Frederiksborg Castle is a royal residence built in the 17thcentury by Christian IV of Denmark and is the largest renaissance residence in Scandinavia. Frederiksborg was the first Danish castle to be built inland, all previous castles had been on the coast or close to ports, as the sea had been the principle means of travel. The castle was also the first to be built for purely recreational purposes, rather than for defence. Its completion lead to the rebuilding of roads from Copenhagen to aid in the kings travels along the now named Kongevej or the Kings Way.
Hillerødsholm (Islet of Hillerød), near Hillerød, was an estate that for many years belonged to the Gøyes, on of the most noble families in Denmark. The family home was a half-timbered building located on the most northerly of three adjoining islets on the estates lake. His daughter, Brigitte, married a naval hero, Herluf Trolle in 1544, and the couple became its new owners. In the following 10 years, Trolle replaced the old timber building with a larger manor house. In 1550, Frederik II, as crown prince, made an agreement with Trolle whereby Trolle would receive Skovkloster Manor from the king, and the king would receive Hillerødsholm from Trolle. Deciding that the building was too small him, the king in 1560 decided to begin with extensions, which would be made under Trolle’s supervision. With the works complete Frederik renamed the estate Frederiksborg, or Frederiks Castle. Primarily the estate, along with the Bath House, were used as a royal hunting lodge as they were situated in the forests of North Zealand which he also owned.
Frederiks’s son, Christian, was born in the castle and became very attached to it. Later, as Christian IV, de decided to have it totally rebuilt in the Dutch Renaissance style. The old building was destroyed and the new castle was completed in 1610, with the chapel being built finished in 1618. With its completion, the complex became the largest Renaissance building in Scandinavia. From Christian’s death in 1648, the castle was mainly used for ceremonial events which included the anointing of Danish Monarchs up until 1840.
Frederik VII decided to use the castle as a residence again. Whilst staying there on 16thDecember 1859, he retired to his room to look at some historical artifacts. Because of the cold, a fire was lit in the room. Unfortunately, the chimney was under repair and a fire broke out. With the lake frozen, water has to come from the pantry and as a result the fire spread quickly. Within hours much of the building had been damaged including the intricate interior decorations. Luckily over 300 painting were saved and are now displayed in the castle’s museum.
The reconstruction was paid for by the state, the king as well as public donations. Two of the biggest donations came from the Carlsberg brewery and the philanthropist J.C. Jacobsen. Restoration, based on original plans as well as drawing which had been made of the castle, began in 1860 and was completed in 1878. Due to Jacobsen’s influence, it was decided to open the castle as a Museum of National History which was opened to the public in 1882 and continues to be so today.
Designed by Adrein de Vries, the fountain is considered to be the castle sculptural masterpiece. Created between 1620-22 it symbolizes Denmark’s position as a leading Nordic power of the 17thcentury.
The Museum of National History
The original collection was based on the 300 paintings saved in the fire of 1859. With the help of Jacobsen however, it was soon extended to include furniture, cultural artifacts as well as other paintings. The collection continues to grow and today where it is housed in 70 rooms in the three-stories of the Kings Wing, the Princess Wing, the Chapel, the Rose Room and the Audience Room.
Consecrated in 1617, the chapel is the best-preserved part of the original Renaissance complex. Extending the entire length of the West Wing, it is richly decorated with a six-vaulted stucco ceiling is supported by pillars covered in frescos. It also contains the oldest organ in Denmark with its 1001 wooden pipes decorated with ebony, ivory and silver.
To the east of the castle, a Baroque park, complete with waterfalls, was created by the court gardener John Cornelius Krieger by Frederik IV in 1720. Its carefully planned symmetrical features were designed around the parks centerpiece, a fountain from which the water cascaded down the terraces to the lake below. In 1850, Frederik VII, had a landscape garden laid out to the north-west of the castle which included winding paths, canals and artificial lakes.