Frederiksborg Palace

Hillerød, Denmark

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 back to the 1560 structure built by Frederick II. Although he remains its namesake, most of the current palace was instead constructed by Christian IV between 1602 and 1620. He employed the Flemish architects Hans and Lorenz van Steenwinckel and the castle follows the Dutch style employed by Christian IV for his new buildings in Copenhagen. After Christian IV's death in 1648, the palace was used mainly for ceremonial events.

The church has also been used as the knight's chapel for the Order of the Elephant and the Order of the Dannebrog since 1693; housed the Danish royal family's art collection, notably works on the life of Jesus by Danish painter Carl Heinrich Bloch; and was the site of the 1720 Treaty of Frederiksborg.

In the 1850s, the palace was again used as a residence by King Frederick VII. While he was in residence on the evening of December 16, 1859, a fire destroyed a large part of the main palace's interior. Reconstruction was funded by public subscription, with large contributions from the king and state, as well as the prominent philanthropist J. C. Jacobsen of the Carlsberg Brewery. Jacobsen also funded the museum of national history that now occupies Frederiksborg.

The Palace Church or Chapel of Orders serves as a local church today and is a part of the museum on the premises. The coats-of-arms of recipients of the Order of the Elephantand of the Dannebrog are displayed on the walls of the church. The museum houses an important collection of portraits and historical paintings.

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Details

Founded: 1560-1620
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Denmark
Historical period: Early Modern Denmark (Denmark)

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Githa Skea-Thuesen (11 months ago)
My favourite castle and castle gardens in Denmark - brag about this place to foreign visitors and locals alike. Partial renovations in progress, but not obstructive to splendour of primary view.
Chris Smith (11 months ago)
Are you super interested in big drafty castles where people pretty out-of-touch with any sense of reality played dress up and had parties? This is the place for you! There's a lot of really great artwork inside and that's worth the visit for those of us who roll our eyes at the whole royalty thing. As with everywhere else in Denmark, there's no place in here where you can find a frosty beverage to sip on while you take it all in and they probably wouldn't let you stroll through sipping one of the lukewarm sodas that you can get to drink. I guess I sound like a curmudgeon here but I honestly really enjoy seeing things of historical significance but I lean way harder toward significant world history than I do toward lifestyles of the dead rich and famous.
Teresa Cuba (11 months ago)
Amazing castle, close to Copenhagen, by train or car. It is extremely well maintained and the gardens are beautiful. You can spend the whole day there, totally worth the visit!
Kim Skak Larsen (12 months ago)
It's a pretty cool castle. It looks just right with towers, green roofs, a mote, gardens, etc. The national historic museum inside the castle was interesting, though there's a limit to how long portraits of old aristocrats can keep my attention.
Doncho Angelov (14 months ago)
Great place to visit. You can see how Danish Royal family spent their time, while they lived in this castle. Many preserved rooms will tell you about times, when people were shorter and hungrier, but still there were three ones, who had it all. Beautiful halls, impressive garden, astonishing beauty. One of my favorite places to visit, when in Copenhagen. A bit too far from the city, you need at least half a day to enjoy it.
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Wawel Castle

Wawel Hill – a Jurassic limestone rock, a dominant feature in the landscape of Kraków, have provided a safe haven for people who have settled here since the Paleolithic Age. It is supposed that the Slav people started living on Wawel hill as early as the 7th century. Early medieval legends tell stories about a dreadful dragon that lived in a cave on Wawel Hill, about his slayer Krakus, and about the latter’s daughter Wanda, who drowned herself in the Vistula rather than marry a German knight. Towards the end of the first millennium A.D Wawel began to play the role of the centre of political power.In the 9th century it became the principal fortified castrum of the Vislane tribe. The first historical ruler of Poland, Miesco I (c.965-992) of the Piast dynasty as well as his successors: Boleslas the Brave (992-1025) and Miesco II (1025-1034) chose Wawel Hill as one of their residences.

At that time Wawel became one of the main Polish centres of Christianity. The first early Romanesque and Romanesque sacral buildings were raised here, including a stone cathedral that was erected after the bishopric of Kraków was established in the year 1000.

During the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034-1058) Wawel became a significant political and administrative centre for the Polish State. Casimir’s son, Boleslas the Bold (1058-1079) began the construction of a second Romanesque cathedral, which was finished by Boleslas the Wrymouth (1102-1138). In his last will of 1138, this prince divided Poland into districts, and provided that Kraków was to be the residence of the senior prince. In 1291 the city of Kraków along with Wawel Hill temporarily fell under the Czech rule, and Wenceslas II from the Premysl dynasty was crowned King of Poland in Wawel cathedral.

In 1306 the Duke of Kuyavia Ladislas the Short (1306-1333) entered Wawel and was crowned King of Poland in the Cathedral in 1320. It was the first historically recorded coronation of a Polish ruler on Wawel Hill. Around that time, at the initiative of Ladislas the Short, the construction of the third Gothic cathedral began, the castle was expanded and the old wooden and earthen fortifications were replaced by brick ones. The tomb of Ladislas the Short in the cathedral started a royal necropolis of Polish kings in Krakow.The last descendant of the Piast dynasty, Casimir the Great (1333-1370) brought Wawel to a state of unprecedented splendour. In 1364 the expanded gothic castle witnessed the marriage of Casimir’s granddaughter Elizabeth to Charles IV accompanied by a famous convention of kings and princes, subsequently entertained by a rich burgher Wierzynek. The accession to the throne in 1385 of Jadwiga from the Hungarian dynasty of Andegavens, and her marriage to a Lithuanian prince Ladislas Jagiello (1386-1434) started another era of prosperity for Wawel. The royal court employed local and western European artists and also Rus painters. During the reign of Casimir Jagiellon (1447-1492) the silhouette of the hill was enriched by three high brick towers: the Thieves’ Tower, the Sandomierz Tower and the Senatorial Tower. The first humanists in Poland and tutors to the king’s sons: historian Jan Długosz and an Italian by the name Filippo Buonacorsi (also known as Callimachus) worked there at that time.

The Italian Renaissance arrived at Wawel in the early 16th century. King Alexander (1501-1506) and his brother Sigismund I the Old (1506-1548) commissioned the construction of a new palace in place of the Gothic residence, with an impressive large courtyard with arcaded galleries which was completed about 1540. Sigismund’s patronage also left an indelible impression in the cathedral, where a family chapel was erected, known today as Sigismund’s Chapel - the work of Bartolomeo of Berrecci Florence, and through various foundations, one of which was that of a large bell, called the Sigismund to commemorate the king. Close artistic and cultural relations with Italy were strengthened in 1518 by the king’s marriage to Bona Sforza. Alongside Italian artists, German architects, wood workers, painters and metal smiths worked for the king. The last descendant of the Jagiellonian dynasty, Sigismund II Augustus (1548-1572), enriched the castle’s interiors with a magnificent collection of tapestries woven in Brussels. In the “Golden Age” of Polish culture Wawel became one of the main centres of humanism in Europe.

The reign of Sigismund III Waza (1587-1632) also made a strong impression on the history of Wawel. After a fire in the castle in 1595 the king rebuilt the burned wing of the building in the early Baroque style. The relocation of the royal court to Warsaw was the cause of a slow but nevertheless steady deterioration in the castle’s condition. The monarchs visited Kraków only occasionally. Restoration of the castle was undertaken during the reign of John III Sobieski, the Wettins and Stanislas Augustus to counteract neglect.

After Poland had lost its independence in 1795, the troops of partitioning nations, Russia, Prussia and Austria, subsequently occupied Wawel which finally passed into the hands of the Austrians. The new owners converted the castle and some of the secular buildings into a military hospital, and demolished some others, including churches. After the period of the Free City of Kraków (1815-1846) Wawel was once more annexed by Austria and turned into a citadel dominating the city. By the resolution passed by the Seym of Galicia in 1880, the castle was presented as a residence to the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef I. The Austrian troops left the hill between 1905-1911. At the turn of the 20th century a thorough restoration of the cathedral was conducted, and shortly afterwards a process of restoration of the royal castle began which lasted several decades.

When Poland regained its independence in 1918, the castle served as an official residence of the Head of State, and as a museum of historic interiors. During the Nazi occupation the castle was the residence of the German governor general, Hans Frank. Polish people managed to remove the most valuable objects, including the tapestries and the “Szczerbiec” coronation sword to Canada, from where they returned as late as 1959-1961. At present, the main curators of Wawel are Wawel Royal Castle – State Art Collection and the Metropolitan Basilica Board on Wawel Hill.