Kastellet, Copenhagen
Kastellet, located in Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

, Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 is one of the best preserved fortification
Fortifications are military constructions and buildings designed for defence in warfare and military bases. Humans have constructed defensive works for many thousands of years, in a variety of increasingly complex designs...

s in Northern Europe. It is constructed in the form of a pentagram
A pentagram is the shape of a five-pointed star drawn with five straight strokes...

 with bastion
A bastion, or a bulwark, is a structure projecting outward from the main enclosure of a fortification, situated in both corners of a straight wall , facilitating active defence against assaulting troops...

s at its corners. Kastellet was continuous with the ring of bastioned ramparts
Fortifications of Copenhagen (17th century)
The fortifications of Copenhagen underwent a comprehensive modernization and expansion in the 17th century. The project was commenced and largely masterplanned by Christian IV in the early 17th century but continued and completed by his successors...

 which used to encircle Copenhagen but of which only the ramparts themselves Christianshavn
Christianshavn is an artificial island neighbourhood located in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was founded in the early 17th century by Christian IV as part of his extension of the fortifications of Copenhagen. Originally it was laid out as an independent privileged merchant's town with inspiration from...

 remain today.

A number of buildings are located within the grounds of Kastellet, including a church, as well as a windmill. The area houses various military activities but its mainly serves as a public park and a historic site.


Kastellet’s construction was started by King Christian IV of Denmark
Christian IV of Denmark
Christian IV was the king of Denmark-Norway from 1588 until his death. With a reign of more than 59 years, he is the longest-reigning monarch of Denmark, and he is frequently remembered as one of the most popular, ambitious and proactive Danish kings, having initiated many reforms and projects...

 as far back as 1626 with the building of an entrenchment in the northern part of the defence wall of Copenhagen. The King had grand construction plans and originally a castle would have been situated on the site so that the king himself could seek haven there, but the plan was dropped on account of economic constraints. Construction continued with his successor King Frederick III of Denmark
Frederick III of Denmark
Frederick III was king of Denmark and Norway from 1648 until his death. He instituted absolute monarchy in Denmark and Norway in 1660, confirmed by law in 1665 as the first in western historiography. He was born the second-eldest son of Christian IV of Denmark and Anne Catherine of Brandenburg...

. After the Swedish
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 siege on Copenhagen (1658–1660) the Dutch
Kingdom of the Netherlands
The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a sovereign state and constitutional monarchy with territory in Western Europe and in the Caribbean. The four parts of the Kingdom—Aruba, Curaçao, the Netherlands, and Sint Maarten—are referred to as "countries", and participate on a basis of equality...

 engineer Henrik Rüse
Henrik Ruse
Henrik Ruse , later Baron Henrik Rysensteen , was a Dutch officer and fortification engineer...

 was called in to help rebuild and extend the construction. The fortification was named Citadellet Frederikshavn ("The Frederikshavn Citadel"), but it is better known as Kastellet ("the citadel").

Kastellet was part of the defense of Copenhagen against England in the Battle of Copenhagen (1807)
Battle of Copenhagen (1807)
The Second Battle of Copenhagen was a British preemptive attack on Copenhagen, targeting the civilian population in order to seize the Dano-Norwegian fleet and in turn originate the term to Copenhagenize.-Background:Despite the defeat and loss of many ships in the first Battle of Copenhagen in...


Christen Købke
Christen Købke
Christen Schiellerup Købke , Danish painter, was born in Copenhagen to Peter Berendt Købke, a baker, and his wife Cecilie Margrete. He was one of 11 children...

 (1810–1848), Danish painter associated with the Golden Age of Danish Painting
Golden Age of Danish Painting
The Danish Golden Age covers the period of creative production in Denmark, especially during the first half of the 19th century. Although Copenhagen had suffered from fires, bombardment and national bankruptcy, the arts took on a new period of creativity catalysed by Romanticism from Germany...

, grew up in Kastellet and made many paintings of the area.

During the German invasion of Denmark on April 9, 1940, German troops landing at the nearby harbor captured The Citadel with very little resistance, thereby forcing the Danish government to surrender.

Kastellet was renovated 1989–1999 with funds from the A.P. Møller
A.P. Moller-Maersk Group
A.P. Moller – Maersk Group , also known as Maersk , is a Danish business conglomerate. A.P. Moller – Maersk Group has activities in a variety of business sectors, primarily within the transportation and energy sectors. It is the largest container ship operator and supply vessel operator in the...

 and Wife Chastine McKinney Møllers General Fund.

Kastellet today

Kastellet is today a peaceful, protected area, serving as a public park, a cultural-historical monument and, still owned by the Danish Defence Ministry
Ministry of Defence (Denmark)
The Ministry of Defence of Denmark is a ministry in the Danish government. It is charged with overall planning, development, and strategic guidance of the entire area of responsibility of the Danish Defence minister, including the armed forces and the emergency management sector...

, as an active military area. Military activity in the area includes use by the chief of Staff, the Danish Home Guard
Danish Home Guard
The Danish Home Guard is the fourth service of the Danish military, formerly concerned only with the defence of Danish territory, but since 2008, it has also participated in forward operating base guard duties in Afghanistan. Service is voluntary and unpaid, except that the most basic expenses...

 (Hjemmeværnet), the Defence Intelligence (Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste), the Defence Judge Advocate Corps
Defence Judge Advocate Corps (Denmark)
Defence Judge Advocate Corps is a Danish independent military prosecutor and the legal branch of the Danish military. It is a Level.I command and is under the Ministry of Defence. The Generalauditør heads the Defence Judge Advocate Corps...

 (Forsvarets Auditørkorps) and the Royal Garrison’s Library.

It is located close to Langelinie
Langelinie is a pier, promenade and park in central Copenhagen, Denmark, and home of the statue of The Little Mermaid. The area has for centuries been a popular destination for excursions and strolls in Copenhagen...

, The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid (statue)
The statue of The Little Mermaid sits on a rock in the harbour of the capital of Denmark. Based on a tale by Hans Christian Andersen, the small and unimposing statue is a Copenhagen icon and a major tourist attraction....

, the Gefion Fountain
Gefion fountain
The Gefion Fountain is a large fountain on the harbour front in Copenhagen, Denmark. It features a large-scale group of animal figures being driven by the legendary Norse goddess, Gefjun...

. It is a popular place to go for a walk on a sunny day, and is very popular with children on account of the many animals and birds in the grounds.


Kastellet's main entrance is Kongeporten (English: King's Gate). Built in a Dutch baroque style, it was constructed in 1634. The gate is decorated with a bust of Frederik III. In front of the gate stand two projected buildings, so-called caponier
A caponier is a type of fortification structure. The word originates from the French word "caponnière" - which strictly means capon-cote i.e. chickenhouse.The fire coming from the feature A caponier is a type of fortification structure. The word originates from the French word "caponnière" -...

s, from where it was possible to keep assaulting troops under fire. Just inside the gate stands a guard building.

Norgesporten (English: Norway Gate) used to face countryside, and has therefore been built to a more simple design. The caponiers of this gate was demolished in the late 19th century, while the guard building has been preserved.


The five bastions are named as follows: The King’s Bastion (Kongens Bastion), The Queen’s Bastion (Dronningens Bastion), The Count’s Bastion (Grevens Bastion), the Princess’s Bastion (Prinsessens Bastion) and the Prince’s Bastion (Prinsens Bastion).

Smedelinien Outworks

Smedelinien (English: The Blacksmith's Line) is a system of outwork
An outwork is a minor defense, fortification, built or established outside the principal fortification limits, detached or semidetached. Outworks were developed in the 16th century, such as ravelins, lunettes , caponiers to shield bastions and fortification curtains from direct battery...

s, separating the inner and the outer moat, located to the south and southwest towards the city. It consisted of four ravelin
A ravelin is a triangular fortification or detached outwork, located in front of the innerworks of a fortress...

s and three counter guard interconnected by long, low earthworks
Earthworks (engineering)
Earthworks are engineering works created through the moving or processing of quantities of soil or unformed rock.- Civil engineering use :Typical earthworks include roads, railway beds, causeways, dams, levees, canals, and berms...

. On Fyn's Ravelin, one of the namesake forge
A forge is a hearth used for forging. The term "forge" can also refer to the workplace of a smith or a blacksmith, although the term smithy is then more commonly used.The basic smithy contains a forge, also known as a hearth, for heating metals...

s has been preserved and is now used by the park authorities. Another forge was built on Falster's Counter Guard in 1709. Rebuilt in 1888, it now serves as residence of military employees. When the Free Port of Copenhagen was constructed, the northern portion of Smedelinien was dug away, but the remaining part was put at the disposal of the City of Copenhagen in 1918 and now serves as parkland.

Commander's House

The Commander's House (Danish:Kommandantboligen) served as the residence of the commander of Kastellet. It was built in 1725 in the Baroque style
Baroque architecture
Baroque architecture is a term used to describe the building style of the Baroque era, begun in late sixteenth century Italy, that took the Roman vocabulary of Renaissance architecture and used it in a new rhetorical and theatrical fashion, often to express the triumph of the Catholic Church and...

 in 1725 by architect and master builder Elias Häuser
Elias David Häusser
Elias David Häusser was a German-Danish architect working in the Baroque and Rococo styles. He is most known for designing the first Christiansborg Palace which was almost completely destroyed in a fire in 1794...

 who also designed the first Christiansborg Palace
Christiansborg Palace (1st)
The first Christiansborg Palace was built in Copenhagen by Christian VI of Denmark as a new main residence for the Danish monarch to replace the antiquated Copenhagen Castle which had assumed a monstrous appearance and started to crumble after several extensions...

. It is now the official residence of the Danish Chief of Defence
Chief of Defence (Denmark)
The Chief of Defence of Denmark , under responsibility of the Defence minister, is the Chief of Defence and commander1 of the Royal Danish Army, the Royal Danish Navy and the Royal Danish Air Force...


Church & prison

The Church at the Citadel was built in 1704 in heavy Baroque
Baroque architecture
Baroque architecture is a term used to describe the building style of the Baroque era, begun in late sixteenth century Italy, that took the Roman vocabulary of Renaissance architecture and used it in a new rhetorical and theatrical fashion, often to express the triumph of the Catholic Church and...

 style during the reign of King Frederik IV. It was extended with a prison
A prison is a place in which people are physically confined and, usually, deprived of a range of personal freedoms. Imprisonment or incarceration is a legal penalty that may be imposed by the state for the commission of a crime...

 complex at the back of the building in 1725. Between the walls of the prison and church there were holes to the prisoner’s cells so the inmates could follow the church service
Church service
In Christianity, a church service is a term used to describe a formalized period of communal worship, often but not exclusively occurring on Sunday, or Saturday in the case of those churches practicing seventh-day Sabbatarianism. The church service is the gathering together of Christians to be...


Johann Friedrich Struensee
Count Johann Friedrich Struensee was a German doctor. He became royal physician to the mentally ill King Christian VII of Denmark and a minister in the Danish government. He rose in power to a position of “de facto” regent of the country, where he tried to carry out widespread reforms...

 awaited his execution in Kastellet’s prison. The English explorer and pirate
Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence at sea. The term can include acts committed on land, in the air, or in other major bodies of water or on a shore. It does not normally include crimes committed against persons traveling on the same vessel as the perpetrator...

 John Norcross was the person to be imprisoned at Kastellet for the most extensive period. He spent 32 years in the prison at Kastellet, 16 of the years in a wooden cage
Cage (enclosure)
A cage is an enclosure made of mesh, bars or wires, used to confine, contain or protect something or someone. A cage can serve many purposes, including keeping an animal in captivity, capturing, and being used for display of an animal at a zoo.-History:...



On the King's Bastion, in the southwestern corner of Kastellet, stands a windmill
A windmill is a machine which converts the energy of wind into rotational energy by means of vanes called sails or blades. Originally windmills were developed for milling grain for food production. In the course of history the windmill was adapted to many other industrial uses. An important...

. Built in 1847, it replaced another mill from 1718 which was destroyed by a storm the year before. The original mill was a post mill
Post mill
The post mill is the earliest type of European windmill. The defining feature is that the whole body of the mill that houses the machinery is mounted on a single vertical post, around which it can be turned to bring the sails into the wind. The earliest post mills in England are thought to have...

 while the current mill is of the Dutch type.

Since a fortified city needed secure supplies, including supplies of flour
Flour is a powder which is made by grinding cereal grains, other seeds or roots . It is the main ingredient of bread, which is a staple food for many cultures, making the availability of adequate supplies of flour a major economic and political issue at various times throughout history...

 and rolled groat
Rolled oats
Rolled oats are traditionally oat groats that have been rolled into flat flakes under heavy rollers and then steamed and lightly toasted. The oat, like the other cereals, has a hard, inedible outer husk that must be removed before the grain can be eaten. After the outer husk has been removed from...

s, in the event of siege
A siege is a military blockade of a city or fortress with the intent of conquering by attrition or assault. The term derives from sedere, Latin for "to sit". Generally speaking, siege warfare is a form of constant, low intensity conflict characterized by one party holding a strong, static...

, numerous windmills were constructed on the bastions. In 1800, a total of 16 windmills were found on the ramparts of Copenhagen. The mill at Kastellet is the last which is still working, while another one, Lille Mølle at the Christianshavn Rampart
Christianshavns Vold
Christianshavns Vold is a former rampart which was part of the bastioned fortification ring which used to surround Copenhagen, Denmark. Running along the full south-eastern perimeter of Christianshavn and Holmen, it used to form a protective barrier towards the island of Amager...

, was transformed into a private home in 1915 and now survives as a historic house museum.

Russian Empress Concort Maria Feodorovna, daughter of Christian IX of Denmark
Christian IX of Denmark
Christian IX was King of Denmark from 16 November 1863 to 29 January 1906.Growing up as a prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, a junior branch of the House of Oldenburg which had ruled Denmark since 1448, Christian was originally not in the immediate line of succession to the Danish...

, got her rye flour from the mill at Kastellet. The Army's Bread Factory would send it to the Imperial Court in Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

 where she was served øllebrød
Øllebrød is a traditional Danish dish - a type of porridge made of rugbrød scraps and beer, typically hvidtøl. A thrifty dish, it makes it possible to use the rest of the bread scraps so that nothing is wasted. The idea originated from monastic living, when monks would dip their bread into hot beer....

 every morning in the Anichkov Palace
Anichkov Palace
Anichkov Palace is a former imperial palace in Saint Petersburg, at the intersection of Nevsky Avenue and the Fontanka.-History:The palace, situated on the plot formerly owned by Antonio de Vieira, takes its name from the nearby Anichkov Bridge across the Fontanka...


Ballet at Kastellet

Since 2000 the Royal Danish Ballet
Royal Danish Ballet
The Royal Danish Ballet is one of the oldest ballet companies in the world. Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, it originates from 1748, when the Royal Danish Theatre was founded, and was finally organized in 1771 in response to the great popularity of French and Italian styles of dance...

has given a free annual open-air performance at Kastellet. The event has originally taken place in August but will as of 2009 take place in early June. The performance, marking the end of the season, displays highlights from both the finishing season's programme and the upcoming season, including both classical and modern dance. It attracts up to 8000 people, sitting on the lawns and on the slopes of the ramparts.

External links

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