Gottorp Castle is one of the most important castles in Schleswig and currently you can visit the castle since it is a museum with a large collection in the city of Schleswig.
The castle history date back to 1161 when it was the residence of the bishop of Schleswig. The original castle was torn down by king Valdemar I the Great and he built a new castle at the current location. The castle remained the property of the bishop until 1268 when it was transferred to the Duke of Schleswig.
The current renaissance castle is built by Frederik I of Denmark in 1530 and he ruled Denmark from his base at this castle. When Frederik died the castle was inherited by his youngest son Adolf who became the new duke of Schleswig. This created a division in the Danish kingdom which was now ruled in two parts for the following period. The main kingdom of Denmark and the dukedom of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp.
As a result of the Great Northern War from 1713 to 1720 the castle finally went back to the Danish king. The castle later became a very important place for the Danish royal family since the king Frederik VII didn’t have any children so a new crown prince had to be found. And Prince Christian was chosen – he was born at Gottorp castle in 1818 and his line has been on the throne of Denmark till today.
During the first war of Schleswig the castle was used as a temporary infirmary to treat the wooden in the war. And later after the second war of Schleswig the castle become a Prussian barrack and much of the original interior is destroyed during this period.
Finally the castle returned to a more peaceful use when it became a part of the Schleswig-Holstein museums and today you can visit the castle with the many historic collections.
The historical collections are pretty good for a regional museum like this one so we enjoy walking around the place and see the different exhibition. There is also a bit of the history of the region to commemorate the special relationship between Danes and Germans in this border land and remember the old connection the castle had to Denmark.
A special section of the castle displays the rich finds from Nydam Bog where a lot of weapons have been offered to the gods in the bog around the 3rd to 5th century. The large Nydam Boat is displayed in a separate building next to the castle and your ticket to the castle also give you access to the Nydam Boat which in my opinion is the real start of the collections of the castle.