In 1268, King Erik Glipping started to build a castle on the southern border of his kingdom as protection against the Duchy of Schleswig. It was named Koldinghus Castle after the town that had grown up on the border. Christoffer of Bavaria built a new red-brick north wing in 1447 and Christian I added the west wing in approx. 1475.
Christian III and Queen Dorothea
The south and east wings were built by Christian III and Queen Dorothea 1536-59 when the castle converted to the new Renaissance style. Koldinghus Castle became Christian III and Dorothea’s residence and Queen Dorothea lived there as a widow until her death in 1571.
The characteristic profile of the castle stems from around 1600, when Christian IV raised the north wing by one storey and built the Giant's Tower, named after the four giants in the corners. Only one of them, Hercules, still remains. The turrets in the yard were renewed and decorated with sandstone portals at the same time.
The castle was also damaged during the Dano-Swedish Wars of 1657-60, but it was rebuilt immediately after the peace treaty was signed. The Stables Yard have had the current appearance since around 1670.
Frederik IV refurbished the castle in 1720-26, this time in keeping with Baroque requirements for order and regularity. The floors were evened out and straight rows of new windows were installed in the facades.
The Koldinghus Fire
In 1808, the castle burned down while Spanish troops were billeted there. Frederik VI subsequently decided not to rebuild the castle and let it remain a ruin.
The museum at Koldinghus Castle was founded in 1890 and was able to move into the castle after the north wing was rebuilt in 1892. In 1915, the west wing was also refurbished and architect Jørgen Hansen Koch's library room from The Royal Library reopened there.
In 1935, the church and great hall were covered with flat roofs and the Giant's Tower revived by Royal Inspector of Listed State Buildings Viggo Norn. The south and three east wings remained as ruins.Last updated:: Monday, December 05, 2011