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Kronborg Castle is a jewel in The King's chest. Photo: Thomas Rahbek

The castle that made a mint from the Sound Dues

The History of Kronborg Castle

For 400 years, the castle was the headquarters for the collection of the Sound Dues. Kronborg was a legend in its heyday in the late 1500s. With its menacing guns pointing directly at the ships in the Sound, sailors did not dare to sail past the castle without paying the king his Sound Dues.

The Sound Dues filled the king's coffers, and Frederick II adorned the castle with spires, sandstone and copper roofs. Kronborg Castle became one of the most beautiful castles from the Renaissance period. Sailors, merchants, diplomats and aristocrats recounted tales of the magnificent castle and court in Elsinore with its pomp, splendour and cannon blasts that resounded to the toasts that the king proposed.

The lavish court life vanished from the castle after the fire of 1629. The flames devoured most of the castle’s precious furniture, paintings and its copper roof. After that day, the castle's fortunes faded. The Swedish king, Karl Gustav, occupied and plundered Kronborg in 1658-1660. For the next three hundred years, Kronborg was only used as a fortress and barracks for the Danish army.

Today, life has returned to the castle which now receives 250,000 visitors a year.