Outside Hillerød in Zealand lies the royal castle of Frederiksborg with its rust-red brick facade and green copper roof. The impressive Renaissance castle is a memory of a time when Denmark was one of Europe's great power factors. A time when power should be seen. Christian IV spared no expense when he built Frederiksborg Castle over almost 20 years and created one of Europe's architectural wonders of the time. Shaped like a square horseshoe and surrounded by a lake, the king created a real fairytale castle that is well worth an admiring eye even today.
The history of the castle
Actually, Frederiksborg probably shouldn't have been built on this site, but King Christian IV had decided. Without sentimentality, the king tore down the Hillerødsholm castle in which he himself grew up, to use the land for his new castle. In 1620, the new castle was completed and Frederiksborg Castle became the royal family's home until the end of the 18th century, when the castle began to feel out of date.
In the middle of the 19th century, Frederik VII put on the renovation trousers and began to modernize the castle. Fireplaces and tiled stoves were installed to be able to heat the great castle during cold winter nights. But the novelties would prove to be a poor choice for the castle.
In 1859, a spark flew out of one of the new fireplaces in the castle and a great fire tore the castle to pieces. The interior of the castle was basically completely destroyed and also large parts of the roof and facade fell apart. The only building that made it through the fire completely unscathed was the castle church.
Immediately after the fire, they began to rebuild the castle, but the royal family had gotten cold feet and no longer wanted to live at Frederiksborg. The renovation therefore only included the exterior of the castle.
When the castle was completely renovated in 1875, it looked almost the same as the original castle, but inside the castle there was only a shell. Carlsberg's beer magnate JC Jacobsen therefore decided to pay for the renovation of the castle's interior with his own private money, with the proposal that the castle would then become a national history museum.
1878 stood The National History Museum clear and today the museum contains Denmark's foremost and largest collections of art and furniture. The museum is still run in part through the Carlsberg Foundation today.
What is there to see today at Frederiksborg?
The castle park is free to visit, but to visit the interior of the castle you need to buy a ticket to the National History Museum. The exhibitions are located in the renovated castle halls and are the only way to experience the castle from the inside. If you want to get a feel for what it looks like inside the castle before you decide to go there, you can join a guided tour of it Virtual castle.
The museum is open every day of the week all year round, but with shorter opening hours during the low season. It is recommended that you pre-book tickets at Fredriksborg Castle's website.
In addition to the National History Museum, the castle has a castle park and a large romantic baroque garden with statues and floral splendor. However, we visited the castle in the spring, so the garden was relatively spare during this period. Dogs are welcome in the park if they are on a leash.
There is a restaurant on the premises – Leonora - which serves shortbread, hamburgers and slightly simpler children's menus.
How do I get to Fredriksborg?
Fredriksborg is located in northern Zealand in Denmark, 30 minutes by car from Elsinore and 35 minutes from Copenhagen. It is also possible to take the train from Copenhagen to Hillerød and walk the last bit to the castle.
Have you been here? What did you think of the destination?
Travel blogger, gastronaut, photographer and family adventurer with over 55 countries in his luggage. Eva loves trips that include beautiful nature, hiking boots and well-cooked food. On the travel blog Rucksack she takes you to all corners of the world with the help of her inspiring pictures and texts.