Royal palaces in Denmark

Rosenborg Castle

Rosenborg Palace was built in the period 1606-34 as Christian IV’s summerhouse just outside the ramparts of Copenhagen. Christian IV was very fond of the palace and often stayed at the castle when he resided in Copenhagen, and it was here that he died in 1648. After his death, the palace passed to his son King Frederik III, who together with his queen, Sophie Amalie, carried out several types of modernisation. The ...
Founded: 1606-1624 | 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 buil ...
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

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

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

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 175 ...
Founded: 1759 | Location: Gråsten, 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

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- ...
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

Sorgenfri Palace

Sorgenfri Palace was built by the architect Francois Dieussart in 1705-06 for Carl Count Ahlefeldt. From 1730, this country house was owned by the royal family, and Crown Prince Frederik (V) had court architect Lauritz de Thurah build a wing for the gentlemen of the Court and a horse stable. When Frederik V became king, the palace was given to his aunt, grand duchess Sophie Caroline of East Friesland, who let de Thurah de ...
Founded: 1756-1757 | Location: Kongens Lyngby, Denmark

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Königstein Fortress

Königstein Fortress is located on the left bank of the River Elbe. It is one of the largest hilltop fortifications in Europe. The 9.5 hectare rock plateau rises 240 metres above the Elbe and has over 50 buildings, some over 400 years old, that bear witness to the military and civilian life in the fortress. The rampart run of the fortress is 1,800 metres long with walls up to 42 metres high and steep sandstone faces. In the centre of the site is a 152.5 metre deep well, which is the deepest in Saxony and second deepest well in Europe.

The fortress, which for centuries was used as a state prison, is still intact and is now one of Saxony's foremost tourist attractions, with 700,000 visitors per year.

By far the oldest written record of a castle on the Königstein is found in a deed by King Wenceslas I of Bohemia dating to the year 1233. It is probable that there had been a stone castle on the Königstein as early as the 12th century. The oldest surviving structure today is the castle chapel built at the turn of the 13th century. In the years 1563 to 1569 the 152.5 metre deep well was bored into the rock within the castle - until that point the garrison of the Königstein had to obtain water from cisterns and by collecting rainwater.

Between 1589 and 1591/97 Prince-Elector Christian I of Saxony and his successor had the castle developed into the strongest fortification in Saxony. The hill was now surrounded with high walls. Buildings were erected, including the Gatehouse (Torhaus), the Streichwehr, the Old Barracks (Alte Kaserne), the Christiansburg (Friedrichsburg) and the Old Armoury (Altes Zeughaus). The second construction period followed from 1619 to 1681, during which the John George Bastion was built. The third construction period is seen as the time from 1694 to 1756, which included the expansion of the Old Barracks. From 1722 to 1725, at the behest of August the Strong, coopers under Böttger built the enormous Königstein Wine Barrel, the greatest wine barrel in the world, in the cellar of the Magdalenenburg which had a capacity of 249,838 litres. It cost 8,230 thalers, 18 groschen and 9 pfennigs. The butt, which was once completely filled with country wine from the Meißen vineyards, had to be removed again in 1818 due to its poor condition. Because of Böttger, Königstein Fortress is also the site where European porcelain started.

Even after the expansion during those periods of time there continued to be modifications and additions on the extensive plateau. The Treasury (Schatzhaus) was built from 1854 to 1855. After the fortress had been incorporated in 1871 into the fortification system of the new German Empire, battery ramparts were constructed from 1870 to 1895 with eight firing points, that were to have provided all-round defence for the fortress in case of an attack that, in the event, never came. This was at this time that the last major building work was done on the fortress.

Because Königstein Fortress was regarded as unconquerable, the Saxon monarchs retreated to it from Wittenberg and later Dresden during times of crisis and also deposited the state treasure and many works of art from the famous Zwinger here; it was also used as a country retreat due to its lovely surroundings.

The fortress played an important role in the History of Saxony, albeit less as a result of military action. The Saxon Dukes and Prince-Electors used the fortress primarily as a secure refuge during times of war, as a hunting lodge and maison de plaisance, but also as a dreaded state prison. Its actual military significance was rather marginal.

Since 1955 the fortress has been an open-air, military history museum of high touristic value.