Skt. Laurentius

Saint Lawrence Church

Useful Information

Location: Stændertorvet 1, 4000 Roskilde.
(55.641154, 12.080372)
Open: 15-JUN to 15-SEP daily 10-16.
Fee: Adults DKK 40, Children (0-17) free.
Classification: SubterraneaUnderground Museums
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Skt. Laurentius, Stændertorvet 1, 4000 Roskilde, Tel: +45-23-60-80-18. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1125 Skt. Laurentius Church built.
1500 Saint Lawrence tower built as the tower for the Saint Lawrence church.
1536 church destroyed during the reformation.
1998 archaeological excavation reveals the remains of the church.


The medieval Skt. Laurentius (Saint Lawrence Church) does not exist anymore, the modern church of the same name is located at some distance. The church was destroyed 1536 during the reformation, the tower was recycled as part of the town hall. But in 1998 the Stændertorvet square was excavated and at a depth of 8 m below ground the tile floor of the old church was rediscovered. It was preserved, covered by a concrete ceiling, which is now the floor of the marketplace. The former church is now the basement of the city and an underground museum.

The underground museum has an exhibition with explanatory signs in both Danish and English. Much of the church foundations is still visible. The signs also explain the story of Saint Laurentius. A highlight is the original black and red brick floor. Finally, the narrow spiral staircase of the former church tower is reached. The tower has chambers which were once used as prison cells and the guards' room. The large church bell also still exists. The last highlight of the tour is the view from the tower over the city's rooftops.

Roskilde was founded by the Viking king Harald Blåtand by building a wooden church. It was Denmark's first capital and the center of power for both king and church during the Middle Ages. Until today the Danish royals are buried in Roskilde Cathedral.

Pope Sixtus II met two young men, Laurentius and Vincent, while traveling through Spain and took them to Rome. Here Laurentius became treasurer of the Christian congregation. When Sixtus was imprisoned in connection with Christian persecutions, he asked Laurentius to manage the church's treasures, whereupon Laurentius donated them to the poor. When the emperor heard of a treasure, Laurentius was interrogated, and he promised to bring it to the emperor.
Three days later he came with the poor and said: "This is the wealth of the church, the eternal treasures which never decrease, but increase every day".
As a result Laurentius had to suffer martyrdom on the grate. After some time he said to the executioner: "Turn me over, the roast has had enough on this side".