We don't like giving labels to places that are designed to mislead. Don't fall for that hype about Frederiksborg Castle being "the Danish Versailles." Versailles, it isn't. It is the most beautiful royal residence in Denmark. Surrounded by a moat, the slot (castle) was constructed on three islands in a lake. Like Kronborg, it was built in Dutch Renaissance style (red brick, copper roof, sandstone facade). The oldest parts date from 1560 and the reign of Frederik II. His more extravagant son, Christian IV, erected the main part of the castle from 1600 to 1620. Danish monarchs used it for some 2 centuries. From 1671 to 1840, Danish kings were crowned in Christian IV's chapel, which is still used as a parish church. Since 1693, it has been a chapel for the knights of the Order of the Elephant and of the Grand Cross of Danneborg. Standing in the gallery is an old organ built by Esaias Compenius in 1610. Every Thursday from 1:30 to 2pm, the chapel organist plays for museum visitors.
Since 1878, the castle has housed Det Nationalhistoriske Museum (the Museum of National History). Founded by the brewer J. C. Jacobsen as part of the Carlsberg Foundation, it encompasses the Great Hall and the former Audience Chamber of Danish monarchs. The museum contains the best collection of portraits and historical paintings in the country, all the stiff-necked greats and the wannabes. You can explore 70 of its rooms, each with paintings, gilded ceilings, and tapestries covering entire walls. The 20th-century collection on the third floor is a bit livelier, with its chronologically arranged exhibits. There are portraits and paintings here, but somehow the photographs are even more intriguing.
The castle is a 15-minute walk or a short taxi ride from the train station.
- © Frommer's 2013
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- Very Highly Recommended 2010