Millennium Post

Danish history comes alive in restored tavern

Kolkata: A part of Danish history has come alive in West Bengal, with the restoration of the Denmark Tavern and Hotel, an over 200-year-old pub along the river Hooghly in Serampore.
The restoration work was completed by the National Museum of Denmark (NMD) and the Cultural Ministry of the Scandinavian nation. The tavern was opened for the public on February 28.
Project head of the restoration drive, 'Serampore Initiative', Bente Wolff said, "When we had visited the place in 2010, the front part had completely given way and a small portion of the first floor remained. It was in a state of total decay."
When the Danish team had first visited the place, no one could recall the original name of the ruined building, but after historians checked the state archive here and flipped through other official documents, they realised it was the Denmark Tavern and Hotel, Simon Rasten of NMD said.
"The Denmark Tavern and Hotel, which came up in 1786, was located at the place in Serampore - along side a river ghat where the Danes kept their articles," Rasten said.
The tavern was restored with traditional materials like lime and molasses, and a conventional roof-thumping method was used to make it waterproof by a group of skilled masons from Murshidabad and South 24 Parganas districts, conservationist Manish Chakraborti, who had overseen the project, said.
A Danish trust 'Realdania', supporting philanthropic projects in the fields of architecture and planning, and Department of Tourism, government of West Bengal, funded the renovation at a cost of Rs five crore.
NMD architect Flemming Aalund assisted Chakraborti in the task, which began in 2016.
The Danish Tavern will now function as a coffee house, with some rooms rented out by the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation.
Chakraborti said this was the second Danish-backed conservation project after the nearby St Olav's Church project in Serampore, which was restored in 2016.
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