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Hamlets Castle Elsinore Attractions sights and activities North Sealand
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Kronborg Castle, Elsinore

Internationally known as "Hamlet's Castle Elsinore"

Kronborg Castle raises its mighty towers at the narrowest point between Sweden and Denmark coasts, renaissance castle Kronborg lights up with its towers, arches, sandstone and magnificent copper roofs. Kronborg Castle is a castle in class and designated World Heritage by UNESCO

Kronborg Castle in Elsinore, at the entrance to the Sound is one of Northern Europe's most important Renaissance castles. It is also the most famous Danish castle, known worldwide from William Shakespeare's Hamlet, Holger the Danish and is visited each year by about 250,000 Danish and foreign tourists / visitors and is a great Danish tourist attraction.

Tillid og tryghed Konservative Folkeparti

Hamlet: Kronborg Castle is known all over the world as Elsinore Castle or Hamlet´s Castle and the setting for William Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet, one of the most famous and frequently performed stage plays in the world.

We have placed Kronborg Castle at the "Elsinore Historical City Walk" on your mobile phone or printable PDF as No.

Frederik den 2. Kronborg Slot dansesalen - riddersalen Kronborg Slot Kongetapeterne Kronborg Slot
King Frederik the. 2.
The Dance Hall
Kronborg wallpapers
Holger Danske Kronborg Slot Kasematterne Kronborg Slot Hamlet Kronborg Slot
Holger the Dane the underground passages Hamlet
Slotskirken Kronborg Slot Telegraftårnet Kronborg Slot Kronborg Slot Hamlets Castle
Kronborg Castle Church Telegraph Tower The History

Kronborg Castle History short

Frederik den 2. Kronborg Slot

In more than 400 years was Kronborg Castle headquarters for the collection of Sound Due. Kronborg is a legend in its heyday in the late 1500s. With Kronborg dangerous guns pointing directly at the ships in the narrowest Sound passage, daring seafarers nothing more than to pay the Danish king to sail pass by. Sound Dues fills the king's coffin, and Frederik d. 2. beautifies Kronborg with spiers, towers, sandstone and copper roof. Kronborg Castle is one of the finest Renaissance castles. Sea travels trade men, diplomats and royal recounts the magnificent castle and court of Elsinore with pomp, pageantry and cannon greetings.

William Shakespeare Hamlet Elsinore
William Shakespeare

Hamlet and Kronborg
The legend’s association with Elsinore and Kronborg did not begin until Shakespeare, presumably due to Elsinore’s status as one of the world’s most important towns in the 1600s. Thanks to the Sound Dues which was a special toll that all passing ships had to pay in the town, Elsinore had become a traffic hub for international shipping.

From Amleth to Hamlet
The figure of Hamlet appeared for the first time more than 800 years ago in Saxo Grammaticus’ Gesta danorum, or History of the Danes. From Saxo the legend continued to Danish writer Christiern Pedersen, who published a story about “Amleth” in 1514. 

This publication made the drama famous outside Denmark. A French version of the story was authored by François de Belleforest in the 1500s, and when English dramaturge Thomas Kyd interpreted the work in 1590, he turned it into a drama of revenge.

Presumably inspired by Kyd’s now lost rendition, William Shakespeare wrote the play “The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark” around 1600, thereby immortalising Saxo’s legendary prince.

Shakespeare used the names Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern for two noblemen in the play. It is not known whether Shakespeare was thinking of anybody in particular when he chose these names, but Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern, or in Danish “Gyldenstjerne”, were the most powerful and wealthiest families in Denmark in the 14th and 15th centuries. Shakespeare had also seen the famous Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe’s family crest, with Brahe’s ancestors Sophie Gyldenstjerne and Erik Rosenkrantz.

Hamlet  is one of the most famous and frequently performed stage plays in the world. Since the 1600s, countless theatrical productions at the castle and many other venues have endeavoured to keep the legend of Hamlet alive. That is why Kronborg is now known all over the world as Hamlet’s castle, and Elsinore is known as the Town of Hamlet.

The Shakespeare Festival at Hamlet's Castle

It is now an established tradition that there a performances of plays by William Shakespeare at Kronborg Castle every summer.

Shakespeare festival at Hamlets Castle Elsinore

HamletScenen invites you to a series of magical Shakespearean evenings at Kronborg Castle in the company of guests from around the world. When the August sun sets over the historic town of Elsinore, HamletScenen will be joining forces with some world-renowned theatre companies to guarantee you some exclusive experiences in the Castle courtyard. Shakespeare’s popular works will transport you all on a journey that alternates between seriousness and poetry, and rhythm and musicality. World-class entertainment will provide you with food for thought and contemplation as you make your way home from the Castle along the banks of the torch-lit moat.

Shakespeare at Hamlet’s Castle is a major Danish event and a tradition, which started in 1816 here at Kronborg Castle: spectacular, startling, world-class interpretations of Shakespeare, staged and performed by some of the most widely acclaimed artists and theatre companies of their time. These open-air performances are presented every August in the courtyard of Kronborg Castle.

Read more about William Shakespeare and Hamlet play very short.

Read much more about Kronborg, click on the top right menu link

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More about Kronborg Castle

Kronborg Helsingør  Hamlets Castle Elsinore

Kronborg Castle - in which Shakespeare's Hamlet take place and in the casemates Holger the Dane sleep. Kronborg Castle was finished in 1585. The builder was Frederick II, and the architects were Hans Van Pieschen and Anthonis Van Opbergen. Elsinore castle / Kronborg Castle, with its unique location on the Sound, contains among other things Northern Europe's largest hall (62 x 12 m), the king and queen's chambers, the Privy Council Chamber, Queen's gallery and the chapel. Kronborg has among other 7 by Hans Knieper royal tapestries, made the hall, and coming in 1585.

Kronborg Castle on UNESCO World Heritage Site
Kronborg Castle was November 30, 2000 declared a World monument at a conference in Cairns in Australia. This is Kronborg officially become part of the world cultural heritage. It is the UN organization UNESCO's World Heritage Committee at its annual session chose to put Kronborg on the prestigious World Heritage List. The list includes more than 600 monuments, buildings, cities, scenery etc. worldwide, which is estimated to be of universal significance.

In good company
Kronborg Castle is listed in the company of, among other things Pyramids, the Acropolis and the Great Wall.
Kronborg Castle gets the coveted status because the castle is a unique example of Renaissance castles, which even has played a significant role in Northern Europe's history.


Frederik den 2. Kronborg Slot

King Frederik 2.
Frederik 2. reigns from 1559 to 1588 and held lavish parties at Kronborg Castle. Kronborg was built to impress the many visitors who come from near and far to celebrate for days. They were serviced with future gourmet dishes and beer in barrels full.

Before Frederik 2. is married, he is most concerned to be Scandinavia's most powerful king. For seven years he is fighting an exhausting war against its rival in Sweden, Erik 14th.

After seven years of war, none can call himself the victor. Frederik 2. spend the rest of his days to rebuild his reputation as king of the north in the Baltic and fill the treasury again. money box is virtually empty after the failed wars.

 Frederik 2. put a senior official, Peter ox to raise more money in Sound customs box. Sound Toll was at beginning a rose nobel per. ship, but Peter ox changed duty to cargo customs fee instead. It filled very well in the king's private money coffers and could be used to finance castles (Kronborg example) and wars that swallowed a lot of money. Very smart it was, because the ships were increased, could go further and carry more cargo and specific products, all contributed to higher revenues. Greeted a ship correctly or attempted a ship failing to pay, fired Kronborg warning shots, either from Kronborg or guard ship in the Sound. The incident was followed by "pay a fine" shoot money for guns and bullets. It will be a profitable gold mine, and the revenue ensures the construction of magnificent castle Kronborg Castle in 1574 and onwards.

In 1572 married Frederik second with his young Queen Sophie. Their relationship is known as one of the happiest royal marriages in Europe. In the first ten years after the wedding night will have seven children and they are inseparable. Sophie accompanying the king on most of his travels.


The Royal Apartments

Hamlets Castle Elsinore

The Royal Chambers, the Ballroom and the Little Hall

The Royal Chambers

The king and queen resided in the royal chambers whenever they were in residence at Kronborg Castle. The royal chambers were originally established during Frederik II's rebuilding of Krogen into Kronborg Castle, but had to be rebuilt by Christian IV after the fire of 1629.

The Ballroom

Dansesalen til fest og fornøjelse Hamlets Castle Elsinore

The Ballroom was the largest royal hall in Northern Europe (62 x 12 metres). The series of large paintings on the walls were originally made from 1618 to 1631 for the Great Hall of Copenhagen's Rosenborg Castle.

The Little Hall

Hamlets Castle Elsinore

In the Little Hall you will find seven tapestries originally from a series of forty tapestries portraying one hundred Danish kings. The tapestries were commissioned by Frederik II around 1580. Seven more tapestries are at the National Museum of Denmark, while the rest have been lost.


The Casemates

kasematterne Kronborg Hamlets Castle Elsinore

The word "casemate" is Latin, meaning "home in the darkness".

In these damp, low areas, soldiers would stay for longer periods during sieges and bombardments. It takes little imagination to picture how demanding, physically and mentally, it must have been to be confined for days or even months in the damp and sinister casemates.

The casemates are situated in the castle´s four protruding bastions. The bastions were constructed in 1574-76 as a part of the modernization of the medieval castle of Krogen, the end result being the splendid renaissance castle of Kronborg. Although approximately four metres thick, the old encircling wall of Krogen could no longer resist the improved striking power of the 16th century cannons. The new fortifications, on the other hand, would keep the enemy in proper distance from the main castle.


Read much more about Kronborg, click on the top right menu link

Kronborg burns down
But Kronborg was to experience several dramatic events. On the night of 25 September 1629 the castle was ravaged by fire and only the chapel survived. Christian IV rebuilt the castle, carrying out modernisations and extensive new decorations in the Baroque style. In September 1658 Kronborg was shelled and captured by the Swedes, who took many valuable art treasures as spoils, including a fantastic ornamental fountain from Frederik II's time.


The Crownwork
In the years that followed, work was carried out on the outer fortifications, and in 1690 Christian V built the Crownwork as an advanced defence against a land attack. From this time on the castle was not generally used as a residence by the royal family, and in 1785 the army converted it into barracks. A number of rooms were rebuilt, but after the army left the castle in 1923, it was thoroughly renovated and restored to how it had been in the days of Frederik II and Christian IV.


Holger the Dane

For centuries, Holger the Dane has been an important national symbol for the Danish people.

The Statue’s Origins

Holger Danske Kronborg Hamlets Castle Elsinore

A bronze statue of the figure Holger the Dane, or Holger Danske, was commissioned for Hotel Marienlyst in Elsinore in 1907. The plaster figure on which the statue was based was set up in the casemates of Kronborg and gradually became much more famous than the bronze version. The statue was sculpted by Hans Pedersen-Dan.

In 1985, the plaster cast had to be replaced with a concrete replica because it had been ruined by the damp climate of the casemates.

The Legend

The legend did not originate in Denmark at all, however, but appeared for the first time in Chanson de Roland, a principal work in medieval French literature. Holger the Dane appears in the work as one of Charlemagne’s great warriors named “Ogier le Danois”. 

Later the tale of Holger the Dane wandered northward, appearing for the first time in Scandinavia around 1510. A Danish version of the tale was published in 1534 entitled “Kong Olger Danskes Krønike”, or The Chronicle of King Olger the Dane. As the author Christiern Pedersen came from Elsinore, the heroic figure became naturally associated with Kronborg. The book was republished several times and was a primary source of inspiration for the Danish populace’s knowledge and awareness of the bearded giant Holger the Dane.

According to the legend, when the kingdom is threatened by a foreign enemy, the stone figure will turn into flesh and blood, and Holger the Dane will rise to defend his country.

The legend of this heroic mythical character was also a source of inspiration for literature and music. Hans Christian Andersen, for instance, wrote the fairytale “Holger the Dane” in 1845.

Read much more about Kronborg, click on the top right menu link


Kronborg Castle - in which Shakespeare's Hamlet take place and if casemates Holger Danish sleep - was finished in 1585.

 The builder was Frederick II, and the architects were Hans Van Pieschen and Anthonis Van Opbergen. 

Kronborg Castle, with its unique location on the Sound, contains among other things Northern Europe's largest hall (62 x 12 m), the king and queen's chambers, the Privy Council Chamber, Queen's gallery and the chapel. Kronborg Castle has among other 7 by Hans Knieper royal tapestries, made the hall, and coming in 1585.

Opening Hours at Kronborg Castle

January - March
Tuesday - Sunday 11:00 - 16:00
Please note the Castle is closed on Mondays.
Last admission is 30 minutes before closing time.

April - May
Daily 11:00 - 16:00
Last admission is 30 minutes before closing time. 

June - September
Daily 10:00 - 17:30
Last admission is 30 minutes before closing time.

October
Daily 11:00 - 16:00
Last admission is 30 minutes before closing time.
Please note: From 16th of October until 22nd of October the castle is open from 10:00 until 17:00 due to the castle's Renaissance Festival. The castle is closed Monday 31st of October.

November - December
Tuesday - Sunday 11:00 - 16:00
Please note the Castle is closed on Mondays
Last admission is 30 minutes before closing time.
The castle is closed for the public on 24, 25, 26 and 31 December 2016 and on 1 and 2 of January 2017.
The castle was in 2000 on UNESCO's world heritage list.

Read more about Elsinore Hamlet´s City

Do not forget that Elsinore has many more sights and attractions, try and see "Elsinore Historical City Walk"


Shakespeares Hamlet

William Shakespeare's Hamlet and Ophelia the play takes place at Kronborg Castle Elsinore

Hamlet  Prince of Denmark  1603  " To be or Not to be "

William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare

Kronborg Castle
Kronborg Castle or Hamlets Castle, immortalised by William Shakespeare, is situated at Helsingør or "Elsinore" and built by King Frederik II in 1590.

William Shakespeare Hamlet Kronborg Slot
Hamlet by William Shakespeare

After the fire in 1629 his son the great builder among Danish Kings Christian IV completed the building of Kronborg Castle in 1638.
Kronborg lies at the entrance of Øresund, which was the ideal position to collect Sound Duties from ships entering Øresund to secure taxes and revenues.

Hamlet is without question the most famous play in the English language. Probably written in 1601 or 1602, the tragedy is a milestone in Shakespeare’s dramatic development; the playwright achieved artistic maturity in this work through his brilliant depiction of the hero’s struggle with two opposing forces: moral integrity and the need to avenge his father’s murder.

Everywhere in the old medieval town of Elsinore, you will find traces and imprints certifying the tragic story of "Hamlet" written by William Shakespeare, and everywhere in the world, you hear the words quote "To Be or Not To Be"

Hamlet story short

On a dark winter night, a ghost walks the ramparts of Elsinore Castle in Denmark, and was discovered first by a pair of watchmen, later by the scholar Horatio, the ghost resembles the recently dead King Hamlet, whose brother Claudius has inherited the throne and married the dead king’s widow, Queen Gertrude. When Horatio and the watchmen told Prince Hamlet, the son of Gertrude and the dead king, to see the ghost, the ghost speaks to him, declaring ominously that it is indeed his father’s spirit, and that he was murdered by none other than Claudius. Ordering Hamlet to seek revenge on the man who usurped his throne and married his wife, the ghost disappears with the dawn.

William Shakespeare Hamlet Kronborg Slot
The ghost in the moat, photographed by Esben Garn on August 20, 2018 at 00:01

The Ghost, The Old, Now Dead King Hamlet is often seen walks the ramparts of "Hamlets Castle"
In 2008, Kronborg reviewed a comprehensive renovation and the old moat was brought back to their original after being covered for 100 years.

Since then, more tourists and local citizens have seen a light sharpened several places in the moat around Hamlets Castle. Especially throughout August 2018, it has been found that the moat, several places brightened sharply around midnight.

Older citizens in Helsingør say that it is the Ghost, the old King Hamlet, where there are still more secrets to tell about Claudius, others believe it is the beautiful Ophelia swimming unhappily and restlessly around in the water.

 

William Shakespeare Hamlet Ophelia
Ophelia Sitting on the base of a tree, the young Ophelia drops flowers into the water in which she will drown herself. Hamlet, Prince of Denmark 1603

Prince Hamlet devotes himself to avenging his father’s death, but, because he is contemplative and thoughtful by nature, he delays, entering into a deep melancholy and even apparent madness. Claudius and Gertrude worry about the prince’s erratic behavior and attempt to discover its cause. They employ a pair of Hamlet’s friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, to watch him. When Polonius, the pompous Lord Chamberlain, suggests that Hamlet may be mad with love for his daughter, Ophelia, Claudius agrees to spy on Hamlet in conversation with the girl. But though Hamlet certainly seems mad, he does not seem to love Ophelia: he orders her to enter a nunnery monastery and declares that he wishes to prohibit marriages.

A group of traveling actors comes to Elsinore, and Hamlet seizes upon an idea to test his uncle’s guilt. He will have the players perform a scene closely resembling the sequence by which Hamlet imagines his uncle to have murdered his father, so that if Claudius is guilty, he will surely react. When the moment of the murder arrives in the theater, Claudius leaps up and leaves the room. Hamlet and Horatio agree that this proves his guilt. Hamlet goes to kill Claudius but finds him praying. Since he believes that killing Claudius while in prayer would send Claudius’s soul to heaven, Hamlet considers that it would be an inadequate revenge and decides to wait. Claudius, now frightened of Hamlet’s madness and fearing for his own safety, orders that Hamlet be sent to England at once.

Hamlet goes to confront his mother, in whose bedchamber Polonius has hidden behind a tapestry. Hearing a noise from behind the tapestry, Hamlet believes the king is hiding there. He draws his sword and stabs through the fabric, killing Polonius. For this crime, he is immediately dispatched to England with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. However, Claudius’s plan for Hamlet includes more than banishment, as he has given Rosencrantz and Guildenstern sealed orders for the King of England demanding that Hamlet be put to death.

Ophelia painted by John Everett Millais (1852)
Ophelia painted by John Everett Millais (1852)

When Prince Hamlet murders Ophelia's father Polonius, Ophelia becomes insane and drowning herself into the moat while she sings in sorrow and madness. 

John Everett Millais has painted the dead Ofelia. The painting is called Ophelia and was painted 1851-1852. 

The painting is fore opservation in Tate Britain in London and reminds much of what you can be lucky to experience in the moat around Hamlets Castle Elsinore.

Now where the moat around Hamlet's Castle has been cleaned and brought back to Prince Hamlet's time, you can be lucky and experience Ophelia singing ind the moat brighter clearer in different places, exactly after the Cityes Church Clock has hit 24:00.

Note! "Many turists have photographed Ophelia in the moat with their I-Phone, but if it's the flash or the modern technology Ophelia does not like, wee do not know, but use an old-fashioned SLR camera at a very slow shutter speed.

It's a little creepy, put warm clothes on, YOU GET AWAY SKIN.

In the aftermath of her father’s death, Ophelia goes mad with grief and drowns in the moat around the castle. Polonius’s son, Laertes, who has been staying in France, returns to Denmark in a rage. Claudius convinces him that Hamlet is to blame for his father’s and sister’s deaths. When Horatio and the king receive letters from Hamlet indicating that the prince has returned to Denmark after pirates attacked his ship en route to England, Claudius concocts a plan to use Laertes’ desire for revenge to secure Hamlet’s death. Laertes will fence with Hamlet in innocent sport, but Claudius will poison Laertes’ blade so that if he draws blood, Hamlet will die. As a backup plan, the king decides to poison a goblet, which he will give Hamlet to drink should Hamlet score the first or second hits of the match. Hamlet returns to the vicinity of Elsinore just as Ophelia’s funeral is taking place. Stricken with grief, he attacks Laertes and declares that he had in fact always loved Ophelia. Back at the castle, he tells Horatio that he believes one must be prepared to die, since death can come at any moment. A foolish courtier named Osric arrives on Claudius’s orders to arrange the fencing match between Hamlet and Laertes.

The sword-fighting begins. Hamlet scores the first hit, but declines to drink from the king’s proffered goblet. Instead, Gertrude takes a drink from it and is swiftly killed by the poison. Laertes succeeds in wounding Hamlet, though Hamlet does not die of the poison immediately. First, Laertes is cut by his own sword’s blade, and, after revealing to Hamlet that Claudius is responsible for the queen’s death, he dies from the blade’s poison. Hamlet then stabs Claudius through with the poisoned sword and forces him to drink down the rest of the poisoned wine. Claudius dies, and Hamlet dies immediately after achieving his revenge.

Norwegian army to Denmark. - A  Norwegian prince named Fortinbras, who has led an army to Denmark and attacked Poland earlier in the play, enters with ambassadors from England, who report that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead. Fortinbras is stunned by the gruesome sight of the entire royal family lying sprawled on the floor dead. He moves to take power of the kingdom. Horatio, fulfilling Hamlet’s last request, tells him Hamlet’s tragic story. Fortinbras orders that Hamlet be carried away in a manner befitting a fallen soldier.


a guest had seen Hamlet performance in Helsingor, and  wrote in 2013
I’m back to University on Sunday and I suppose getting a bit of a head start on the reading is quite good. If you’re reading this now after I just posted this then I know that the scheduled publishing feature works great on this site as I am currently watching Spamalot at the Playhouse Theatre in the West End! (A review is most likely to follow!)

Hamlet is possibly one of the, if not the, most popular and famous Shakespeare play and I can definitely see why. This play grips you from the very first page and keeps you waiting until the final scenes to unfold the crucial plot developments that we have been waiting for. There are so many questions raised from reading this play it is hard to answer all of them, there are so many different interpretations that can be read from the text which is what I most like about Hamlet. It means that realistically every time you read the play, or see it, it can and probably will be performed differently and I think that that is just extraordinary.

Shakespeare constantly presents the idea that the world is painful to live in and this is a major theme carried throughout. In the opening scenes we learn of Hamlet’s loss of his Dad (The King of Denmark), how his Uncle has married his Mother and become King and we see Hamlet’s father return as a ghost, vowing for Hamlet to get revenge. From the outset it is set as a revenge tragedy and like one of the previous plays that I read, ‘The Spanish Tragedy’, it follows a similar structure.

Once you’ve decided whether Hamlet is acting or actually mad, whether he loves or pretends to love Ophelia and if you are pro- or anti-Hamlet then it is easier to form your own interpretation of the scenes that lead to the climax and ending action of the play. Personally, I am pro-Hamlet, I like his character and I want him to succeed in his revenge of killing his Uncle for murdering his father. I think that Hamlet is acting mad but then becomes mad and that he actually does love Ophelia. He chooses to ignore his feelings to get revenge and it is this that finally drives his mad. This is mirrored by wanting to murder his Uncle in the right way when he is acting mad and why he doesn’t hesitate when he has the chance again. In my opinion Hamlet has no one on his side as his mother betrays him, his Uncle betrays him, Ophelia dismisses his love for her at first, his friends from college turn on him and I think it could be his loneliness that also drives him to become insane, supported by his killing of Polonius. However, there is just too much evidence supporting if Hamlet is mad or if he is acting mad and I’d like to hear what other people interpreted from the text too!

It ends with death and betrayal with most of the central characters of the play dead on the stage in the closing scenes; a key image of Shakespeare tragedies. The feature of using a play within a play to reinforce the actions within the play is also evident here and is used superbly and creatively.

I really enjoyed this play and can’t believe that I have not read this (or seen it!) sooner. It gets a 9/10 because it is interesting, it opens debate whilst the audience gets all of its answers and I have not read much literature that manages to achieve both of these things. I like that Hamlet is a mystery and you can sort of choose what he is depending on how you view him. This is a classic Shakespeare play with several recognisable images, it is well quoted, well-known and I think that this should be read by everyone. If you haven’t read this yet, then please do but most of all please…Enjoy!

 

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