The Serampore Initiative, West Bengal, India.

Duration: Initial identification and project formulation 2009-2010; implementation 2012-2020

Klient:  Nationalmuseet, Danmark.

Project aims :

Identification and assessment of heritage buildings in the former Danish trading post on the Ganges from 1755-1845,aiming at the implementation of a joint cooperation project for preserving the Indian-Danish cultural heritage, was completed in 2009 to 2010.

The initial study resulted in the joint financing of the Serampore Initiative by the private foundation Realdania and the Ministry of Culture of a projectof a five year. Subsequently the project was extended for two more years and will end in Janauary 2020.

The project of the National Museum of Denmark is aiming to assist West Bengal Government and local institutions to regenerate the heritage and bring about economic benefits to local residents through: (a) conservation of cultural heritage assets enhancing the attractiveness of the historic town (b) upgrading of urban planning, infrastructure services and amenities; and (c) sustaining heritage management strategies and sustainable tourism development in Serampore and other historic sites along the Hooghly River.

Raadvad Architects, consulting architects MAA, was assigned as the external consulting advisor to the National Museum of Denmark for all matters related to restoration of buildings and integrated urban conservation and development planning.


P1050126The former Danish Government House is currently under restoration , the photo shows the actual condition in 2009.

The drawing of the main facade shows the same facade as it will appear after restoration.







The south part of the building is added sometime in the late 19th century by British to serve as lawcourts. The Photo shows the actual condition in 2009 before start of the restoration.
The drawing below shows the elevation of the same facade after completion of the restoration.






The drawings to the right show the elevation of the north facade of the South Gate to the former Danish Government Compound before and after restoration.

Restoration was completed in 2015.










The former Denmark Tavern and Hotel is currently in complete ruin. Restoration started in 2015. The drawing shows the anticipated appearance of the main facade facing on to the Hooghly River after restoration.







Denmark Tavern removal of debris Nov 2015After clearance of the debris the building archaeological investigations revealed the foundations of the original “pepper pot” staircase and the original flooring situated about half meter below the present floor level.







Denmark Tavern excavation of former spiral staircase Nov 2015Removal of debris from the ruined building started in November 2015 providing a more accurate impression of the lay out and architectural details of the original building. The restoration was carried out by Mascon as the main contractor and restoration architect Manish Chakraborti in charge of the project design and implementation.






The first sketch drawing of the restored building shows the “pepper pot” staircase positioned at the front of the facade. This assumption was based on a contemporary drawing of buildings along the river bank. However, the archaeological excavations revealed that the spiral staircase was actually situated at the rear side of the building. Reconstruction proposal 2013, F. Aalund.



Restoration of the Main Gate to the former Danish Administration Compound

The Main Gate, existing condition 2011 before restoration
The Main Gate to the former Danish Administration Compound after restoration; photo Flemming Aalund, November 2019.
Elevation of the restored Main Gate to the Danish administration compound.


Restoration of St. Olav Church

A hand-colored photograph taken by Frederick Fiebig in 1851 of St. Olav Church provides some clues to the exterior appearance by the mid 19thcentury. At this time the whole building has been colored in a pale cream or yellow ochre colour with no special treatment of the architectural detailing. Photo credit: The Fiebig Collection at the British Library, London.


Due to the bad condition of the facades all plaster had to be renewed including remodeling of all the architectural details. Photo: Flemming Aalund, 2014.


The roof slab was removed exposing the deteriorated wooden beam spanning the south aisle. The precarious condition of the roof structure was due to termite attack of roof beams and barghas, and the deterioration had aggravated further due to water leakage caused by cracks in the concrete screed . Photo: Flemming Aalund, 2014.


For reason of safety steel scaffolding was put up to support the roof beams as the very first intervention before dismantling and renewal of the entire roof construction. Subsequently all internal surfaces were restored and the original color scheme reestablished by use of lime mortars and traditional lime wash. Photo: Flemming Aalund, 2015.


Fotos showing the various traditional crafts used for the restoration, that requires particular skills and knowledge about the materials and how they are used.



Fotos showing the various traditional crafts used for the restoration, that requires particular skills and knowledge about the materials and how they are used.

For more detailed information please refer to the draft publication,  “Restoration of St. Olav Church, Serampore, 2018, pp. 1-32.