Holckenhavn Renaissance castle was built in the late 16th and early 17th century by three consecutive owners. Previously known both as Ulfeldtsholm and Ellensborg, it received its current name in 1672 when it was acquired by Eiler Holck, who at the same time founded the Barony of Holckenhavn. The estate has been in the possession of his family ever since.
Originally known as Kogsbølle, the estate traces its history back to the late 14th century when it was owned by Anders Jacobsen Ulfeldt. The house remained in the possession of the Ulfeldt family for more than 200 years. The original house was located further inland but shortly after 1580 it was moved to its current position next to a small arm of the Great Belt and its name was changed to Ulfeldtsholm.
In 1616, Chancellor of the Realm Jakob Ulfeldt sold the family estate to Ellen Marsvin after Ulfeldt acquired Egeskov Castle. Marsvin had been widowed for the second time a few years earlier at the age of 39, turned to farming and became one of the largest land owners of her time. She expanded the castle with two more wings and carried out extravagant interior alterations.
Ellen Marsvin was the mother of Kirsten Munk who was married to King Christian IV until she fell into disfavour due to her infidelity and left the king. When Kirsten Munk died in 1658 the castle was passed on to their daughter Leonora Christina, whose husband, former Steward of the Realm Corfitz Ulfeldt had joined forces with Sweden in its invasion of Denmark. For this act of treason the couple was imprisoned at Hammershus fortress on the island ofBornholm. After their release in 1661, they took up residence at Ellensborg until they left the country in 1662 and the estate was confiscated. After its confiscation, Ellensborg was left empty for almost a decade but in 1672 it was granted to Eiler Holck, the commandant at Kronborg. He renamed it Holckenhavn and founded the Barony of Holckenhavn (dissolved in 1921).
Situated on an almost quadratic castle bank, Holckenhavn is a four-winged complex designed in theRenaissance style and built over the course of three generations. The north and east wings, as well as the gate wing, were completed by 1585. The large bell tower was added somewhat later. The master builder was probably Domenicus Badiaz. Ellen Marsvin added the west wing in 1631 and a low south-facing gate wing in 1634. She is also responsible for a chapel installed in 1637 richly decorated with wood carvings by Hans Dreier, and a richly decorated knights' hall.
The main building was altered in the 18th and 19th century and thoroughly refurbished from 1904 to 1910. The site also includes a barn from 1629 which is the only surviving component of a farm which burned down in 1912.References:
Augustusburg Palace represents one of the first examples of Rococo creations in Germany. For the Cologne elector and archbishop Clemens August of the House of Wittelsbach it was the favourite residence. In 1725 the Westphalian architect Johann Conrad Schlaun was commissioned by Clemens August to begin the construction of the palace on the ruins of a medieval moated castle.
In 1728, the Bavarian court architect François de Cuvilliés took over and made the palace into one of the most glorious residences of its time. Until its completion in 1768, numerous outstanding artists of European renown contributed to its beauty. A prime example of the calibre of artists employed here is Balthasar Neumann, who created the design for the magnificent staircase, an enchanting creation full of dynamism and elegance. The magical interplay of architecture, sculpture, painting and garden design made the Brühl Palaces a masterpiece of German Rococo.
UNESCO honoured history and present of the Rococo Palaces by inscribing Augustusburg Palace – together with Falkenlust Palace and their extensive gardens – on the World Heritage List in 1984. From 1949 onwards, Augustusburg Palace was used for representative purposes by the German Federal President and the Federal Government for many decades.
In 1728, Dominique Girard designed the palace gardens according to French models. Owing to constant renovation and care, it is today one of the most authentic examples of 18th century garden design in Europe. Next to the Baroque gardens, Peter Joseph Lenné redesigned the forested areas based on English landscaping models. Today it is a wonderful place to have a walk.