While Kronborg Slot may be Denmark’s most famous castle, Frederiksborg Slot is its most beautiful. In contrast to Kronborg, Frederiksborg never served any military purposes but rather served as a royal palace to some of Denmark’s most famous monarchs.
The history of Frederiksborg dates back to the 1560s when king Frederick II constructed a palace on land provided by a wealthy land owner. He was followed by the effervescent Christian IV who turned Frederiksborg into a Dutch-style masterpiece frequently referred to as the Danish Versailles, a reference to the famous French palace.
Despite being Denmark’s most famous (and revered) monarch, Christian IV left a decidedly mixed legacy. While constructing many of Denmark’s greatest architectural masterpieces, he provoked numerous ill-advised wars which bankrupted the country and relegated it from Baltic superpower to sleepy country on the outskirts of northern Europe.
Located in the charming town of Hillerød 45 kilometers north-west of Copenhagen, Frederiksborg is situated on several islands overlooking a small lake. To the the north lie spectacular Baroque and romantic gardens as well as forests once used by the monarchy for pursuing hunting, their primary leisure activity. Spectacular views of the palace can be had from the garden, by taking a boat tour around the lake or by climbing a hill on the opposite side of the lake.
Following the death of Christian IV in 1648, the palace was primarily used for ceremonial purposes with the exception of the 1850s when it once again served as royal residence for Frederick VII. Today, the palace is home to the Danish Museum of Natural History and is well worth a visit. Memorable experiences include the palace chapel with its ornate carvings and organs and the Great Hall, with its painted ceiling and tapestries.