Bengal’s restored Danish church to open on April 16

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Kolkata, April 11 (IANS) St. Olav’s Church, dating back to the Danish settlement in West Bengal, will be thrown open for regular service as well as visitors from April 16 following restoration of the building that is over two centuries old.

The church at Serampore in Hooghly district – locally known as ‘Danish church’ – is one of the over 100 buildings constructed between 1755 and 1845 when Serampore was under Danish management and known as Frederiksnagore.

“On April 16, there will be a small ceremony after which it will be opened for regular service,” Father Terence Ireland, who was involved in the restoration project, told IANS.

According to the National Museum of Denmark (NMD), Ole Bie, the then head of the Danish trading port in Serampore, launched in 1800 the construction of St. Olav’s Church, which has a royal monogram of Danish King Christian VII on its front.

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The church bells are no longer in use, with one bearing an inscription ‘Frederiksvaerk 1804’ that points to its origin from a Danish iron factory.

Administered by the Calcutta Diocesan Trust Association, the 210-year-old church was kept under lock and key since 2013 as there was danger of its collapse.

However, in collaboration with NMD’s Serampore Initiative, Serampore College and architectural firm Continuity, extensive restoration work was carried out to reclaim the church’s past glory.

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