The Vordingborg castle was built in 1175 by King King Valdemar I as a defensive castle and as a base from which to launch raids against the German coast. His half-brother built another castle in a remote location, which is now Copenhagen. King Valdemar II similarly used the castle for expansion into the Baltic, and in 1241 it was where he created the reformed legal system, the Law of Jutland. By the time of King Valdemar IV, the castle had nine towers and a defensive wall 800 metres long. The castle was the birthplace of Queen Margaret I, daughter of King Valdemar IV, in 1353.
Large parts of the castle were demolished after the Swedish wars had ended, in order to construct a palace for Prince George, son ofKing Frederick III. The prince never took up residence, and the palace too was demolished in the 18th century. Three manors were constructed nearby, including Iselingen, which became a meeting place for many leading artists and scientists during the 1800s.
Today Vordingborg Castle is a ruin, although parts of the fourteenth century ring walls remain. The only fully preserved part of the castle, the 26 meter tall Goose Tower (Gåsetårnet), is the symbol of the city. The name comes from the golden goose that perches on top of the tower's spire. Although legend has it that Valdemar Atterdag used the symbol to taunt the Hanseatic League, the truth is the goose was first erected in 1871. The tower was transferred into the national trust on December 24, 1808, and was thus the first, protected historic monument in Denmark.
Next to the castle is a botanical garden and also a museum. A larger museum is planned which will include information on all of Denmark's historical castles. Excavations of the castle ruins continue. Regular archaeological digs take place here. Many of the finds are displayed in the exhibition at the Danish Castle Centre (Danmarks Borgcenter).References:
Varberg Fortress was built in 1287-1300 by count Jacob Nielsen as protection against his Danish king, who had declared him an outlaw after the murder of King Eric V of Denmark. Jacob had close connections with king Eric II of Norway and as a result got substantial Norwegian assistance with the construction. The fortress, as well as half the county, became Norwegian in 1305.
King Eric's grand daughter, Ingeborg Håkansdotter, inherited the area from her father, King Haakon V of Norway. She and her husband, Eric, Duke of Södermanland, established a semi-independent state out of their Norwegian, Swedish and Danish counties until the death of Erik. They spent considerable time at the fortress. Their son, King Magnus IV of Sweden (Magnus VII of Norway), spent much time at the fortress as well.
The fortress was augmented during the late 16th and early 17th century on order by King Christian IV of Denmark. However, after the Treaty of Brömsebro in 1645 the fortress became Swedish. It was used as a military installation until 1830 and as a prison from the end of the 17th Century until 1931.
It is currently used as a museum and bed and breakfast as well as private accommodation. The moat of the fortress is said to be inhabited by a small lake monster. In August 2006, a couple of witnesses claimed to have seen the monster emerge from the dark water and devour a duck. The creature is described as brown, hairless and with a 40 cm long tail.