Project Description

Denmark is one of the oldest monarchies in the world, and its legacy is well preserved in its beautiful castles, mansions and gardens. Many of them are still used by the royal family and most are open to the public. Nowadays, one can admire exhibitions, museums, art collections and many other events throughout the year.

During my visit of Copenhagen, I took the opportunity to visit a few of the famous castles outside the city. As usual, it’s early morning when my driver picks me up at the hotel where I stay (one advantage of joining an organized tour!) Then we leave for a day trip to Frederiksborg, Fredensborg and Kronborg castles. Here is a brief summary of the three castles along with a few pictures. Fredensborg Palace is currently inhabited by members of the royal family, so we’ll see it from outside only and it is prohibited to take photos and videos inside Kronborg castle.

FREDERIKSBORG CASTLE

Frederiksborg Castle and its beautiful gardens are located on a few islands around lake Slotsø in Hillerød, which is 30 kilometers from Copenhagen. It was built in the 17th century by Christian IV to expand its power and it is a unique example of the Danish Renaissance.

Since 1878, Frederiksborg Castle houses the National History Museum and it is the chance for visitors to admire the magnificent differents exhibited pieces and learn about 500 years of Danish history, illustrated with portraits, paintings, furniture, tapestries and decorative arts. Here, we can meet kings and queens, nobles and bourgeois and we can also discover the events that have shaped the history of Denmark from the Middle Ages to the 21st century. I was particularly amazed by Riddershalen (Knights Hall) and Slotskirken (Coronation Chapel).

From the castle, you can access the Baroque Garden and the Romantic English Garden. These are interesting as they offer two different points of view of nature : the Baroque garden embodies the ideal way of living of the 18th century characterized by the effort of man to control nature, while the romantic garden expresses more the natural aspect of the 19th century. Truely wonderful! I’ve even spent more time there than inside the castle itself, just to let you know!

FREDENSBORG CASTLE

Fredensborg Castle was built by the architect J.C. Krieger to serve as a hunting lodge for King Frederik IV. Construction began in 1719, the central part was inaugurated in 1722 and the church in 1726. The castle was later expanded under the reign of Christian Frederik V and VI by architects N. Eigtved, L. de Thurah and C.F. Harsdorff.

At the death of Queen Juliane Marie in 1796, the castle was no longer used, but occasionally. It was under the reign of King Christian IX and Queen Louise that the castle became once again the residence of the royal family for long periods each year. The “parents-in-laws of Europe”, as the monarchs were known, used to gather there each summer their children and spouses related to royal and princely families of Europe. Today, the royal family are staying in Fredensborg in spring and fall each year. Therefore, it is only possible to visit the inside of the castle in summer and winter every year.

KRONBORG CASTLE

Built on a site of great strategic importance over the Sund (the stretch of water between Denmark and Sweden), the Royal castle of Kronborg in Helsingor (Elsinore) has a great symbolic value to the Danish. It also played a major role in the history of northern Europe from the 16th to 18th centuries. The construction of this outstanding Renaissance castle began in 1574, and its defenses were reinforced with military architecture in the late 17th century. It has remained intact until our days. The place is also known as the Castle of Elsinore, the setting of Hamlet, one of the most famous of Shakespeare’s tragedies. Beautiful both inside and outside, it is however prohibited to take pictures or videos once you’re inside the castle!

On the way back, I realize I’ve spent quite a lovely day of exploring some of the most beautiful Danish castles. This is also a tour which I recommend if you are staying a few days in Copenhagen, as despite being organized by a local travel agency, it is the perfect way to get away from the noisy capital city for a few hours and enjoy at the same time beautiful panoramas!