Monday, July 31, 2006





"ROSKILDE CATHEDRAL - Dating from around 1280, the Cathedral is located in the city of Roskilde (Island of Zealand) and it was the first Gothic cathedral to be built of brick (red) in Scandinavia, as well as the only cathedral in Zealand until the 20th century. After it was built, a lot more of Gothic churches spread all over northern Europe. Having been a Catholic church until 1536, it became Protestant after the Reformation, and has been the mausoleum of the Danish royal family since the 15th century. This led to the addition of extensions in several different styles, thus providing an overview of the development of religious architecture in Scandinavia. All combined were the reasons for including the twin spires' cathedral in the UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1995"

"ROSKILDE BEACH - Roskilde is one of Denmark-s oldest cities, and was, in the medieval times, the seat of the Danish crown and an episcopal residence. The Fjord contributed to its prosperity"



FREDERIKSBORG - the largest Renaissance palace in Scandinavia - is located in the middle of Hillerød on three islands in the Palace Lake. The oldest parts of the palace were built in 1560 by King Frederik II and the rest (Dutch Renaissance style) in the seventeenth century by Christian IV. The castle burnt in the night of December 16, 1859, but was rebuilt during the following 25 years with financial support from the King, Carlsberg owner and Foundation, and the public. The Danish Kings lived in Frederiksborg Castle for about a century and the National History Museum has been housed there since 1878"



"FREDENSBORG - The French-inspired baroque Palace of Peace (it hosted the signatory ceremony of the peace treaty between Denmark and Sweden on July 3, 1720, while still in construction) is located on the eastern shore of Lake Esrum. It is the Danish Royal Family's spring and autumn residence, thus being the most used of the Royal residences"



"KRONBORG Castle is strategically located at Helsingør (Elsinore) on the shores of the Oresund, the stretch of water between Denmark and Sweden, at its narrowest point (only four kilometres wide). With its construction started in 1574, it played a key role in the history of Scandinavia in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Its defences were reinforced with the construction of a new series of ramparts in the late 17th century thus becoming the strongest fortress in Europe. It remained intact until today!
It seems, however, that everything started up there in the 1420s when the Danish king, Eric of Pomerania, decided to levy tolls on all ships wishing to enter or leave the Baltic... Powerful taxation lead to the building of a powerful fortress to control the sound"

"KRONBORG - The outstanding Renaissance castle is of enormous symbolic value to the Danish people. As almost all palaces in those times, it burnt in 1629, and the Chapel was the only room that was spared, due to the strength of its arches. It was rebuilt, served as a slave prison from 1739 until the mid-19th century, and was included in UNESCO's World Heritage Sites List on November 30, 2000"

"HAMLET - Kronborg is also known as «Elsinore», the setting of Shakespeare's most celebrated tragedy: «Hamlet - Prince of Denmark». Hamlet was actually performed there for the first time to mark the 200th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. The castle also houses a statue of Ogier the Dane, who, according to a legend, is deemed to be sleeping here until the day Denmark is in grave danger - «Something is rotten in the state of Denmark» - at which time he will wake up and save the country"



Feeling at home in cold Scandinavia is not an easy task. However, in the usually warm company of these southern Scandinavian, there is a Mediterranean feeling in the air to be enjoyed!
The capital of Denmark, located on the eastern shore of the island of Zealand and since 2000 linked by the long Øresund bridge/tunnel to the Swedish town of Malmö, was founded around 1000 by Sweyn I Forkbeard and his son Canute the Great. Roughly with the same population of Lisbon, a bit more than one million people, it is the largest city in the country. Hans Christian Andersen was not born in Copenhagen (he was born in Odense, on April 2, 1805), but many famous people you may not even suspect were Copenhageners: Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855), generally recognized as the father of what was to become Existentialism (Jean-Paul Sartre, and the others...); Niels Bohr (1885-1962), 1922 Nobel Prize in physics, with essential contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum mechanics, had the element bohrium named in his honor; Karen von Blixen-Finecke (also 1885-1962), neé Dinesen, the author of «Out of Africa», and of the stories which gave birth to the film «Babette's Feast»; Jørn Utzon (1918-) known for the Sydney Opera House; Jakob Nielsen (1957-) author of "Hypertext and Hypermedia", published in 1990 and a leading authority on web usability; and
Jacob Jacobsen (1811-1887) mostly known as J. C. Jacobsen. No idea? Just think that's due to him that you're drinking Carlsberg beer!!!

"THE LITTLE MERMAID - Hans Christian Andersen wrote the story (1836) of the young mermaid in love with a human prince, and with a strong desire to gain a human soul. A statue to remember it (1.25 meter high and about 175 kg) was created by Edward Eriksen, and unveiled on 23 August 1913 in the harbour of Copenhagen. After that date, it has been vandalised several times, but always restored"

"THE GEFION FOUNTAIN, donated to the city of Copenhagen by the Carlsberg Foundation, was designed by Anders Bundgård, and built in 1908. Instead of being installed at the square in front of the City Hall palace, it was built on the harbour front. The fountain depicts the mythical story of the creation of the island of Zealand"

"AMALIENBORG PALACE, founded by King Frederik V, is the winter home of the Danish royal family. It consists of four rococo palaces around an octagonal square, and is the centre of Frederiksstad, a district also built by Frederik V to commemorate the 300 year jubilee of the Oldenburg family's ascent to the throne"

"ROSENBORG PALACE was built in 1606 in the Dutch Renaissance style as a country summerhouse. It acquired its present condition by the year 1624. No longer a royal residence, it houses a museum, and is open to the public"

"NYHAVN (New Port), built by King Christian V and home to Hans Christian Andersen for some years, is filled with bars and restaurants and, thus a very popular area for both locals and tourists. In Spring and Summer people seat outdoors and Danish girls show their beauty. In Autumn some guys still sit outside drinking beer, however with a blanket over their legs. Wise!"

"CHRISTIANBORG PALACE on Slotsholmen (the site of the castle built by the Bishop Absalon of Roskilde in the twelfth century) in central Copenhagen is the home of three powers: the legislative, the executive, and the judicial. It's probably the only building in the world where this happens"

"STROGET - The longest pedestrian shopping area in the world is a collection of streets between City Hall Square on the west side and the King's New Square on the east end. With the famous Danish design around, it is a very dangerous place for wallets and credit cards"

"CITY HALL, a nice palace located in a vast square in the centre of town, is the seat of the city government"

"TIVOLI GARDENS have a well deserved reputation as an amusement park since 1843 when they first opened to the public. At the very center of Copenhagen, with Central Railway Station at the eastern side, and the City Hall at the western side — both dating from around 1900 - it is one of the oldest amusement park in the world. In 1981 it opened on May 1st, and closed on September 30th. In 2006, it will open on April 12th. A must!"



"GAMLA UPPSALA is one of Scandinavia's most notable ancient monuments. Three majestic royal mounds from the 6th century, one of Scandinavia's largest burial places, and ruins of a cathedral built in the 12th century can be found there"

"UNIVERSITY - Uppsala, founded in 1477, was the first university in Scandinavia and is the oldest in the Nordic countries. Linnaeus (born in 1707 - third centenary next year), Celsius, and eight Nobel prizes helped to make the University known all over the world"

"CASTLE - King Gustav I in the mid-16th century started the construction; its present form was achieved in 1757. It includes the Hall of State, the Uppsala Art Museum, the university's art collection, and the home of the county governor"

"CATHEDRAL - The largest church building in Scandinavia (118.7 m high). The construction started in 1287 and took more than a century to complete (inaugurated in 1435). It was dedicated to the saints Lawrence, Eric - the patron of Sweden, and Olaf - the patron of Norway. King Gustav Vasa, 16th century, and the famous botanist Linnaeus, 18th century, are buried inside"

"DOWNTOWN - In front of the railway station, where you take the train back to Stockholm"



"MUSEUM OF MODERN ART - In May 1958, the Moderna Museet opened for the first time in the navy's former drill-house on the island of Skeppsholmen (the building which now houses the Museum of Architecture)"

"MUSEUM OF MODERN ART - The collection is a treasure of modern and contemporary art, one of the best collections in Europe of 20th century art"

"DROTTNINGHOLM - A former Royal summer residence on an island in Lake Mälar, in a suburb of Stockholm, the Drottningholm Palace is today the home of the Royal family. With its castle (built in the 17th century), its perfectly preserved theatre (built in 1766), the Chinese pavilion and its gardens, it is the finest example of a north European royal residence. The Drottningholm Palace is also on UNESCO's World Heritage list"

"DROTTNINGHOLM - There was even a beach there"

"MILLESGARDEN - Carl Milles is Sweden's most famous sculptor. He was born in Laga (near Uppsala) on June 23, 1875, and died in Lindingo on September 19, 1955. Carl Milles lived in Paris from 1897 to 1904 and worked as an assitant to Rodin"

"CARL MILLES SCULPTURE PARK - Fountains are glittering in the sun at the most spectacular museum in Stockholm, the Millesgården Sculpture Park Museum. It's built on terraces carved into the cliffs of the island Lidingö. The sculptures, stairways, columns and fountains made by Carl Milles rival the magnificent view over the city"

"FLYING - Everybody and everything flies in Milles' sculptures"-

"HAND OF GOD - The man standing on a hand sculpture was made for the UN building in New York, but it was never placed there"

"LOWER TERRACE - There are three large fountain sculptures on the lower terrace: Poseidon, Europa and Jonah and the Whale, that Carl Milles installed there in the early 1950's"

"VASA MUSEUM - On August 10, 1628, the Vasa fired a salute and set sail for the first time. A few minutes later, a sudden gust of wind caused her to list so that water poured in through the lowest tier of open gun ports. The ship which was supposed to have been the mightiest of its time, sank ridiculously quickly in 100 feet of water. Salvaged in 1961, it is now the world's only surviving 17th-century ship!"

"SKANSEN - Founded in 1891, and located on the island of Djurgården, a royal park near the centre of Stockholm, it is the oldest open-air museum in the world. Skansen has some 150 houses and farmsteads assembled from all over Sweden"

"TV TOWER - The building became a tourist attraction, mainly because it towers over Stockholm, and from the top you can see for miles on a clear day; and there is also a restaurant!"

GRÖNA LUND - Gröna Lund is Stockholm's Luna Park since 1883: a funny place to enjoy!"