Frederiksberg Gardens

Frederiksberg, Denmark | C.1699

Photo Credit: Christina Rungstrøm

The romantic grounds of Frederiksberg Gardens are one of the largest and most attractive greenspaces in Copenhagen, Denmark. Together with the adjacent Sondermarken it forms a green area of 64 hectares at the western edge of Copenhagen.

The estate was established by King Frederik IV in connection with the construction of Frederiksberg Palace. Atop Valby Hill, King Frederik saw this land fit to serve as his new summer retreat. Work on the project began in the last half of the 1690s and the design work was inspired by the King’s frequent trips to Italy and France.

The plan included a formal parterre with a complex system of cascades on the sloping terrain in front of the new palace. The flower beds were fed by a complicated and inefficient system of pumps which never worked properly.

Johan Cornelius Krieger was called upon to redesign the parterre. At the time he was also working on an extension and adaption of Fredensborg Palace. Ultimately, he made an unusual decision to scrap the popular parterre in lieu of a series of terraces.

In the 1790s, the park was adapted into an English landscape garden that was the popular style at the time. In charge of the new design was P. Petersen who created a new garden plan in 1795. The result was a typical English-style landscape garden with winding lawns, lakes, canals and bundles of trees as well as luxurious grottos, temples, pavilions and summerhouses.

Though it was still a palace park, the general public supposedly had access to the grounds. However, sailors, dogs and people in “poor clothing” or carrying large bundles were turned away by the guard at the park’s sole entrance. Not until 1865 did access to the park truly become unrestricted and open to all, and it is now enjoyed by Danish and anyone else who stumbles upon the grounds.

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