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:
The Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz, located in Saxony-Anhalt in the Middle Elbe Region, is an exceptional example of landscape design and planning from the Age of the Enlightenment in the 18th century. Its diverse components – the outstanding buildings, English-style landscaped parks and gardens, and subtly modified expanses of agricultural land – served aesthetic, educational, and economic purposes in an exemplary manner.
The grounds, which had been divided into four parts since the constructions of a railway line and the Bundesautobahn 9 in the 1930s, were designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000.
For Prince Leopold III Friedrich Franz of Anhalt-Dessau (1740-1817) and his friend and adviser Friedrich Wilhelm von Erdmannsdorff (1736-1800), the study of landscape gardens in England and ancient buildings in Italy during several tours was the impetus for their own creative programme in the little principality by the rivers Elbe and Mulde. As a result, the first landscape garden in continental Europe was created here, with Wörlitz as its focus. Over a period of forty years a network of visual and stylistic relationships was developed with other landscape gardens in the region, leading to the creation of a garden landscape on a unique scale in Europe. In the making of this landscape, the designers strove to go beyond the mere copying of garden scenery and buildings from other sites, but instead to generate a synthesis of a wide range of artistic relationships. Among new and characteristic components of this garden landscape was the integration of a didactic element, arising from the philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), the thinking of Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-1768), and the aesthetics of Johann Georg Sulzer (1720-1779). The notion of public access to the buildings and grounds was a reflection of the pedagogic concept of the humanisation of society.
Proceeding from the idea of the ferme ornée, agriculture as the basis for everyday life found its place in the garden landscape. In a Rousseauian sense, agriculture also had to perform a pedagogic function in Anhalt-Dessau. Through the deliberate demonstration of new farming methods in the landscape garden, developments in Anhalt-Dessau were not merely theoretical, but a practical demonstration of their models in England. It is noteworthy that these objectives - the integration of aesthetics and education into the landscape – were implemented with outstanding artistic quality. Thus, for instance, the buildings of Friedrich Wilhelm von Erdmannsdorff provided important models for the architectural development of Germany and central Europe. Schloss Wörlitz (1769-73) was the first Neoclassical building in German architectural history. The Gothic House (from 1774) was a decisive influence on the development of Gothic Revival architecture in central Europe. Here, for the first time, the Gothic style was used to carry a political message, namely the desire for the retention of sovereignty among the smaller Imperial territories. The churches in Riesigk (1800), Wörlitz (1804-09), and Vockerode (1810-11) were the first Neoclassical, ecclesiastical buildings in Germany, their towers enlivening the marshland, floodplain landscape in which they served as waymarkers. In parts of the Baroque park of Oranienbaum, an Anglo-Chinese garden was laid out, now the sole surviving example in Europe of such a garden in its original form from the period before 1800. The development of stylistic eclecticism in the 19th century had its roots in the closing years of the 18th century.
Another feature of the landscape is the integration of new technological achievements, such as the building of bridges, an expression of a continuing quest for modernity. Through the conscious incorporation of the older layouts at Oranienbaum and Mosigkau into a pantheon of styles, the landscape became an architectural encyclopaedia featuring examples from ancient times to the latest developments. Nowhere else in Germany or Europe had a prince brought such an all-embracing and extensive programme of landscape reform into being, particularly one so deeply rooted in philosophical and educational theory. With the unique density of its landscape of monuments, the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz is an expression of the enlightened outlook of the court at Dessau, in which the landscape became the idealised world of its day.
Through the conscious and structured incorporation of economic, technological, and functional buildings and parks into the artistically designed landscape, the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz became an important concourse of ideas, in that it facilitated the convergence of 18th century grandeur of design with the beginnings of 19th century industrial society. The reforming outlook of this period brought about a huge diversity of change in the garden layout, and this legacy can still be experienced today.