The spire of the building engulfed in flames, before it's collapse on Tuesday April 16. EPA-EFE/Ida Marie Odgaard

Photo Story

Blaze tears through Copenhagen’s iconic Old Stock Exchange


One of the most iconic buildings in Denmark’s capital Copenhagen was engulfed in flames as a huge fire tore through it.

The blaze caused immense damage to the 17th-century Old Stock Exchange, often called the Børsen and among the Danish city’s most famous landmarks on April 16.

The fire started in the buildings copper roof early in the morning as it was undergoing a complete renovation, covered in scaffolding and plastic to protect it from the elements.

The inferno caused the collapse of its 54-metre “dragon spire”, similar to what happened at the Notre Dame in Paris and coincidently almost five years to the day after that devastating blaze.


Firefighters had their hands full trying to extinguish the enormous fire and were still working on it on April 17, a day after it started. EPA-EFE/Emil Helms
A lone firefighter surrounded by black smoke trains a hose on the blaze. EPA-EFE/Ida Marie Odgaard
A similar photo from a different angle shows the billowing snoke. EPA-EFE/Ida Marie Odgaard

Thankfully, no one was injured in the fire although he historic building was  home to numerous precious antiques, and people in the vicinity rushed in to help and try to salvage what they could.

Hundreds of paintings, mirrors, chandeliers, clocks, and other items were removed with the assistance of emergency services, Chamber of Commerce staff, and bystanders, including Former Danish Minister of Culture and current CEO of Danish Business (Dansk Erhverv), Brian Mikkelsen.

“We have been able to rescue a lot,” an emotional Mikkelsen told reporters. “It is a national disaster.”

Bystanders and staff salvage historic paintings from the old Stock Exchange. EPA-EFE/Ida Marie Odgaard
Former Danish culture minister and current CEO of Danish Business (Dansk Erhverv),Brian Mikkelsen (L), assists with the evacuation of the paintings. EPA-EFE/Ida Marie Odgaard
Mikkelsen (C), and CFO of Danish Business Philip Werner Willerslev-Olsen (R), carry an antique painting from the burning building. EPA-EFE/Ida Marie Odgaard

The building is among the oldest structures in the city, dating back to 1625 and located in the heart of Copenhagen. It is just a short distance from the Danish Parliament and the Royal Palace Christiansborg. The Old Stock Exchange was undergoing renovations to correct an improper 19th-century conversion when the blaze broke out.

The Danish Home Guard was also called in to help.

Members of the Danish Home Guard are briefed on the situation at the old Stock Exchange. EPA-EFE/Ida Marie Odgaard
Troops listening to instructions while the fire rages. EPA-EFE/Ida Marie Odgaard
Home Guard members arrive to support the rescue operation after the fire broke out. EPA-EFE/Emil Helms

The building and its roof have been severely damaged and much of the interior was also destroyed. Half of the structure collapsed entirely.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said it was painful to see that “irreplaceable cultural heritage … a piece of Danish history is on fire.”

The culture minister Jakob Engel-Schmidt said he would do everything he could “so that the dragon spire will once again tower over Copenhagen”.

Similarly, King Frederik of Denmark said the Royal Family “woke up to a sad sight” adding that an important part of Denmark’s architectural heritage had been destroyed.

Due to the fire, Queen Margrethe, who turned 84 on April 16, reportedly tempered her birthday celebrations, according to broadcaster TV2.

Firefighters battle the fire at the old Stock Exchange EPA-EFE/Emil Helms
Another colleague joins in. EPA-EFE/Emil Helms
Flames and smoke rise from the Old Stock Exchange. EPA-EFE/Emil Helms
Onlookers watch as flames and smoke rise erupt. EPA-EFE/Emil Helms
Locals with bikes pass by while the police closed down the streets and flames engulfed the roof.  EPA-EFE/Emil Helms
A firefighter surrounded by smoke tries to extinguish the flames. EPA-EFE/Emil Helms
Firefighters walk in as the historic building is consumed by the flames. EPA-EFE/Ida Marie Odgaard