Medieval churches in Denmark

St. Paul's Church

The Church of St. Paul (Sankt Povls Kirke) was built around 1200. Anyway the first mention of the church date from 1335. It was enlarged in 1871 and the porch was restored in 1881. The medieval stone font was made in Gotland. There are also some fine frescoes.
Founded: ca. 1200 | Location: Neksø, Denmark

Idestrup Church

Idestrup Church built in the Romanesque style dates from the 12th century. With its whitewashed walls, rounded windows and a red tiled roof it stands in the middle of the town. There is a crucifix from the 14th century and memorial epitaphs from the early 17th century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Idestrup, Denmark

Svaneke Church

Svaneke Church stands above the harbour at a height of 18 metres on the site of a small chapel which appears to have existed for quite some time before the town received its charter in the 16th century. The church was expanded over the years, the tower and spire being completed in 1789. In 1881, virtually the whole building was rebuilt by architect Mathias Bidstrup of Rønne, leaving only the tower and a small secti ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Rønne, Denmark

Hasle Church

Hasle Church was built around 1460 and it was restored in 1758. The porch was added in in 1882. The late Gothic altarpiece was made in 1510s and the pulpit around 1600. There is also a Viking age runestone in the churchyard.
Founded: ca. 1460 | Location: Hasle, Denmark

Hunseby Church

Hunseby Church was built in the mid-1100s with a Romanesque chancel and nave and a Gothic tower. The church was originally dedicated to St. Andrew as can be seen from the inscription on the oldest bell from 1465. From Romanesque inscriptions in the stonework supporting an old portal, it appears the church must have existed in the middle of the 12th century. Little is known of its early ownership apart from the fact that t ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Maribo, Denmark

Farum Church

farum church is a well-preserved brick church built in the 1100s. The nave was enlarged and tower added around 1400. The altarpiece dates from the 1600s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Farum, Denmark

Horbelev Church

Horbelev Church dates from c. 1200. The chancel and nave were built in Romanesque style and the church has unusually high walls. It is one of the oldest churches in Falster. The Gothic tower and porch were added in late medieval times.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Horbelev, Denmark

Allinge Church

Allinge Church (Allinge Kirke) was originally a small granite longhouse from the around the 14th century. In 1892 it was completely rebuilt in the Neogothic style. The earliest documented record of the church dates from 1569 when it was known as "Alende Capell" (Alende Chapel). With the Reformation it passed from the Archbishopric of Lund to the Danish crown but is now fully independent. Until 1941, it was an annex to San ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Allinge, Denmark

Søllested Church

Søllested Church was built of granite originally in c. 1100. It has no tower. The pulpit dates from the early 1600s and the altar was painted by Peter Raadsig in 1855. In the churchyard is a rare small bell campanile from the late Middle Ages.
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Søllested, Denmark

Sorø Abbey

Sorø Abbey was the preeminent and wealthiest monastic house in all of Denmark during the Middle Ages. It was founded by Asser Rig, the son of Skjalm Hvide, Zealand"s most powerful noble in 1142. Asser established a Benedictine House just a few years prior to his death in 1151. He then lived as a monk for the last years of his life. It was common practice for wealthy and powerful individuals and families to fou ...
Founded: 1142 | Location: Sorø, Denmark

St. Peter's Church

St. Peter's Church (Sankt Peders Kirke) is a well-preserved sample of Romanesque building style. The oldest parts nave and apsis were built around the year 1100. The church has been enlarged and modified in the 17th and 19th centuries. The bells were made in 1574 and 1701. The font is original and made in Gotland. The interior date mainly from the 19th century.
Founded: ca. 1100 | Location: Aakirkeby, Denmark

Haderslev Cathedral

Work on building Haderslev Cathedral began in the mid-13th century. It was originally a large cross-shaped single-naved church built of bricks and granite cubes recycled from an older church. Only the original transept is still standing. The church nave was soon expanded to include three tall naves under one roof. This type of church is called a hall church. The present three-naved choir from 1400 is one of the most beaut ...
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Haderslev, Denmark

Nakskov Church

Nakskov Church is the largest church in Nakskov on the east coast of the Danish island of Lolland. As Nakskov was mentioned in Valdemar"s Census Book in the 13th century, the church probably dates to the same period. Remains of a wooden church from c. 1000 were unearthed in the 1950s. It was replaced by a brick church dedicated to Saint Nicholas which is first mentioned in 1398 although its oldest sections probably d ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Nakskov, Denmark

Præstø Church

The current Præstø Church was built in the mid-1400s to the site of earlier church. There was also a monastery from the end of 1200s to Reformation (1530s). Abbey buildings were demolished in 1563. The finest detail in the church is an altar donated by Laurits Nielsen in 1657.
Founded: c. 1450 | Location: Præstø, Denmark

Nysted Church

The present building of Nysted Church dates back to c. 1300. Originally it consisted of a central nave with a three sided apse to the east. The impressive tower was built a century later. In 1643 a spire was added, and in 1935 this was covered by copper. The Raben-Levtzau family of Aalholm Castle had their own chapel built in 1782. According a rumour there is a secret underground passage from the castle to the church. It ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Nysted, Denmark

Grindsted Church

Grindsted Church was built in the 1100s and enlarged around 1300. A granite ashlar and brick porch was added to the south door of the nave in the 1500s.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Grindsted, Denmark

Sønder Alslev Church

Sønder Alslev Church was built around the year 1200, but it has been altered several times. It has a Romanesque nave, Gothic tower and chapel from 1796. The latest restoration of choir and apse was made in 1861.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark

Vallensbæk Church

Vallensbæk church was built between 1150 and 1200. The tower was added in the 16th century. The altar was destroyed by fire in 2007. The Romanesque style baptismal font dates from the beginning of the 13th century and is the oldest item in the church.  The church in Vallensbæk Village dates back to the 1100s, built in the years 1150-1200. It is a typical village church, which originally consisted of cows and ships i ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Vallensbæk, Denmark

Dronninglund Castle

Dronninglund Castle is a former royal residence located in the northern part of the Jutland Peninsula. Its history goes back to the 12th century, when it was the Benedictine monastery of Hundslund Priory. After the last nuns left it in 1581, it was first owned by the Lindenow family. In 1690, Queen Charlotte Amalie acquired it. It is from her that the palace takes the name Dronninglund, meaning 'queens forest'. ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Dronninglund, Denmark

Karleby Church

Karleby Church was built in c. 1130. It was restored in 1863.
Founded: c. 1130 | Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Sweetheart Abbey

Sweetheart Abbey was a Cistercian monastery, founded in 1275 by Dervorguilla of Galloway in memory of her husband John de Balliol. His embalmed heart, in a casket of ivory and silver, was buried alongside her when she died; the monks at the Abbey then renamed the Abbey in tribute to her. Their son, also John, became king of Scotland but his reign was tragic and short. The depredations suffered by the Abbey in subsequent periods, have caused both the graves to be lost. The abbey, built in deep-red, local sandstone, was founded as a daughter house to Dundrennan Abbey; this Novum Monasterium (New Monastery), became known as the New Abbey.

The immediate abbey precincts extended to 120,000 m2 and sections of the surrounding wall can still be seen today. The Cistercian order, also known as the White Monks because of the white habit, over which they wore a black scapular or apron, built many great abbeys after their establishment around 1100. Like many of their abbeys, the New Abbey's interests lay not only in prayer and contemplation but in the farming and commercial activity of the area, making it the centre of local life. The abbey ruins dominate the skyline today and one can only imagine how it and the monks would have dominated early medieval life as farmers, agriculturalists, horse and cattle breeders. Surrounded by rich and fertile grazing and arable land, they became increasingly expert and systematic in their farming and breeding methods. Like all Cistercian abbeys, they made their mark, not only on the religious life of the district but on the ways of local farmers and influenced agriculture in the surrounding areas.

The village which stands next to the ruins today, is now known as New Abbey. At the other end of the main street is Monksmill, a corn mill. Although the present buildings date from the late eighteenth century, there was an earlier mill built by and for the monks of the abbey which serviced the surrounding farms.