In order to modernize the center of the town, the main square (Torvet) is currently under renovation. But with the diggings came something absolutely outstanding : a golden ring from the Middle Ages ! The discovery has been made by Martin B. Nielsen, in connection with the Museum Lolland-Falster.
The ring carries a figure of the Virgin Mary and Jesus and is dated from the second half of the 14th century. It was pressed down between the stones of an old pavement and has probably been lost.
Just in the 14th and 15th centuries, the Virgin Mary was very popular. The ring may have belonged to both a man and a woman, and not necessarily a person from the church. It was part of the personal worship of religion, and the ring has been of great importance to the owner.
Nykøbing Falster just got a new Instagrammable place ! You’ll find this very colourful street art at Store Kirkestræde, right close to the Abbey Church. The project, called Latinerkvarterets Street Art Projekt (“The Latin Quarter Street Art Project”) was made in collaboration with the commune, the cultural center Multicenter Syd, and several painting shops (Nykøbing F Malerlaug, Colour Plus). ColourPlus actually gave the 100 L of primer, the paint and the materials needed by the young people from the cultural center to make the cozy street colourful.
What do you think ? Would you take selfies there ? Then don’t forget to add the hashtag #latiner4800 ! You can see more photos of the street’s make over in the local newspaper.
Along your nice stroll in Nykøbing’s pedestrian street Østergågade in the center, you’ll stumble upon some very impressive stone heads on the right side of the theater (Ostergågade 2). These massive art pieces have been carved in granite by Thomas Kadziola, and artist and sculptor born in 1962.
They were actually made – but in smaller size – in the same style as the stone figures of his famous monument called Dodekalitten, which consists in an alignment of 12 massive granite heads, some reaching up to 9 meters high and 45 tons. The name of this Stonehenge-like monument comes from Greek, meaning “12 stones”. Nykøbing has only 4, but they are definitely worth seeing !
With the Queen mania going on at the moment after the release of the Bohemian Rhapsody movie, I couldn’t not tell you about this time when a fantastic tribute band gave an amazing concert in Nykøbing. It was in the summer 2014, during the yearly town festival (festuge), by the band Queen Machine, one of the best Queen tribute bands in Europe.
Being a huge Queen fan, I couldn’t just stay at home, I had to see for myself. Like a lot of people, I thought « OK, here is one of this cover bands that just imitate famous people… ». For once, my small size was an advantage on the Viking lands, because somebody pushed me to the very front of the stage to allow me to see better. So, here I was, glued to the stage, with my camera, and no expectations at all. But what I saw simply blew me away.
Right from the first minute, I found myself thrown into Queen’s universe and their mythical songs… but not only. What I saw was a smashing and phenomenal performance, by some stunning artists. I honestly think the audience clearly felt the alchemy between the musicians – Peter Møller Jeppesen, Paolo Romano Torquati, Jens Lunde and Henrik Østergaard – and the frontman Bjarke Baisner Laursen. They offered us a breathtaking showmanship, respecting all what made Queen’s legendary touch. Not to mention the amazing light show which really brought a spectacular dimension to the concert.
Bjarke Baisner Laursen also blew me away by his outstanding act. It’s not only the fact that he’s a true artist with a fantastic voice, presence and charisma, but also that he could take Freddy’s place, yet remaining himself. The emotions he just threw right in your face were really his, not just some attitudes borrowed from a famous singer who died some years ago. Under an iconic moustache, and despite his perfect Mercurian poses, it is Bjarke Baisner Laursen you saw, and not only Freddy. Having been an artist myself (guitarist and dancer), I know how it is to interpret a piece that is not your own, but without losing your true self in the process.Here, the frontman showed who he was as an artist, while honouring Mercury’s memory with a great sense of detail and a lot of respect.
I’m very happy I got to see our Danish Freddy and his Queen Machinists playing memorable hits just right at my door ! I have to confess that few days later after the concert, I still feel a kind of emptiness, having trouble to « un-queen » myself and to not think about this great moment anymore. I never thought I would be a « groupie », but here I am, checking Queen Machine’s tour dates expecting them to come again any soon !
Right in the center of the town, very close to the main square Torvet, you’ll find a porch with magnificent fresques in Art Déco style. Located at Dronningensgade 23, this wonderful piece of art has been made around 1925 by the painter Karl Petersen, who lived there. A must see !
And thanks to Birgitte Grejsen Møs for the pictures of the months of June and July that I couldn’t see when I went there, because of the open doors !
If you go to Løveapoteket (The Lion Pharmacy) at Langgade 5, in the center of Nykøbing, you can’t miss the cheeky wooden monkey hanging in the middle of the shop. This is the work of an iconic Danish designer called Kay Bojesen (1886-1958). His philosopy was “great design is something that everyone is entitled to”. Kay Bojesen actually considered himself a craftsman, not a designer. In 1952, he was appointed Purveyor to His Majesty the King of Denmark. He’s famous not only for his cutlery and tableware, but also his wooden menagerie.
If you’re interested in purchasing Kay Bojesens’s animals, you can go for instance to the shop Imerco, at Jernbanegade 6 (close to Flying Tiger), where you’ll find the whole zoo : monkeys, rabbits, elephants, sea parrots, bears, dogs, love birds… Be aware that they are quite expensive… but owning a piece of iconic Danish design is priceless ! The 20 cm monkey costs 899 DKK which is 120 € / 136 $.
A secret door, a hidden room… During renovation in 2017, the little Museum of Nykøbing Falster discovered in the building a hidden room, filled with old crates and various notes and drawings. It turned out to be the legacy of the former owner of the old house, Cornelius S. C. Rödder. Be sure to read this story until the end… some things might not be quite as they seem…
Born in 1821 in Nykøbing Falster, Rödder was the son of a rich upper-class family from a noble German lineage. He studied medicine in Copenhagen. In 1856, during a trip in Italy, he found some strange writings and very unusual specimens. He later met the famous Thomas Merrylin, a London-based crypto-naturalist and xeno-archaeologist. That’s when his focus turned towards the Dark World and the occult, leading to an incredible cryptozoology collection we can see today at the museum. Vampires, fairies, baby dragons, werewolf… Welcome to the Museum Obscurum !
We start our journey into the dark world by exploring various mysteries, from Harry Potter’s story to Mary Shelley’s quotes.
We then enter in Cornelius S. C. Rödder’ universe by arriving in his living room where there is a little spiritism alcove. Ouija boards were very popular around 1900, helping people to connect with their loved ones who died during wars.
In his study room, Cornelius gathered numerous strange findings, like odd stuffed animals, as well as prehistoric and medieval artefacts.
From there, we finally have access to the Dark Room, whose entrance is cleverly hidden behind the library. Here are some of the most interesting specimens found by Rödder.
Draco alatus, the Dragon
Most commonly known as “Dragon”, Draco alatus is a species of membranous winged theropod dinosaur. It is said it is the member of a theropod family that survived the extinction event 65 millions years ago.
Here you can see a specimen of a human infant skeleton, with a peculiar disformity on the skull, forming two large cranial horns. According to Merrylin’s diaries, this is the result of the mother’s abuse of narcotics.
The Forest Child
This tiny skeleton was found in 1891, in a tomb on the Peninsula of Osbora. It is supposed to be a creature that was worshipped.
Homo lupus, The Lycanthrope
Also know as “werewolf”, this specimen of Homo lupus belongs to a species of bipedal hominid, related to both Homo sapiens and Homo vampyrus (the vampire). The wolf-like characteristics might be the result of a genetic mutation caused by a virus. This very specimen is a 15 years old female, who probably died of starvation. She was the last piece collected by the anthropologist Edward Harrell who worked alongside Thomas Merrylin.
This Ichtyosapien is fish-like species, closely related to mudskippers (Periophthalmus).
The Ship Elf
Also called “Klabauter man”, the ship elf is a good spirit. He helps discovering weak spots on the ship by knocking the wood with his club. Cornelius S. C. Rödder found this one in Norway.
That’s not all…
Across the numerous rooms of the museum, you can encounter other disturbing sights, and discover some mysterious writings.
Could all that be true ?
Actually, the Museum exhibits some specimens from the well known Merrylin Cryptic Collection. His amazing collection is the work of a Londonian illustrator and sculptor, Alex CF. Few years ago, CF’s fictional work took internet by storm, after the publication of a viral story about “mysterious skeletons found in a basement under an old London orphanage”.
In 2017, the Nykøbing museum acquired some of his cryptid sculptures and imagined a fantastic and dark scenography, by Leif Plith Lauritsen and Erik Kristiansen as well as Museum Lolland-Falster’s employees. Their work won the Historic Day’s Renewal Award, a prize “to honor the innovative, surprising and different ways of conveying history and making history accessible to more people”, as the organization writes in their webpage.
Bjørnebrønden (“The Bear Well”) is a very nice fountain in the heart of Nykøbing, at the main square, Torvet. It is made of granite from the Danish island of Bornholm, by Mogens Bøgghild (1901-1987). The Bear has been donated by the wholesaler E. Jeppensen in 1939 to celebrate Nykøbing Falster’s 400th anniversary as a market town.
The architect Kaare Klint, in charge of the project, mentions that “the bear is a well-known symbol of a nation, and thereby related to a nearby house and a famous visit that took place in the year 1716”. That year in July, the Russian Tzar Peter The Great visited Nykøbing Falster, where he chose to eat (and perhaps also stay overnight) at the inn, which has since been known as the Tsar’s House (Czarens Hus).
It is also the wholesaler Jeppesen who’s behind the preservation of the Czar’s House and the Falsters Minder Museum in the same building. There is thus a close connection between the story of this protected building on the corner of Langgade / Færgestræde and Bjørnebrønden.
The “Bear project” is a result of an architecture competition, and was submitted on November 24, 1937, at Charlottenborg.
In a letter dated 29 August 1938, the architect Kaare Klint wrote to the mayor: “After Mogens Bøggild has completed the model of the bear, it is my conviction that Nykøbing will have a work of art of rank, therefore it is very important to me that the surroundings be arranged in the best way ”.
Both architect Kaare Klint and sculptor Mogens Bøggild are important national representatives of each their art discipline, architecture and visual arts. For this reason, the Bjørnebrønden’s presence in the middle of the town square (Torvet) is an important, cultural-historical landmark in Nykøbing Falster.
The Bear Well has been renovated in 2002-2003. The old elm trees have been replaced by two linden trees. The round benches were restored in oak, prepared according to the original drawings. Everything, both sculpture, well, paving, benches and trees are in very good condition, and the renovation respected the original drawings.
Unfortunately, the main square is being renovated (2019-2020) : the Bear Well will move, to let place to a “puddle”, the benches and trees will be removed… In a petition from 2018, on Facebook, the Cultural Heritage Association wrote that “it will be no less than a scandal and, to the extent, disrespectful of the history”. They set as example the latest renovation, : “It was done with the help of The Conservation Fund and Nordea. The square can easily be subjected to renovation without breaking it up.”
So far, as I’m writing this story (April 2019), the renovation of Torvet has just started. A fountain has already been removed (The Canon), but this didn’t break the heart of local people, because most considered it as an “ugly piece of modern art”. At the contrary, The Bear Well is cherished by the town’s inhabitants and visitors. Let’s hope he will keep the place it deserves…
At Dronningensgade 27A, there is this wonderful painting called Svanemor (“The Swan Mother”) by Henry Heerup, made in 1990. Everytime I walk by, I have to stop to admire it. I love the simplicity and the naive style. This motif with a swan mother, two chicks and an egg has been used many times by this painter. You can find Svanemor in several lithographies.
Henry Heerup (4 November 1907 – 30 May 1993) was a Danish painter and sculptor born in Frederiksberg. He studied painting under Axel Jørgensen and Einar Nielsen at the Royal Danish Academy of Art. He also studied sculpture there under Einar Utzon-Frank. His first oil painting was “The Old Oak in Wolfvalley” in 1924.
If you really like this mamma swan with her chicks, you can buy a poster here.
“Svanemor”, by Henry Heerup Dronningensgade 27A 4800 Nykøbing Falster GPS coordinates : 54.767684,11.870113
In the center, behind the Job Center, there is what we call Aftenskolen, “The Evening School”. It is the place where people can go after work (or school) to learn various hobbies. There is also a Music School. And at the back of the parking, on you see some colourful tags. Or are they street art ?
In the same building as Czarens Hus (The Tsar’s House) and Den Gamle Købmandshandel (The Old Grocer’s Shop) lies the little museum of Nykøbing, at Færgestræde 1A. Here are some pictures of their main exhibit that lasted several years, about all the memories of the town and the island of Falster : remains from old shops, costumes, various objects, furnitures, tools, toys… You can see how people lived in Nykøbing Falster in former times !