What does a renaissance house look like? Anyone who has visited Aalborg can answer that - it looks just like the old Jens Bang's House.
Aalborg's most famous building - built in 1624 - is actually a superb representative of architectural style from this historic period. It was the time when the great astronomer Tycho Brahe and Christian IV, "the builder king," lived.
When architecture flourished, and science, art and music brought light across a dark Europe. The printing press made knowledge and enlightenment accessible to the common people. But this was also a time of poverty, the plague and witches burning at the stake.
Despite the fact that Jens Bang was Aalborg's wealthiest man, he did not become a member of the town government, and his big house was a nuisance to Aalborg's bourgeoisie, who never accepted him. This becomes evident if you turn the corner of the house and look at it from Adelgade, where you will see Jens Bang himself carved in the house wall sticking his tongue out at the town hall.
Jens Bang's House has become a true Aalborg landmark and for over 300 years, the building has been home to Aalborg's oldest pharmacy...
On the ground floor of Jens Bang’s House, Aalborg’s oldest pharmacy – Svaneapoteket - had been there for over 300 years, before it was replaced by a jewlery store, and you can still see the old sign above the entrance.
And under the roof of the house, you will still find the Chemist’s Collection featuring all imaginable items from the pharmacy below. Throughout the years, shelves and drawers, herbs and medicine and tools to produce pills and powders have been stored in the attic, as they were replaced with more modern remedies. And now, bearing witness of Denmark’s pharmaceutical development, they can still be found here in Jens Bang’s House.
The cellar of Jens Bang’s House houses Duus Vinkjælder – home to Christian IV’s Guild. The tale of this odd union begins in 1942, where Denmark was occupied by German troops. At this time, the wine cellar under Jens Bang’s House with its white, arched ceiling became a popular venue for the troops to meet. It quickly became a nuisance for the local customers to have one of the few places, where you could still buy beer and nuns’ blood – as this time’s Danish produced wine was called, – occupied by the Germans.
A circle of ‘enlightened citizens’ along with the owner of the wine cellar, formed a union where neither the foreign soldiers, nor their allies were accepted. The union received the name Christian IV’s Guild in recognition of the monarch who ruled Denmark, when Jens Bang built his house.
Only 30 minutes’ drive from Aalborg, you will find one of Denmark’s best preserved castles, Voergaard Castle. The castle is a absolutely stunning renaissance building built between the years 1481-1590.
The tales of the malicious deeds of the dominant Lady Ingeborg Scheel, who ruled the castle, are numerous. It is said that she drowned the architect Philip Brandin in the castle moat to prevent him from building another castle like Voergaard. And if you are lucky, you will catch a glimpse of her, as she wanders the dark cellars or the high towers.
At Voergaard Castle you will also find a magnificent art collection where you can see Raphaël, Marie Antoinette, Napoleon and the Danish Count Ejnar Overbech-Clausen.