A palatial complex was built as a royal residence for King Christian IV of Denmark-Norway in the early 17th century, replacing an older castle acquired by Frederick II and becoming the largest Renaissance residence in Scandinavia.
After a serious fire in 1859, the castle was rebuilt on the basis of old plans and paintings. Thanks to public support and the brewer J. C. Jacobsen, its apartments were fully restored and reopened to the public as the Danish Museum of National History in 1882. The Frederiksborg Museum was founded by a royal decree on 5 April 1878 and was opened to the public on 1 February 1882. The museum contains the largest collection of portrait paintings in Denmark.
The castle is built of red brick with stepped gables, towering spires and light sandstone decorations. The symmetry of the main structure is broken by the large bell tower on the Chapel Wing. All three wings are fundamentally independent buildings which have been joined together to form a complex. The window gables display statues of historic emperors including Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar.
The castle is noted for its towers and turrets. The highest and most impressive tower stands above the Chapel. The Chapel houses the Danish royal family’s art collection, notably works on the life of Jesus by the Danish painter Carl Heinrich Bloch.