Dragsholm Castle is one of the oldest secular buildings in Denmark. The original castle was built around 1215 by the Bishop of Roskilde. During the Middle Ages, the building was modified from the original palace to a fortified castle. During the Count's Feud (1534–36) it was so strong that it was the only castle on Zealand to withstand the armies of Count Christoffer.
In connection with the Reformation, Dragsholm was passed on to the Crown. As Crownland during the period from 1536 to 1664, Dragsholm Castle was used as a prison for noble and ecclesiastical prisoners. In the large tower at the northeast corner of the medieval castle, prison cells were made and equipped with toilets and windows depending on the prisoner’s crimes, behaviour and the seriousness of his insults towards the King.
During the wars against Charles X Gustav of Sweden, an attempt was made to blow up Dragsholm Castle, and the place was a ruin until the King as part payment of his outstanding debts gave the castle to the grocer Heinrich Müller, and he started the restoration.
In 1694, Dragsholm Castle was sold to the nobleman Frederik Christian Adeler and finally rebuilt as the baroque castle we see today. Several owners from that family have made a lasting imprint on the development, including G. F. O. Zytphen Adeler, who took the initiative to drain the Lammefjord. The family line became extinct in 1932, and Dragsholm Castle passed over to the Central Land Board which sold the place to J.F. Bøttger, but only with the land belonging to the main estate.
Today, the baroque style of the castle still remains intact, but the interior of the Castle has been subject to restorations and modernisations over the years. The most recent major restoration took place after the first world war, where the Baron aimed for a Late Romantic Style, which still prevails in the salons and ballrooms.
In recent years, the Bøttger family has managed the running of the castle after a number of minor restorations, which in addition to general conservation of the building has had the purpose of raising the level of quality of the castle as a hotel, restaurant and attraction. The hotel rooms at the castle have been refurbished and modernised, and more rooms have been added in the porter’s lodge on the other side of the moat.References:
The Château de Chaumont was founded in the 10th century by Odo I, Count of Blois. The purpose was to protect his lands from attacks from his feudal rivals, Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou. On his behalf the Norman Gelduin received it, improved it and held it as his own. His great-niece Denise de Fougère, having married Sulpice d'Amboise, passed the château into the Amboise family for five centuries.
Pierre d'Amboise unsuccessfully rebelled against King Louis XI and his property was confiscated, and the castle was dismantled on royal order in 1465. It was later rebuilt by Charles I d'Amboise from 1465–1475 and then finished by his son, Charles II d'Amboise de Chaumont from 1498–1510, with help from his uncle, Cardinal Georges d'Amboise; some Renaissance features were to be seen in buildings that retained their overall medieval appearance. The château was acquired by Catherine de Medici in 1550. There she entertained numerous astrologers, among them Nostradamus. When her husband, Henry II, died in 1559 she forced his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, to exchange Château de Chaumont for Château de Chenonceau which Henry had given to de Poitiers. Diane de Poitiers only lived at Chaumont for a short while.
Later Chaumont has changed hands several times. Paul de Beauvilliers bought the château in 1699, modernized some of its interiors and decorated it with sufficient grandeur to house the duc d'Anjou on his way to become king of Spain in 1700. Monsieur Bertin demolished the north wing to open the house towards the river view in the modern fashion.
In 1750, Jacques-Donatien Le Ray purchased the castle as a country home where he established a glassmaking and pottery factory. He was considered the French "Father of the American Revolution" because he loved America. However, in 1789, the new French Revolutionary Government seized Le Ray's assets, including his beloved Château de Chaumont.
The castle has been classified as a Monument historique since 1840 by the French Ministry of Culture. The Château de Chaumont is currently a museum and every year hosts a Garden Festival from April to October where contemporary garden designers display their work in an English-style garden.