About Nyholm, The Elephant and the Mast Crane

The story of Nyholm

The Elephant

Back in the middle age, Copenhagen started to grow bigger and bigger. the Admirality theen found, that it was inconvenient to have the naval base situated in the middle of Copenhagen. The many ships - at that time all of them were made of wood, made a big risk of fire. Also the crew droppoed their garbage over the bulwark directly into the harbour, and that had a bad influence for the healthiness of the citizens in Copenhagen..

View over Nyholm

Back in 1680 the Admirality launched a plan to move the Fleet outside Copenhagen. Niels Juel became responsible for this removal. West of a low water area at a sandbank called Revshalen (Refshalen), they started to sink old discarded ships filled with big stones to fill up the areas. . In 1685 they started to build out from Christianshavn a fortification on a rampant earthwork with 7 bastions. The bastions still exists today, and in a couple of them you can see the old powder magazines. The bastions are Carls and Wilhelms bastion. Theese powder magazines are the eldest buildings at Holmen - from 1688 and 1690. One other bastion is preserved. It is the bastion Sixtus. It's here the flag of the Kingdom is waving in the wind. The bastion have canons and are saluting when a new prince or princess is born.

Every morning at 8 am and at sunset the battery at Sixtus fires one shot, as a signal that the ships at Holmen hoist the flags at the ships, and in the evening lower the flags again.

Nyholms guard house“Under Kronen”.

Through the years the continued sinking of old ships in the area of Nyholm, and the island south of Nyholm. From the harbour of Copenhagen they digged up sand and moved it to Nyholm. They also collected all the garbage from the city of Copenhagen and used it as filler on Nyholm.

At that time the garbage was up to two meter high, so you simply walked on garbage in the streets. Due this filling up on Refshalen the area got the name Nyholm.

At Nyholms northern end they sank the lineship The Elephant in a 90 degrees angel at the island Nyholm. That way they created another little island, which was used to protect the ships laying by anchor at Nyholm.

The Elephant whick was an island in the beginning, has for many years been connected with Nyholm, and are today seen as a mole - not an island. The water between Nyholm and Seeland was called The bed of the navy (Flådens leje).

Originally Nyholm was much smaller than today. It was from the bastion Sixtus to the building "Vestre gamle Takkeladshus".

Later the island grew down to the bastion named Charlotte Amalie. The size the island has today was settled between 1780 and 1820

Gamle takkeladshus

OnNyholm they started to build slipways when building warships. The first ship that was builded and slipped into the water was Dannebroge back in 1692.

The ship exploded in at battle against the Swedish the 4th of October 1710 in the Bay of Køge. By time they moved the building of large ships from Gammelholm in Copenhagen to Nyholm.

The last ship was slipped into the water from Nyholm in 1918. Then the building of ships was done at the wharf at the island "Dokøen", south of Nyholm.

The quay Elefanten is named after the battleship with the same name. It was the largest battle ship we had, and for many years it had the status as a Flagship.

"Elefanten" was admiral Gyldenløves flagship in 1710 and took part in the battle in "Køge Bugt" the 4th of October, where the battleship Dannebroge was blown into pieces. The commander on the ship was Ivar Huitfeltd. Elefanten participated also in the battle under Pommern, the 28th-30th september 1712, when they conquered most of the Swedish transport ships.