Frederiksborg Castle: Denmark’s Renaissance Masterpiece

IMG_5980The largest Renaissance castle in Scandinavia, Frederiksborg Castle is located in the center of Hillerød, north of Copenhagen. It was built during the first decades of the 17th century by King Christian IV with the goal of demonstrating the power and status of the Danish monarchy.

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Following a fire in 1859 that destroyed large parts of the interior, the castle was reconstructed according to its original design. Since 1878 Frederiksborg has housed the Museum of National History, whose collections include paintings, furniture, and other artifacts representing 500 years of Danish history.

Frederiksborg’s towers, moat, fountains, and courtyards give the castle a fairytale appearance enhanced by its location on three islets in a small lake amidst beautifully landscaped gardens. A tour of the castle takes visitors through richly decorated rooms, including bedchambers, dining rooms, audience halls, and portrait galleries.

IMG_8526One highlight is the Castle Chapel, which survived the fire intact and still retains its original construction from Christian IV’s time. Here, Denmark’s absolute monarchs were anointed, and the church is still used for services as well as special events such as weddings and concerts. The chapel’s organ dates from 1610. Around the walls of the upper gallery hang the shields of members of the Order of the Elephant and the Order of the Dannebrog, including those of the current royal family as well as honored international dignitaries.

A number of buildings on the grounds, including two round towers and the small palace in the castle gardens known as the Bath House, date from the time of Christian IV’s father, Frederik II, who first began building at Frederiksborg in the 1560s.

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If touring the castle makes you hungry, never fear. The restaurant Spisestedet Leonora, located alongside the Castle Lake, is open from mid-morning to late afternoon year-round, except during the winter holiday season. Outdoor seating is available during the summer. Particularly known for its popular weekend brunch buffet, the restaurant also serves burgers, salads, sandwiches, and other selections, including a children’s menu. There is also a café in the castle gardens, Café Havehuset, open June through August from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

IMG_4916Practical Information

Frederiksborg Castle is open every day of the year. Hours are April-October, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and November-March, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The castle is accessible by public transportation. For more information, visit the Museum of National History website. Further information about the history of the castle is available on the website of the Agency for Palaces and Cultural Properties.

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