After a sea day on board the Crown Princess during our 2017 Baltics cruise we hit the second country on our itinerary, Denmark. The ship was docked at Copenhagen although the distance from the port to anywhere of real interest meant there was little to see from our balcony in the morning. We didn’t know it at the time but we weren’t very far from the popular tourist destination of The Little Mermaid.
Should we return to Denmark we’d probably explore its capital city but for this trip we’d booked a full day excursion that my wife had titled “Castles, Castles, Castles”. The first of the castles we were to visit was the home of the Danish Museum of National History, Frederiksborg Castle.
It was built as a royal residence for King Christian IV of Denmark-Norway in the early 17th century, replacing an older castle acquired by Frederick II and becoming the largest Renaissance residence in Scandinavia. Situated on three islets in the Slotssøen (castle lake), it is adjoined by a large formal garden in the Baroque style.
The castle building had suffered a serious fire in 1859, although most of the artwork inside had been saved. Reconstruction allowed the place to be opened up to the public around twenty years later and was undertaken due in part to donations from the founder of the Carlsberg Brewery, J.C. Jacobsen. The fountain in the courtyard was a replica produced at the same time, the original having been taken by Sweden during wars with the country in the centuries beforehand.
Many of the artefacts of the castles we would visit during this excursion had been taken by Sweden and the grudges were certainly still present. While our guide on the tour was Australian the driver was Danish and had taken the microphone on the coach at one point to ask if anyone on the coach knew what to do if they saw a Swede drowning.
“No,” we replied, assuming it to be a serious question.
“Good,” was his response.
As you can see we had wonderful weather for our visit to Frederiksborg Castle and we’d had a very easy drive to the historic location too, arriving in plenty of time to take a leisurely walk beside the gardens, stopping for a discussion of the history, then onto the exterior courtyard area to the rear of the castle. The museum part of the castle wasn’t yet open so there was a chance to grab some photos of the Neptune fountain and other buildings in the area.
Crossing a short bridge we entered into the walled courtyard part of the castle. This gave some in our group a chance to use the toilet and our guide to pick up the tickets for our visit. Other than a handful of pairs of tourists there was only one other tour group which got our guide quite excited as he’d never visited the castle when it wasn’t heaving with people.
The interior of Frederiksborg Castle will be covered in the next travel post.