Christiansborg Palace - Copenhagen

*A Part of the Danish Cultural Heritage*
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CHRISTIANSBORG PALACE - THE DANISH PARLIAMENT
10 - most popular tourist sites in Copenhagen
 
The Third Christiansborg Palace was finally completed in 1928 and houses the Danish Parliament.
 
 
Five Castles and Palaces on the same spot
Christiansborg Palace and "Slotsholmen"
The existing Christiansborg Palace from 1928 is the fifth castle that has been built on the same area inside the grounds of "Slotsholmen" - also called the Castle Island - which is surrounded by a 2 km long canal - and connected with 8 bridges plus many ministries and historical buildings.
 
The First Castle - Absalon's Castle
Absalon's Castle
It was on this site the founder of Copenhagen - Bishop Absalon built his castle between 1167 and 1176 to protect the city against enemy attacks from the Sound and seaside. According to the history books and other legends - Copenhagen was founded in 1167. Absalon's Castle was built of lime stones from the Cliffs of Stevns - and the ruin of Absalon's Castle can be experienced under the foundations of the present Christiansborg Palace. Bishop Absalon's Castle was later plundered by the North German Hanseatic League in 1369 - and was destroyed and leveled to the ground.
 




The remains of the "Blue Tower"
from the former Copenhagen Castle was discovered in 1902 - and then later
in 1906 the old ruins of Absalon's Castle
Absalon's Castle discovered in 1906
The ruins of Bishop Absalon's Castle from 1167 on the little Isle “Slotsholmen” survived for almost 200 years before it was destroyed by the North German Hanseatic League in 1369. The ruins of Absalon Castle was discovered during the excavation of the third Christiansborg Palace in 1906 - and can be seen under the present foundations.
"Slotsholmen" - The Castle Island
The "Slotsholmen" Isle - also called the Castle Island - where five Castles and Palaces have been built on the same spot since 1167. The 2 km long canal surrounds the Island and is connected to the mainland by 8 bridges. The Arial photo from 1957 shows the entire Christiansborg complex and the many historic buildings on this little Isle.
Absalon’s Castle Ruins
While carrying out excavation work in 1902 to lay the foundations of the new present castle - the third Christiansborg - workmen were surprised to uncover the remains of the “Blue Tower” from the former Copenhagen Castle - and then later in 1906 to discover the ruins of Absalon’s Castle. The old castle ruins - which are today underneath the foundation of the existing Christiansborg Castle have been open to the public since 1924 - and a new renovated exhibition of Absalon’s Castle was inaugurated in 2006 - to give the audience better facilities - and access to inspect and exploit these historical ruins.
 
The Splendid Neo-Baroque Edifice
Surrounded by the canals and brigdes the entire Christiansborg complex on its little Isle "Slotsholmen" - the Castle Isle - with the Royal Palace - the Danish Parliament - the Palace Chapel - the Supreme Court plus the Prime Minister's office - and headquarters of the Government.
The Ruins of Absalon's Castle
The old remains and ruins of Absalon's Castle was opened to the public in 1924 - and a new renovated exhibition was inaugurated and presented in 2006 - that has given a better overview and access for visitors to exploit this historical site.



Christiansborg Palace
is the centre of the
political life in
Denmark - and the
Power Base for Governments to
serve the People
with Parliamentary Democracy
 
The Second Castle - Copenhagen Castle
Copenhagen Castle
After the destruction of Absalon's Castle in 1369 the Bishop of Roskilde ordered a new Castle to be built on the compounds and ruins of Absalon Castle and named it Copenhagen Castle. The Castle had curtain walls as well as a tall broad tower section and the property was surrounded by a nearly 2 km long broad moat with 8 bridges connected to the mainland. In 1417 - King Eric of Pomerania (King of Denmark, Sweden and Norway from 1389-1439 claimed the rights to Copenhagen Castle and moved into the new Royal premises. Copenhagen became the Royal City in 1417 - and the capital of Denmark in 1443.
 
Copenhagen Castle - and the "Blue Tower"
Copenhagen Castle in 1728 after it was rebuilt by King Christian IV - with the extension of the "Blue Tower" - which also was a state prison. The Castle was placed on the foundations of Absalon’s Castle - and was reconstructed several times by different Kings. The Castle was the Royal residence until 1740. The ruins of this Castle can be seen under the present Christiansborg Palace.
The Kings daughter - prisoner in the "Blue Tower"
Princess Leonora Christina - who was the favourite daughter of King Christian IV - was kept as a prisoner for almost 22 years on the upper level of the "Blue Tower" from 1663 to 1685. She was charged together with her husband Corfitz Ulfeldt for treason against the Danish State. The remains of the "Blue Tower" can be seen under the foundations of the present Christiansborg Palace.



Copenhagen Castle became the Royal residence in 1417 -
and Denmark was
governed from this Castle until 1730
 
"The Blue Tower" at Copenhagen Castle
Copenhagen Castle was rebuilt several times by Danish Kings - best known is King Christian IV (1577-1648 – ruled Denmark and Norway 1588-1648) - the head architect and builder of Copenhagen - who changed the tower constructions and called it the “Blue Tower” - which also at that time had a reputation of being a horrifying and filthy state prison. King Christian IVs favourite daughter Leonora Christina (Countess of Schleswig-Holstein) was kept as a prisoner for betrayal - from 1663 to 1685 - behind the walls of the “Blue Tower”. It was the Kings son and Leonora's half brother - King Frederik III (1609-1670 - ruled Denmark and Norway 1648-1670) - and his Queen Sophie Amalie that had locked her in a prison cell for nearly 22 years - while Leonora’s husband the former Councillor of State Corfitz Ulfeldt had been hunted in exile for treason against the Danish State. The ruins and remains of Copenhagen Castle as well as the previous “Blue Tower” can be seen under the foundations of the present Christiansborg Palace.
 
The Third Castle - The First Christiansborg Palace
 



The new Royal residence was completed in 1740 -
but burned down to the ground in 1794
The First Christiansborg Palace
The first Christiansborg Palace was built by King Christian VI as a marvellous four wing Rococo Palace - with Show Grounds as well as a Royal Chapel - and the main Palace building was a 6 story high complex with 348 rooms - and was completed around 1745 - but functioned already as a Royal residence from 1740.
Christiansborg Palace - burned down in 1794
In 1794 the first Christiansborg Palace was ravaged by a very heavy fire that nearly destroyed the entire four winged Palace complex. The Royal family became homeless and moved with their few belongings to Rosenborg Castle and since to the vacant Amalienborg Palaces. Only the Chapel and Show Grounds outlasted the fires.
 
The First Christiansborg Palace
Copenhagen Castle became too small and old-fashioned for King Christian VI (1699-1746 - ruled Denmark and Norway 1730-1746) - who after his accession to the throne in 1730 ordered a new castle to be built - and named it Christiansborg after him - as a replacement for the outdated Copenhagen Castle. The first Christiansborg Palace was designed by leading German baroque architect Elias David Häusser and the construction of the extremely marvellous Rococo palace started in 1733 and most of the Royal Palace was completed around 1745 - with show grounds and a Royal Chapel.
 
The Bloodless Coup and Fire
It was in these Royal premises on January 8 - 1772 that a dramatic coup was carried out by Crown Prince Frederik (VI) on behalf of his schizophrenic farther King Christian VII (1749-1808 – ruled Denmark and Norway 1766-1808) against the minister in the Danish government - and the King's doctor Count Johann Friedrich von Struensee and his mistress - the King's Consort - Queen Caroline Matilda. They were both arrested in their respective bedrooms after the season's first masquerade ball was held at the Court Theatre. The chief charge against Struensee and the Queen was their criminal act against the Royal Law (Kongeloven) - and for taking all the power away from the reigning King. Struensee was later condemned to be beheaded. Crown Prince Frederik and King Christian VII were the last sovereigns to reside permanently at any of the three Christiansborg estates. In 1794 the Palace-buildings was raised by a very heavy fire that destroyed all buildings with its 348 rooms - except for the show grounds and chapel.
 
Crown Prince Frederik - planner of the Coup
Crown Prince Frederik and later King Frederik VI was the planner of the Coup against his mother Queen Caroline Matilda and Count Johann Friedrich von Struensee to protect his sick father King Christian VII. He took over all of his father's duties as a formal regent in 1784 at the age of 16 - while still holding the title of Crown Prince. After the fire had raised Christiansborg Palace in 1794 - he never moved back to the new Christiansborg Palace - but settled at Amalienborg Palace permanently.
Johann Struensee and Queen Caroline Matilda
A typical idyllic family scene at Christiansborg Palace around 1771 - with Queen Caroline Matilda and her daughter Princess Louise Augusta beside Johann Struensee - who actually was the little Princess's father. The mentally ill King Christian VII - sitting on the right - had no knowledge of the affair between the Queen and Struensee. Struensee was later arrested for treason and executed in 1772. The Queen was sent in exile for the rest of her life and died in 1775.



Crown Prince
Frederik planned
a coup against his mother Queen
Caroline Matilda -
and Count Johann Friedrich von Struensee -
to protect his
sick father
King Christian VII
 
A ROYAL AFFAIR
A ROYAL AFFAIR is the true story of an ordinary man who wins the Danish queen's heart and starts a revolution. Available on DVD.
“A Royal Affair”
The film called “A Royal Affair” (Danish - En Kongelig Affære) - produced in 2012 - is a historical drama film that focuses on the romance between the Danish Queen Caroline Matilda - and the Royal Physician Count Johann Friedrich von Struensee.

The True Story and Screenplay
The main screenplay is the true story about a young Danish Queen Caroline Matilda - who is married to an insane Danish king - King Christian VII - and falls secretly in love with her German physician - Johann Friedrich von Struensee - and together they start a revolution that changes a nation forever - but ended dramatically by the fall of Struensee in 1772.
 
A ROYAL AFFAIR - Official UK trailer
 
The international trailer for Nikolaj Arcel's periodic drama A ROYAL AFFAIR starring Mads Mikkelsen - Alicia Vikander - Mikkel Boe Følsgaard - Trine Dyrholm - David Dencik - Cyron Melville - Thomas Gabrielsson - Laura Bro. Zentropa Entertainments.
 
 
The Fourth Castle - The Second Christiansborg Palace
 
The Second Christiansborg Palace and New Danish Parliament
After the fire of the first Christiansborg Palace in 1794 - the Royal Family became homeless -and had to move to other Royal premises like Rosenborg Castle and later to the Amalienborg complex for temporary accommodations - while the building of a second Christiansborg Palace was decided. The construction of the second Christiansborg Palace stated in 1803 and was led by the prominent architect Christian Frederik Hansen - who had designed the new Royal residence in French Empire Style called “Classicism”. The second Christiansborg was completed in 1828 - but the Palace had no longer King Frederik VI’s (1768-1839) – ruled Denmark 1808-1839 and Norway 1808-1814) - interest as a Royal residence - and was later only used by the Royal family and household for banquets and entertainment. The first Danish Parliament was established at the second Christiansborg in 1849 - when the new Democratic Constitution was signed by King Frederik VII.
 




The newly elected Danish Parliament moved in to the
new Royal premises
of the second Christiansborg Palace
in 1849 - but became homeless for 45 years - when the Palace burnt down in 1884
The Second Christiansborg Palace
The second Christiansborg Palace was built in French Empire Style during King Frederik VI’s reign - and was completed in 1828. The Palace was never used as a permanent Royal residence again - and the only Monarch - who resided her frequently - was King Frederik VII. In 1849 and after the new Danish Constitution had been signed - the elected Danish Parliament moved in to these new Royal premises.
Burnt down to the ground in 1884
In 1884 the second Christiansborg Palace burnt down to the ground - just leaving some rooms and outer walls intact. The Palace Chapel as well as the Riding Camps and Show Grounds were saved together with other government properties located on the Island of “Slotsholmen”. The Danish Parliament became homeless and had to move to temporary locations for the next 45 years.
 
The New Danish Parliament and King Frederik VII
The second Christiansborg also housed the new Danish Parliament from 1849 - which had two parliamentary chambers called the "Landsting" and the "Folketing". The only King - who frequently resided in the second Christiansborg Castle from 1852-1863 - was the last Oldenburg King and the first constitutional Danish monarch King Frederik VII (1808-1863 - King of Denmark 1848-1863) - see top photo with the equestrian statue of King Frederik VII - located at the front of the present Christiansborg Palace. In 1884 the second Christiansborg burnt down to ground - leaving some of the walls and few rooms intact. The Palace Chapel as well as the Riding Camps and Show Grounds were saved together with other government properties located on the Isle of “Slotsholmen”.
 
The "Landsting and the "Folketing"
From 1849 to 1953 the Parliament had two main chambers - consisting of the Landsting and the Folketing - better known as the “Rigsdag”. The revision of the constitution in 1953 abolished the Landsting - and enabled women to inherit the throne. Here is the National Constitutional Assembly - painted by Constantin Hansen - at their first meeting in 1848.
The Danish Constitution signed in 1849
The new Danish Constitution signed by King Frederik VII in 1849 that finally put an ending to the absolute monarchy from 1660 - and divided the Kings power into three supreme powers: The Executive Power - The Legislative Power and the Judicial Power - as well as giving the Danes their democratic and basic human rights and freedom of speech.



King Frederik VII
was the very last Oldenburg King -
and the first constitutional
monarch

- who
resided at
the second
Christiansborg Palace

 
 
 
The Danish Monarchy and The Danish Parliament - Side By Side
 
 
The Fifth Castle - The Third Christiansborg Palace
The Third and Present Christiansborg
After the Danish Constitution had been signed in June 5, 1849 by King Frederik VII - which put an ending to the absolute monarchy from 1660 and divided the Kings power into three supreme powers: The Executive Power - The Legislative Power and The Judicial Power - it was decided to build the third Christiansborg with residential premises for the Royal Family - the National Legislature (Parliament - founded in 1849) and the National Judiciary (Supreme Court - founded in 1661 by King Frederik III - 1609-1670 - ruled Denmark and Norway 1648-1670). The building of the third Christiansborg started in 1907 and was inaugurated nearly 21 years later in 1928 - with a lot of festivities and with the presence of the Royal Family as well as member of the Legislature Assemble.
 


It took 21 years
to plan and build
the third
Christiansborg Palace
from 1907 to 1928
The ruins of the Second Christiansborg Palace
Excavation work and removal of the remaining debris in 1901 after the property was demolished by severe fires in 1884. The picture shows the early stages of the construction site - while preparing the building of the third Christiansborg Palace. The erection of the building in Neo-Baroque style started formally in 1907 and was completed 21 years later in 1928.
Christiansborg Palace was inaugurated in 1928
The third Christiansborg Palace in 1926 - as it rose from the ground. The 106 meter high tower is under completion - still with scaffolding around the brickwork. The Palace was inaugurated in 1928 and was redesigned to house the Danish Parliament in the one wing of the building - and in the other the Royal Receptions Rooms - Supreme Court and the Prime Minister's office.
 
The Royal Receptions Rooms and The Danish Parliament
 
The Royal Receptions Rooms
The Third Christiansborg Palace was built in Neo-Baroque style - with the highest tower in the city - which exceeded 106 meters. The present Christiansborg Palace is separated into two main wings. The one half of the Palace houses the Danish Parliament - and offices for the parliament members - and the other half was reserved as residential premises for the Royal Family and Household. As the reigning monarch at that time King Christian X wasn’t interested to move from Amalienborg Palace to the new Royal premises - the Royal half was turned into Royal Reception Rooms - for official functions by the reigning sovereign in connection with audiences - gala banquets - reception of ambassadors and New Year levees. The Prime Minister uses the Royal Reception Rooms as well - particularly in connection with state visits.
 
The Rooms - Chambers and Halls
The Royal Reception Rooms at Christiansborg Palace are located on the first floor is called Bel-Étage. The many beautiful rooms - chambers and halls include - The Great Hall with 17 tapestries displaying the Danish history through 1000 years - The Tower Room - and Throne Room - The Audience Chamber - and the Council Room - The Fredensborg Room - and the Queen's Library. The Royal Reception Rooms are open to the public - when the Royal Family is not using the facilities.

 
The Guards' Room - " Drabantsalen"
The main Royal entrance at Christiansborg that leads visitor’s right up to the Royal Receptions Rooms is placed separately at the Queens Gate on the one wing of the Palace building - and goes through the impressive entrance hall with the huge vault called the Guard’s Room (Drabantsalen). The entire arch is supported by an atlas of six Atlantes sculptures - which is carved in solid limestone.
The King's Stairway to Bel-Étage
The King's Stairway gives access to the upper floor called the Bel-Étage - where the oval Throne Room and The Fredensborg Room are located before entering the Great Hall. The Fredensborg Room is dominated by the huge painting by Lauritz Tuxen of King Christian IX and Queen Louise surrounded by their family in the Garden Room at Fredensborg Palace in 1883.



The Royal Reception Rooms are open
to the public - when the Royal Family is not using the
premises
 




It takes many hours for visitors to absorb the beautiful - and
1000 years of
history-telling
tapestries in
the Great Hall
The Throne Room
The Throne Room is a part of the Royal Reception Rooms - where the reigning monarch receives foreign ambassadors and the Diplomatic Corps. Both thrones and interior was saved - when the Palace was razed by the last fire in 1884 together with many other historical artifacts. The Throne Room has access to the balcony - where Danish Monarchs are proclaimed in public by the Prime Minister.
The Great Hall and the Tapestries
The Great Hall is 40 meter long and the most marvellous of the Royal Reception Rooms. The Hall is the largest in the Christiansborg Palace - with 17 hand-woven and colorful tapestries displaying the Danish history through 1000 years. The tapestries were a gift to Queen Margrethe on her 50th birthday from the Danish business community - and it take hours to absorb these beautiful history-telling draperies.
 
The Riding Grounds and Royals Stables
The riding grounds or show grounds dates back to the first Christiansborg Palace from 1745 -is surrounded by the Royal stables, where more than 90 horses and 170 carriages moved into the new facilities. Above the stables the existing Court Theatre was established in 1766 and many of the room above the stables have been incorporated into office facilities for present members of the Parliament.
 



The Royal Show Grounds dates back to 1745 - and the Royal Stables was established
in 1746

The Show Grounds
The show grounds at Christiansborg Palace dates back to 1745 - when the first palace was built as a residence for the Royal Family.
The Royal Stables
The main entrance to the Royal stables with the two Rococo pavilions on each side of the Marble Bridge from 1739.
 
The Danish Parliament - "Folketing"
 
The Danish Parliament - Folketing
The Danish Parliament called "Folketing" and government quarters is situated at Christiansborg Palace on the south wing occupying three floors of the palace - and the imposing Folketing Chamber faces the Christiansborg Palace Square – where the equestrian statue of King Frederik VII is placed.

179 democratic Elected Members
The Danish Parliament called "Folketinget" seats 179 elected members - who are nearly equally divided between women and men from many different parties - and governing is still based on the Constitution from 1849 - signed by King Frederik VII that opened for the Danes democratic rights.

Visit the Danish Parliament

Anyone is welcome to visit the Danish Parliament and see the Chamber of the "Folketing" - as well as following the debates - when the "Folketing" is in session.
 
The Constitution of Denmark (Constitutional Act in English)
 



The Chamber of the "Folketing" seats 179 democratic elected members from many different parties
and
almost equally divided between
women and men
The Imposing Folketing Chamber
The Chamber of the Danish Folketing seats 179 democratic elected members from many different parties and governing is mainly based on the Constitution from 1849. The Parliament is placed in the one wing of Christiansborg Palace and inaugurated in 1928.
Everyone can follow the debates in the Parliament
The balcony and gallery where the public can attend the debates, while the Folketing is in session. The statues on the wall represent each working class from the Danish society. The Royal Family is present every year when the Danish Parliament officially opens in October.
Location
Christiansborg Palace is located on the little isle called "Slotsholmen" beside the Palace Chapel - Thorvaldsens Museum - The Royal Library - The Black Diamond - Holmens Church - The National Museum - Absalon Statue - Nikolaj Church - The Pedestrian Street "Strøget". The Danish Parliament "Folketing" and the Royal Reception Rooms at Christiansborg Palace is visited by more than 100,000 guests every year.
 
Christiansborg Palace - The Danish Parliament

Address:

Folketinget
Christiansborg
1240 København K

Telephone: 33 37 55 00


Christiansborg Castle - Royal reception rooms
Open: All year for guided tours

The "Folketing" - Danish Parliament
Open: All year for guided tours

Busses: 15 - 26 - 29 - 40 - 1A - 2A - 65E

Trains: Central station - Metro to Kongens Nytorv.

Distance from Town Hall Square 2 km. and expect 15-25 min. by walk.

 

 
Interactive Map
The entire Christiansborg Castle Complex called "Slotsholmen" - Christiansborg Palace and The Danish Parliament
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