Frederiksborg Slot

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.

Frederiksborg Slot, viewed from the central square in Hillerød

Frederiksborg Slot, viewed from a prominent hill across the lake

The palace viewed from the Baroque gardens

The Baroque Gardens. The hedges forms a giant symbol of the Danish royal family if viewed from the air.

Fountains in the Baroque Gardens

The gardens are constructed in a step-wise fashion with spectacular view of the palace from the top. An upper pond serves as water source for the numerous cascades with the forest in the background.

A close-up of one of the cascades

A traditional Danish house with thatched roof (former home of the gardener?) has been converted into a quaint restaurant within the gardens.

A tiny boatwhich operates on the lake. The ferry is a former life boat which is co-owned by local residents and run by “pensioners” (retirees)

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.

The palace chapel

Intricate carvings on the primary organ in the chapel

Organ concert being played on the smallest (and also oldest) organ within the chapel

Playing the organ is a two person job with one person behind the organ to operate the bellows

The Great Hall, one of the most beautiful rooms I have ever visited. The murals on the ceiling depict the Christian Virtues

One of the many tapestries which completely surround the Great Hall

Ceiling frescos characteristic of many of the rooms throughout the palace

Another ornate room leading to the Great Hall

A famous clock located within the palace which tracks time according to multiple calendar systems


About Canadianindenmark

A Canadian expat working in the biotechnology industry in Copenhagen, Denmark
This entry was posted in City Surroundings, Palaces and Castles. Bookmark the permalink.

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