Castles in Denmark – Rosenborg, Frederiksborg castle & More

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From its top tourist destinations to the castles in Denmark that you are yet to see, your trip to Denmark is definitely something worth your time.

Walking around Denmark doesn’t have to be the usual see-the-sights kind of tour. You’d be surprised at the rich history that is coupled with everything that you need in Denmark.

Castles in Copenhagen & all around Denmark

These Denmark castles have become a home to the Danish Royal Family for generations. Each one carries with it a rich cultural history that has helped shaped the Denmark that many people know of today.

Whichever one of these castles in Denmark you choose to visit first, just keep an open heart in hearing stories of long lost love, history, and rich culture.

So if you’re in this Scandinavian country, make sure to take a trip to some of the great Denmark castles. Get ready for the best castles in Denmark.

The Egeskov Castle – One of the most famous castles in Denmark

First stop is the Egeskov Castle. It is known to be the living castle in Funen. Egeskov is not the typical castle that you may see. It is one of the finest and most elegant Renaissance structures in all of Europe and even the world.

It features:

  • a real moat
  • a knight’s hall
  • spires
  • ghastly creatures

Indeed, it is the castle that best represents the Renaissance period and its rich history.

Famous Castles in Denmark – The Frederiksborg Castle in Copenhagen

Castles in Denmark frederiksberg copenhagen palace

This used to be the home of King Christian IV but has become The Museum of National History. The original castle built by Frederick II in 1560. But it was later replaced by Christian IV. And the present building is considered the biggest Renaissance palace in the Scandinavian region.

The palace is in a unique setting in the center of Palace Lake with a Baroque formal garden in the adjoining area. There is also a church called the Chapel of Orders. Today, this castle turned museum displays very important portraits and history paintings.

Frederiksborg castle is strategically built in three islets in HIllerod, just a bit north of Copenhagen. The palace is known for the beautiful garden that it is surrounded with. It is like one of those shown in movies and Fairy tales. When you come to visit this Copenhagen castle, you will surely love the garden at first glance.

Well-known Castles in Denmark – The Kronborg Castle

Castles in Denmark Kronborg

A top choice is the Kronborg Castle near Helsinger built in 1574. You can find this at the northern part of the Zealand island. Did you know that this castle actually inspired Shakespeare’s Elsinore Castle in the classic Hamlet?

In the Danish language, this castle is known as Kronborg Slot. One of Denmark’s shining historical jewels is the Kronborg Castles Copenhagen. A sea fortress that has been immortalized by William Shakespeare as “Elsinore” which was the setting of his tragedy play “Hamlet.”

The castle has been named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. And is regarded as one of Northern Europe’s most significant and well-preserved Renaissance castles. Surrounded by ramparts and army barracks, it is located in the town of Helsingor in northeast Zealand, controlling the entrance to the Baltic Sea.

The History of Kronborg castles Copenhagen

The castle dates back to the 15th century. Back then King Eric of Pomerania ordered the building of a fortress to control the strait and compel all ships that pass to pay sound dues. It was then named Krogen.

In 1585, it was rebuilt by Frederick II into a Baroque-inspired castle but was ravaged by heavy fire in 1629. Restoration efforts were put in place, reinforcing its line of defense and making it one of Europe’s most formidable fortresses. For centuries onwards, it ceased being a Royal residence. And it was used as a prison and as a military installation.

Today it is considered a property of the Danish state and is one of Denmark’s most visited attractions. Inside the castle, visitors can find the sculpture of legendary hero Holger Danske. He is said to be resting there until the time when Denmark will be in need of his help.

There is also the Maritime Museum. The chapel was the only area that survived the 17th-century fire as well as the lavishly-decorated royal rooms. The grand and massive Great Knights Hall (said to be the longest hall in Europe) can be used as a venue for private events and parties.

The Amalienborg Copenhagen Castle – One of the most popular Castles in Denmark

amalienborg copenhagen

The Amalienborg Castle in the Denmark capital of Copenhagen is the residence of the royal family during wintertime. It features a Rococo architectural design. And it includes four uniform palaces around a courtyard the shape of an octagon.  This is one of the most popular Copenhagen castles.

These huge structures have been the homes of the royal families since 1784. Queen Margrethe II and her husband lived in one of the palaces. While another palace accommodates her son Crown Prince Frederik and his family. A daily attraction in this place is the changing of the guard ceremony that takes place at noontime.

The Christiansborg Palace Copenhagen castle – Denmark castles

The Christiansborg Palace is located on the small island of Slothsholmen. It is the home for the Danish Parliament, the Ministry of State as well as the Supreme Court of Denmark. Parts of the palace are used for the gatherings of the Royal family.

Koldinghus: The Reinvention of a Castle-Fortress

What makes a structure stand the test of time? For structures like Koldinghus, it is the capability to reinvent itself while maintaining its solid place in the country’s history.

This Danish royal castle is situated in the south-central part of the Jutland peninsula. In character with its long sense of history are the many functions it has performed at any given time from being a fortress and royal residence to a conference or reception venue cum museum.

The totality of Koldinghus was built in parts at different times. This is the very reason why it is so rich in history. As it expanded and went through several restorations either to fix damages naturally brought on by time. Or to make it more functional and aesthetically appealing, each addition came with its own story.

There was actually a period wherein this imposing structure stood as a ruin. But that state did not prevent it from being an attraction and popular landmark of Denmark.

Today in its obviously more majestic state after reconstruction, it mainly functions as a museum. It boasts of furniture collections dating back to the 16th century up to the present. Various exhibitions depicting Roman and Gothic culture as well as Danish paintings, crafts, and silver are featured as well. 

In recent years, it has become a venue for more modern exhibits and activities. It now even offers meeting and conference rooms against a backdrop of impressive cultural significance. Koldinghus is the perfect example of blending the past and the present. 

Popular Denmark Castles – Borreby Castle

Castles in Denmark Borreby

Among the most romantic Renaissance castles in Denmark, the fortified Borreby Castle along Skaelskorfjord in Zealand is also one of the best preserved.

The stately red-brick manor house was said to have been built in the mid-16th century. Although there are records that mention the estate as early as the 14th century.

It has been passed on from one noble family to another throughout the centuries:

  • from the Urne family, the family of Chancellor Johann Friis (who was virtually responsible for the castle’s expansion and renovation)
  • the Daae family to the Castenschiolds who still own and maintain the property to this day

The castle has been an inspiration for well-known children’s story writer Hans Christian Andersen. He was also a frequent guest. He wrote the story “The Wind Tells about Valdemar Daae and His Daughters”. That story was based on the true accounts of how the Daae family lost the castle because of their obsession for alchemy.

The estate is basically made up of the castle which has two and a half floors and four towers. It has a gatehouse, a farm building, a chapel, and the gardens in the courtyard. Inside the castle is a collection of exquisite tapestries, fine art and Danish furniture.

While the main building is not open to the public on a regular basis, visitors can still walk around the gardens and the courtyard where the Borreby Art Gallery stands. Plans to promote the estate as a cultural venue are also underway with the construction of the Borreby Theatre, a restaurant and a coffee shop.

Shakespeare Festival at Hamlet Castle

Everyone knows that Kronborg Castle is the place that inspired the fictional Elsinore in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. So, it is no wonder that every year they hold a “Shakespeare Festival” at this special UNESCO World Heritage site.

In 2013, the Shakespeare Festival at Hamlet Castle run from August 1 – 10 where they showed King Lear, The Merchant of Venice, and Hamlet (UK film starring Kenneth Branagh). The film has been shown in the open-air cinema at the Castle’s courtyard, lending a breathtaking background making for an incredibly unforgettable experience.

For those whose schedules didn't allow them to visit Kronborg Castle during the Shakespeare Festival, they could still enjoy a little Shakespeare. They visited on August 12th or 31st, which is when the special Summer Concert took place. 

The Summer Concert 2013 actor and singer Christian Steffensen performed excerpts of the original songs from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Storm. Accompanying him was renowned organist Soren Hansen Gleerup.

Of course, if visiting during either of the two special events were out of the question for you, just a walk through the halls of the Kronborg Castle. As you join the special guided tour “In Hamlet’s Footsteps”, which is available all summer, surely give you a feel of how Hamlet would have played out if it would have happened in Kronborg.

Gavno Castle – Lengendary Castles in Denmark

One of the most magnificent and the best castles in Denmark can be found in the island of Gavno in the Naestved municipality in South Zealand. Although the original castle was built in the 13th century as a fortress meant to protect the southern coastline of Denmark, it was transformed into a nunnery from the 15th to the 16th century.

When Count Otto Thott acquired the property he rebuilt the castle in the 18th century. And completed it in the impressive three-winged estate done in the Rococo style that it has retained until today.

The count was an avid collector and used the castle to house his numerous acquisitions of paintings, manuscripts, and books. The private library alone is said to hold over 120,000 books exceeding even that of the Danish National Library. And his collection of artworks includes a lot of paintings by European masters and is the largest private collection in the country.

Unlike most other castles in Denmark, Gavno Castle is still inhabited by the family of Baron and Baroness Reedtz-Thott. But a lot of the parts of the castle can be viewed by the public. The most popular section is the Gavno Castle Gardens. It is counted among the most beautiful English landscape gardens in Denmark.

There are cherry trees, lynden trees, and a park full of tulip bulbs that all bloom in splendid colors during springtime. There are also sculptures and monuments that adorn the park and the Skjaersommer. There is a 19th-century playhouse that will house the private doll collection. Beside the castle is the 14th century Gavno chapel which is also ornately adorned.

Dragsholm Castle – Denmark’s Haunted Mansion

The Dragsholm Castle or Dragsholm Slot in Danish is one of Denmark’s famous castles. Today it is a renowned hotel, but the Dragsholm Castle is most famous for its ghosts. It is, by a popular recount, one of the most haunted castles in all of Europe.

While Dragsholm Castle allegedly has over a hundred ghosts, there are three spirits who seem to gather the most attention.

The Grey Lady

A worker in the Dragsholm Castle at one time, she haunts the rooms at night. During her life, as the story goes, she suffered from a major toothache that was cured by a medical in the castle. As a thank you, she returns to check on visitors.

The White Lady

Daughter of a former owner, this child-like spirit haunts the hallways at night. When alive, she fell in love with a commoner who happened to work in the castle. While the lovers were able to keep their affair secret for a while, the girl’s father eventually discovered them.

In a rage, he ordered his daughter to be imprisoned in a room in the castle. During the early twentieth century, workers were pulling down walls for a renovation. And they came across a small skeleton clothed in a white gown.

The Earl of Bothwell

James Hepburn died after years of imprisonment in the cellars of the Dragsholm Castle. His ghost is said to haunt the cobbled courtyard with the sounds of carriage and horses.

Fuglsang Manor House – Denmark Castles

Castles in Denmark Fuglsang manor

A popular cultural center in the island of Lolland was once a fortified castle and a haven for artists. The Fuglsang Manor House traces its origins as far back as the 14th century.

However, the property was acquired by Rolf Viggo de Neergard in the 19th century. And had the neo-Gothic Renaissance main castle built upon the inspiration drawn from the Rosenborg Castle.

As de Neergard was married to a composer’s daughter Bodil, the stately mansion naturally drew in other artists who would often pay a visit to the castle and spend time among friends.

Notable musicians who frequented Fuglsang include Edvard Grieg and Carl Nielsen. When both de Neergard and his wife died, the estate was turned into “Refugiet Fuglsang” or a retreat for artists upon their wish.

The retreat was closed down in 1995. However, Fuglang remained to be a venue for musical performances. The following year, the Storstrom Chamber Ensemble was founded. And started holding annual concerts in the mansion.

Today the Fuglsang Cultural Centre is comprised of the original manor and the Fuglsang Art Museum which was opened in 2008. The award-winning museum building is home to a collection of Danish art highlighting works by local and regional artists.

Aside from the Storstrom Chamber Ensemble, it also houses the Fuglsang Musical Association which also performs on a regular basis. The expansive gardens around the Fuglsang is a popular outdoor and leisure destination for locals. It is situated amid the scenic area between Nykobing Falster and Nysted.

Rosenborg castle Copenhagen

This castle was commissioned by Christian IV in the olden days to be his summer residence. According to most visitors, this is the best castle in Copenhagen.

Today, Copenhagen Rosenborg castle stands as a museum which features Royal Danish collections that include the crown jewels.

Romeo and Juliet at Rosenborg Denmark Castle 2009

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways… Remember these lines? And remember the man behind them? The famous Shakespeare, of course.

The work of Shakespeare is highly recommended for people who are huge fans of the performing arts such as theater. A not-to-missed performance of Romeo and Juliet’s love story took place on September 3 and 5 in 2009 at the Rosenborg Slot Gardens in Oster Voldgalde 4A. This was part of the Romeo & Juliet Castle Tour of the TNT Great Britain, a world-renowned theater company and ADG Europe.

Unlike the usual venue at an enclosed theater, this performance was held at a garden with the lovely Dutch Renaissance-style Rosenborg Castle as a backdrop.

For sure, this performance in an al fresco setting is the greatest love story of Romeo and Juliet. With an intimate circular amphitheater setting in a beautiful garden, this was one experience that should not be missed.

To give you an idea, the cast was composed of six people. And the production has made sure to come up with the original concept and not a modern one. The main setting was that of Baroque Italy with characters in richly embroidered costumes.

Directed by Paul Stebbings, the musical play did not only highlight the tragic romance between the two main characters but their lighter side as well. This Romeo and Juliet production has already toured Germany, Central Europe, and Asia.

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