Frederiksborg Castle

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Not to be confused with Frederiksberg Palace.
Frederiksborg Castle

Frederiksborg Castle (Danish: Frederiksborg Slot) is a palatial complex in Hillerød, Denmark. It was built as a royal residence for King Christian IV in the early 17th century, replacing an older castle acquired by Frederick II and becoming the largest Renaissance palace in Scandinavia. After a serious fire in 1859, the castle was rebuilt on the basis of the old plans in 1864.

Situated on three small islands in the Slotssøen lake, it is adjoined by a large formal garden in the Baroque style. The castle is home to the Danish Museum of National History.



In 1550, Frederick II who was king of Denmark and Norway from 1559 to 1588, concluded an exchange agreement with the naval hero Herluf Trolle and his wife Birgitte Gøye whereby Trolle received the manor of Skovkloster in the south of Zealand while the king acquired the Hillerødsholm Estate near Hillerød with its fortified castle set on the islands of a natural lake. As the old building with twin towers was too small for the king, in 1560 he arranged for a number of additions under Trolle's supervision.[1] After these were completed in 1560, he renamed the building Frederiksborg (literally Frederik's castle). Interested in deer hunting, he used the castle as a royal hunting lodge, centred as it was in the fields and forests he owned in the north of Zealand.[2] Two round towers from 1562 and the building known as Herluf Trolle's Tower still survive.[1]

Renaissance castle[edit]

Frederik's son Christian, who was born in the old castle grew very fond of it as a child. Nevertheless, when he reigned as Christian IV (1588–1648) he decided to have it completely rebuilt in the Dutch Renaissance style. The old building was demolished in 1599 and the Flemish architect Hans van Steenwinckel the Elder was charged with planning the new building. After his death in 1601, his sons Hans and Lorenz, took over the construction assignment. The main four-storey building with its three wings was completed around 1610 but work continued on the chapel until 1618. The entire complex was finished around 1620,[2][3] becoming the largest Renaissance building in Scandinavia.[4] In 1659 during the Second Northern War, the castle was captured by the Swedes who took most of its artworks as war reparations.[3]

After Christian IV's death in 1648, the palace was used mainly for ceremonial events. It was the scene of the coronations and anointments of all the Danish monarchs from 1671 to 1840 except for that of Christian VII.[2]

  • 1671: Christian V and Charlotte Amalie of Hesse-Kassel
  • 1700: Frederick IV and Louise of Mecklenburg-Güstrow
  • 1721: Anna Sophia, consort of Frederick IV
  • 1731: Christian VI and Sophia Magdalena of Brandenburg-Kulmbach
  • 1747: Frederick V and Louise of Great Britain
  • 1752: Juliana Maria of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, consort of Frederick V
  • 1815: Frederick VI and Marie of Hesse-Kassel
  • 1840: Christian VIII and Caroline Amalie of Schleswig-Holstein

In July 1720, the Treaty of Frederiksborg was signed in the castle, ending the Great Northern War between Sweden and Denmark-Norway which had started in 1700.[5]

Fire and reconstruction[edit]

The Castle Fire of 1859, painting by Ferdinand Richardt (1819-1895)

In the 1850s, the palace was again used as a residence by King Frederick VII. While he was staying there on the night of 16 December 1859, a fire broke out from a new fireplace on the third floor.[4] It spread quickly, ruining most of the building although the chapel, the audience house and the privy passage were not seriously damaged. The intricate internal decorations were also destroyed but over 300 paintings were saved and are now displayed in the castle's history museum. Reconstruction was funded by public subscription, with substantial contributions from the king and state, as well as from the prominent philanthropist J. C. Jacobsen of the Carlsberg Brewery. Jacobsen's funding provided for the establishment of the Museum of National History which is now located in the castle.[6] The restoration and reconstruction work began in 1860 on the basis of old plans from the archives as well as detailed paintings and drawings by Heinrich Hansen. When work was completed under the leadership of the historicist architect Ferdinand Meldahl in 1864, the castle once again took on its original appearance.[2][3]


The chapel has also been used as the knight's chapel for the Order of the Elephant and the Order of the Dannebrog since 1693; housed the Danish royal family's art collection, notably works on the life of Jesus by Danish painter Carl Heinrich Bloch; the chapel was also the site of the signing of the Treaty of Frederiksborg.

The Palace Church[edit]

The Palace Church or Chapel of Orders serves as a local church today and is a part of the museum on the premises. The coats-of-arms of recipients of the Order of the Elephant and of the Dannebrog are displayed on the walls of the church.

The Museum of National History[edit]

The museum houses an important collection of portraits and historical paintings. The museum also hosts special exhibitions. Since 2010 it has also hoisted a censored international portrait exhibition.[7]

Countess of Frederiksborg[edit]

Alexandra Christina Manley was created Countess of Frederiksborg (Grevinde af Frederiksborg) by Queen Margrethe II on April 16th, 2005, eight days after her divorce from Prince Joachim. The title refers to her marriage to the prince which took place in the Palace Church.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Frederik II's Castle". Slotte & Kultur-Ejendomme. Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Frederiksborg Castle and Museum of National History". Copenhagen Portal. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "Frederiksborg Slot" (in Danish). Den Store Danske. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "Frederiksborg Castle". Det Nationalhistoriske Museum. Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  5. ^ "Frederiksborgfreden 1720" (in Danish). Den Store Danske. Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  6. ^ "Det nationalhistoriske museum - Frederiksborg slot" (in Danish). Retrieved 4 December 2010. 
  7. ^ "Slottets portrætudstilling har vokseværk". DanskeFilm (in Danish). Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  8. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°56′06″N 12°18′03″E / 55.93500°N 12.30083°E / 55.93500; 12.30083