The History of Rosenborg Palace

The History of Rosenborg Palace

Are you planning a trip to Copenhagen? If so, consider adding Rosenborg Castle to your itinerary. Rosenborg Castle is a must-see for history buffs, art lovers or anyone who wants to discover the life and secrets of a famous Danish king.

Table of Contents:

What Is Rosenborg Castle?

Rosenborg Castle, also called Rosenborg Slot, is a 17th-century Renaissance-style castle and museum located in the heart of Copenhagen, Denmark. Once the royal residence of Christian IV, one of the most famous Scandinavian kings, the castle is now one of Copenhagen’s top attractions.

At Rosenborg, you’ll travel back in time and see life through the eyes of royalty as you explore lavishly decorated rooms and beautiful gardens. One of the greatest draws of Rosenborg is its treasury, which houses the Danish crown jewels.

About Rosenborg Castle

Rosenborg was built from 1606 to 1607 as a summer house for Christian IV. At the time, the young king wanted a new space to enjoy life’s pleasures, so he purchased enough land for building his palace and a glorious park. The summer house started small, but by the time it was completely finished in 1633, it had gone through four stages of development and expanded to twice its original size.

The castle quickly became the king’s favorite place. He loved his “pleasure palace” so much that he asked for transportation there as he was dying. He passed away in his bed chamber, which visitors can tour on the castle’s ground floor.

Rosenborg remains an excellent example of the many buildings the king constructed during his reign, some of which are still standing and just as magnificent as they were centuries ago. Since the palace has not been a royal residence since 1710, its interior appears frozen in history. 

When you visit Rosenborg Castle, you’ll get to enjoy all of the following sights:



During the early years of his reign, Christian IV traveled throughout Europe and became inspired by the palaces he saw. He decided to build Rosenborg in the Dutch Renaissance style, drawing ideas from the royal structures of England, France and Germany. Two architects — Bertel Lange and Hans van Steenwinckel — helped bring the king’s vision to life. Many Danish buildings during that time were then built in the same style.

Rosenborg visitors can witness Danish Renaissance architecture in the halls, towers and turrets. Be sure to visit the Marble Room to see an elaborate stucco ceiling decorated with cherubs. 


Rosenborg castle has long held collections of art, heirlooms, glass and porcelain, in addition to the crown jewels. During the 19th century, the castle was converted into a museum to take visitors on a historical journey. In 1838, Rosenborg opened to the public. 

Today, the castle’s interiors are furnished as they would have been back then, and each room holds valuable pieces. Visitors can tour the castle’s many well-preserved rooms and view the exquisite objects they contain. One of the castle’s highlights is the Knights’ Hall, located on the second floor. Once intended to be a ballroom, the hall contains the coronation chairs of Danish kings and queens as well as three lions made of silver, standing at guard. 

If you want to see the king’s humorous side, visit the Dark Room on the ground floor. The Dark Room contains an armchair with concealed securing devices designed to keep a guest strapped to their seat. Pipes in the seat would then release water, stunning the guest with a wet surprise. After the person is released and able to stand up, they and their laughing companions would hear the toot of a trumpet hidden in the seat.


The treasury, located in the castle’s basement, is Rosenborg’s main attraction as it contains the crown jewels. The collection began in 1746 when Queen Sophie Magdalene stated that her jewelry will always stay with the crown. This statement ensured future queens would always have gorgeous jewelry to wear.

Presently, the crown jewels contain four sets of jewelry, which are still worn on special occasions today. You’ll find many other treasures on display, including crowns, weapons, books and other cherished possessions.


The castle is located in King’s Gardens, the oldest royal gardens in Denmark. This beautifully manicured, Renaissance-style garden is free and open to the public. Here you’ll find formal gardens, a restored pavilion and cafe, historical sculptures and tree-lined walkways. It’s the perfect spot for relaxing after exploring the castle or having a midday picnic.

Best Time to Visit the Castle

The best time to visit Rosenborg Castle is in July or August when the weather is warm, the skies are sunny and the gardens overflow with greenery and colorful blooms. Although summer is also the peak tourist season in Denmark, Copenhagen maintains a relaxed feeling all year round.

If you’d rather avoid crowds, consider visiting the castle in May or September, when Denmark’s weather is typically still pleasant. No matter when you plan to see Rosenborg Castle, be sure to check the museum’s hours to ensure it’ll be open when you arrive. 

Tips for Fitting Rosenborg Castle Into Your Trip

Do you plan to visit Copenhagen for only a day or two? If you’re taking a short trip to the city, such as with a cruise, you can easily fit Rosenborg into your schedule. With its central location, Rosenborg Castle is close to many top attractions, such as Stroget, the city’s largest shopping area, and Nyhavn, the place to go for waterfront dining and entertainment. This convenient location means you won’t have to spend too much time driving around and can go from one must-see sight to the next.

Want to fit other museums into your day? Rosenborg is located in Parkmuseerne, Copenhagen’s museum district. Nearby museums include the Natural History Museum of Denmark, the David Collection and the Workers Museum. Regardless of whether you want to visit other museums, landmarks or shops, we recommend you leave room in your day to relax and enjoy the scenery.

Visit Rosenborg Palace With Windstar Cruises

With its ornate, historically accurate interior and lush gardens, Rosenborg Castle is a feast for the eyes. It’s also filled with intriguing stories, giving you a behind-the-scenes glimpse of royal living.

If you’re excited to visit Rosenborg Castle and other Copenhagen attractions, consider taking a Northern Europe cruise with Windstar. On a cruise with Windstar, you’ll visit bustling port cities and small harbors with opportunities to explore wherever you dock. As you sail to each destination on our elegant ships, we’ll ensure you feel pampered and have everything you need to enjoy an authentic voyage.

To learn more about visiting Copenhagen with Windstar Cruises, contact a Windstar Vacation Planner today!


Great deals happen. Don't miss one.
Sign up for our newsletter!

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
Scroll to Top