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Revision as of 10:41, 17 July 2010
Kongernes Nordsjælland , or in English - the North Zealand of Kings, is a National park in the making in Nordsjælland, Denmark. The National Park status has yet to take full effect, but the necessary law passed through parliament in 2008, and protection will be effective from sometime in 2009.
A large portion of the national park is taken up by Gribskov, Denmarks 4th largest forest, covering some 5600 hectares (ca 14.000 acres), the landscape here is undulating with varied vegetation, but mostly pine, beech and some majestic old oak trees.
Flora and fauna
While not exactly rich on fauna by most standards, for a densely populated area like Denmark - and Zealand in particular, the range of animals to be spotted here is as richer than most everywhere else in the country outside the wadden sea. Mammals living in the park includes many species of deer (red-, roe-, fallow- and sika deer) which constituted a large part of the royal interests in the northern forests. You can also see foxes as well as the European Badger, and if you are extremely lucky you can sometimes spot Osprey or the White Tailed Eagles, but more common sightings up in the air includes the Common Buzzard and to some extend the Honey Buzzard and Sparrow Hawk.
There are no fees to enter the park, and the only fee you are likely to encounter is the compulsory angling license  if you plan on fishing in any of the lakes; 35 Kr/day, 100 Kr/week or 140 Kr/year.
Gribskovbanen (The Grib forest railway) is one of the oldest private railways in the country. It was build between 1880 and 1924, mainly to haul lumber between Grib Forest and Copenhagen, which was a tedious venture to do over land, but it has also carried passengers nearly since its beginnings. Today it mainly carries commuters to Hillerød where passengers can continue with the S-train to and from Copenhagen, but during the summer its also packed with vacationers going to their holiday homes or the beaches on the North Coast, or on small treks in Gribskov (Stops: Gribsø, Kagerup & Mårum).
While the royal connotations in the parks name mainly refers to the 3 grand royal palaces of Northern Zealand; Kronborg in Elsinore, Fredensborg Slot in Fredensborg and Frederiksborg Slot in Hillerød, these are actually located inside the respective cities, and are as such not part of the national park itself - although they are perfectly feasible to visit as part of an excursion to the park. There are however, also a number of ruins related to the royal history of the lands contained in the park, that relates to the kings of old, though you'd probably need an interest in archeology or history to go out of your way to see these sites.
- Asserbo Slotsruin, Bisp Absalonsvej 31 (nearest address). Erected as a monastery by Absalon, the founder of Copenhagen, in the 11th century for the Carthusian Order, it was since converted to a palace, taken over by the king, and abandoned after a fire. Archaeological excavations have since exposed the foundations and remaining parts of the walls, and the old moat also remains. Nearby is another excavation of an abandoned village and a number of Tumulus inside the forest (56.024054,12.052488)
- Dronningholm Slotsruin, Auderødvej 40 (nearest address). A castle ruin. Originally build by King Valdemar II (1170-1241) for his wife Dagmar in the 12th century. It was since passed on to Seignory, and eventually to decay. Many of building materials was used to reconstruct a local mill after a fire, and so only the foundations remains, but there is nice views over the lake. (55.9702501,12.0568541)
- Gurre Slotsruin, Gurrevej 425 (nearest address). Arguably the most impressive of the parks ruins, its origins are hazy, but it gained prominence under King Valdemar IV (Valdemar Atterdag), who also expanded the castle significantly in 14th century. According the legend he became so attached to it that he "would give up his place in heaven to keep it", something not lost on various Danish poets throughout the ages. The only real visible part remaining is the bast of the main tower, which still rises up to 3 meters above the foundations. (56.019517,12.5051599)
- Søborg Slotsruin, Bygaden 58, Gilleleje (nearest address). An important locality from the viking age and up to its days as a royal castle from the 12th to the mid 16th century when it was disbanded following the Count's Feud civil war. Many of the stones were used during the construction of Kronborg castle in Elsinore. The moat and ground layout of the old castle is still visible (56.090714,12.31005)
- Esrum Monastery, Klostergade 11, Esrum (North of Esrum lake), ☎ ''+45'' 48 36 04 00 ([email protected]), . 11am-4pm (only Th-Su in the winter). This used to be the biggest monastery in Scandinavis. Only a few building remains. Shops, restaurent, and many activities for children Free, but DKK for some exhibitions.
- Æbelholt Kloster museum (Æbelholt Abbey Museum), Æbeltholt 4, ☎ +45 4824 3448. May - Oct: 11 - 16 (Monday closed).. The ruins of the largest medieval Augustinian abbey in the Nordic countries. The small museum on the grounds, has exhibitions about the medical history of the Augustinian order, including a garden with medical herbs, and some 300 skeletons on display! Once every year there is a middle age themed market day held, at the grounds around mid June. (55.9447708,12.2119859)
- Multebjerg Shelterplads.