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The Kings Hunting Area

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In the beginning of the 18th century the kings owned most of Northern Zealand, which was mostly used for hunting and horse breeding.

The King´s Area
After The Reformation in 1536 the royal power took over extensive land from the monasteries in North Zealand, and subsequently the Crown’s land possessions was increased further. Around 1546 the king bought 64 owner-occupier farmers out and by exchanging land with nobility the royal power succeeded in having most of North Zealand at its disposal.
The king´s main interest was hunting, and the major part of the landscape was used as a hunting ground and grazing areas for the king´s horses. Thus only a small area was cultivated and the crown farmers´ main work consisted mainly in hay harvest, tree felling and last, but not least, building and construction work. In the time of Frederik II Kronborg as well as Frederiksborg was built and in 1584 the first so-called “king´s road”, which connected the two castles was laid out.
North Zealand
North Zealand
The King´s Land
The King´s Land
Frederiksborg
Frederiksborg
King´s Road in Nyrup Hegn
King´s Road in Nyrup Hegn
King´s Roads in North Zealand
King´s Roads in North Zealand

Game Courses and Deer Parks
In the time of Frederik.2. they started to establish game courses and closed off deer parks, for example Lille Dyrehave, which surrounded Frederiksborg Castle. Christian 4., who in his time rebuilt Frederiksborg Castle, continued to improve the hunting terrain with the lay out of Store Dyrehave south of Hillerød, which is enclosed with red fences. He also extends the king´s roads to the south, enabling him to travel back and forth between Frederiksborg and the growing city of Copenhagen.
As a crown prince Christian 5.(1670-1699) had visited Louis 14.and had observed the hunting with hounds. Now he wanted to introduce this form of hunting in North Zealand. In 1669 the laying out of Jægersborg Deer Park began, and in 1670 Christian 5. enlarged it to include the present Jægersborg Hegn. An English hunter, Robert Badge, was called in and in the autumn of 1670 hunting with hounds began.
The Little Deer Park
The Little Deer Park
The Big Deer Park
The Big Deer Park
Frederiksborg 1652
Frederiksborg 1652

Jægersborg and Frederiksborg
In 1680, after the termination of the Scanian War, King Christian 5. began to reorganize the hunting terrain. He called in two experts from England and around 1700 there were plans for layouts around Frederiksborg Castle and the southern part of Esrum Lake. Jægerborg became a centre for the administration of the hunting, but the hunting takes place in all of Northern Zealand. The king engaged in all kinds of hunting, established falconry and arranged animal fights. In Lille Dyrehave at Frederiksborg there were lions, elephants and reindeer and in the castle´s rooms there are birds and monkeys with the favourite dogs.
Often the hunt took its starting point from Frederiksborg Castle, but there was also a hunters´ farm in Nyrup, outside Elsinore and the king also stayed at Østrup, where Fredensborg is situated. The hunt was often extensive and it demanded many resources. At a battue in Jægerspris in 1680 500 men were beaters and they brought food for 5-6 days.

The Hunting with Hounds
The hunting with hounds took place on horseback. The hunters hunted game with their hounds, which finally found the game, so the king or someone selected by him killed the animal with a knife (hirschfänger). The moor near Gurre had big deer and often the king chose the animal in question. In 1720 140 hounds and 50 puppies were connected to the hunt. The hunting dogs were trained at Jægergården in Nyrup.
The hun toften took several hours and was a social gathering, where the ladies from open carriages or pavillions could observe the display with the absolute monarch as the leading man. The English observer Robert Molesworth has described the end of a hunt in the time of Christian 5.
Riding with Hounds
Riding with Hounds
Riding with Hounds
Riding with Hounds
Riding with Hounds
Riding with Hounds

The Court´s Consumption of Game
Normally all the game from the royal hunting ground went into the royal household and the court´s game consumption was extensive. In 1680 they consumed 56 courses of game a week.

©  Øresundstid 2009