Kronborg Castle – Home to Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Kronborg Slot is no doubt one of the most beautiful castles in Denmark. Together with my sisters, I explored the UNESCO site and the surrounding neighborhood on a beautiful weekend. Kronborg is located in the municipality of Helsingør, at the most northeastern tip of the island Zealand. Its location was perfect during the 1500s, when the king of Denmark, Norway and Sweden required the ships passing through the narrowest point of the Øresund, the sound between Sweden and Denmark, to pay the Sound Dues or tax.

Welcome to Kronborg Slot
Welcome to Kronborg Slot

A little background: The fortress used to be a stronghold called Krogen, built by King Eric II in the 1420s. It was King Frederick II who transformed it to the beautiful Kronborg Castle in the 1500s, with Flemings Hans Hendrik van Paesschen and Anthonis van Obbergen as main architects. In 1629, the Renaissance castle caught fire, but King Christian IV had it restored to its glory. The Swedes conquered the castle in 1658, and in 1785, it lost its royal residence status and was converted to an army barracks. During the world wars, the castle was abandoned by the army. And later on, after some renovation and reconstruction, the so-called Hamlet‘s castle was opened to the public.

The castle interior
The castle interior
The castle interior, a diorama
The castle interior, a diorama
The castle interior
The castle interior
The castle interior, old tapestries
The castle interior, old tapestries
The castle interior, an old toilet
The castle interior, an old toilet
The castle interior, a royal bedroom
The castle interior, a royal bedroom

Why is it called the Hamlets castle, you ask? Shakespeare set his famous tragic play in Elsinore, which is the anglicized name of the Danish town, Helsingør, where the castle is located. Hamlet is also a Danish prince. This year marks Shakespeare’s 400th death anniversary, and so, one can watch the play live in the castle! For tickets and other visiting information, click: http://kongeligeslotte.dk/en/palaces-and-gardens/kronborg-castle/hamlet-2016.html

The castle interior
The castle interior
The castle interior
The castle interior

It is also very interesting to explore the underground casemates. Many soldiers hid in these passageways in times of war. Note, however, that it can be very cold and damp (and creepy) inside the casemates.

The casemates
The casemates
Holger Danske
Holger Danske

Also sleeping under the castle is a statue of Holger Danske, or Holger the Dane. He was a mythical Danish king who rescued France, and who traveled back to Kronborg, fell into deep sleep and has been waiting until he is needed again by his homeland. He has been waiting for a long time that his beard has started growing along the underground passageways of the castle!

Canons pointing towards the sound
Cannons pointing towards the sound
The castle courtyard
The castle courtyard
Cannons pointing towards the sound
Cannons pointing towards the sound
Cannons pointing towards the sound
Cannons pointing towards the sound
On a clear day, Sweden can be seen lining the horizon
On a clear day, Sweden can be seen lining the horizon
One of the gates in the castle
One of the gates in the castle

The town of Helsingør is also nice to explore. It has a number of convents and churches, restaurants, wine and alcohol shops, and beautiful fishing villages. From there, one can take the ferry ride to Helsingborg, Sweden. This ferry is the busiest in the world, with 70 departures in each direction everyday! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helsing%C3%B8r) It is cheap and tax-free to shop on board, so many Scandinavians take these ferry rides. 😉

Helsingør
Helsingør
Helsingør
Helsingør
Helsingør
Helsingør

I miss Denmark, and I miss my sisters. 🙂 Hope we can travel again together! ❤ This is all for now. I’m pretty tired, done a lot this morning and the stress is slowly killing me. But I’m hopeful that the future will be better and that I’d land in a job I can be happy and proud about. 🙂 Yay! Cheers to that!

The Kronborg Castle in the background
The Kronborg Castle in the background
Kronborg Slot
Kronborg Slot
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