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:
German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.
In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).
In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.
Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.