Story of Bergs Potter

1942

Once upon a time in Copenhagen

During one of the bleakest periods of World War II, Victor Berg inherited a ceramics shop on Rantzausgade in the Nørrebro neighborhood of Copenhagen. Victor, an eager young accountant, wanted to bring a bit of life and color into the war-depressed lives of his fellow Copenhageners. He decided the best way to do so would be to add flowers to the shop. The unique combination of fresh flowers and aged ceramics soon made the store a popular place to visit and shop.

One shop, two shops, three shops

Demand for flowers and pots grew swiftly, and Victor Berg realized the business needed to expand beyond that first shop on Rantzausgade. He went on to open two more shops in the city: one on Købmagergade, now Copenhagen’s most famous shopping street, and later in the Western neighborhood of Vesterbrogade.

1945

Two new Bergs join the business

As Victor’s business grew, so too did his family. In the middle of this flowery fairytale, two new Bergs came into the world: Steffen and Christine (Sysser) Berg.

1952

Steffen started to help his father in the shops from the age of 7, and Sysser later joined him. As time went by, Steffen became the merchant who went to the flower market and managed stock in the basement of the original Rantzausgade location. He remembers how he had to pound the floor twice with a broomstick before going down the stairs to be sure that all the rats went into hiding. Sysser was the creative head of the family and had a flair for new trends.

1986

The legacy is passed on

Berg senior continued to be a part of the flower shops until his death. Steffen and Sysser knew early on that they would carry on their father’s passion for flowers and pots. The Berg siblings also were enthusiastic about pottery, history and archeology, which took them on a search through several Scandinavian castles, noble manor houses and historical archives.

In the end, they stumbled on their first great inspiration in an old garden shed. There, they found an elegant flowerpot that gave the inspiration for Berg’s flagship: the Copenhagen Pot. This line of new pots was (and still is) produced from the finest terracotta – as royal potters had used centuries before.

Steffen and Sysser’s search for ceramic cultural heritage paid off as they travelled throughout Europe to find the continent’s best pottery. In Tuscany they found what they had been searching for: skilled clay craftsmen and imaginative pottery artisans. Steffen started production on designs inspired by the Italian artisans and their historic pots and began to import some of Tuscany’s most classic pieces to Denmark.

2012

The third generation

The company changed hands again to Victor Berg Jr., the son of Steffen Berg, and two friends of the Berg family¬—Martin and Frits. From the beginning, Martin and Frits were responsible for the company’s daily operations with Martin as entrepreneur and Frits working full time as the accountant.

Learning by doing

Martin and Frits had never run a company before. Pottery and working with flowers were all very new to them, and their green thumbs only came with practice. They had to learn how to survive the Copenhagen Flower Market with its early mornings and cutthroat bartering. During the peak season it was not unusual for Martin to do a 5 a.m. daily delivery to the market. Afterwards, he would stroll through the flower stalls to absorb the atmosphere—and then go straight to class at the Copenhagen Business School.

The North Pole or Sahara... ?

Martin and Frits spent most of their afternoons and evenings packing orders at the warehouse. Frits came directly from long days at his job as a full-time accountant, arriving as late as 8 p.m. some evenings. The “warehouse” in this case was an old plastic greenhouse in the north of Zealand, the island where Copenhagen is located. In the greenhouse it was sweat dripping hot in the summer and freezing cold in the winter. The boys packed pots, joked around, and dreamed about the future to keep their minds off their frostbitten hands during the cold Danish winters. When two were not enough to fulfill all the orders, girlfriends and family spent late-night hours helping.

The beguiling baked earth

Slowly, but surely the boys each fell in love with a truly special, tanned beauty—terracotta. They frequently visited Tuscany to explore the world of different clay qualities, colors, and shapes. They learned to understand the material’s history and behavior, but first to understand the Italian people themselves, who had been crafting the clay for generations.

2014

A strawberry farm and an old pub

In 2014 the warehouse was moved to an old strawberry farm north of Copenhagen, and in 2016 Bergs Potter transformed an old pub in the center of Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, into an office where they ran the company. Martin and Frits now work full time, and the Bergs Potter family continues to grow with numerous highly appreciated sales and warehouse employees.

‘Living is not enough! Sunshine, freedom and a little flower you must have!’
– Hans Christian Andersen

From the Earth to Your Windowsill

  1. Our employees in Tuscany know where to find all the best clay. They mine it and then transport it to be formed into pots.
  2. The clay can be treated one of two ways. Some potters make their pots by it turning it on the pottery wheel while others stamp and hand-cut the clay into the desired shapes.
  3. The clay dries, which can take from one day to one week depending on the type of clay used.
  4. Once the clay is dry, it’s fired at 1000°C (1830°F). The high temperature strengthens the pots and adds to their beauty. Afterward, the pots are dipped in a treatment to seal out salt water.
  5. The pots packed carefully into trucks and transported from Tuscany to our warehouse in Hilleroed.
  6. After their journey, René unpacks the pots and they remain in the warehouse before they are transported to shops or to their new homes.

Original Berg's Töpfe