Brande, a small railway town in Denmark with a population of 7,000, is the unlikely home to what will be crowned as Western Europe’s tallest skyscraper. The planned project will rise 1,049 feet tall, leaving Western Europe’s current tallest building, London’s “The Shard,” 32 feet behind. (The tallest building in Russia, the Lakhta Center in Saint Petersburg, rises to a whopping 1,516 feet.)
The new building was commissioned by family-owned Danish fashion brand Bestseller to host its new headquarters. The project will also introduce student facilities, 30 stores, and a hotel. The flat, tranquil terrains surrounding the project’s location in the Jutland peninsula will allow the tower to be seen from 40 miles away.
Bestseller operates 2,700 retail stores in 45 countries and employs 15,000 staff worldwide. The company’s owner, Anders Holch Povlsen, is Denmark’s wealthiest man.
Povlsen is also the biggest shareholder in British online fashion retailer Asos. The billionaire holds the title of Britain’s second-largest private landowner, with 12 Scottish estates that sprawl over more than 220,000 acres.
Bestseller faced no resistance in acquiring planning permission from Brande’s city council. Media outlets faced difficulty in finding dissident voices in the little town, save for one local architect by the name of Trine Kammer who told the Guardian, “Such a big building will make the world claustrophobically small. Why do I have to be reminded of Bestseller when I’m walking by myself in a quiet wood?” Kammer attributes the town people’s silence over the project to their fear of the wealthy family: “People in Brande are so afraid to criticize Bestseller. It’s like a religion or something.”
Povlsen is known in Europe for his passion for overhauling uncultivated areas under his ownership. Last year, he announced an ambitious “200-year plan” to rewild vast terrains of the Scottish Highlands. The billionaire announced a similar plan in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains. Povlsen’s plans include reintroducing wolves, bears, and lynx back to where they have been pushed out by man.