Stone By The Sea:
The Gefion Fountain

The Gefion Outdoor Garden Fountain in Copenhagen is one of the nation’s most beloved monuments. It was designed and sculpted in the 1900s by Danish artist Anders Bundgard. After its construction in 1908, the fountain was donated to the city of Copenhagen by the Carlsberg Foundation. Located in the beautiful harbor of Copenhagen, the Gefion Fountain is the largest monument in Denmark. It has a remarkable influence in the culture of Copenhagen just like how Fontana di Trevi influences Rome. Both fountains, incidentally, are seen and treated by locals and visitors as wishing wells.

The Gefion Fountain’s towering presence can be viewed from the opposing ends of distant piers which extend far into the ocean and as far as any approaching ship. The fountain’s location was originally set in
front of Copenhagen’s city hall. However, it ended up being located near Kastellet, or The Citadel, along the coast.

The design of the fountain took its inspiration from the creation story of Zealand which is the island where Copenhagen is located. According to myth, there is a Swedish King named Gylfe who promised to give Gefion, a Norse goddess, as much land that she could plow in one day and in one night. Gefion, who got excited by the offer, turned her four sons into oxen. They plowed all day and all night which resulted to severing a piece of land that would later be known as Zealand.

The Gefion Fountain symbolizes the beautiful and strong goddess Gefion while she plows the field using her four sons that have been turned into oxen. She holds a large whip and swings it while standing on uneven earth. There is water that sprays out from beneath the oxen’s feet which depicts the huge amounts of earth that were moved in a single day. In 1999, the Gefion Fountain was placed under its very first renovation at least 90 years following the time it was originally constructed. It was then re-opened 5 years later in September.

While undergoing renovations, the Gefion Fountain was fitted with large white lights that illuminate the fountain at night. The lights give the impression of breathing new life into the fountain along with the mythology that surround the goddess Gefion. It is a popular spot for visitors and locals who want to have an afternoon lunch or a unique evening adventure.

The Gefion Fountain is usually reproduced on postcards, products and services that are offered by the city of Copenhagen. It remains one of the most visited destinations in Northern Europe and an undeniable link to Denmark’s mythological past.