There is no shortage of castles in Denmark. In addition to those found in Copenhagen (Christianborg, Amalienborg, Rosenborg), there is also the famous Hamlet castle, Kronborg Castle, in Helsingør. But in my opinion, the most beautiful castle of all is Frederiksborg in Hillerød, north of Copenhagen.
Why do I particularly like Frederiksborg? Because the castle is placed on the shores of a lake in a large park and when one arrives at Hillerød, the effect is rather striking. It is also one of the largest Renaissance palaces in all of Scandinavia.
I visited Hillerød a few years ago, but I did not go inside the castle then. Oddly enough, my Danish friend had never visited it either. So we decided it was time to fix that fact and we went back together to Hillerød with the intention of visiting Frederiksborg Castle. And we were not disappointed.
Frederiksborg was built in the 17th century for King Christian IV, on a site that already housed a royal hunting lodge (as Hillerød is located near the former Store Dyrehave hunting park). Christian IV was born on site and was therefore very attached to this place. He ordered the construction of a vast Flemish Renaissance palace, at that time the largest Renaissance-style building in all of Scandinavia. The four-story building was completed in 1620. It was then the only Danish castle built inland, not along the coast.
After the death of Christian IV, the castle was only used for ceremonial purposes. From 1671 to 1840, it was there that all the kings of Denmark were anointed and crowned.
In 1859, King Frederik VII, who resided at the castle, lit a fire in a room, without realizing that the chimney was not functional. The fire spreads rapidly through the castle, thus destroying a good part of it. A fundraising campaign, led by J.C. Jacobsen, the founder of the Carlsberg brewery, helped rebuild the castle according to its original plans. J.C. Jacobsen also helped the creation of the National History Museum of Denmark inside the castle.
So today, it is possible to visit some parts of the castle that have kept their original look (among others the magnificent chapel, probably my favorite part of the castle), while other rooms have been remodeled to welcome historical artifacts. Visiting Frederiksborg Castle means going through centuries of history, from the time of the first Viking kings to the present day.
Some of the artifacts presented may seem uninteresting to those who know nothing about Danish history. But despite everything, the visit is worth it if only to see the wealthy decoration of the rooms.
To get to Hillerød, just take the S-Train from Copenhagen (it is the last stop). The castle, located on the other side of the lake, is at a 15-minute walk.