We would call it a castle but with an elegant understatement the Danish just call ist Koldinghus. It was erected in 1268 and for seven hundred years it was frontier post, a residence for kings and queens, a governmental seat. The western wing was build by Christian I. If he felled his decision in favour of a Morovian settlement in Christiansfeld when he was sitting in his 57m long knights’ hall with the tall gothic windows?
But the castle lost its importance and after the fire in 1808 which burned for two days the castle lay in ruins – a stone quarry pit for the local people (just as the castle in Ribe). In 1830 the fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen saw the artistic inspiration which could be drawn from the ruin and so he suggested to preserve the castle. But it took another 33 years until it was thought about rebuilding the place. But then there was the war between Prussia and Austria which delayed this plan another 30 years. 1890 the museum was founded which started the restauration of the castle which took more than a hundred years because of the two world wars.
The outstanding element of this restauration is the underlaying principle that almost everything of the ruin is preserved and that the new architecture is build to encase and preserve it. Such a very good combination of historic and modern architecture!
As faszinating as the building itself are the permanent exibitions:
- The history of the castle
- Christian IV, who was formed by the Koldinghus during his education there 1583-1893 and how himself as a king later (1588-1648) formed the Koldinghus by massive reconstruction (the castle tower, the church hall, the 57m long knights’ hall)
- The reconstruction of the castle by the architects Inger and Johannes Exner from Aarhus in 1972 until 1993
- Danish silverware
I could have spent hours here but there were also this year’s exhibitions:
- 28.04. – 03.11.19: 75. Birthday of her royal highness princess Benedikte of Danmark and of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (*29.04.1944), in which the different aspects of her life (Scouts, riding, diplomacy) as well as a couple of her dresses are shown
- 28.06.-29.09.19: DESIGN SCHOOL KOLDING’S GRADUATION EXHIBITION with furniture, clothing, art decoration and even toys
- 08.07.-.01.09.19: koldinghus tapestry cartoons, which I found later on the website but not when wandering through the labyrintic building
For the children the activities were the highlight of the visit. Proudly they talked with the fencing master about their sport and learned that the rules by which they fight today were introduced after a period of fighting without rules during the fifteenth and sixthteenth century. During the duells in those time the most important thing was to kill or to be killed after the newest fashion. The children were even allowed to fight with the master with blunt replicas of old weapons, but they could do so only for a short time as the weapons are much heavier than the sports rapiers nowadays. Afterwards they recoverd while making fans. Later we tried historic costumes though it was quite warm. Daughter and I like these costumes very much, looking much more stately than the jeans nowadays. But our men felt themselves silly in these decorated garments but they obliged us for a short picture.
A very good Sunday excursion which made us both happy and tired so we recovered a little at the beach.