Palaces, manors and town halls in Denmark

City Hall

Copenhagen City Hall is the headquarters of the municipal council as well as the Lord mayor of the Copenhagen Municipality. The current building was inaugurated in 1905. It was designed by the architect Martin Nyrop in the National Romantic style but with inspiration from the Siena City Hall. It is dominated by its richly ornamented front, the gilded statue of Absalon just above the balcony and the tall, slim clock tower. ...
Founded: 1893-1905 | Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Charlottenborg Palace

Charlottenborg Palace is a large mansion originally built as a residence for Ulrik Frederik Gyldenløve. It has served as the base of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts since its foundation in 1754. Several other institutions of the Danish art world are also based at Charlottenborg, which today also serves as an exhibition space for art exhibitions, which is called Kunsthal Charlottenborg. The site was donated b ...
Founded: 1672 | Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Christiansborg Palace

Christiansborg Palace is the seat of the Danish Parliament, the Danish Prime Minister's Office and the Danish Supreme Court. Also, several parts of the palace are used by the monarchy, including the Royal Reception Rooms, the Palace Chapel and the Royal Stables. The palace is thus the house of Denmark's three supreme powers: the executive power, the legislative power, and the judicial power. It is the only building in th ...
Founded: 1733 | Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Amalienborg

Amalienborg is the winter home of the Danish royal family. It consists of four identical classicizing palace façades with rococo interiors around an octagonal courtyard; in the centre of the square is a monumental equestrian statue of Amalienborg"s founder, King Frederick V. Amalienborg was originally built for four noble families; however, when Christiansborg Palace burnt down on 26 February 1794, the royal ...
Founded: 1750-1760 | Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Yellow Mansion

The Yellow Palace (Det Gule Palæ), or Bergum's Mansion, is considered the first example of Neoclassical architecture in Copenhagen. When Frederiksstaden was laid around 1748, it was envisioned as a uniform Rococo district. All new buildings had to comply with certain guidelines stipulated by Nicolai Eigtved, the district's masterplanner. After Eigtved's death in 1754 they were in principle upheld but as fashions changed ...
Founded: 1758-1764 | Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Frederiksborg Palace

Frederiksborg Palace was built as a royal residence for King Christian IV and is now a museum of national history. The current edifice replaced a previous castle erected by Frederick II and is the largest Renaissance palace in Scandinavia. The palace is located on three small islands in the middle of Palace Lake (Slotsøen) and is adjoined by a large formal garden in the Baroque style. The oldest parts of the castle date ...
Founded: 1560-1620 | Location: Hillerød, Denmark

Old City Hall

The Old City Hall at Gammeltorv Aalborg was built in 1762 and served as city hall until 1912. Today it is only used for ceremonial and representative purposes. The city hall was built by master builder Daniel Popp, who had moved to Aalborg from Copenhagen, and was modelled on Johan Conrad Ernst"s City Hall there, which was later completely destroyed in the Copenhagen Fire of 1795. This was a specific requirement from ...
Founded: 1757-1762 | Location: Ålborg, Denmark

Roskilde Palace

Roskilde Mansion replaced a bishop"s palace which had stood at the site since the Middle Ages. Commissioned by King Christian VI, the new building was constructed to provide a residence for the royal family when they passed through the city or attended royal funerals and other ceremonies in Roskilde Cathedral. Lauritz de Thurah who had recently been engaged as royal master builder, was charged with its design in 1733 ...
Founded: 1733-1736 | Location: Roskilde, Denmark

Old Town Hall

The old Town Hall of Ribe was built before 1496, and has been used as the town’s city hall from 1708 until 2007, when the last town councillor meeting was held. On the walls in old Commoner’s hall hang a collection of portraits of vassals and councillors from 1600-1900. The former debtor’s prison has been converted to a museum about the laws and statutes in Ribe. Stories are told about town halls, town g ...
Founded: 1496 | Location: Ribe, Denmark

Frederiksberg Palace

Frederiksberg Palace is a Baroque residence and should not be confused with Frederiksborg Palace in Hillerød. As crown prince, Frederick IV had broadened his education by travelling in Europe. He was particularly impressed by the architecture in Italyand, on his return to Denmark, asked his father, Christian V, for permission to build a summer palace on Solbjerg as the hill in Valby was then known. The original building ...
Founded: 1703 | Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Gråsten Palace

The first Gråsten Palace was a small hunting lodge built in the middle of the 1500s. After it burned down in 1603, a new palace was built approximately where the south wing of the current palace is located. Chancellor Count Frederik Ahlefeldt, who was the owner of Gråsten Palace from 1662-1682, and his son built a huge baroque palace shortly before the beginning of the 1700’s. It, too, burned down in 1757. Only the pa ...
Founded: 1759 | Location: Gråsten, Denmark

Hermitage Palace

In 1694, Christian V built a two-story timber frame house in the Deer Park north of Copenhagen. In 1734, that building was demolished, and in the period 1734-1736, royal architect Lauritz de Thurah built the existing hunting seat on the hilltop in the middle of the plain. The palace is an distinguished example of de Thurah’s architectural skills and one of the late Baroque’s best works in Denmark. The ground-plan of ...
Founded: 1734-1736 | Location: Kongens Lyngby, Denmark

Schackenborg Castle

Schackenborg Castle is the private residence of Prince Joachim of Denmark, the 2nd son of the present Danish monarch. One of the Northern Europe’s most beautiful village street from the beginning of the 1700s leads to Møgeltønderhus, better known as Schackenborg Palace. Møgeltønderhus was the castle for the bishops of Ribe. It served as protection against the influx of Frisian culture fro ...
Founded: 1661 | Location: Tønder, Denmark

Fredensborg Palace

Fredensborg Palace was built as a hunting seat for King Frederik IV by the architect J.C. Krieger. Construction began in 1719. The main building was first used in 1722 and the chapel in 1726. It was rebuilt and expanded during the reigns of King Christian VI and of King Frederik V and his Queen, Juliane Marie, by the architects N.Eigtved, L. de Thurah and C.F. Harsdorff. After Queen Juliane Marie’s death in 1796, the p ...
Founded: 1719 | Location: Fredensborg, Denmark

Marselisborg Palace

In 1661, a debt-ridden King Frederik III had to hand over to one of his creditors, the Dutch merchant Gabriel Marselis, one of the crown properties in Jutland-an estate called Havreballegaard. Two of the merchant’s sons moved to Denmark and settled in the Aarhus area. One son, Constantin Marselis, later got Havreballegaard raised to the status of a baronetcy called Marselisborg. He died childless and entrusted the baron ...
Founded: 1899-1902 | Location: Aarhus, Denmark

Hvidøre House

Hvidøre House is a former country house. It is most known for serving as the home of Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia, who was the daughter of King Christian IX after she was exiled by the Russian Revolution in 1917. At the beginning of the 16th century, King John of Denmark built a royal seat at Hvidøre, guarding the only landing place to the north of Copenhagen. King Christian II used it for his ...
Founded: 1871 | Location: Klampenborg, Denmark

Augustenborg Palace

Augustenborg Palace owes its name to Duchess Auguste (1633–1701). Augustenborg gave its name to the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, the last member of which was Duke Christian August II (1798–1869). The original half-timbered manor house was built in 1660-1664 by Ernest Günther, the first Duke of Augustenborg, after he bought the village of Stavensbøl and demolished it for the land. The one-sto ...
Founded: 1733 | Location: Augustenborg, Denmark

Bregentved Manor

The first known reference to Bregentved is from 1319 when King Eric VI of Denmark passed the estate to Roskilde Abbey. From the end of the 14th century the property was owned by a succession of aristocratic families, including that of Krognos in the 16th century, until 1718 when it was acquired by King Frederick IV. In the 18th century Bregentved was in consecutive Birks, so had separate legal jurisdiction from Haslev Sog ...
Founded: 1891 | Location: Haslev, Denmark

Skjoldenaesholm Castle

Skjoldenæsholm Castle was originally located 1.5 km to the south of the current house. Skjoldenæs is first recorded in the 1340s when it was owned by the crown and referred to as a 'castle of considerable size'. King Christopher II mortaged the estate to John III, Count of Holstein-Plön. King Valdemar IV can with certainty be linked to the locale, in either 1346 or 1348, when he besieged the cas ...
Founded: 1766 | Location: Jystrup, Denmark

Charlottenlund Palace

Charlottenlund Palace is a minor palace near Copenhagen. In its original baroque form it was built between 1731 and 1733 on the foundations of a palace named Gyldenlund. The palace was named after Charlotte Amalie, the daughter of Frederick IV of Denmark and the sister of Christian VI of Denmark. In the 1880s, the palace was extended and rebuilt to reflect the French renaissance style that characterizes its architecture t ...
Founded: 1731 | Location: Charlottenlund, Denmark

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.