Bernstorff Palace

Gentofte, Denmark

Bernstorff Palace was built in the middle of the 18th century forForeign Minister Johann Hartwig Ernst, Count von Bernstorff. It remained in the possession of the Bernstorff family until 1812. In 1842 it was bought by Christian VIII. For many years it was used as a summer residence by Christian IX until his death in 1906.

The palace was designed by the French architect Nicolas-Henri Jardin who had been brought to Denmark to complete Frederick's Church in Copenhagen after the death of Nicolai Eigtved in 1754. It is one of the earliest examples of Neoclassical architecture in Denmark. The elaborately decorated two-storeyed building was completed in May 1765 at considerable cost. At the time it had four small decorative garrets, attics with decorative vases and a wide balcony on the roof ridge itself. On the garden side, there is a dome-covered projection rising the full height of the building.

The palace's many rooms were modest in size and intended primarily for domestic use rather than for display. Most are panelled with parquet floors, large mirrors and decorated ceilings. The four rooms on the south side have overdoors decorated by Johan Edvard Mandelberg.

Bernstorff left Denmark in 1770, after being dismissed by the regent, Johann Friedrich Struensee. The estate remained in his family’s hands until 1812 but was then sold on several occasions. It was about to be demolished in 1842 when Christian VIII bought it and charged Jørgen Hansen Koch with its comprehensive renovation. A mezzanine was added and the layout of the first-floor rooms was changed.

The palace's extensive gardens were laid out are in the Romantic landscape style which had just been introduced to Denmark in the 1760s. In addition to the lawns and woods, they include a rose garden, an orchard and a tea house. It is believed that Jardin who designed the palace was also responsible for their design, especially as his plans refer to the emergence of landscape gardens as a new trend in Denmark.

Today Bernstorff Palace is a hotel and conference centre.

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