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Hamlet

Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a tragedy about the Prince of Denmark. Written around the year 1600, the play is set in Kronborg Castle, Elsinore in Denmark, and is Shakespeare’s longest play. It is a tale of ghosts, plotting and revenge!

Shakespeare’s Danish links

Although we know the Bard never actually visited Denmark, it is thought that somehow Shakespeare acquired an accurate description of the Elsinore and Kronborg Castle, either from fellow travelling actors, or perhaps from merchants and traders who passed through the narrow strait between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.

Some also believe that Shakespeare wrote the play as way of getting in the good books of the future King James I who was married to Anne of Denmark. Anne was sister to the influential Christian IV of Denmark, and daughter of Frederick II of Denmark who between 1574 and 1585 undertook one of the many upgrades to the medieval fortress at Elsinore, helping to turn it into the magnificent Kronborg Castle we see today.

Kronborg Castle

Kronborg is a UNESCO World Heritage site and occupies a strategic location overlooking the Øresund or ‘Sound’ which connects the North Sea and the Baltic. It was initially a fortress and controlled the passage, and payment, of ships wishing to pass through the sound. Over the years it has seen many fires, wars and rebuilds. As a result it is a stunning building to visit, although it is somewhat sparse on contents and furnishings.

Krongborg Castle makes much of its links with Hamlet especially over the summer months; June, July and August when it hosts Hamlet Live During this time you can explore the castle, visit the chambers and rooms where the stories were set and meet all the main characters of the play!

Shakespeare Festival or Hamlet Scenen

As well as Hamlet Live, Kronborg Castle is also part of the annual Shakespeare Festival, or Hamlet Scenen, which is held each year in August. The Castle becomes a dramatic backdrop to an Open Air Theatre where each year hosts an acclaimed production of Hamlet. Guests are invited to bring a picnic and enjoy an al fresco meal overlooking the Øresund before they enjoy the play. If you are interested in Hamlet, there really isn’t a better way to see the play. Even if the weather isn’t favourable, the dark skies can add a drama and magic to the performance, which really can’t be matched in a theatre.

Getting to Kronborg Castle

Kronborg Castle is just a 45 minute drive north of Copenhagen. It is also easily accessible from Copenhagen by rail. The frequent train service runs up the east coast of Denmark to Helsingør which takes around an hour.

While you are there . . .

Holger the Dane
If you are visiting Kronborg Castle, make sure you don’t miss Holger Danske, or Holger the Dane. He is a character from a Danish myth who sleeps in the casemates of Kronborg Castle waiting to defend the country if it ever faces trouble. Today’s statue is a concrete replica, or a plaster sculpture which was a copy of an original bronze from 1896 which is now housed in Amalienborg Castle

Holger the Dane 

Images courtesy of Visit Denmark

Maritime Museum of Denmark
Whilst visiting Kronborg Castle make sure you visit the award winning Maritime Museum of Denmark which is just next door to the Castle. It is built underground in a dry dock right on the waterfront and is great for anyone interested in architecture, the Danish navy and for kids who will enjoy the educational video games.

Take the ferry from Helsingør to Helsingbørg
If you want to take a quick trip to Sweden this popular ferry trip takes just 20 minutes and operates four times every hour. Booking isn’t necessary and it is worth the experience just to pop over to Sweden and have a coffee or a spot of lunch. Remember you will need to pay for anything Swedish Krone though!

Visit the library, Biblioteket Kulturværftet / The Culture Yard!
This exceptional calm and airy building was created by uniting modern architecture with the historic shipyard buildings. It is more than a library, but a complex for art, culture, theatre music and exhibitions. It attracts 750,000 visitors a year and it really has revitalised the city of Elsinore. Take the time to enjoy some refreshments in the café with a magnificent view! It is an especially welcoming space on a cold day!

If you are looking for accommodation so you can visit Kronborg Castle and its surroundings, our modern and flexible apartments in Nærum, North Copenhagen are the ideal solution. We have a range of brand new, modern apartments which are great of couples and families alike. Choose from studio apartments to 2 bedroom and extra-large apartments. We even have connecting apartments for larger groups if you need them.

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