Reopening of Christian VII’s Palace
Christian VII’s Palace has been closed to the public for three years while the Royal Couple have used the palace during the renovation of Christian IX’s Palace. The Royal Danish Collection has now taken over arrangements for the Palace and organises daily tours throughout the year.
For 250 years, Christian VII’s Palace has welcomed distinguished guests from Denmark and the rest of the world, and the building emanates exclusivity. A.G. Moltke, Frederick V’s Lord High Steward and close friend, designed and fitted out the place in the 1750s so that he could impress his guests. In 1794, it was taken over by Christian VII.
Today, the palace is used for entertainment and history repeats itself in the way it is now used, to show oneself to best advantage. The tour programme is organized in agreement with HM The Queen. Consequently, our guests are able to come very close to the Royal House and have an idea of what it feels like to visit the palace on a state visit, at a New Year’s Levee or on other special occasions.
‘All the world’s a stage’, wrote Shakespeare, and the entire palace can be seen as a sort of stage, with power manifest in all the rooms. Hosts and guests played their roles here, ably assisted by the interior design, which was carefully orchestrated to present a kind of power drama with hierarchical divisions of the rooms, classical references for the educated and symbolism that emphasised the importance of the host.
The palace is a cultural and historical jewel. With its outstanding works of art and crafts, it represents a universal gesamtkunstwerk of the highest international standard. It is a collage of the idioms and methods of different eras, with the ingenious, light-fingered curves of Rococo the dominant style.
There is access to all the representative rooms in the palace, of which the high points are the Great Hall (Riddersalen) and the Banqueting Hall (Taffelsalen). The Great Hall, built in 1754, was Court Architect Nicolai Eigtved’s masterwork and is fabulously gilded throughout. It is a true Rococo dream, and the wood carvings on the doors and panels are among the finest in the world. The French paintings on the walls celebrate painting, astronomy, architecture, music and poetry.
The Banqueting Hall is also gilded, the most exclusive ornamentation of the era, and at each end of the room are lavish fountains in which servants could rinse wine glasses. The room is still used for the Royal House’s official gatherings.
The other highlights include a valuable Flora Danica service collection, furniture by I.C. Lillie, paintings by the French court painter François Boucher and some of the greatest artists at the Danish Court: Karel van Mander, Abraham Wuchters and Carl Gustav Pilo, as well as Flemish and French tapestries from the 17th and 18th centuries.
Places can be booked on the tours at amalienborg.dk
FACTS ABOUT THE NEW YEAR’S LEVEE
The origin of the New Year’s Levee is lost in the mists of time, but the tradition was known as early as the mid-17th century, when it was mentioned as an old custom. A New Year’s Levee lasts for three days. The monarch and the Danish people wish each other a Happy New Year and thus good fortune for the entire nation. Denmark’s international relations are also included in the tradition, with a New Year’s Levee for the diplomatic corps.
A New Year’s Levee begins on 1 January with a New Year’s banquet. The Government, the country’s senior civil servants and the management of the Court are invited to dinner in the Great Hall in Christian VII’s Palace. New Year’s banquets have been held in the building since 1885. The entrance hall of the palace is also where the Royal Family enter on 1 January to greet the Life Guards lined up along the rear wall.