Great Place Wednesday: Fredericksborg Castle; Hillerod, Denmark

Last week on The Amazing Race, the contestants spent a little time at Fredericksborg Castle, in Hillerod, Denmark, just a few miles outside of Copenhagen.  I visited Fredericksborg in 2008, and it was truly one of the most incredible places I’ve ever visited.  Ask a landscape architect how important the setting of a building is, and they’ll inevitably tell you that “Site is EVERYTHING.”  Place Fredericksborg Castle anyplace else than its stunning setting in the center of a lake, and the impact and majesty of the place would be significantly reduced.

Fredericksborg is the ancestral home for the Danish monarchy, their  Windsor Castle, if you will. For hundreds of years the kings and queens of Denmark were crowned in its chapel, and many royal weddings have happened here as well.

The castle is located adjacent to the tiny town of Hillerod, a distinctly Danish town of bike lanes, narrow streets, and modest but detailed architecture.

The architecture of Fredericksborg is meant to impress–intricate detail, many spires and towers, and many statutes greeting visitors.

The main entry is a small gate on a long, winding bridge out to the island the castle sits on, a remnant of the strategic design elements intended to thwart invasion.

The large courtyard in the center of the castle is a huge, sparse plaza, with a detailed pattern created by brick and cobble pavers.

The interiors are every bit as incredible as the exterior, with gold ceilings and intricate tapestries throughout.