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Restoration of the Winter Room

A unique room

The Winter Room at Rosenborg Castle is unique and central to the experience of Christian IV’s Rosenborg. Here, in his living room at his favourite castle, you can get closer to Denmark’s great Renaissance king than anywhere else. The well-preserved Renaissance room has rich and highly unusual decorations. No fewer than 95 paintings on wooden panels are fitted into the beautifully carved wall panelling. From 2024 to 2026, the decoration of the room will undergo complete restoration.


Dismantling of ceilings and paintings in the Winter Room

Conservators from the National Museum have begun dismantling the ceilings and paintings in the Winter Room. They must proceed carefully to avoid marking the moldings or frames. Special wooden wedges and silicone paper are used to protect the surfaces from damage. Once the paintings are taken down, their condition will be assessed. They will then be taken to the workshop where the paint layer will be stabilized and the paintings cleaned. All decisions are made in close collaboration with conservators from the Royal Danish Collection.


The history of the Winter Room

Like Rosenborg itself, the Winter Room was created in stages. The castle was originally designed as a country seat in the new gardens that Christian IV had created in 1605–1606 outside the ramparts around Copenhagen. The castle soon proved too small, and as early as 1613, it was expanded to twice its original length. It was during this second phase that the Winter Room was built.
First, the room was lined with the elegant wooden panels created by court cabinetmaker Gregor Greus . Around 1616, Christian IV decided to add to the decorations and acquired most of the paintings that are embedded in the panelling today. Some of the paintings were bought or commissioned in Antwerp, a leading European art centre with an almost factory-like serial production of paintings.
The ceiling that we see in the room today was not part of the original decoration of the Winter Room, which had a painted stucco ceiling. The current ceiling was created for the room above the Winter Room on the first floor of the castle. It was moved to its current location during a renovation initiated by Frederik IV around 1706.
The next major change of the Winter Room are the window niches on either side of the fireplace. Originally, the two window niches matched the others in the room, but in the 1750s, the architect responsible for the castle decided to continue the oriels on the upper floors down to the foundation, adding bay windows on the ground floor. The new, deeper niches on either side of the fireplace were decorated with six new paintings in the same style as the existing paintings. The frames too were made to closely resemble the original ones.
Finally, in 1862, nearly 25 years after Rosenborg was converted into a museum, the original floorboards in the Winter Room were replaced with marble tiles.
Throughout these historical changes, the Winter Room has remained unique. The current conservation and restoration project, which runs from 2024 to 2026, will give us an even closer look at this room, which was so cherished by Christian IV.


A rare opportunity

The decorations of the Winter Room have been the subject of years of research, so we already have important insights into the room. This new project offers a unique opportunity to find answers to many of the remaining questions.
This is the first time that the original decoration of the room are systematically examined and treated in their entirety. This systematic study undertaken by conservators, historians and art historians therefore offers a rare opportunity to gather new information and gain new knowledge about the unique Winter Room.


Collaborative partners