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Denmark: Gefion fountain

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Gefion fountain | Denmark | Europe

[Visited: September 2006]

Among the landmarks of Copenhagen, the Gefion fountain also has a symbolical meaning for Denmark. Designed by Anders Bundgård in 1908, it actually depicts the ancient legend of how Gefyon, a norse goddess, defines the size of Zealand. She was promised the territory she could plow in a night by the Swedish king Gylfe, after which she smartly turned her sons into oxen. Apparently, the legend might be based on the fact that the Swedish lake of Vänern has roughly the shape and size of Zealand.

Picture of Gefion fountain (Denmark): Gefion making her oxen work at the fountain of the same name

Originally, the fountain was supposed to be at the Rådhusplassen or City Hall Square, but instead was erected near Kastellet on the harbour front, near Churchillparken and the English church. It makes a nice stopover on a walk from the city centre and Amalienborg to the Little Mermaid, and although the latter is the famous landmark of the city, I think the Gefion fountain is a much more interesting sight at a more beautiful location - even though it would have been perfect also at the City Hall Square.

Picture of Gefion fountain (Denmark): Gefion fountain seen from below

When you arrive at the fountain, you look up at the sculpture of Gefion and her four oxen. The fountain itself is not high, but the way the water flows, gives it more power and makes the statue more convincing. You can almost imagine the power it must have taken Gefion and her oxen to plough the Swedish lands from which they carved Zealand in just one day. Walking up the stairs next to the fountain, you will see small waterfalls, snake heads, and then you come to the higher plateau from which you have a close look to the oxen and the water spraying out of their noses.

Picture of Gefion fountain (Denmark): Gefion fountain seen from behind
Picture of Gefion fountain (Denmark): Snake head looking at visitors at Gefion fountain
Picture of Gefion fountain (Denmark): Powerful Gefion fountain seen from behind, towards Amalienborg
Picture of Gefion fountain (Denmark): Gefion fountain with belltower of English church
Picture of Gefion fountain (Denmark): Gefion fountain with the goddess Gefion and her oxen carving out Zealand
Picture of Gefion fountain (Denmark): Detail of waterfall at Gefion fountain
Picture of Gefion fountain (Denmark): Gefion fountain with small waterfalls seen from below

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