Roskilde Cathedral is, if anything, the city’s landmark. The church is visible when driving to Roskilde, but most impressive when sailing into the city. It is known as the church in the world with the most kings and queens buried: 21 kings and 18 queens. The church was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1995 as the second work in Denmark. Originally, a wooden church was built by Harald Bluetooth in the 980s where Roskilde Cathedral stands today.
In 1020, Roskilde was made a bishopric and the church became a cathedral. The first stone church was built in 1035. Around 1175, Absalon began work on the present brick church, which was worked on throughout the 12. and 13th century. Originally the church looked like a cross, seen from the air. Since then, two towers, three spires and four burial chapels have been added to the cathedral.
The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde is a unique experience that will delight the whole family with its beautiful Viking ships, sailing, boat building and hands-on activities. Here you can experience the many sides of the Viking world. The museum takes its starting point in the discovery of the five ‘Skuldelev’ Viking ships in Roskilde Fjord and the Vikings’ shipping, boatbuilding, craftsmanship, raids and trade – and reveals the importance of the ships for the society of the time. All this is presented both in the Viking Ship Hall with the five original Viking ships and outdoors in the Museum Island’s workshops and boatyard.
On the lower floor of the museum is the exhibition – In the Wake of the Vikings, which tells the story from the discovery of the Skuldelev ships, through the creation of the museum, to the reconstruction and test sailing of the ships. It also covers the museum’s archaeological, historical and practical work on the ships.
On the museum island you can:
See a real Viking ship come to life in the boatyard, where boat builders are reconstructing the Skuldelev 3′, a small coastal cargo ship from the Viking Age from around 1040.
Parcelgården is one of Roskilde’s most distinctive farms. The property was originally a breeding farm for the Bistrup estate. When in 1808 the old farmhouse on the Bistrup estate was converted into a “fool’s coffin” (storage place for the mentally ill), there was a lack of farm buildings for the existing farm of 350 acres of land, which was right next to Bistrup itself. Therefore, in 1809 Bistrup Parcelgård was built east of Boserup forest.
The property has been extended several times over the subsequent 100 years by mergers.
In its original form, the semi-detached house had an appearance reminiscent of the building style of Sct. Hans Hospital, and significant parts of the building complex were designed by the same architect Bindesbøl. Although the building was declared a listed building, owner Tage Nielsen demolished it in 2000 and built the complex that can be seen today.
The gray seal (Halichoerus grypus) is a mammal in the family of true seals. It is distributed in three distinct populations in the North Atlantic, one on the east coast of North America, one around the British Isles, Iceland and the Norwegian coast, and one in the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia. The grey seal is easily recognizable by its characteristic elongated head. The gray seal was first scientifically described by the priest and Greenland explorer Otte Fabricius in 1788. In the eastern end of the fjord between Salvadparken and Risø Research Center there is a shallow area called Sælklemmerne. At low tide there are visible dry rocks where you may be lucky enough to see seals basking in the sun.
The guinea pig is a relatively small cetacean. It is about 75 cm long at birth. Males grow to 1.6 meters and females to 1.7 meters. Females are correspondingly heavier, with a maximum weight of about 75 kg, compared to the males’ 60 kg. The body is robust and the animal reaches its maximum diameter just in front of its triangular dorsal fin. Guinea pigs live for up to 25 years. There are 22-28 teeth in each half of the jaw, the teeth are partially hidden in the gums and they are different from the dolphin’s pointed teeth.
The guinea pig breathes about four times a minute. It dives to a maximum depth of 200 m and can stay underwater for up to 6-8 minutes. The dolphins seen in Roskilde Fjord for the first time in the summer of 2016 are bottlenose dolphins. The bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) is probably the best known dolphin species. It is found in warm and temperate seas all over the world, with the exception of the Arctic Ocean and Antarctica. bottlenose dolphins are gray, from the dark gray on the top of the back near the dorsal fin, to a very light gray or almost white underside. The salt water makes them difficult to see both from above and below when swimming. Their upper and lower jaws are elongated, giving them their English name bottlenose.
We are now in Kattinge Vig, surrounded by Bognæs and Boserup Forest. On the left side of the shipping lane you will see Ring Island, so named because of its distinctive shape.
The island consists of a narrow strip of land surrounding a shallow lake. Its geological origin is still debated among scholars: Some claim that it is deposits from the last ice age, while others believe that the island was created by two abandoned sea walls that melted together to form the lake.
A number of years ago, Ring Island was the main prize in the Children’s Aid Day Lottery. It was won by a Copenhagen tramway conductor who was so happy with his luck that he decided to build a cottage out there. But when he arrived on his new island, he was somewhat disappointed. Where on earth would he put a house?
The building authorities were of little help. They could state that there should be a minimum of one hundred meters between a settlement and the water. As you can see, it was a rule that was difficult to comply with.
As the prize could not be returned, he sold it and bought a Volkswagen with the money.
Today, the island is a bird sanctuary and breeding ground for wild geese and other bird species, including Denmark’s national bird – the mute swan.
Kattinge Værk was a hydroelectric powered factory built in 1754 at the dam between Store Kattinge Sø and Kattinge Vig in Herslev Parish.
In 1753, a company was authorized to extract stone from the ruins of Nebbe Castle for the construction of Kattinge Works, with a stamp mill with 18 rammers and 1 grist mill. In 11884 the mill, which at that time was only a grist mill, was taken over by the magazine publisher and paper manufacturer Jean Christian Ferslew, who converted it into a pulp mill.
The cellulose factory operated until 1910, when it became unprofitable due to new customs regulations. The buildings were used by Sct. Hans Hospital until the 1960s.
Today, Kattinge værk is the name of the Copenhagen Municipality’s nature and activity center that is based on the site, just as the Udflytterbørnehaven Kattingeværk will be there.
To the east you will see the famous Risø Research Center, which was inaugurated in 1958.
Nuclear physicist and scientist Niels Bohr was chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, which built the plant on the peninsula. It was to conduct research into the peaceful use of nuclear energy in the three reactors built on the site. The wish was that nuclear power could eventually be used as an energy source in Denmark, but the commission was faced with headwinds from the outset.
When the oil crisis hit in 1973 and oil rose to four times the normal price, Danish electricity companies suddenly warmed to the idea of nuclear energy. At the same time, public opposition was so strong and persistent that by 1985 the idea was abandoned by politicians.
The last nuclear reactor at Risø was shut down in April 2000. Today, Risø is the country’s largest research center for alternative energy and is part of the Technical University of Denmark.
Eskilsø is the largest island in the Roskilde Fjord (1.4 km2). The island is owned by the Erick and Ingrid Struckmann Nature Conservation Foundation, named after the founder and first chairman of the Danish Society for Nature Conservation, Erick Struckmann.
Eskilsø lies like a plug in Roskilde Fjord. All along the coast there are large rocks brought here by the ice sheet. Many of the salt marshes surrounding the island have never been cultivated. They are grazed by cattle, which is vital for flora and fauna.
On Eskilsø there are the remains of a small monastery. The local monks did not behave according to church rules and partying and drinking were part of everyday life. Bishop Absalon had heard about it and he sent Abbot Vilhelm, whom he knew from his student days in Paris, to Eskilsø to get the monks under control. He arrived from the monastery of St. Genevieve with three other ecclesiastical officials in 1165 to put the loose monks of Eskilsø in order.
It was a difficult task and the monks were given strict conditions that didn’t quite get them right.
Therefore, they were deprived of the church bell and ordered to transport it to Jyllinge Church. They crossed the ice by sledge and legend has it that the sledge broke through the ice and the bell ended up in a deep mud hole off the south-western tip of Lilleø. Hence the name ‘bell hole’. The bell has never been found. Today only the remains of a church remain on the island, but until about 100 years ago it was still in such a condition that it was used for storage.
In 1850, the white-tailed eagle was a widespread breeding bird in Denmark, but by 1900 the entire population had been hunted to extinction. It would be almost 100 years before Northern Europe’s largest bird of prey settled in Denmark again.
Today, more than 400 white-tailed eagles winter on Danish soil, and there are about 100 breeding pairs.
Since 2006, the beautiful bird has lived, hunted and bred here at Roskilde Fjord. Currently there are pairs of white-tailed eagles living in the area.
White-tailed eagles are very shy and require quietness around the breeding site. They have between one and three young at a time. The couples use the same nest year after year and like to add to it. A nest can be three meters high and weigh up to 500 kilos!
A white-tailed eagle reaches sexual maturity when it is between 5 and 7 years old, and can live up to 30 years in the wild. The white-tailed eagle is our largest bird species with a wingspan of up to 2.5 meters
The sea eagles can often be seen from Sagafjord when we sail in Kattinge Vig. Try looking high in the sky – you might be lucky enough to see them orbiting majestically in large circles.
We have now passed Nørre Rev, which is a barrier to the entrance to Lejre Vig.
Straight ahead is the village of Gershøj.
The village is known for its beautiful thatched houses and the old inn, Gershøj Kro & Strandhotel, which can be traced back to 1871.
However, Gershøj Church is somewhat older. It was built in the 12th century and, like most of the other churches in the area, it was built of freestone, taken from the then freestone quarry in Sortekilden near the village of Vintre Møller.
The church, with its characteristic red color, is idyllically situated with a view of the fields and fjord and a view of Selsø Castle. If you enter the church, you will see that in the chancel, north of the altar, there is a curious hole with a small lattice in front of it.
Today the hole is walled up, but it is believed that in ancient times it served as a ‘leprosy hole’:
Since the sick were not allowed to enter the church and spread infection, even if they were in need of salvation, a hole was made in the wall. In this way, the lepers could – via the hole – receive communion during the service
We are now close to Selsø Møllekrog, which was one of the old landing places for sailing on the fjord. The steamer Adjudanten docked here. The ship not only carried passengers and goods, it could also carry livestock. In the 1800s, Møllekrogen got its own ferry berth and a ferry service to Roskilde was established.
One can almost imagine the hustle and bustle when the ferry arrived and departed with people and goods to and from Roskilde.In a north-easterly direction we have Selsø Castle, which until the Reformation in 1536 belonged to the Bishopric of Roskilde. Over the years, successive owners have rebuilt the castle according to the whims of fashion.
From 1720, Selsø Castle was owned by the Danish statesman Christian Ludvig von Plessen. He gave the castle its current Baroque form and had the halls decorated by thefavored artist of the time,Hendrick Krock, who also decorated Rosenborg, Fredensborg and Frederiksberg Castle . In 1801, von Plessen’s last heir, Christian, died and his wife Agathe decided to use the castle as a widow’s residence. After Agathe’s death in 1829, the castle stood empty and fell into a Sleeping Beauty slumber that would last for almost 150 years… Today, Selsø Castle is a museum. You can be lucky – or unlucky – to encounter the White Lady, said to be one of the many ghosts that haunt the old buildings.
To the west is the island of Elleore. The island is an independent kingdom with its own currency, stamps and flag, ‘Ellebrog’.
The Kingdom of Elleore was established on August 27, 1944, when a group of Copenhagen school teachers bought the island from a local priest. In the shadow of the occupation, they wanted a German-free area where they could decide everything for themselves.
Just like in Iceland, where you have the Althingi and in Norway you have the Storting, Elleore has an Ingenting, of which they are very proud. On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the kingdom in 1994, a stone was erected with the words: ‘In memory of Nothing’.Elleore is the size of the Town Hall Square and has 250 inhabitants. As you can see, most people are on vacation at the moment…
The island has its own time zone, E.S.T., Ellis Standard Time. Before the ‘oarsmen’ go ashore, they set the clock back 17 minutes: that’s the time it takes to row from the harbor in Veddelev to the island.
Elleore became world famous in 1907, when Nordisk Film Kompagni – headed by the honorable filmmaker Ole Olsen – shot the first silent film in Denmark. The movie was called The Lion Hunt and lasted seven minutes.
To create the right savannah atmosphere, some piles of yellow sand and ten artificial palm trees were placed on the small island. At the Hagenbeck Zoo in Hamburg, Olsen bought two male lions that were soon to be put down, and the animals were transported to Elleore on a barge.
Two actors disguised as big game hunters were waiting. Off camera, a couple of professional hunters stood ready to shoot the lions and the filming began!
The rumors about the lions and their impending doom prompted some animal rights activists to react, and Ole Olsen was banned from filming. He left the task to his people, who had not received the ban, and left Elleore himself.
The lions were shot on camera and the film was released, but Ole Olsen was accused of animal cruelty. His cinema license was revoked and the premiere had to be canceled.
But someone had smuggled a copy of The Lion Hunt to Sweden, where the movie became a huge success and was sold all over the world. Shortly afterwards, Olsen pure was acquitted, and in 1908 the film was finally released in Denmark.
And the lions? They ended up as pig feed in the area.
Julemærkehjemmet Liljeborg opened in January 2018 and is the newest of the five Julemærkehjemmet in Denmark. Liljeborg is located in beautiful surroundings down to Roskilde Fjord and close to Roskilde city center and the forest and nature around the city. At Julemærkehjemmet Liljeborg, the children are offered a stay with a focus on health and well-being, which provides development opportunities for the individual child.
The children experience a daily routine full of movement, play and exercise, which allows them to improve their physical fitness, mental well-being and social skills.
At Julemærkehjemmet Liljeborg there is a caring environment with attentive adults who meet children and families with a professional commitment. The children learn about diet and nutrition throughout their stay and in our school they are taught in classes of six students each.
This allows for immersion and focus on the individual child. A stay at Julemærkehjemmet Liljeborgs is 10 fantastic weeks for the child and the stay creates good conditions for the children’s well-being in everyday life when they return home from Julemærkehjemmet.