The museum in Christian VIII’s Palace is a recent addition to Rosenborg’s royal collections, which were founded by Frederik III in the 1660s. At the beginning of the 19th century the idea of opening Rosenborg to the public arose, and in 1812 the principle, which is still current, was established that the historical interiors chronologically follow the changing generations of the Royal Family. The Danish Royal Collections was founded in 1833, and Rosenborg was opened to the public in 1838. A tour of the palace thus became a journey through Danish history from the time of Christian IV to the present moment, since there at the opening was a room furnished for Frederik VI, who lived until the following year. In 1868 a room was furnished for Frederik VII, who had died five years previously, and Christian IX was also given a room at Rosenborg in 1910. The limited space at Rosenborg was now utilised to the full, and if later kings were to be added, it would have to be somewhere else.
At first Christian IX’s Palace at Amalienborg presented itself as a possibility. The palace had been left as good as untouched since the death of Christian IX in 1906, and in the 1950s Christian IX’s study and Queen Louise’s salon were preserved on the initiative of Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid. Furthermore, it was ensured that Christian X’s study in Christian VIII’s Palace, which was packed away following Queen Alexandrine’s death in 1952, was preserved. In 1956 Frederik IX created by royal resolution the juridical basis for the establishment of The Royal Danish Collections at Amalienborg. Thus in 1977 a museum for the House of Glücksburg opened in part of the ground floor of Christian IX’s Palace, but it already closed again in 1982, as running a museum in the Royal Couple’s palace of residence proved in practice to be inexpedient.
After an extensive restoration of Christian VIII’s Palace the opportunity arose to re-establish the museum on the ground floor of this palace, which more than doubled the previous exhibition space. In 1994 the museum was reopened here, and remained true to the original idea: to exhibit a series of historical interiors which trace the royal generations. At the opening the museum included Christian IX’s study, Queen Louise’s salon, Christian X’s study, as well as Christian X and Queen Alexandrine’s dining room. The large exhibition space also afforded the opportunity to reconstruct Frederik VIII’s study, and more rooms were made available to the museum, which are today known as The Garden Room, The Costume Gallery, and The Golden Cage. In the 1990s the museum was entrusted with Frederik IX’s study as it had looked on the king’s death in 1972. The room was opened to the public on the occasion of the King’s 100th birthday on 11 March 1999.
Since its opening the museum has arranged guided tours on the palace’s piano nobile, where you can see Nicolai Abildgaard’s magnificent neoclassical interiors, which he created at the request of Hereditary Prince Frederik after the royal assumption of Amalienborg in 1794. Since July 2013 the piano nobile has been open to the museum’s visitors every Saturday.
The palace square
Get the complete royal experience by seeing the Life Guards’ changing of the guard in the Palace Square in combination with a visit to the museum in the palace. In snowstorms and in heatwaves the Royal Life Guards steadfastly stand guard at Amalienborg and look after the Royal Family. Founded in 1658, the Life Guards have deep historical roots and have since 1785 called Rosenborg their home. Every day they march from the barracks there to Amalienborg for the changing of the guard at noon, at which the guards relieve their comrades. The parade goes through the city – often with a music corps – and attracts large numbers of spectators, and is indeed like something from a fairytale. The Life Guards’ uniform with the bearskin hat has evolved over the course of 300 years, for example the characteristic blue trousers have been in use since 1822. The parade and changing of the guard exist in several forms: the ‘royal guard’, ‘lieutenant’s guard’ and ‘palace guard’. The royal guard is the most comprehensive and occurs when HM The Queen is in residence at Amalienborg. A palace guard occurs when none of the members of the Royal Family is in residence at Amalienborg. The Royal Couple reside in Christian IX’s Palace, TRH The Crown Couple in Frederik VIII’s Palace, while TRH Prince Joachim and Princess Marie as well as HRH Princess Benedikte make use of Christian VIII’s Palace, where the museum is also located. Apart from the size of the changing of the guard, different flags indicate which members of the Royal Family are in residence at Amalienborg. Here you have to look out for whether the Royal Standard, the Flag of the Heir to the Throne, the Flag of the Regent, or the Flag of the Royal House is flying above the black roofs of Amalienborg. If the Swallow-Tailed Flag is raised, none of the members of the Royal Family are in residence in the palaces at Amalienborg. It is therefore ideal supplement a visit to the museum, which offers insight into the Royal Family’s life and activities at Amalienborg, by watching the changing of the guard. But come in plenty of time, because you’re never alone in wanting to experience the presence of history on Amalienborg Palace Square.