Today was a glorious day! The sun was shining, the air was fresh, and it was time for an adventure outside the city! Our teacher had arranged for our class to visit the ruins of Æbelholt Abbey, an old Augustinian monastery, which is located 5 km. west of Hillerød in Northern Zealand. Because of its remote location, a few of us chose to take our bikes on the train to Hillerød and then bike to the monastery from there. Visiting Æbelholt Abbey was an interesting experience, which I’ll be writing a lot more about in a later post on all of the amazing excursions on Zealand that we’ve been having on this course.
Before leaving in the morning, I looked at a map of Hillerød to see if there was anything else interesting nearby that I just had to see. And sure enough, there was! Being from Jutland, I know almost nothing about the amazing sights that Zealand and the other parts of Denmark have to offer. This is something that I want to change, which is also one of my main reasons for moving to Copenhagen. I want to explore my home country some more; and I want to see every corner of it. Despite what a lot of Danes think, Denmark IS an amazing country with heaps to see and do. I can completely understand why tourists come here, and I’m proud to call it my home.
Denmark may not be at all mountainous, but we do have lakes, forests, beautiful coastlines and so much more. And then there’s our cultural heritage. There is so much history in Denmark (and Scandinavia in general) and it can be seen everywhere in the landscape. Wherever you go, you’ll see something that was built hundreds of years ago. Usually, that will be a white stone church in Romanesque style from the Middle Ages, but sometimes it’s something even more extraordinary. Sometimes maybe even a castle will appear, and that’s exactly what happened to me today.
While looking at the map, I saw that in the middle of Hillerød lies Frederiksborg Castle and its castle garden with an area of 95 hectare, and I quickly figured out that this was not a sight that I wanted to miss. Since I was already in the area, I decided to pay it a visit.
Frederiksborg Castle is the largest Renaissance castle in Scandinavia. The first part of the castle was built by King Frederick 2. in 1560, but most of it was demolished in the early 17th century when his son, King Christian 4., decided to build a new castle as his royal residence. The castle is situated on three islets in the castle lake, and is adjoined by the large castle garden in Baroque style.
The pictures above show Frederiksborg Castle from the road that runs through the center of Hillerød – just how gorgeous is that!? No one can come and say that Denmark has nothing to offer tourists, because the proof is right there. I can’t believe that I hadn’t ever heard about this place before!
I spent a few hours in the castle garden, biking around all the different sections, eating my picnic on a bench in the Baroque Garden near a fountain, and just enjoying the amazing late summer weather that we’ve been having in Denmark lately.
Visiting Frederiksborg Castle was one of many trips around Zealand that I’ll be doing in the next few years. Since I’m now at university, I won’t be able to travel as much as I have done in the past two years, but that simply means more time to explore my home country; Denmark. It’s so easy to take it for granted when it’s right there in front of you, but with this new plan, I’m trying to not do that. Denmark is at my feet, and my trusty bike and I are going to grab this chance to explore something new. I hope you’ll come along on the journey with me!