crown Prince Frederik becomes King Frederik VI.

1813 Denmark declares a state of bankruptcy as a result of industrial competition and loss caused by the war. The art-loving Prince Christian Frederik, son of King Frederik VI’s half brother becomes vice-regent of Norway, where he supports the Norwegian independence movement.

1814 Denmark cedes Norway to Sweden.

1818 Artist C.W. Eckersberg is appointed professor at the Royal Academy.

1819 The Museum for Danish Antiquities, later the National Museum of Cultural History (Nationalmuseet), is opened to the public.

1820 H.C. Ørsted, one of the world’s great physicists, discovers electro-magnetism.

1825 The Copenhagen Art Society (Kunstforeningen i København) is founded.

1828 Building of the Christiansborg II Palace with C.F. Hansen as architect is finished.

1829 August Bournonville becomes ballet master at the Royal Theatre, for which he choreographs a number of ballets still performed today.

1835 Hans Christian Andersen publishes his first collection of stories.

1838 Prince Christian Frederik becomes president of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters.

1839 Prince Christian Frederik ascends the throne as King Christian VIII.

1843 Søren Kierkegaard publishes his first major philosophical work, Enten – Eller (“Either-Or”). Tivoli Gardens opens.

1844 The first folk high school (højskole) opens, permitting ordinary people of any age and with no prior education to attend lectures on history, literature and politics, and to learn a foreign language, promoting dialogue and discussion and singing of national hymns. They start on private initiative, based on a religious protestant practice, named after N.F.S. Grundtvig, preaching charity and tolerance. Following the depression after the state bankruptcy the idea was to make “free schools for life,” preparing the citizens for democracy in respect of human rights. The Danish tradition of consensus, tolerance, solidarity, respect for the views of others are indebted to these schools, also the democratization of government systems. A typical saying by Grundtvig was that the ideal society would be one where “few have too much and the majority not too little.”

1844 Artist Bertel Thorvaldsen dies. Artist Constantin Hansen decorates the entrance hall to Copenhagen University with the history of the ancient Greek goddess of science Pallas Athene and Apollon, the soothsayer, painted in al fresco, still in existence. The art critic N.L. Høyen delivers the famous lecture in which he encourages Danish painters to create a national art to portray the country and the people.

1848 Frederik VII, son of Christian VIII, ascends the throne and becomes a popular monarch despite his morganatic marriage to a woman to whom he has given the title of Countess Danner. The Constituent Assembly meets and prepares the democratic constitution. Thorvaldsens Museum is opened to the public.

1848-51 The First Schleswig War occurs. The Danish king goes to war to gain control of the Southern Jutland duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, where he is Duke and where local rebels fight in vain for freedom. Several Danish artists take part.

1849 Absolutism is abolished and Denmark’s democratic constitution is passed.

1850 H.C. Ørsted publishes Aanden i Naturen (“The Spirit in Nature”); it is translated into many languages.

1853 A cholera epidemic in Copenhagen costs more than 4,000 lives including that of artist C.W. Eckersberg. Artist Vilhelm Kyhn founds the Danish Etchers’ Association (Den danske Radeerforening).

1859 Frederiksborg Castle in Hillerød in northern Zealand is destroyed by fire, and most of the old royal collection of portraits is lost. With the initiative and financial support of the brewer I. C. Jacobsen, of the Carlsberg Breweries, the castle is rebuilt and a museum of national history is created, sponsored by the brewer.

1863 Christian IX ascends the throne and founds the Glücksborg dynasty. His daughter Alexandra later becomes Queen of England and Empress of India; his daughter Dagmar becomes the Czarina of Russia and his son Vilhelm becomes King George I of Greece. Thus King Christian IX becomes known as “the father-in-law of Europe.” He gathers his royal family together each summer at Fredensborg Palace.

1863-64 The Second Schleswig War results in Denmark’s having to cede the duchies of Holstein, Schleswig and Lauenborg to Prussia and Austria-Hungary.

1867 The World’s Fair takes place in Paris. Among the Danish artists represented are Elisabeth Jerichau Baumann, Christen Dalsgaard, F. C. Kiærskou, Otto Bache, C. F. Sørensen, Carl Bloch and Julius Exner.

1871 Georg Brandes delivers his seminal lectures at Copenhagen University “Main Currents in 19th Century Literature,” where he brings up issues for discussion then considered extremely controversial. In Danish society then characterized by nationalism, romanticism and a strong Protestant church, he advocates the revolutionary ideas of the Age of Enlightenment, personal freedom, women’s rights, independence of religion and most important—freedom of thought, speech and print. He starts a cultural revolution in Scandinavia, is denounced by official Denmark, his Jewish extraction often being referred to as reason for his temperament and revolutionary spirit. Brandes becomes the hero of the artists of the Modern Breakthrough, and his ideas play an important part in discussions even today.

1875 Hans Christian Andersen dies. The Society of Danish Women (Dansk Kvindesamfund) is founded. The society initiates a professional drawing school for women (Tegneskolen for Kvinder).

1878 The Paris World’s Fair. Among the Danish artists are Elisabeth Jerichau Baumann, Carl Bloch, Vilhelm Marstrand, Anton Melbye, O.D. Ottesen, Vilhelm Rosenstand, Christen Dalsgaard, Julius Exner, P. C. Skovgaard, Vilhelm Kyhn and young P.S. Krøyer. The Museum of National History at Frederiksborg Castle opens.

1879 The artists’ colony at Skagen is established.

1882 P.S. Krøyer visits Skagen for the first time; the Skagen artists’ colony soon becomes known abroad. The brewer Carl Jacobsen, son of I. C. Jacobsen, opens his private collection in his house at the brewery Ny Carlsberg to the public. The Free Study Schools (De Frie Studieskoler) are given state support.

1883 Nordic exhibition and meeting of Scandinavian artists in Copenhagen.

1885 Kristian Zahrtman becomes head of The Artists’ Study Schools (Kunstnernes Studieskoler).

1888 Nordic exhibition and meeting of Scandinavian artists at Copenhagen is held close to Tivoli. Nearby, the brewer Carl Jacobsen arranges a major exhibition of modern French art, also near Tivoli. (The buildings for both exhibitions were temporary and torn down afterwards). Brewer Carl Jacobsen donates his art collections (mostly classical antiquities and modern French art) to the public. The Art School for Women (Kunstskolen for Kvinder) opens as a department in the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.

1889 World’s Fair in Paris. The painters of the Modern Breakthrough dominate the Danish exhibition; among them are P.S. Krøyer, Laurits Tuxen, Carl Thomsen, Michael Ancher, Anna Ancher, Vilhelm Hammershøi, L. A. Ring, August Jerndorff and Bertha Wegmann.

1891 The Free Exhibition (Den Frie Udstilling) opens for the first time.

1893 The World’s Colombian Exhibition in Chicago where several Danish painters, including women artists, become known in the United States, among them Otto Bache, Paul Fischer, Anna Ancher, Bertha Wegmann, Michael Ancher, L. A. Ring, Laurits Tuxen,Vilhelm Kyhn and Hans Smidth.

1893-94 The Symbolist periodical Taarnet (“The Tower”) is published.

1895 A collection of paintings by Scotland’s Glasgow School and Danish artists are exhibited in Chicago and St. Louis.

1896 Winner of the contest for the Sherman Monument in Washington, DC, Danish-born sculptor Carl Rohl-Smith starts the modeling. The artist, who was already famous in America, dies in

1900 and the monument is completed by a number of Scandinavian artists.

1897 Opening of the museum building of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptothek opposite Tivoli, still in use today.

1900 World’s Fair in Paris. Among the artists represented are P.S. Krøyer, Anna Ancher, Michael Ancher August Jerndorff, Vilhelm Kyhn, Vilhelm Hammershøi and Ludvig Find.

1901 City Hall in Copenhagen, retrospective exhibition of Danish art.

1905 Norway becomes independent when the union with Sweden is dissolved; a Danish royal prince is elected as king.

1906 Frederik VIII ascends to the Danish throne.

1907 Exhibition of works by Danish painters at Guildhall, London.

1908 Skagens Museum is founded.

1910 Faaborg Museum opens as a museum for the Funen artists (Fynboerne), among others, the painter Fritz Syberg.

1911 The Hirschsprung Collection opens to the public. It includes painters from the Golden Age, landscape and genre painters from 1850-1880 as well as Skagen painters, Hammershøi and the Funen artists.

1912 Christian X ascends the throne. During his summer holidays in Skagen, he, the queen and two sons often visit the painters there. Exhibition of contemporary Scandinavian art is held under the auspices of the American-Scandinavian Society of New York.

1914-18 The First World War begins and ends. Denmark remains neutral.

1915 Danish women are given the right to vote and to be elected to parliament.

1922 Danish physicist Niels Bohr receives the Nobel Prize.

1937 Danish writer Karen Blixen (pen name Isak Dinesen) publishes Out of Africa.

1940 Denmark is occupied by Germany.

1943 The resistance movement, comprised of many ordinary Danes, helps Danish Jews to escape to neutral Sweden.

1945 Denmark is liberated by Allied forces, though the island Bornholm east of Denmark’s mainland is not freed until 1946.

1947 Frederik IX, father of the present monarch, ascends the throne.

1949 Denmark joins NATO.

1957 Architect Jørn Utzon wins contest for design of the Sydney Opera House.

1958 Knud W. Jensen opens the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art at Humlebæk not far from Elsinore in the Northern Zealand.

1961 The Experimental School of Art (Eks-skolen) is founded in Copenhagen.

1967 The museum Michael and Anna Ancher’s House in Skagen is opened to the public.

1972 Queen Margrethe II ascends the throne. Denmark becomes a member of the European Communities.

1982 An exhibition of Scandinavian Modern Art, 1880-1980, tours the United States. An exhibition called “Northern Light, Realism and Symbolism in Scandinavian Painting, 1880-1910” also tours the United States.

1984 An exhibit, “The Golden Age of Danish Painting” tours London, Los Angeles, New York.

1986 An exhibit, “Dreams of a Summer Night, Scandinavian Painting at the Turn of the Century” tours London, Düsseldorf, Paris, Oslo, Copenhagen.

1994 “The Golden Age of Danish Painting” exhibit again tours Los Angeles, New York.

1998 Opening of the ambitious bridge and tunnel of Storebælt (Great Belt) connecting Zealand and Funen. Travelling from east to west in Denmark becomes hours faster.

2000 Opening of the bridge and tunnel of Øresund (The Sound) connecting Zealand and the Copenhagen area with the southern provinces of Sweden, which until 1658 were Danish land.

After ten years’ work 1 1 tapestries, handmade at the Gobelin Manufactories in Paris, are received by Queen Margrethe II as a gift from the Danish trades and industries, a present for her 50th birthday in 1990. Designed by artist Bjørn Nørgaard (b. 1947) they tell the story of Denmark and the world since Viking Age around year 1000 to the present sovereign. This being the most ambitious public Danish decoration for ages, the tapestries are made to adorn the banqueting hall of Christiansborg. The Queen immediately donates the tapestries to the Danish people.

Kronborg Castle of Elsinore is inscribed on UNESCO’s world heritage list.


E.F and S.L.