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 Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.