Frederiksborg Slot information
The impressive Dutch Renaissance-styled Frederiksborg Slot spreads across three islets on the castle lake, Slotsø. The oldest part of the castle dates from the reign of Frederik II, after whom it is named. His son Christian IV was born here and most of the present structure was built by Christian in the early 17th century. With its gilded ceilings, tapestries and fine paintings, the castle's interior is magnificent. Especially dazzling is the Slotskirken (Coronation Chapel), which retains the original interior commissioned by Christian IV.
Spared serious damage in the fire that ravaged the castle in 1859, the chapel is a deliciously ornate confection of curling gold and pink-cheeked cherubs, kept fine company by a silver pulpit and altarpiece. A setting fit for royalty, Danish monarchs were crowned in the chapel from 1671 to 1840. You can hear the sound of the 17th century each Thursday between 1.30pm and 2pm, when the priceless Compenius organ (1610) is played, or at free concerts every Sunday at 5pm in July and August.
Also fairly intact is the Audience Chamber , an eye-boggling room containing trompe l’oeil details, a self-indulgent portrait of big-nosed Christian V posing as a Roman emperor, and best of all, a 17th-century elevator chair, which enabled the king to rise graciously through the floor!
Other rooms in the castle were restored to their original appearances in the 19th century. The richly embellished Riddershalen (Knights Hall), once the dining room, is particularly striking – check out the stucco friezes of deer, embedded with real antlers. Also impressive is the Great Hall, a vast ballroom complete with minstrels’ gallery, fine tapestries and vivid ceiling carvings.
The rest of the 1st and 2nd floors contain the Museum of National History, a chronologically arranged portrait gallery of kings, noblemen and olden-day celebrities, interspersed with unusual pieces of furniture. It’s a lot to digest in one go – you might be better off concentrating on the time periods that interest you. On the 3rd floor is the Moderne Samling (Modern Collection) , a collection of 20th- and 21st-century paintings and photography.
Both Frederik II and Christian IV used Frederiksborg as their royal seat, but after Hillerød suffered plague, fire and rampaging Swedes during the 17th century, the throne moved to quieter Fredensborg in the 18th century.
The castle gardens lie to the north. The formal baroque garden (open from 10am till sunset), visible from the castle windows and made up of perfect terraces and immaculately manicured yew and box, demonstrates that even nature must bend to a king’s will. There’s also a Romantic garden, Indelukket, where 18th-century rigidity melts into a wilder 19th-century notion of gardening. North again is the oak wood of Lille Dyrehave, which was planted to provide material for boat-building after the Danish fleet was confiscated by England in 1807. You could easily spend a pleasant hour’s outing strolling through the three sections.
The Slotsø Ferry
From mid-May to mid-September, the little Frederiksborg ferry makes a 30-minute round-trip of the castle lake between 11am and 5pm Monday to Saturday, and between 1pm and 5pm on Sunday. It stops at three small piers: one on the edge of Torvet, one near the castle entrance and one by the baroque gardens.