Christiansborg Palace


Christianborg Palace
Christiansborg Palace

Christiansborg Palace is a large palace in the center of Copenhagen built of dark-coloured stone. Either that or the walls are dirty. That is to say, the outside walls are dirty or dark-coloured. There are likely employees who clean the inside walls on a regular basis and repaint them occasionally. I found myself wondering what the outer walls would look like after a sandblasting.

The castle is home to the office of Denmark’s Prime Minister and its Supreme Court, neither of which allow open-house visits by the hordes of tourists that visit Copenhagen, so don’t expect to see a lot of the interior of the palace. There are three areas that are open to the public (for a fee or free if you buy the Copenhagen card): the stables, the ruins and the Royal Reception Rooms.

Stables at Christianborg Palace
Stables at Christiansborg Palace

I have to make one correction to the preceding sentence: The Royal Reception Rooms are open when they aren’t being used by one of the Royals for a reception. Guess what? There was a Royal charity reception going on when I was there. The reception rooms were closed for a few days surrounding the private event—i.e. my entire time in Copenhagen, so you’re not going to find a description of those rooms here.

The Stables

The stables are, well, stables. There are horses in stalls. There are also some ornate Royal carriages. So, yes, they are real stables, not an exhibit of what the stables would look like if they were indeed were still Royal stables.

Carriage at Christianborg Palace
Carriage at Christiansborg Palace

I suspect this is the only place you’ll see the Royal horses and carriages in the middle of Copenhagen unless they are out for some sort of Royal function, so, if you like horses and carriages, a visit to the stables might satisfy those predilections. One admission price (free if you have the Copenhagen Card) gets you into the stables, ruins and Royal Reception Rooms (assuming you can get into the rooms at all).

I don’t know how often the Royal horses and carriages are taken out into the larger world, or at least the larger city, or even just beyond the building, but I can report that were confined to their stables when I was there. I’m sure the carriages didn’t mind being confined there. I don’t know about the horses, but they probably live a charmed life compared to, say, horses waiting to be turned into glue.

Ruins at Christianborg Palace
Ruins at Christiansborg Palace

The Ruins

Christiansborg Palace was not the first palace to be built in that location. Bishop Absalon had a palace built on that spot in 1167. How the hell do bishops get to build palaces? Don’t they take a vow of poverty and dedicate their lives to helping others, or words to that effect? Maybe I’m thinking of nuns, or maybe none. Oh well, never mind. Bishop Absalon did have a palace built. He was an archbishop and, considering that he built a palace, probably a very arch bishop.

Ruins at Christianborg Palace
Ruins at Christiansborg Palace

Absalon’s palace was eventually demolished and Copenhagen Castle was built on the site. It was rebuilt a few times. One of the times it was rebuilt, King Christian IV had  a spire, known as the blue tower, added to the castle.

There have also been three Christiansborg Palaces in that location. The first two were destroyed by fires. Didn’t any one tell those folks not to play with matches? Construction on the current Christiansborg Palace was started in 1907 so, while it was built loosely on an old design, it’s actually fairly new from a historical perspective.

You can go into the basement of the current Christiansborg Palace and see some ruins from the earlier palaces and the castles, right back to a chunk or two of Absalon’s Palace and ruins from the blue tower.

Been there? Done that? Do tell.