Rosenborg Castle was built by Christian IV as a country summerhouse, and up to 1624 it was developed into a Dutch Renaissance castle. The castle houses the Royal Danish Collections and the Crown Jewels.
King’s Gardens are the country’s oldest royal gardens and were also established in the Renaissance style by Christian IV. The gardens are a popular retreat and are visited by an estimated 2.5 million people per year.
The King’s Gardens, also called Rosenborg Castle Gardens, are the oldest royal garden in the country, originally a Renaissance garden for Christian IV in the early 17th century. Nowadays, the gardens are a popular breathing space in the centre of Copenhagen and are visited by 2.5 million people every year.
The gardens also have something to offer children in form of an artistic playground inaugurated in 1998 beside the statue of Hans Christian Andersen.
In 1999, the Hercules Pavilion, built in 1773, opened as an outdoor café. On a walk though the gardens you will also encounter a rose garden, a large herbaceous border and a sculptures of all shapes and sizes.
During the summer, the gardens are the setting for a lot of music and theatre events, including puppet theatre for really young children.
History and Architecture
In 1606 Christian IV (1588-1648) commenced the landscaping of the gardens simultaneously with the construction of Rosenborg Castle, completed in 1624.
The gardens still display features of Christian IV’s Renaissance gardens, which originally functioned primarily as the king’s kitchen garden. The essential parts of today’s path system appear on the earliest plan of the gardens, dated 5 May 1649, drawn by Otto Heider. The rectangular network of paths – characteristic of Renaissance gardens – still function as the framework for the garden life.
The 17th, 18th and 19th century saw garden fashion change from Renaissance to Baroque to Romantic. Lime tree avenues that could be clipped to the desired shape were already fashionable in the early Baroque period. In King’s Gardens these avenues were planted along the already existing paths, Kavalergangen, Damegangen and Husalléen. In the 18th century the gardens were embellished by beautifully arranged parterres, shrubs and avenues, all according to Baroque ideals.
The large area in front of the castle, today serving as drill ground for the Queen’s Guards, was laid out as a parterre, designed around 1730 by Frederik IV’s landscape architect J.C. Krieger.
Quite early in the 18th century most of the gardens were opened to the public. Since then, King’s Gardens have enjoyed a status as Copenhagen’s most frequented and loved gardens.
Opened to the public in 1996, Grønnebro (The Green Bridge) represents a new page in the history of the gardens. So today visitors can walk from the palace directly into the gardens just as Christian IV once did.
King’s Gardens are owned by the state and maintained by the Agency for Palaces & Cultural Properties.
The royal gardens were almost always adorned by sculptures and pavilions. Thus, the tilter’s columns and two of Christian IV’s copper lions, flanking the exit to Grønnebro, still exist.
The sculpture “Horse and Lion”, carved by sculptor Peter Husum, was commissioned by Christian IV in 1617, but was actually erected in the Gardens by Frederik III in 1663. The marble balls, now lining the crocus carpet, have graced the Gardens since 1674.
For many years now the Gardens have hosted different exhibitions in keeping with the ageold tradition of erecting sculptures in the Gardens.
The Hercules Pavilion
The Hercules Pavilion, designed by C.F. Harsdorff (1735-99) still stands at the end of the avenue, where Christian IV built his blue arbour.
The neo-classical temple-like pavilion is the third on the site. It is now home to the Agency for Palaces & Cultural Properties’ culture café, inaugurated in August 1999.