Rolighed (Østerbro)

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Rolighed after being rebuilt in 1869

Rolighed was a country house in what is now the Østerbro district of Copenhagen. As a regular guest of the Melchior family, Hans Christian Andersen died there in August 1875.[1]

History[edit]

Rolighed (the Danish word means "tranquility") had originally been built around 1800 as a one-storey house with a mansard and a large garden. The Jewish merchant Moritz Melchior and his wife Dorothea acquired it in the 1850s as a summer residence. In 1869, they had it completely rebuilt in the style of Rosenborg Castle with a tower and rounded Dutch gables.[2]

Hans Christian Andersen connection[edit]

Andersen at Rolighed: Israel Melchior (c. 1867)

Moritz and Dorothea Melchior entertained a variety of famous guests from the late 1850s when the family business really began to prosper. The most famous of these were certainly Hans Christian Andersen who was a frequent visitor, first in their home on Højbro Plads then increasingly at Rolighed where, in 1866, he was given his own room with a balcony overlooking the Øresund.[2]

Moritz' brother, Israel, a keen amateur photographer was also a frequent visitor. Andersen, who was interested in photography himself, and he became good friends with the result that Israel took many photographs of family gatherings at Rolighed together with Andersen.[3][4]

Andersen had become increasingly ill after a fall in 1872. He relied increasingly on the care the Melchiors gave him, spending long periods at Rolighed. On 12 June 1875, he arrived there for the last time. A week later he was no longer able to write his diary which instead he dictated to the Melchiors and their children. At 11 a.m. on 4 August, he died peacefully in his bed.[2]

Commemorative plaque[edit]

The house was demolished in 1898 to be replaced by today's apartment building. A plaque has been erected, commemorating Andersen's place of death. It contains two lines from a short poem by Andersen, testifying to his feelings for Rolighed:[5][6]

Mit hjem i Hjemmet, hvor bag Hyldens Hang
mit Liv fik Solskin og min Harpe Klang

which can be translated into English as:

My home in the home, behind the elderflower
Gave sunshine to my life and made my harp ring

See also[edit]

References[edit]

This article draws on the Danish Wikipedia article Rolighed (Østerbro).

  1. ^ "Hans Christian Andersen – FAQ", Hans Christian Andersen Center". Retrieved 10 December 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Carl H. Melchior, "H.C. Andersens hjem i hjemmet - artikel fra Jødisk Orientering, marts 2005", Kulturafdelingen: H.C. Andersen 2005, Israeli Embassy, Copenhagen. (Danish) Retrieved 9 December 2010.
  3. ^ "I Was Posing for The Photographer Today - Twenty Portraits of H.C. Andersen", Odense City Museums. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
  4. ^ Nicolaj Bøgh, "H.C. Andersens sidste dage", H.C. Andersen Information. (Danish) Retrieved 10 December 2010.
  5. ^ Ane Grum-Schwensen, "Thank You for the Letters You Sent Me…", Odense City Museums. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  6. ^ "Mindetavler på Østerbro", Københavns Biblioteker. (Danish) Retrieved 11 December 2010.

Coordinates: 55°42′14″N 12°35′04″E / 55.70389°N 12.58444°E / 55.70389; 12.58444