Located on a strategically important site commanding the Sund, the stretch of water between Denmark and Sweden, the Royal castle of Kronborg at Helsingør (Elsinore) is of immense symbolic value to the Danish people and played a key role in the history of northern Europe in the 16th-18th centuries. Work began on the construction of this outstanding Renaissance castle in 1574, and its defences were reinforced according to the canons of the period's military architecture in the late 17th century. It has remained intact to the present day. It is world-renowned as Elsinore, the setting of Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Château de Kronborg
Edifié sur un site stratégique d'une grande importance qui commande le Sund, étendue d'eau entre le Danemark et la Suède, le château royal de Kronborg à Helsingør (Elseneur) revêt une valeur symbolique considérable pour les Danois. Il a également joué un rôle prépondérant dans l'histoire de l'Europe du Nord aux XVIe-XVIIIe siècles. Les travaux de construction de cet exceptionnel château Renaissance ont commencé en 1574 et ses ouvrages défensifs furent renforcés, selon les usages de l'architecture militaire de l'époque, à la fin du XVIIe siècle. Il est demeuré intact jusqu'à nos jours. Il est mondialement connu comme le château d'Elseneur, cadre de Hamlet, la plus célèbre des tragédies de Shakespeare.
شُيّد قصر كرونبورغ في إلسينور على موقع استراتيجي مهم يُطلّ على السوند، هذه المساحة المائيّة بين الدانمرك والسويد، وهو يرتدي أهميّةً رمزيّةً للدانمركيين. أدّى دوراً مهمّاً في تاريخ أوروبا الشماليّة بين القرنين السادس عشر والثامن عشر. بدأت أعمال بناء قصر النهضة الاستثنائي هذا عام 1574 وجرى تدعيم ركائزه الدافعيّة، عملاً بمعطيات الهندسة العسكريّة في تلك الحقبة، أواخر القرن السابع عشر. وهو لا يزال على حاله في يومنا هذا. ويُعرف عالميّاً بقصر إلسينور حيث دارت فصول مسرحيّة هامليت، أشهر قصائد شكسبير.
Королевский замок Кронборг в Хельсингёре (Эльсиноре) располагается в стратегически важном месте, контролируя Эресунн (Зунд) – пролив между Данией и Швецией. Этот замок имеет большое символическое значение для датского народа. Он сыграл ключевую роль в истории Северной Европы в период XVI-XVIII вв. Строительство этого выдающегося замка эпохи Возрождения началось в 1574 г., а затем его оборонительные сооружения были усилены в соответствии с канонами военной архитектуры конца XVII в. Он остается в неизмененном состоянии до настоящего времени и широко известен как Эльсинор – место действия шекспировского "Гамлета".
Castillo de Kronborg
Construido en Helsingør (Elsinor), llave del estrecho de Sund que separa Dinamarca de Suecia, el castillo y palacio real de Kronborg tiene un gran valor simbólico para los daneses. Este excepcional edificio renacentista desempeñó un papel importante en la historia europea desde el siglo XVI hasta el XVIII. Su construcción dio comienzo en 1574 y sus defensas fueron reforzadas a finales del siglo XVII, con arreglo a los cánones de la arquitectura militar de esa época. El edificio ha permanecido intacto hasta nuestros días y es mundialmente conocido con el nombre de castillo de Elsinor, por ser el escenario escogido por Shakespeare para su célebre tragedia “Hamlet”.
Het Koninklijke slot van Kronborg in Helsingør is van grote symbolische waarde voor het Deense volk en speelde een sleutelrol in de geschiedenis van Noord-europa van de 16e tot de 18e eeuw. Het slot ligt op een strategisch belangrijke plaats aan de Sont, de strook water tussen Denemarken. De bouw van dit opmerkelijke Renaissance kasteel begon in 1574. In september 1629 werd Kronborg verwoest door brand en bleven alleen de muren over. Dankzij de onmiddellijke restauratie is het kasteel grotendeels gelijkvormig aan zijn oorspronkelijke vorm. Het slot is tot op heden intact gebleven en wereldwijd bekend als Elsinore, het decor van Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Outstanding Universal Value
Kronborg Castle is located north of Elsinore on a strategically important site commanding the Sound (Øresund), a narrow stretch of water between Denmark and Sweden. From the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, Kronborg Castle played a key role in the history of Northern Europe.
The Sound is the gateway to the Baltic Sea and from 1429 to 1857, Denmark controlled this passage thanks to Kronborg Castle, positioned at the narrowest part of the Sound, which is only four kilometres wide. Around 1.8 million ships passed through the Sound during this period and all of them had to pay a toll at Kronborg Castle. For this reason Kronborg Castle and its fortress became a symbol of Denmark’s power. The Sound toll was not just a source of income; it was also a political instrument. By favouring the shipping trade of selected nations or by allowing their navies free passage, Denmark was in a position to create important alliances. The control of the Sound was essential and it became an important issue in the motives and courses of several wars. For this reason Kronborg Castle was of great significance, not just for Denmark, but for all major seafaring nations.
In the 1420s, Eric of Pomerania built the first castle, the ”Krogen”, on this unique site. Remnants of the old walls can still be seen at the castle today. In 1574 King Frederik II began the construction of the outstanding Renaissance castle and the surrounding fortifications, which would eventually be known as Kronborg Castle. Following the disastrous fire of 1629 the castle was reconstructed almost exactly as it was before. The Chapel, which was the only building not to have been ravaged by the fire, has preserved its original altar, gallery, and pews, with fine carvings and painted panels.
The castle itself is a Renaissance building with four wings surrounding a spacious courtyard. The bright sandstone facades are characterized by horizontal bands and the front walls are balanced by towers and spires. The castle is extensively and richly decorated with sandstone ornaments in unique and imaginative designs. The Great Hall (the banqueting hall) is one of the most exquisite rooms from this time – and the largest of its kind in Northern Europe. Kronborg Castle is also world famous as the setting of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Kronborg Castle was admired for its beauty as a castle and feared for its strength as a fortress. The castle was protected by tall ramparts and strong angular bastions. The overall impression of Kronborg Castle is closely associated with its architecture and location, which stress the castle's symbolic, commercial, and strategic importance.
Criterion (iv): Kronborg Castle is an outstanding example of the Renaissance castle, and one which played a highly significant role in the history of this region of northern Europe.
All the elements required to express Kronborg’s value as a Renaissance castle and military fortress are found within the borders of the inscribed area. For the purposes of effective protection of the important views, a permanent buffer zone has been established and view corridors have been designated. At the time of inscription, a temporary buffer zone of 100 meters had been established around Kronborg Castle. Furthermore, it was required that the passage between Kronborg Castle and the medieval city of Elsinore be opened up. The buffer zone should be defined once an overall plan is decided for this area, including the removal of parts of the former shipyard.
Over the centuries, Kronborg Castle has undergone several alterations. In 1629 the castle was destroyed by a fire, but it was rebuilt shortly after in almost precisely the same shape. In 1658 the fortress was bombarded and conquered by the Swedish army, which subsequently plundered the castle. In 1785, when the military moved into the castle, several alterations were made to the interior space. In 1924-38, when the military no longer occupied the fortress, a thorough restoration took place and the alterations were removed. In 1991 the military finally abandoned the Kronborg area. Throughout the years, the fortifications surrounding the castle have been altered and expanded to accommodate new arms and their ranges. In 1882, when the Elsinore shipyard was founded, the fortress area was partially destroyed. After the closure and demolition of parts of the shipyard in 1982, restoration projects were carried out in order to restore and re-establish the fortified area’s previous size and shape for the purpose of enhancing the experience of the castle’s strategic value.
The exterior of Kronborg Castle has always been well maintained and considerable efforts have been made to ensure its authenticity in terms of design, choice of construction material, and craftsmanship. Continual restoration of the castle’s facades is carried out, including the carving of replicas of the unique sandstone ornaments. All the work on the castle is undertaken with respect for the original choices of building materials and designs.
Protection and management requirements
Kronborg Castle and the surrounding fortifications belong to the Danish State. The castle and the adjoining fortress are listed buildings and protected in accordance with the Preservation of Buildings Act and the Museum Act. This means that all changes must be approved by the Danish Agency for Culture. The castle and its fortress are managed by the Agency for Palaces and Cultural Properties in the Ministry of Culture.
With a view to strengthening the protection of Kronborg Castle, Elsinore City Council and the Danish Agency for Culture joined forces and drew up a final agreement on the buffer zone and the establishment of view corridors. The agreement was implemented in an addendum to the municipal plan, which was approved April 2011. The town plan of the Elsinore Municipality outlines the main features of the city’s development and the framework for the district plan.
The management plan for Kronborg Castle has been prepared and addresses the long term threats against Kronborg. These are mainly building and ground decay, as a result of lack of maintenance, climate or due to fire. These threats are identified and prevented through inspection, maintenance and monitoring, which are carried out by the Agency for Palaces and Cultural Properties. Although Kronborg is a robust fortress, more visitors may cause an increase in the wear and vandalism. This potential threat is addressed through information and guidance for the visitors, electronic and physical surveillance and an increased focus on maintenance. The management plan is regularly reviewed
Kronborg Castle is an outstanding example of the Renaissance castle, and one which played a highly significant role in the history of this region of northern Europe.
After he began to levy duty on ships passing through the Sound between Sjaelland and Skåne around 1425, King Erik of Pomerania built a castle known as Krogen on the site occupied today by Kronborg. It was in 1574 that King Frederik II of Denmark used this site for the construction of his palace, to the designs of the architect Hans van Paeschen. It was given the name of Kronborg three years later, when the Flemish architect, Anthonis van Opbergen from Malines, was instructed to carry out a thorough restoration and enlargement of the palace. One of the new elements added at this time was a capacious banqueting hall, which was used for balls and theatrical performances.
On September 1629 Kronborg was devastated by fire, only the walls being left standing. Christian IV immediately commissioned the Surveyor General, Hans van Steenwinckel the Younger, to carry out the restoration of the castle, which largely conformed to its original appearance. Under Frederik III and Christian V large fortifications were built, the outer defensive works were considerably enlarged under Frederik IV, and the castle itself underwent substantial restoration and alteration. In 1785 it passed to the military. It has remained intact to the present day. It is world-renowned as Elsinore, the setting of Shakespeare's Hamlet.
The oldest part of Kronborg Castle consists of the two lower floors on the eastern end of the north wing, which formed part of Erik of Pomerania's Kroge castle. The medieval brickwork here extends well into the present-day third storey. Frederik II's palace was based on this relatively modest structure. The north wing was extended and joined to the old banqueting hall on the west, which was divided up to become the kitchen, brewhouse and guest chambers. To the south a medieval brick house was converted into an imposing royal chapel. The result was a three-sided complex of two-storey buildings; there appear to have been no buildings on the east side, overlooking the Sound, which was closed only by the earlier curtain wall.
With the king's abrupt change of plan in 1577, a magnificent banqueting hall was built on the south, joined to the north wing by a new three-storey suite of rooms with a regular courtyard facade. The lofty Trumpeter's Tower was added on the south side. At the same time a third storey was added to the buildings on the other three sides. Following the disastrous fire of 1629, the castle was reconstructed almost exactly as it had been before. The result is a Renaissance palace that reflects the piecemeal nature of its construction, with only the west wing having a facade designed as an integrated whole. The interior of the castle presents the same heterogeneity of style and layout as the exterior.
The chapel, which was the only building not to have been ravaged by fire in 1629, preserves its original altar, gallery and pews, with fine carvings and painted panels. The north wing, now a three-storey building faced with sandstone, has the royal apartments on its second storey. Although the layout of rooms is much as it was at the time of Frederik II, the decoration dates mainly from the 17th and 18th centuries. The top floor of the east wing was arranged as a long gallery in 1583, to enable the queen to reach the Banqueting Hall in the south wing.
The latter appears originally to have been divided into two levels at its east end, presumably providing a gallery, which has been removed. In its original form the Banqueting Hall had a magnificently carved and gilded ceiling and its walls were hung with tapestries. After the fire of 1629 it was rebuilt, to a greater height but less lavishly decorated. Only 14 of the tapestries, prepared for the north wall and depicting Danish kings, have survived; of these seven are on display at Kronborg, the remainder being in the National Museum in Copenhagen. Other important components of the Kronborg complex are the Little Hall in the west wing, the so-called 'Scottish Suite' in the west wing, and Frederik V's apartments on the top floor of the north wing.Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC