Assistens Kirkegard - History and Facts | History Hit

Assistens Kirkegard

Copenhagen, Capital Region of Denmark, Denmark

Assistens Kirkegard is an 18th century cemetery in Copenhagen and the final resting place of many prominent figures.

Image Credit: Oliver Förstner / Alamy Stock Photo

About Assistens Kirkegard

Assistens Kirkegard is a cemetery in Copenhagen, Denmark, which was initially built in the eighteenth century following the outbreak of plague. Copenhagen’s other cemeteries were unable to cope with the demand for burial plots and thus Assistens Kirkegard was created for this purpose.

In the latter half of the eighteenth century, plots at Assistens Kirkegard became fashionable, and today it houses the burial places of many of Denmark’s most prominent figures, including Hans Christian Andersen and Soren Kierkegaard. Assistens Kirkegard is also a park, containing many leisure facilities.

History of Assistance Kirkegard

Assistens Kirkegard is probably Denmark’s most famous graveyard. An outbreak of plague in 1711 killed around 23,000 citizens and put existing burial grounds under pressure. This led to the establishment of five new cemeteries. From the 1750s, the situation deteriorated further, and Assistens Kirkegard was built from 1757 and inaugurated in 1760.

Originally, the graveyard was a site for paupers, but in 1785, after First Secretary of the War Chancellery Johan Samuel Augustin made requests to be interred there, it became a fashionable burial spot. It then became a popular excursion location – so popular, in fact, that legislation had to be passed which prohibited the consumption of food and drink, and forbade the on-site gravediggers from selling it.

Assistant Kirkegard Today

Today, Assistens Kirkegard is still a graveyard, but is also a popular tourist attraction owing to the many famous people buried there. It is also the most important green space in the inner part of the Nørrebro district.

The graveyard is divided into sections. Section A is the oldest, and features the graves of  Søren Kierkegaard and the painter Christen Købke among others. Section D is dedicated to religious minorities, containing Roman Catholic and Reformed graves as well as Russian graves. Section E is the section which originally served under Church of Our Lady.

In 2003 an old horse stable in a corner of the cemetery was converted into a small museum dedicated to writer and artist Herman Stilling, who was native to the Nørrebro area and is mainly known for his paintings of trolls. Aside from the permanent exhibition, the museum also contains an exhibition space for visiting exhibitions, a picture workshop for children and young people, and a cafe.

The cemetery was protected in 2014, and in 2019, started working on a development plan to safeguard its future.

Getting to Assistens Kirkegard

From the centre of Copenhagen, Assistens Kirkegard is reachable in around 7 minutes via Åboulevard. It’s also reachable by foot in around 25 minutes via the same road.


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