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19.10.2020

Amalienborg, Copenhagen

Amalienborg is the home of the Danish royal family, located in Copenhagen, Denmark. It consists of four identical classic palace facades with rococo interiors around an octagonal courtyard; in the center of the square is a monumental equestrian statue of the founder of Amalienborg, King Frederick V. .

Amalienborg was originally built for four noble families; however, when the Christiansborg Palace burned down on February 26, 1794, the royal family purchased the palaces and moved into them. Over the years, different monarchs and their families lived in four different palaces.

The first palaces on the site

The Frederiksstaden area was built on the site of the former two other palaces. The first palace was called Sophie Amalienborg. It was built by Queen Sophie Amalie, wife of Frederick III, on a piece of land that her father-in-law, Christian IV, acquired outside the old walled city of Copenhagen, now known as the Endre Bi district, in the early 17th century when he was King. Other parts of the land were used for Rosenborg Castle, Niboder and the new Eastern Castle Wall around the old city.

It included a garden that replaced the "Queen's Garden", which was located outside the western gate of the city of Westerport, an area now known as Vesterbro, and which was destroyed during the Swedish siege in 1659.

Work on the garden began in 1664, and the castle was built in 1669-1673. The King died in 1670, and the Queen Dowager lived there until her death on February 20, 1685.

Four years later, on April 15, 1689, the son of Sophie Amalia, King Christian V celebrated his forty-fourth birthday in the palace with a performance of German opera, possibly the first opera presentation in Denmark, in a specially built temporary theater. The presentation was a great success and was repeated a few days later, on April 19. However, immediately after the beginning of the second performance, the stage scenery caught fire, and as a result, the theater and the palace burned to the ground, and people died for about 180 years.

The king planned to restore the palace, the church, the royal court and the garden buildings remained untouched. Ole Remer headed the preparatory work to restore Amalienborg in the early 1690s. In 1694, the king made a deal with the Swedish master builder Nikodimus Tessin the Younger, who that summer spent some time in Copenhagen inspecting the property. His drawing and model were completed in 1697. However, the king found the plans too ambitious and instead began to demolish the existing buildings in the same year, using restored building materials that were used to build the new Garrison Church.

The second Amalienborg was built by Friedrich IV at the beginning of his reign. The second Amalienborg consisted of a pergola, a central pavilion with greenhouses and arcades on both sides of the pavilion. On one side of the buildings was a garden in the French style, and on the other - the military ranges. In the pavilion on the first floor was a dining room. On the top floor was a salon overlooking the harbor, garden and polygon.

Development of Frederiksstaden by Frederick V

Amalienborg is the central Frederiksstaden , an area that was built by King Frederick V to commemorate in 1748 the tri-centenary of the family Oldenburg ascension to the throne of Denmark, and in 1749 the tri-centenary of the coronation of Christian I Denmark . It is believed that this invention was the brainchild of the Danish ambassador plenipotentiary in Paris, Johann Hartwig Ernst Bernstorff. The project was headed by Lord Steward Adam Gottlob Moltke, one of the most powerful and influential people in the country, and Nicholas Eigtved was the royal architect and leader.

The project consisted of four identical mansions built to house four prominent noble families from royal circles around an octagonal square. These mansions (now called palaces) form a modern Amalienborg palace, although over the years it has changed a lot.

As a royal residence

When the royal family was rendered homeless by a fire at Christiansborg Palace in 1794, the palaces were long empty for a year, except for the Brockdorf Palace, which housed the Naval Academy. The noblemen were ready to part with their mansions for the sake of promotion and money, and the palaces Moltke and Chuck were purchased within a few days. Since then, successive members of the royal family have lived in Amalienborg as royal residence, and the kings have given their names to four palaces; Palace of Christian VII, Palace of Christian VIII, Palace of Frederick VIII, and Palace of Christian IX.

The colonnade, designed by the royal architect Caspar Frederick Harsdorf, was added in 1794-1795 to connect the recently occupied royal palace, Moltke Palace, with the Crown Prince's Palace, the Palace of Shaka.

The four palaces

According to Eigtved's master plans for Frederikstad and the palaces of Amalienborg, the four palaces surrounding the square were conceived as urban mansions for families of chosen nobility. Their appearance was identical, but the interior was different. The land on which the aristocrats could build was given to them for free, and they were exempt from taxes and duties. The only conditions were that the palaces must meet the exact architectural specifications of Frederikstad and that they must be built on time.

Construction of palaces on the western side of the square began in 1750. When Eigtved died in 1754, the construction of two western palaces was completed. Work on the other palaces continued a colleague and rival Eigtved, Lauritz de Tour, strictly according to Eigtved plans. Construction of the palaces was completed in 1760.

Four palaces:

Palace of Christian VII, originally known as Moltke Palace.
Palace of Christian VIII, originally known as the Levecau Palace.
Frederick's Palace VIII, originally known as the Brockdorf Palace.
Christian IX Palace, originally known as the Shaka Palace.
At present, only the palaces of Christian VII and Christian VIII are open to the public.

Palace of Christian VII 

Palace of Christian VII, also known as Moltke Palace, was originally built for Lord Viceroy Adam Gottlobe Moltke. This is the southwestern palace, which since 1885 was used for accommodation and reception of prominent guests, for receptions and ceremonies.

Moltke Palace was built in 1750-1754 years by the best masters and artists of his time under the direction of Eigtved. At the time of construction, it was the most expensive of the four palaces and had the most extravagant interiors. Its Great Hall (Riddersalen) is decorated with wood carvings (boiserie) by Louis Auguste le Clerc, paintings by François Boucher and stucco by Giovanni Battista Fossati, and is widely recognized as perhaps the best interior of Danish Rococo.

The mansion was officially opened on March 30, 1754, the king's 30th birthday. Due to the death of Eigtved a few months later, final works, such as the Banquet Hall, were completed by Nicolas-Henri Jardin.

Immediately after the fire at the Christiansborg Palace in February 1794 and two years after the death of the original owner, the royal family, headed by the schizophrenic king Christian VII, bought the first of the four palaces to be sold to the royal family, and instructed Caspar Frederick Harsdorff to turn it into a royal residence. They occupied a new residence in December 1794.

After the death of Christian VII in 1808, Frederick VI used the palace for his royal court. Parts of the palace were used by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1852-1885. During short periods of time the palace housed various members of the royal family, while their palaces were restored. In 1971-1975, a small kindergarten was opened in the palace, and then a classroom for Crown Prince Frederick and Prince Joachim.

200 years later, the facade decorated by the German sculptor Johann Christoph Petzold was severely damaged and part of Amalienborg square was closed to prevent injuries. In 1982, external and internal restoration began, which was completed in early 1996, when Copenhagen became the European Capital of Culture. In 1999, the international conservation organization Europa Nostra celebrated the restoration with a medal.

The Palace is sometimes open to the public.

Palace of Christian VIII 

Christian VIII Palace, also known as Levetzau Palace, was originally built for Count Christian's secret advisor Frederick Levetzau in 1750-1760. This is the northwest palace, where hereditary Prince Frederick lived until 2004. After his marriage to Crown Princess Mary, they moved to the office building in Fredensborg.

After the death of Eigtved in 1754, the royal architect Lauritz de Tyours led the construction of the building according to the plans of Eigtved.

The palace was sold by the majorate estate Restrup, which was created in 1756 Levertzau, the late owner. When selling the building, the family put one condition - never remove the Earl's coat of arms from the building. It can still be seen near the monarch.

King Frederick's half brother bought the palace in 1794, and the artist and architect Nicholas Abildgaard modernized the interiors in the style of the new French Empire. The palace was named Palace of Christian VIII in honor of his son Christian Frederick, who grew up in the palace, took over the building in 1805 after his father's death and became king in 1839.

Christian VIII died in 1848, and the Queen Dowager, Caroline Amalia, died in 1881. Since 1885, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs used parts of the palace, but moved in 1898, when the palace became the residence of the Crown Prince of Christian (X) and Princess Alexandrine . After the death of Christian X, the palace was handed over to Prince Knud, the alleged heir.

Today there is little left of the preserved Rococo interior; most of the interior reflects the change in taste and style of its inhabitants over the years.

In the 1980s, the palace was restored as the Crown Prince's residence, the depository of the Queen's Reference Library and the museum of the Royal House of Gluxborg. The museum presents private royal apartments from 1863 to 1947 with original decoration and furniture.

Friedrich VIII Palace 

Friedrich VIII Palace is also known as the Brockdorf Palace. It is the northeastern palace, which was home to the Dowager Queen Ingrid until her death in 2000. It was recently renovated and is the home of Crown Prince Frederick and Crown Princess Mary.

Originally it was built for Count Joachim Brockdorf in the 1750s. Brockdorf died in 1763, and the palace was acquired by Lord Viceroy Adam Gottlobe Moltke. Moltke sold it to King Frederick V two years later.

Since 1767, it housed the Danish Military Academy, also known as the Army Cadets Academy (Landkadetakademi). In 1788 marine cadets replaced the army cadets, until in 1827 the Academy moved to another place.

The following year the palace was prepared to accommodate the son of King Christian VIII, Frederick VII, who ascended the throne in 1848, and his bride, Princess Wilhelmina. Architect Jorgen Hansen Koch successfully and thoroughly renovated the palace in the style of the French Empire in 1827-1828.

After the dissolution of marriage in 1837, various members of the royal family lived in the palace. In 1869, it became the home of Frederick VIII. In 1934, it became the home of King Frederick IX and Queen Ingrid.

Palace of Christian IX 

Christian IX Palace is a southeastern palace, also known as Shaka Palace. It has been the home of the royal couple since 1967.

Construction work began in 1750 Eigtvedved, and they were headed first by architect Christian Joseph Zuber, and then Philip de Lange.

Originally it was ordered by secret advisor Severin Löwensheld, but in 1754 he had to give up due to economic difficulties. The project was taken over by Countess Anna Sophie Schack, born Ranzau, and her half grandson, Count Hans Schack. The fire soon after the change of ownership postponed the completion of construction for a couple of years.

On January 7, 1757 Hans Schuck married Countess Ulrike Auguste Wilhelmina Moltke, daughter of Adam Gottlobe Moltke, and, as his son-in-law, used the best artists and craftsmen to complete the interiors.

In 1794, the palace was transferred from a private residence to the Regent, then Crown Prince Frederick, and his wife, Crown Princess Marie. He died in 1839, and she died in 1852. After her death, the palace was used, in particular, by the Supreme Court and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Later it was the home of Christian IX until his death in 1906. Subsequently, the house remained intact until 1948. In 1967, the palace was restored for the heir to the throne, Crown Princess Margaret and Prince Henrik.

Royal Guard 

Amalienborg is guarded day and night by the Royal Life Guard. Their parade uniform is quite similar to that of the British Army's footguard regiments: scarlet tunic, blue pants and dark blue bear cap. The guard marches from Rosenborg Castle at 11.30 a.m. every day along the streets of Copenhagen and at noon performs a change of guard in front of Amalienborg. In addition, the change of post is held every two hours.

When the monarch is in residence, the Royal Guard (Kongevagt) also marches with a change of guard at noon, accompanied by a band playing traditional military marches. The Lieutenant of the Guard always receives a warning when Prince Henrikili is ruled by another member of the Royal Family in the absence of the Queen. There are three types of watches: King's Watch, Lieutenant Watch and Palace Watch. The King's Watch is when Her Majesty the Queen settles in the palace of Christian IX. The Lieutenant Guard is when Crown Prince Frederick, Prince Joachim or Princess Benedictte take the place of regent when the monarch can not. The Palace Guard is when the palace does not have a member of the royal family, and it is the smallest of them.

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