Slotshaven på Gottorp Slot, som den ser ud i dag.

Gottorf Castle and its gardens

Gottorf Castle is located in Schleswig and was in the ownership of Danish monarchs for a while until King Christian III let his younger brother prince Adolph have the castle in 1544. This marked the beginning of the ducal house of Gottorf.

From 1544 to 1713 the dukes of Gottorf lived at the castle, which became a centre for the arts and sciences thanks to the efforts made by Duke Frederick III.

The Gardens at Gottorf Castle

In 1637 Duke Frederick III began creating a new garden at Gottorf Castle. The result was a splendid garden in the Baroque style. The flowers in this new garden were portrayed by Hans Simon Holtzbecker in the Gottorfer Codex, a so-called florilegium.

Rare plants from around the world

The garden featured rare plants from remote corners of the world. Plants that were seldom seen in Northern Europe at the time were brought together here in hitherto unseen numbers. In the 17th century it was common practice for those who owned fine collections of plants to commission an artist to paint them.

Spoils of war to Copenhagen

The Great Northern War took place in 1700-21, and in 1713 Danish troops occupied the duchy of Gottorf. Over the course of the next 35 years the contents of the famous Kunstkammer at Gottorf Castle as well as its large library were shipped off to Copenhagen. That is how the Gottorfer Codex and The Green Florilegium both ended up at the SMK.

The gardens and castle today

Today the Baroque garden has been re-established at Gottorf. However, no-one knows for sure what the garden looked like in the mid-17th century. A number of the plants featured in the Gottorfer Codex are also part of the planting scheme in the new garden. However, accomplishing this was not entirely straightforward. Over the course of the centuries the plants have been cultivated and changed. Some, however, have quite amazingly survived unnoticed in the garden during its overgrown years.

Visit the website of Gottorf Castle (external link)

Updated: 26.apr.2018
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