Since the 10th century when the Viking kings Gorm the Old and Harald Bluetooth founded the Kingdom of Denmark, hundreds of royal families ruled the small Scandinavian country and left their mark on history. Nowadays, the country’s castles that have been standing in the same spots for hundreds of years tell the story of the Danish monarchy, which is the oldest in Europe, and are open to visitors who want to discover the Danish kings’ and queens’ secrets.
Located in the middle of a small lake surrounded by water and flourished gardens, Egeskov Castle in the south Funen Island is a place of great beauty. Even though visitors nowadays see a majestic Renaissance castle in peaceful surroundings, a closer look at the building shows that it was originally built for defence purposes. A thick double wall connects the two longhouses, hidden stairs, machicolations and other features show the 460-year history of the place. In the 16th-century castle rooms, visitors will discover items, furniture and trophies of the kings and queens who lived in the majestic building over the centuries as well as several exhibitions.
North of Copenhagen in the city of Hillerød stands Frederiksborg Castle, one of the most notable buildings Christian IV constructed while he was King of Denmark. Frederiksborg Castle is often called Denmark’s Versailles and for good reason. It’s the largest Renaissance castle in Scandinavia, it’s surrounded by a huge symmetrical baroque garden and it’s home to the Museum of National History. Take a walk around the magical gardens and learn everything about Denmark’s history from the Middle Ages to the 21st century, in the museum’s exhibitions in the castle’s numerous rooms.
Kronborg Castle is widely known as Hamlet’s castle because it’s the place that inspired the master of English literature, William Shakespeare, to write the eponymous play. Perched on the tip of Zealand Island, the Renaissance castle was used for coastal fortification controlling which ships were entering the Baltic Sea. Nowadays, its location offers a unique view over the Øresund Strait and is a popular tourist attraction. In 2000 Kronborg Castle was added in the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s list.
Rosenborg Castle, another architectural masterpiece of legendary Danish king Christian IV is one of the most popular attractions in Copenhagen. It took 28 years before the Dutch Renaissance castle was finally finished, but in 1633 after four stages of development, Christian IV’s dream house had taken the shape and form visitors see today. The castle opened to the public in 1838 and ever since thousands of visitors visit the castle’s numerous rooms and hallways to explore Denmark’s history over the centuries.
The 18th-century Amalienborg Palace has been the Danish Royal Family’s winter residence since 1794 when the old Christiansborg Palace burnt down. It consists of four identical palaces and it’s located by Copenhagen’s waterfront. The spectacular buildings aren’t open to the public but visitors can visit the outdoor area and see the Royal Guard change ceremony.
Rosenholm Castle in eastern Jutland has been in the hands of Rosenkrantz family since 1610 when its construction finished. The castle consists of two buildings each, one of which with its own architectural style. The architecture of the east wings is Italian Renaissance style, while the west is of French Renaissance. According to legend, Mr. Jørgen Rosenkrantz and his wife Dorthe Lang, the founders of the castles, couldn’t agree on the architectural style so they decided to combine both. Today, Rosenholm Castle offers guided tours and is open for events, weddings and other ceremonies.
Koldinghus is the least known of Denmark’s castles but it has played a vital role in the country’s history. Since the 13th century when the construction of the castle finished, Koldinghus was used as a fortress, a royal residence and finally as a museum that even today exhibits paintings, crafts and a collection of furniture that dates back to the 16th century. The historic castle is situated in Jutland and is the peninsula’s last royal castle.