The Hercules Pavilion, which was designed by C.F. Harsdorff (1735-99), still stands at the end of Kavalergangen, where King Christian IV built his Blue Arbour. The pavilion now houses a culture café by the name of Café Herkules.
The Blue Arbour
When Christian IV laid out the King’s Gardens in 1606, he immediately started construction of both Rosenborg, his country retreat, and a garden pavilion, which he called the Blue Arbour.
Just like Rosenborg, the arbour was built with concealed sound ducts so that the king and his guests could listen to “invisible” music on the first floor while the orchestra played on the floor below.
King Christian V had the Blue Arbour altered in 1671. The arbour was converted into a hermitage, a place where the royal family could eat without servants being present. A beautiful kitchen with Dutch tiles on the floor was installed on the lower floor. This was where the table was laid before being hoisted up to the first floor through a hatch.
By around 1710, once Frederiksberg Castle had been built, Rosenborg’s role as a royal residence was largely over. The castle and gardens were used by the royal family only occasionally. The Hermitage and the statues in the garden gradually fell into disrepair.
In 1772 a commission conducted a critical review of the garden’s fixtures and fittings. The items considered worth preserving included the Hermitage and the statue of Hercules and the Lion, which King Frederik IV had purchased from the Italian sculptor Giovanni Baratta during his stay in Italy in 1708-09.
The Hercules Pavilion
The Hermitage was rebuilt and the Hercules Statue restored. A deep, rectangular niche was cut into the centre of the building and the Hercules statue positioned there between two Tuscan columns. Two niches were created at the sides for Orpheus and Eurydice, two more of the figures that Frederik IV had purchased from Baratta.
Use of the pavilion
In the late 18th century, following the rebuilding work and after the gardens had been opened to the public, there was a small ale-house in the pavilion. In 1810 confectioner H.C. Firmenich was granted a licence to serve tea, punch, lemonade, etc., to visitors to the gardens. The Swiss confectioner baked sweet pretzels, with drinks being served and entertainment occasionally being offered on the roof terrace.
Around 1840 the popularity of the gardens received a boost when Georg Carstensen and composer H.C. Lymbye of Tivoli fame stepped in and took charge of the entertainment offered by the pavilion. Last updated:: Monday, December 05, 2011
In the 20th century the pavilion was used as housing, with the head gardener, for example, having tied accommodation there. It was later used by a folk dancing club for storage. In 1999 the pavilion was fitted out as a culture café with a café on the ground floor and facilities for cultural activities on the first floor. The Palaces and Properties Agency restored the outside of the pavilion as part of Renaissance 2006.