Kronborg Castle's cavernous casemates: the underground lair of Holger Danske

Kronborg's casemates and moat

On the north end of Kronborg Slot in Helsingør, Denmark are the casemates, the underground fortified areas of the castle where the soldiers lived and could safely retreat during a siege. These areas are dark and spooky, perfect to explore at this time of year!

The casemates or kasematterne are technically underground; in the photo above you can see earth and grass growing on top of them. But the uppermost level of the casemates has a corridor along the fortified wall that's dimly lit with a few windows overlooking the moat.

These aren't the stately windows of the royal living quarters. The windows of the soldier barracks are small, defensive, and covered in centuries of dust, mold, and cobwebs:

casemates window.jpg





The barracks chambers were sometimes completely black and we turned on our phone flashlights just to see what was in front of us! Most of the winding tunnels were lit with modern lamps.

Walking into a spiderweb was a constant threat. Here I was in flipflops, and completely creeped out as we blindly stepped into these rooms! Had there been mice, they could have touched my naked toes! Allan (@hanedane) was braver than I was, so he led the way. Occasionally an arrow would point us in the right direction so we didn't get lost.


We entered one dank chamber that contained a circular air vent extending up about 30 feet, pictured below:







And then, right in the middle of the dreary casemates of Kronborg Slot you find a grotto. Against its far wall sits the bigger-than-life statue of Holger Danske, the Danish national hero.


Holger Danske first appears in literature in 1060 as Oger le Danois in the French epic poem “La Chanson de Roland.” According to, “[Holger] becomes the main character in the heroic poem “La Chevalerie d'Ogier de Danemarche” (1200-15, Ogier's Knightship), where he is the son of the Danish king Gudfred (d. 810)... He then appears frequently in European literature.”

Christiern Pedersen's 1534 publication of “King Olger Danskis Krønicke” became the main source of Holger's exploits for Danish audiences and told of his emergence from various underground residences at Bulbjerg, Lovns, Nonnebakken, and Kronborg, among others, in order to save Denmark in times of peril.

Hans Christian Andersen wrote a fairy tale about him in 1845, “Holger Danske,” describing the hero sleeping in wait with his beard grown firmly into the marble table in Kronborg's basement.

In 1907, Hans Peder Pedersen-Dan created a sculpture of “the slumbering Holger Danske with crossed arms on his sword, commissioned in bronze for display at the Hotel Marienlyst in Helsingør. The same year, the original plaster model was placed in Kronborg's casemates; however, it crumbled in the humid environment, and in 1985 it was renewed in the art of Eric Erlandsen.”


Eventually we emerged into a huge medieval larder where they stored foodstuffs in big stone containers that looked like sarcophagi! It was cool and dark in here, a perfect place to store potatoes! I could picture animal carcasses hanging from hooks and bottles of aquavit sitting dusty as kitchen servants must have descended down here with lanterns in their hands.





At the far end of the larder was the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, and we found steps there climbing up to the front entrance of the castle. I turned to take a picture back down those stairs before we left.


What a wonderful castle tour this was! Don't miss my first two posts on the royal apartments and the setting of Hamlet:

Denmark's Kronborg Slot: the king and queen's apartments, ballroom, and chapel

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Danish

I hope to visit Kronborg Slot again, but I'll never forget the day we first visited this historic, lavish, spooky, magnificent place!


Thank you for reading and joining us on our travels! We're Allan and Stephanie... making our way through middle age.

All photos are originals, taken by @hanedane or @geke. (Dividing bars courtesy of

Please leave us a comment to let us know you stopped by! We'd love to hear from you. 😃

Comments 7

Ah what a cool place to explore! The grotto is great. This whole area seems like a location out of a dungeons and dragons adventure. Really atmospheric photos, I think you captured the feel nicely :) @tipu curate

15.10.2019 19:46
15.10.2019 19:47

Thanks @carlgnash -- it would be a great place to film a movie!

15.10.2019 22:35

This post was shared in the Curation Collective Discord community for curators, and upvoted and resteemed by the @c-squared community account after manual review.
@c-squared runs a community witness. Please consider using one of your witness votes on us here

15.10.2019 19:48

This post has been rewarded with an upvote from city trail as part of Neoxian City Curation program . We are glad to see you using #neoxian tag in your posts. If you still not in our discord, you can join our Discord Server for more goodies and giveaways.

Do you know that you can earn NEOXAG tokens as passive income by delegating to @neoxiancityvb. Here are some handy links for delegations: 100SP, 250SP, 500SP, 1000SP. Read more about the bot in this post. Note: The liquid neoxag reward of this comment will be burned and stake will be use for curation.

15.10.2019 19:48

Hi @geke!

Your post was upvoted by @steem-ua, new Steem dApp, using UserAuthority for algorithmic post curation!
Your UA account score is currently 4.984 which ranks you at #1172 across all Steem accounts.
Your rank has not changed in the last three days.

In our last Algorithmic Curation Round, consisting of 92 contributions, your post is ranked at #32.

Evaluation of your UA score:
  • Some people are already following you, keep going!
  • The readers like your work!
  • Try to work on user engagement: the more people that interact with you via the comments, the higher your UA score!

Feel free to join our @steem-ua Discord server

16.10.2019 07:14

Congratulations! Your high-quality travel content was selected by @travelfeed curator @smeralda and earned you a reward, in form of an upvote and a resteem. Your work really stands out! Your article now has a chance to get featured under the appropriate daily topic on our TravelFeed blog.
Thank you for being part of the TravelFeed community!

Did you know that you get larger upvotes when posting through That is not all, we are also giving away a ticket to Steemfest to one lucky TravelFeed user. Make sure to read the announcement and opt in! Also, thanks to the travel writing contest by @invisusmundi you can now earn up to 100 STEEM on top of the post rewards when posting through our new platform! Read the contest announcement for more information on how to participate.

We are continuously working on improving TravelFeed, recently we introduced EasySignUp and EasyLogin, our first step to make TravelFeed ready for mass adoption.

Learn more about TravelFeed by clicking on the banner above and join our community on Discord.
17.10.2019 00:10