Since the bicycle wasn’t even invented until the 19th century, earlier people like Archbishop Absalon (about 1128 –1201) had to make do with horses.
Absalon was a typical archbishop of his time, meaning that he traveled around with an army or navy, or both, and fought lots of battles — not exactly what you would expect of an archbishop today.
What I find impressive about the Absalon statue is not the person himself, but rather the way the sculptor managed to keep the horse’s front legs completely off the ground and support the whole statue with just the back legs and the tail. (There’s a similar statue of the French King Louis XIV at the Place des Victoires in Paris.)
The Danish King Frederik the Seventh (1808-1863) is also shown on horseback, but his horse is much more hesitant, with just one leg raised gingerly off the ground.
As with the Gamle Scene (Old Theater), the street name Gammel Strand provokes giggles among German speakers, because in German there a verb gammeln meaning to laze about, loaf about, hang out, loiter around. So the Germans take Gammel Strand to be a beach for loitering, whereas in Danish the meaning is more like “old quay”.
My photos in this post are from 2009. I revised the text in 2019.
See more posts on Copenhagen, Denmark.
1 thought on “Equestrian statues in Copenhagen”