The Old Citadel - Kastellet - Copenhagen

*A Part of the Danish Cultural Heritage*





The Old Citadel
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The Old Citadel - Kastellet
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The Citadel was completed around 1664 - and named Frederikshavn Citadel. The area around the old fortress is a popular venue for Copenhageners and tourists - and the buildings houses the Danish Defence Intelligence. The English Church is seen below beside the Gefion Fountain. © Photo - Jørgen Bresson.
The Old Citadel - Kastellet
The Citadel - (Kastellet) was first established as a Garrison by King Christian IV (1577-1648 - ruled Denmark and Norway 1588-1648) in 1626 - to protect Copenhagen from the Seaside. The fortress is Europe's oldest military bastion and still in operation. This military complex was completed in 1660s - and was also a part of Copenhagen's rampart. The Fortress Park is a typical renaissance fortification with five bastions that served as a defence installation until the mid 19th century. Most of the buildings in the old Citadel are still intact from the period of King Frederik III (1609-1670 - ruled Denmark and Norway 1648-1670) - and are the head quarters of the Danish Defence Intelligence.
The main road at the Citadel in 1865 - with the Kings gate at the back in classic baroque style and the old barracks that served as army head quarters.
The original and well decorated Kings gate from 1662-63 - with the sculpture of King Frederik III. All traffic went through this guarded gate in the past.
The Kings gate with the Queens and the Counts bastions on each side of the gate.
Arial view of the old Citadel from 1626. The fortress is one of the best preserved in Europe
The ongoing construction and rebuilding
King Christian IV (1577-1648 - ruled Denmark and Norway 1588-1648) had also planned to build a castle on the Citadel premises but the project was suspended due to the Kings financial situation - and construction of the Citadel was continued by his son and successor King Frederik III (1609-1670 - ruled Denmark and Norway 1648-1670) - with help by the Dutch architect and engineer Henrik Rüse. After the Swedish attack - and assault of Copenhagen 1658-1660 - the Bastions of the Citadel was rebuilt to better resist bombardments - mortars and other artillery. Last the Citadel of Copenhagen was in use was during the heavy battle of the city against the Royal British Fleet in 1807.
The Citadel Church in 1890 - with the exercise grounds in front. In 1902 - the Church became a parish of its own with a local community and belongs to the Danish State Church called "Folkekirken" - but still serves the present military administrative personal.
The Citadel church is built during 1703-04 - and is decorated with King Frederik IV's monogram on the front wall. The prison is built behind the church - and until 1840 - prisoner could follow the "Word of God" through a hole in the wall - and participate in the church services from their prison cells.
The Church and Prison
The Church at the Citadel (Kastellet) was built in 1704 - in heavy Baroque style during the reign of King Frederik IV (1671-1730 - ruled Denmark and Norway 1699-1730) - who extended the church with a prison-complex at the back of the building in 1725. Between the walls of the prison and church - there were holes to the prisoner’s cells so the inmates could follow the church services. A prominent prisoner at the Citadel prison was Count Johann Friedrich von Struensee (1737-1772) - who was a German doctor and royal physician to the schizophrenic King Christian VII (1749-1808 - ruled Denmark and Norway 1766-1808). Struensee’s affair with Queen Caroline Matilda (1751-1775) - and his increasing political power caused his downfall and dramatic execution by being beheaded in 1772 - after being a prisoner at the Citadel.
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.
On the rampart is the original windmill from 1847 - that replaced the first mill from 1718. The Citadel had its own bakery and the mill supplied the flour and dough for bread baking until 1908.
Of 94 cannons produced in Denmark from the period 1766-1769 - three 12-pounder bronze cannons are still placed on the Princesses bastion as historical and decorative monuments.

New National Monument to Honour Brave Danish Soldiers - Kastellet
The new National Memorial with the granite walls has the inscription of all the fallen Danish Soldiers - who lost their young and precious lives in international peace keeping missions abroad - firmly to defend democracy and freedom in the developing countries and to prevent and reduce the treat of terrorism worldwide.
The National Monument of Remembrance is placed right in the centre of the Old Citadel at the “Prinsessens Bastion” and is open for families and the public - who want to honour their war dead in a more respectful way. In time - the area around the monument of commemoration - will turn into a flowering and well planted Memorial Grove.
The National Monument of Remembrance
A new national monument of remembrance for the many brave Danish soldiers - who lost their young and precious lives in international peace keeping missions abroad - firmly to defend democracy and freedom in the developing countries and to prevent and reduce the treat of terrorism worldwide - has been inaugurated on September 5th - 2011 - on the special flag and memorial day for Denmark’s deployed personnel at the Old Citadel (Kastellet) in Copenhagen. The national monument - with an eternal flame burning - is placed at the “Prinsessens Bastion” in the centre of the Citadel area - and is open for the grieving families and supportive public - who now can honour their beloved deceased and fellow citizens - that died in service for Denmark - and who now can be remembered in a respectful and decent manner. In time - the area around the monument of commemoration - will turn into a flowering and well planted Memorial Grove. On the granite walls is the inscription of the names of the fallen - and the inscription signature of the monument is - “ONE TIME - ONE PLACE - ONE HUMAN BEING”. (EN TID - ET STED - ET MENNESKE).
The Day of Prayer (Store Bededag)
Walk around the rampart and eat “Hveder”
Tourists can visit these popular historical areas and walk around the ramparts that once protected the city - and at the same time see the harbour and city skyline from another view. For Copenhageners a great tradition once a year is to stroll around the ramparts the day before The Day of Prayer (Store Bededag). After the walk people eat a special type of wheat buns made of flour - yeast - cardamom etc. called “Hveder” - and drink tee or coffee together with the warm buns.


Hveder – makes 16

-125 gram butter (4 1/2 oz or ~9 tablespoons)
- 50 gram fresh yeast (3 envelopes dry active yeast or ~ 6 tsp)
- 3 deciliter milk (10 oz or ~ 1 1/4 cup)
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 650 gram all-purpose flour (5 cups or 1 lb 7 oz)
- 1/2 deciliter milk – for brushing (~1 1/2 oz)

Melt butter and set aside to cool down. Warm milk in microwave to 100 degrees F, add dry yeast to milk and let sit for 10 minutes. In the bowl for your stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment add butter and milk/yeast mixture. Start mixer on low, add egg, salt, sugar and cardamom. Add flour in small increments until dough starts to come together (Note: you may not need all the flour). Place dough on a lightly floured surface and give it a quick needing to ensure it is homogeneous. Place dough in a large bowl, cover with a dry and clean tea towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes. Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Place dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 16 equal portions, by first dividing the dough into half and then into halves again and so on. Shape dough pieces into balls by folding the edges under and into the center until they are round. The small opening at the bottom is placed down on the baking sheet. Space dough balls 1 centimeter apart (almost 1/2 inch). Cover balls with tea towel and let them rise for 30 minutes. As they rise, they will start to grow together, this is what you want. Preheat oven to 200 degree C (390 degrees F).

Once risen, brush rolls with a little milk and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool. To serve Hveder, cut in half and toast them. Top with butter or jam, cheese, cold cuts etc. Enjoy!

Note: Dough can easily be frozen after they are formed into balls by placing in a freezer safe bag. Once ready to use, defrost in refrigerator. Allow rolls to come to room temperature and then rise for 30 minutes before baking.

A great tradition since 1747 - is to walk on the ramparts of the Citadel before The Day of Prayer (Store Bededag).

After walking on the ramparts it is a tradition to eat warm wheat buns called "Hveder" before The Day of Prayer (Store Bededag).

The Royal Ballet performs free every summer at the Citadel, where they give a captive audience a special historical experience.

Open-Air Ballet
The Danish Royal Ballet performs every August in open-air at the Citadel (Kastellet) - where the historical surrounding are a perfect scenery for this special event.
The Old Citadel - Kastellet - is a peaceful military area - and a historical monument and park from 1626. The area is open to the public and a great tourist attraction located on the old fortifications of Copenhagen.

The Old Citadel (Kastellet)


Kastellet - The Old Citadel
2100 Copenhagen Ø

Busses: 15 - 26 - 1A - 20E - 865

Trains - Østerport Station

The Old Citadel (Kastellet)
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