Gefion Fountain – 1965

The Gefion Fountain is on the harbor front of the city of Cophenhagen, Denmark. It celebrates the mythical creation of the island Copenhagen is on, as recited in the 9th-century Skaldic poem, Ragnarsdrápa. The Norse Goddess Gefjun created the island by turning her four sons into oxen and plowing up the land of what is now Lake Mälaren and putting the dirt in the sea between the island of Fyn and the shore of Scania (the southern providence of Sweden.) She did this because the Swedish King Gylfi promised her the land that she could plow up in a single night.

Gefion Fountain

Vintage Photo of the Gefion Fountain in Copenhagen Denmark from 1965

The fountain was designed by famed Danish artist Anders Bundgaard. He sculpted it in 1897 to 1899, but the basins and miscellaneous decorations were not finished until 1908. It was donated to the city of Copenhagen by the Carlsberg Foundation on the brewery’s 50-year anniversary.

There is a minor bit of controversy though. A plaque on the fountain identifies the lake as Vänern because the shape of the lake matches that of the resultant island. It’s pretty well established that Snorri Sturluson’s version of the poem was referring to what is now Lake Mälaren.