As a foreigner I find the Lutheran churches in Denmark rather strict and slightly less aw-inspiring than most churches in for example middle Europe. With the reformation in 1536, most statues and decorations disappeared form the Danish churches and the main focus went from the altar to the pulpit.
The Abbey Church in the town of Horsens is therefore a surprise, as it is very rich in its art and decorations. Situated in the middle of the town, at the end of the main shopping street, it is a little oasis of quietness with its small park and relatively big building. Originally build between 1261 and 1275 as part of a – now disappeared – monastery, it went through various extensions and a last restoration program around 1890.
This history is also visible in the interior, where objects of different moments in time fill the space with many interesting details. One of the first things one notices are the painted wooden benches, or “pews” as they are called, which date from a restoration in 1738. They are all hand painted with emblem-paintings on the doors and ends. Perhaps not the best paintings in the history of art, but very nice and original 18th century decorations nevertheless. The floor of the church is covered with tiles that, although being from the last restoration in 1890, give a historical feel and fit very well into the interior.
Looking to the far end of the church one sees almost an abundance of richly decorated items, such as the pulpit from 1670 with many figures and reliefs, and the Baroque Choir latticework with large figures of cherubs and saints. On the left of the choir is a larger Baroque Chapel with coffins and an epitaph, and on the right is the so called Russian chapel, where 4 members of the Russian royalty are buried. They were expelled to Horsens in the 18th century, as they where considered a possible threat to the Russian throne.
At the end of the church is what I consider the main piece of all, the altarpiece from around 1500, a possible Dutch work. It is filled with numerous figures, including 7 horses in its main frame, depicting the Crucifixion and 12 apostles and 4 saints.
At the entrance of the church one can buy a brochure (5 Dkr.) in English with information about all the main objects in the church, and containing an article about the Russian Court in Horsens and “A little about Vitus Bering.”