Constantin Hansen (1804-1880), Slottet Kronborg, 1834. SMK

William Shakespeare and the Danish poet Hans Christian Andersen both linked unforgettable figures to the castle Kronborg
I know that Shakespeare chose the Castle Kronborg as a focal point for Hamlet.
But who put Holger Danske in the casemates in Kronborg, a figure cast in concrete?

I found out that Hans Christian Andersen wrote a fairytale about Holger Danske in Kronborg, which was first published on Apr. 7, 1845.
In 1907 a hotel close to Kronborg ordered a bronze statue of Holger Danske.
The sculptor Hans Pedersen-Dan created a large plaster figure, which formed the basis for the mold of the real statue.
This gypsum figure was placed in the casemate of Kronborg, and became far more famous than the finished statue.
In 1985, the plaster figure was so destroyed by moisture that it was replaced with a copy in concrete.

But we have a saying in Danish: What knowledge do farmers have about cucumber salad?
Perhaps Holger Danske was in fact a dog, a Grand Danois, who belonged to a knight.
The big dogs were trained to run ahead of the front and frighten the enemy’s horses witless.
And what about Shakespeare? Maybe it wasn’t Shakespeare that wrote Hamlet!
This terrible hypothesis is made available by a British Shakespeare researcher and former university teacher, Brenda James, and Professor William Rubinstein of the University of Wales in Aberystwyth.
They claim that the real Shakespeare was an English politician and diplomat Sir Henry Neville, who was the descendant of King Edward III and Johan of Gaunt.

The stories of Holger Danske origin is found in the early European poems and epics known as Chansons de Geste.
He first appears in The Song of Roland from the middle of the 12th century as one of Charlemagne’s knights under the name Ogier le Danois.
From the beginning of the 13th century he is found in the song La Chevalerie. In the song, he is the son of the Danish king Gudfred and will be handed over to Charlemagne, ruler of the Frankish Empire as a hostage for peace.

When Gudfred breaks the peace Ogier must die, but the ladies of Charlemagne’s court earnestly pray to spare Ogier’s life because they liked him, and since he is not guilty of his father’s actions, he will be spared.
Later in the 13th century Ogier is found in the poem Les Enfances where Ogier is portrayed as an honorable knight of Charlemagne’s court, and at the end of the song he leads the Frankish army to victory over the Saracens.

In Nordic literature Holger Danske appears in poems inspired by the French, the first time in Karlemagnussaga under the name Oddgeir danski.

In the Danish legend Ogier becomes a king in the mountain; he is said to dwell in the castle of Kronborg, his beard grown down to the floor. He will sleep there until some day when the country of Denmark is in peril, at which time he will rise up and save the nation.


The painting: Constantin Hansen (1804-1880), Slottet Kronborg, 1834. SMK

The old town of Elsinore is like stepping into a fairy tale. One sunny day we went for a stroll from the harbour to Kronborg Castle. Old medieval buildings lure with history, interesting facts and legends. Elsinore and Kronborg Castle always entice with a tale.

Mural, Hamlet
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and, by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub.

William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Copyright © Hanna Greenwood, Hanna’s Walk 2016.

Elsinore by Wikipedia

Fredensborg Slot

Some years ago we visited Fredensborg Palace together with some friends after a memorable picnic in Gribskov just on the other side of Esrum Lake.
Today the weather is cold and grey but I learned that Fredensborg Palace, the beautiful garden and the lake are always worth a visit.

The Crown Prince Couple Frederik and Mary live in Fredensborg, and Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik often use the palace as a summer residence.
Fredensborg Castle has many anniversaries for the royal family.
The queen has often expressed happy feelings about the palace. She has always felt comfortable in the house and the lovely surroundings.

Nordmandsdalen is an amphitheatre where the sculptures in human size envision Norwegian and Faroese hunters, fishermen and farmers.
If you wander around in your own thoughts you might easily get the feeling of being watched.
The sculptures were finished in 1784.

If you want to visit Esrum Lake you can rent a canoe and a tent. For further information look here: Velkommen til Kano- & Kajakcenter Esrum Sø

Wish you all some lovely summerdays.
…and don’t forget your packed lunch.

I’ve spent magical times on my walks at Frederiksborg Castle north of Copenhagen. Winter evenings were beautiful. The Stable Street and portals, gate towers and turrets, the courtyards and of course the view of Frederiksborg Castle, covered with snow all together added the impression of a fairy tale.
These delights are surrounded by wonderful castle gardens.

My plan was to revisit the renaissance castle, the baroque garden and not least the ordinary and spectacular garden with ponds and old trees. Bathhouse, hunting castle and the grazing Dexter cows. Well you might not call it ordinary after all.

Ducks Waiting
Oh! What were the ducks waiting for?

They are waiting for their feathers to grow out properly so they can fly over the castle and enjoy the beautiful sight of all the glory. They will also take the opportunity to forage.

Please remember your lunch!


The history of the castle

Lost lakes and castles

Do you want to take a walk at the ruins of Søborg Castle?
“No, it’s too cold, it’s too boring, and it’s windy.” In fact, I already knew the answer, but just wanted it confirmed.
I was determined to make the excursion, I therefore went by train to Mårum station in North Sealand and walked through the woods towards Saltrup. There was more snow here than at home, and it was freezing cold in the woods. The mist had packed between the fir trees and the cold was noticeable. Perhaps it was a bad idea after all, I thought, but soon the day revealed itself as one of the best.

We have previously walk from Gribskov, past the ruin of Søborg Castle and towards Gilleleje, but it was summer and the birds were singing.
Now a buzzard cries over my head, and a woodpecker is doing its best to find insects and larvae in a dead tree. It is a natural scenario that suits me well.
After Saltrup I’m out in the open country, the wind is at my back, the sun is shining and the scenery is wildly beautiful.

This landscape is not mountainous, haha! But there are ‘high ceilings’, and the tranquillity is predominant apart from the mandatory farm dogs that gets today’s experience when I pass them, or is it vice versa?

On a very long distance, I can see the church of Søborg, located in a short distance from the ruins of Søborg Castle.

I freeze despite several thin layers of wool, and I’m almost hallucinated.
It’s the hot meals which haunt me as great fantasy monsters. Delicious roast, supplemented with lots of vegetables, potatoes and a glas of Burgundy’s Grand Cru.

The experience of the ruin in the dawn going sun is worth it all. It’s not hard to imagine the impression the castle must have had on travellers who saw the castle towering over the lake.

I enjoy the snowy landscape and the ruins in the setting sun one last time before I decide to go to the nearest train station several kilometers away.

Along the way I make driver punches and jumps to keep warm.

“At the village Søborg in north-east Zealand is today the ruins of Søborg Castle. In the Middle Ages Søborg Castle was one of the largest and most fortified castles. Several kings stayed for periods of Søborg including Erik Menved and Valdemar Atterdag whose daughter Margrethe I also was born at the castle. Since the castle was considered to be very safe, it was also used as a prison for the most dangerous enemies of the monarchy. “① natmus.dk

Vil du med op til Søborg Slotsruin?
“Nej, det er for koldt, det er for kedeligt og det blæser.”  I virkeligheden kendte jeg allerede svaret, men ville bare have det bekræftet.

Jeg var fast besluttet på turen, så jeg tog toget til Mårum station, og gik gennem skoven op til Saltrup. Der lå mere sne her end hjemme, og der var isnende koldt i skoven. Tågedisen havde pakket sig mellem granerne, og kulden var mærkbar. Måske er det her alligevel en dårlig ide, tænkte jeg, men det varede ikke længe før dagen åbenbarede sig som én af de bedste.

Vi har før vandret fra Gribskov mod nord, forbi Søborg Slotsruin og mod Gilleleje, men det var sommer og fuglene sang. Nu skriger en rovfugl over mit hoved, og en flagspætte gør sit bedste for at finde insekter og larver i et udgået træ. Det er et natur scenarie, der passer mig godt.

Efter Saltrup er jeg ude i det åbne land, vinden er i ryggen, solen skinner, og landskabet er vildt smukt.

Det er ikke bjergrigt, haha! Men der er højt til loftet, og der er stille bortset fra de obligatoriske gårdhunde, der får dagens oplevelse, når jeg passerer dem, eller er det omvendt?

På meget lang afstand kan jeg se Søborg kirke, der ligger i kort afstand fra Søborg Slotsruin.
Som sædvanligt har jeg koncentreret mig mest om at komme afsted, hjem kan jeg altid komme.

Men alligevel får jeg et problem. Jeg fryser trods flere tynde uldlag, og så er jeg nærmest hallucineret.
Det er den varme mad, der spøger som fantastiske fantasimonstre. Lækre stege, suppleret med masser af grønsager, kartofler og den helt rigtige rødvin.

Oplevelsen ved slotsruinen er dog det hele værd. Solen er på vej ned, og det er ikke svært at forestille sig, hvilket indtryk slottet må have gjort på folk, der kom rejsende til fods eller til hest.

Jeg står et øjeblik efter i Søborg by, og overvejer hjemtransporten. Det ender med en vandretur til Græsted i halvmørke uden refleksbrikker. Jeg lærer det nok en dag.

“Ved landsbyen Søborg i Nordøstsjælland ligger i dag ruinerne af Søborg Slot. I middelalderen var Søborg Slot én af Danmarks største og bedst befæstede borge. Flere konger opholdt sig i perioder på Søborg Slot heriblandt Erik Menved og Valtemar Atterdag, hvis datter Margrethe I i øvrigt blev født på slottet. Eftersom anlægget blev anset som værende særdeles sikkert, blev det ligeledes benyttet som fængsel for de farligste fjender af kongemagten.

Søborg var i middelalderen en betydningsfuld borg, beliggende i Søborg sø. Ved borgen opstod købstaden Søborg. Anlægget er opført i flere faser. Ifølge traditionen var Biskop Eskild bygherre i midten af 1100-tallet. Valdemar d. Store indtog borgen i 1161, hvorefter den kom i kronens eje. Valdemar Atterdag udbygger tilsyneladende anlægget i 1300-tallet. Borgen blev ødelagt under Grevens fejde og lenet lagt under Krogen. I 1790-erne påbegyndes arkæologiske undersøgelser ved sognepræsten, og i 1850 foretog Frd. VII undersøgelser af selve slotsholmen. Nationalmuseet har undersøgt og istandsat ruinerne fra omk. 1900 til 1947, hvor man stoppede brat ved C M Smidts død.” ① natmus.dk
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