Voergaard Castle is open to the public and houses a significant art collection. Voergaard's recorded history goes back to 1481. At the outbreak of the Count's Feud it was owned by Stygge Krumpen, Bishop of Børglum, taken by Skipper Clement's army of peasants and then, after the Reformation, confiscated by the Crown in 1536. In 1578, King Frederick II ceded the property to Karen Krabbe in exchange for Nygaard, an estate located between Vejle and Kolding. Krabbe's daughter, Ingeborg Skeel, took over the property from her mother and carried out an expansion which was completed in 1588.
Over the following two centuries, Voergaard changed hands many times. Much of the land was sold. In 1872 it was purchased by Peder Brønnum Scavenius, a politician and land owner, who re-acquired much of the land which had previously been sold. At the time of his death in 1914, the estate covered 1,944.4 ha of land, making it one of the largest in Denmark at the time. The next owner was his son, Erik Scavenius, Danish Prime Minister during World War II, who owned Voergaard from 1914 to 1945.
In 1955 Voergaard was acquired by Ejnar Oberbech-Clausen, a Dane who had lived in France since 1906 where he had become a count through his marriage with Marie Henriette Chenu-Lafitte, the widow of his former employer, and an Imperial Count in the Holy Roman Empire. Chenu-Lafitte was the daughter of Jules-Émile Péan, one of the great French surgeons of the 19th century, and owned an extensive art collection which originated both from her father and deceased husband. The art collection contains works attributed to Francisco Goya, Peter Paul Rubens, Raphael, El Greco, Watteau and Frans Hals.
The couple owned several châteaus in the area around Bordeaux but after his wife's death, in an air raid in 1941, Oberbech-Clausen moved to Paris and later decided to return to his native Denmark. He acquired Voergaard and, with approval from the French state, brought 12 train cars of art with him back to Denmark. He undertook a comprehensive and costly restoration of the castle which went on for several years. After his death in 1963, the castle and collections were passed to a foundation and opened to the public.
Voergaard is a two-winged, L-shaped castle built in red brick in the Renaissance style. The east wing is flanked by two octagonal corner towers and penetrated by a gateway. Its sandstone portal was a gift from King Frederick II and originally created for Frederiksborg Castle.References:
Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens and described as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, with a modicum of Renaissance detail. During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was sacked by the Swedish army (1643).
It was not until 1664 that a bishop from the powerful Liechtenstein family charged architect Filiberto Lucchese with renovating the palace in a Baroque style. The chief monument of Lucchese's work in Kroměříž is the Pleasure Garden in front of the castle. Upon Lucchese's death in 1666, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla completed his work on the formal garden and had the palace rebuilt in a style reminiscent of the Turinese school to which he belonged.
After the castle was gutted by a major fire in March 1752, Bishop Hamilton commissioned two leading imperial artists, Franz Anton Maulbertsch and Josef Stern, arrived at the residence in order to decorate the halls of the palace with their works. In addition to their paintings, the palace still houses an art collection, generally considered the second finest in the country, which includes Titian's last mythological painting, The Flaying of Marsyas. The largest part of the collection was acquired by Bishop Karel in Cologne in 1673. The palace also contains an outstanding musical archive and a library of 33,000 volumes.
UNESCO lists the palace and garden among the World Heritage Sites. As the nomination dossier explains, 'the castle is a good but not outstanding example of a type of aristocratic or princely residence that has survived widely in Europe. The Pleasure Garden, by contrast, is a very rare and largely intact example of a Baroque garden'. Apart from the formal parterres there is also a less formal nineteenth-century English garden, which sustained damage during floods in 1997.
Interiors of the palace were extensively used by Miloš Forman as a stand-in for Vienna's Hofburg Imperial Palace during filming of Amadeus (1984), based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who actually never visited Kroměříž. The main audience chamber was also used in the film Immortal Beloved (1994), in the piano concerto scene.