Kongernes Nordsjælland (Kings of North Zealand) National Park, a massive expanse of natural beauty covering 263sq km of forest and 60sq km of lakes, has opened today in Denmark.
The park is the second largest in Denmark and contain Gribskov, the country’s largest forest, as well as lakes, farmland, and sandy beaches. In uniting these stretches of land as a national park, the natural landscapes, animal life, and rich cultural history will be protected by the state, with the assistance of private landowners.
The park is reachable from bordering towns, such as Helsingør (home of Hamlet’s Kronborg Castle) in the east, and Hillerød (home of Frederiksborg Castle) to the south, meaning a trip to Kings of North Zealand can easily be combined with a visit to a historic castle. It is accessible by local commuter railway Gribskovbanen, and by bicycle, with a network of scenic cycle paths throughout.
The area within the park has a history dating back to ancient times, and the remains of castles, cloisters, and monasteries can still be found there. It’s also home to Troldeskoven (the Troll Forest), where centuries-old pine trees are shaped and twisted by strong winds, creating a unique atmosphere. To the north is the sandy dune-lined coast and beachfront holiday towns of North Zealand.
When the project was announced in 2016, Denmark’s Minister of Environment and Food Esben Lunde Larsen told the Copenhagen Post, “The proposal encompasses some of Denmark’s largest forest areas, lakes that can be used for canoeing and sailing, UNESCO World Heritage areas, and many historical buildings. Kongernes Nordsjælland can offer up experiences within culture, nature and outdoor life – the cornerstones of successful national parks.”
Kings of North Zealand National Park officially opened with a ceremony at Esrum Monastery on 29 May, 2018.
Words: Caroline Hadamitzky