In February 1606, Christian IV bought 46 private plots of land outside Copenhagen's north-eastern ramparts. He combined some of them to form a pleasure garden (later Rosenborg Palace Gardens) in which he built an 'arbour'. The arbour, a two-storey brick building with a turret and spire on the south-west side and an oriel on the north-east side, was ready in 1607. A drawbridge crossed the surrounding moat to the north. A barbican was added there in 1610.
Expansion of the castle
In 1613, no longer preoccupied with the Kalmar War, Christian IV went back to building programme. The arbour was expanded towards the north and made twice as long, now with two oriels to the north-east and a turret in the central axis. To the north, the King decorated a room (the Winter Room) by setting 75 Dutch paintings purchased at the same time in Antwerp into the wall panelling. The room remains almost entirely unchanged to this day.
In 1615, his country seat was ready, but the King continued building from 1616-24. An extra storey was added and the oriels on the north-east façade became two towers with spires. The Tall Tower was added to the south-west side. A full-length hall was built on the upper floor called the Long Hall. Christian IV, who was a caring father, decorated the hall with 24 paintings featuring motifs that were supposed to have a didactic effect on his children.
The king's favourite residence
The early Rosenborg Palace assumed its final form when the royal builder Hans van Steenwinckel added a turret to the east façade in 1634: a tight, closed, well-proportioned building, designed in the Dutch Renaissance style of the era with red brick and grey sandstone decorations. The palace was surrounded by a full moat. The main entrance was over a drawbridge on the north side but it was also possible to leave by the garden in the south side over the Green Bridge. With the exception of the turret built in 1634, the rest of the building was probably designed by Christian IV, who probably also supervised the construction. Rosenborg was his favourite residence and he died there in 1648.
Christian V removed his grandfather's didactic paintings from the Long Hall in 1698, replacing them with 12 tapestries featuring motifs from the Scanian War. In 1705-07, Frederik IV had his great-grandfather's ceiling paintings in the Long Hall replaced with the present magnificent, arched stucco ceiling, featuring motifs from the royal coat-of-arms, the Order of the Elephant and the Order of the Dannebrog as well as important political events. These changes transformed the Long Hall into one of Europe's most beautiful Baroque interiors.
In 1781-85, the northern side of the moat was filled in when the parade and drill square was established to the south-west.
From residence to the museum
Rosenborg's era as a royal residence finished around 1710, when Frederiksberg Palace was built. As early as the reign of Frederik III, i.e. from approx. 1658, the palace had been used to store the royal family's personal art treasures and now exclusively served this purpose.
In 1833, Frederik VI decided to turn the palace and collection into a museum. The museum was opened to the public in 1838. One innovation of the exhibitions was that the collection was deliberately laid out so the interiors of the rooms followed the royal generations chronologically. The palace became state property when Absolutism was abolished in 1849 and in 1854 - by agreement with Frederik VII - the collection became a so-called personal property settlement, handed down from king to king.
Christian V's tapestries in the Long Hall were taken down in 1917 to be hung in the Great Hall of the rebuilt Christiansborg Palace. In 1999, they were returned to Rosenborg and replaced in Christiansborg by 11 Bjørn Nørgaard tapestries - the Danish business community's gift to commemorate Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II's 50th birthday.
With the return of the Rosenborg Tapestries, the Long Hall is again one of Denmark’s most resplendent Baroque interiors Last updated:: Monday, March 16, 2009