King Christian IV of Denmark built Rosenborg in 1606-34 as a summer castle. He designed much of this Dutch Renaissance style castle himself. The next three generations of kings lived here, until King Frederik IV erected Frederiksborg Castle in 1710. From then on, Rosenborg was used only for occasional visits and certain official functions. It also became a sort of storehouse, where royal family heirlooms, including the regalia, crown jewels, and thrones, were kept.
Rosenborg is unique for its long museum tradition. As early as 1838 these royal collections were opened to the public. The rooms which remained intact from those kings who had lived in them (Christian IV to Frederik IV) were preserved, while rooms from the times of later kings were recreated using the various objects stored at Rosenborg and other royal castles. Most museums of the time were arranged thematically, by portraits, furniture, etc., so the decision to arrange the collections chronologically, giving visitors an overall picture of the nation’s history, was entirely new.
The museum was expanded to its present form in the 1860s, with rooms representing each king up to Frederik VII, who died in 1863. It thus became the First museum of contemporary culture in Europe.
The castle is surrounded by a lovely green space with formal gardens as well as public areas for picnics and gatherings, and several public art/design installations. While there is admission to the castle and Crown Jewels rooms, the park area around the castle is public.