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Renovation of the Royal Boat House during the preparations for the opening of the Danish Jewish Museum. Photo: Jens Lindhe (The Danish Jewish Museum).
Renovation of the Royal Boat House during the preparations for the opening of the Danish Jewish Museum. Photo: Jens Lindhe (The Danish Jewish Museum).
The interior design of Daniel Libeskind is installed in the Royal Boat House, 2003. Photo: Jens Lindhe (The Danish Jewish Museum).
The interior design of Daniel Libeskind is installed in the Royal Boat House, 2003. Photo: Jens Lindhe (The Danish Jewish Museum).

The Royal Boat House

The Danish Jewish Museum is located in the oldest part of the Royal Library, originally the Royal Boat House in King Christian IV's (1588-1648) newly established harbor complex. The ships of the fleet were hidden there from the eyes of spies as the vessels were loaded with ammunition, cannons, and provisions.


In many respects, Christian IV's Royal Boat House provides a point of reference for the museum project, on the one hand because the building dates back to the beginning of a Jewish presence in Denmark, and on the other because it was constructed by decree of the same king who invited the first Jews to Denmark in 1622.

Hans Henrik Appel, director of Danish Defence Museum, notes the following about the Royal Boat House: The Danish term Galejhus - literally, galley house - dates back to the end of the 1800s. It was taken from a number of references from 1642-1644 to ships that were stored under the vaulted dome of the provisions yard. When the building's five vaulted rooms were built in 1605-1609, the structure was referred to as "the southernmost building." The structure was part of Christian IV's great armory complex, begun in 1598, with a provisions yard, naval yard, and other facilities.

The building originally had a flat roof with a parapet, which might indicate that was also as part of the city's defenses, though this is unlikely since the outer walls are only half as thick as the end wall. During the period 1614-1616, a large roof was added and a smoke house built under it. Christian of Anhalt, who visited the site in 1623, described the building as "the little armory" and noted that it was a place where ship components, i.e. armaments, were stored. At the beginning of the 1700s, the building was described as the "southern depot." The complex was ravaged by a major fire in 1719, after which the gatehouse between the Royal Boat House and the provisions yard was demolished. A bakery was installed in the building during reconstruction.

History of the Royal Boat House


1598
Construction of Christian IV's armory complex, naval harbor begun.

1605
Master builder Joseph Matzen contracted to build "the southern-most building".

1614
Master carpenter Vidt Kragen contracted to put vaulted roofs on the flat-roofed building.

1618
Master mason Rasmus Bern contracted to install a smokehouse in the loft of the Provisions Yard.

1623
Christian of Anhalt refers in his diary to "the other armory" with five roof vaults, where 1,000 ship components (cannons) were stored.

1626
Installation of rafters in a shed, under the vaulted roof of the Provision Yard, where ammunition was stored.

1643-44
Christian IV refers to the storage and repair of ships under the roof near the storehouse.

1719
The building and storehouse are ravaged by fire. In reconstruction, a bakery is installed on the ground floor. The gatehouse connecting the building with the storehouse was not rebuilt.

1862
Horse harnesses are stored on the second floor, while the vaults are used as workshops and storage areas.

1867-68
The naval harbor is filled in.

1902-06
Hans J. Holm's library is constructed over the building.

Space and spaciousness

- an exhibition about Jews in Denmark

The exhibition is a broad story of Jewish life in Denmark and focuses on co-exixstence and indentity through 400 years. Read more...

Openings hours

Special opening hours
31. oktober 2013 - 31. maj 2014

Tuesday to Friday: 12 noon - 5 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 10 am - 5 pm
Monday closed