Gottorf Castle is the ancestral home of the Holstein-Gottorp branch of the House of Oldenburg. It was first settled as an estate in 1161 as the residence of Bishop Occo of Schleswig when his former residence was destroyed. The Danish Duke of Schleswig acquired it through a purchase in 1268, and in 1340 it was transferred to the Count of Holstein at Rendsburg of the House of Schauenburg. The manor later, through maternal inheritance, became the possession of Christian I of Denmark, the first Danish monarch from the House of Oldenburg, in 1459.

Both the island and the structure were extended through the years, and particularly during the 16th century. Frederick I, younger son of Christian I, made it his primary residence. In 1544 the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein were divided in three parts; Frederick's third son Adolf received one of these parts and made his residence at Gottorp. This state became known as the Duchy of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp.

The estate became a European cultural centre in the reign of Frederick III, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp, (1597–1659). The castle was built by the famous Swedish architect Nicodemus Tessin the Younger (1697-1703).

After the ducal lineage of Gottorp were forced to move out in 1702, the palace, now occupied by the Danish, fell into disuse and disrepair in 1713 under the reign of Frederick IV of Denmark. Pieces of furniture, art and other interior were gradually moved out of the palace, and the structures were used both as Danish and Prussian barracks in the 19th century.

During World War II, the estate was used as a displaced persons camp.

Since 1947, the palace has been renovated and restored through a series of efforts. The restoration was considered complete in 1996. The palace is now owned by a foundation of the State of Schleswig-Holstein and houses the State Art and Cultural History Museum and the State Archeological Museum.



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Founded: 16th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Germany
Historical period: Habsburg Dynasty (Germany)


4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Inna Soltysik (4 months ago)
The museum has something to look at. In total, we spent about 3 hours. I especially liked the recreated interiors of the rooms. I would like more such exhibits. There are also many interesting sculptures on the territory. Not far from the castle you can walk to the beautiful garden.
Sebastiaan Pongers (4 months ago)
A museum with some unique archeological pieces. When pre historic Northern Germany is a interest of you, it will be a good visit. Otherwise, the way the information is displayed is a bit outdated and not very engaging.
Margaret Mweru (7 months ago)
This was my first Castle to enter inside.I was with my Family there, we learn much about History. The Team was Nett and Friendly. Thanks Alot!
Saiful Srabon (7 months ago)
Close to the Nature. You can easily have some quiet moments and walk through the empty streets.
Honest Reviews (8 months ago)
A hidden gem of a museum, just outside of Schleswig at the Schlei (Sly Firth). Stone Age tools, Bog bodies, Iron Age relics, an old rowboat that is close to 1800 years old, and so much more await in this very well curated museum. A great overview over human activity reaching back thousands of years, in what is now northern Germany and southern Denmark. Many signs are in German and Danish only, but English reference text and possibly audio are available.
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