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Royal Power and the Power of Water | Historical Hike on Arrenæs

The new historical hiking route Royal Power and the Power of Water follows along Arresø Canal to Arrenæs in North Zealand. Along the way, you'll pass through some of North Zealand's most beautiful nature and a series of historically significant sites that tell the story of royal power and the importance of water power.

The relationship between industry and nature in Frederiksværk has been mutually influential, as significant forces have been at play. The area has faced challenges such as sand drifts and floods.

This was an era where efforts were made to control and adapt to nature, leading to the planting of trees and the construction of a canal from Arresø. This canal paved the way for industrialization and the development of Frederiksværk.

The route passes the following notable sites: Arsenal in Frederiksværk

Frederiksværk is Denmark's first industrial town, originally emerging as a military-industrial complex producing gunpowder, bullets, and cannons. After Anker Heegaard took over in 1857, the company shifted its production to pots, stoves, and other consumer goods. The Arsenal joined the United Iron Foundries in 1928, and in the 1940s, the Danish Steel Rolling Mill was established in the town. To learn more about this development, one can visit the Arsenal and the exhibition "Frederiksværk – Denmark's first industrial town."

The Canals

The area between the Kattegat and Arresø was hit by severe sand drifts, causing extensive flooding. To address this situation, Frederik IV issued an order in 1717 for 400 Danish soldiers and 100 Swedish prisoners of war to dig a canal between Arresø and Roskilde Fjord. The canal was completed in 1719, paving the way for industrial prosperity. In 1756, Johan Frederik Classen and Just Fabritius established a cannon foundry and gunpowder works, requiring another canal perpendicular to the first one.


The military-industrial complex, Frederik's Works, attracted royal and distinguished guests. To accommodate these visitors, the founder J.F. Classen erected an impressive main building at Arresødal in the years 1786–1788.

Vinderød Church

After J.F. Classen died in 1792, Vinderød Church was rebuilt with a magnificent tomb monument. The sculptor Johannes Wiedewelt created this monument from various types of marble based on drawings by Classen's brother, Peter Hersleb. The tomb monument, depicting a rocky cave, refers through various symbols to Classen's life and achievements. The current Vinderød Church, built in 1883, surrounds the tomb monument. If the church door is unlocked, visitors are welcome to admire the tomb monument.

Along the way on the tour, keep an eye out for signs where you can find answers to the questions.

The hiking route is offered in three versions:

The historical hiking route comes in three versions tailored to different preferences. The green route, at 5 km, follows roads and good paths, making it accessible to all, including those on wheels. The red and yellow routes follow smaller paths and are more hilly in several places. The routes are suitable for most but require a pair of sturdy shoes.

Tips for your trip:

There is free parking and a playground at the Arsenal, and you can have coffee and buy ice cream at Issalonen or dine at Hotel Frederiksværk, located directly opposite the Arsenal.

The Rocket Corps

From the early 19th century until 1958, the area served as a military base. During the bombardment of Copenhagen in 1807, the British used rockets, leading to the establishment of the Royal Danish Rocket Corps. The corps had a base between Arresødal and Arresø and was dedicated to the production and experimentation of rockets. The Rocket Corps was disbanded in 1844.

Lundbye's Bench

The landscape around Arresø has inspired several Danish landscape paintings. The Danish Golden Age painter Johan Thomas Lundbye depicted the unique Danish landscape in a conflict-free and idyllic manner. Lundbye spent a lot of time in the area around Arresø and painted numerous motifs from there. The painter Laurits Andersen Ring was inspired to paint "Lundbye's Bench" after hearing that Lundbye had sat on this bench while painting motifs from Arresø.

Viewing Platform at Ågabet

A 265-meter-long wooden bridge leads from Arresødal Park through alder swamps, willow thickets, and reed forests to a viewing platform with a wide view of Arresø. Here, you can experience the lake's life up close. Arresø is a Natura 2000 bird protection area and is home to breeding birds such as the Eurasian bittern, marsh harrier, and kingfisher, as well as migratory birds like the great crested grebe, osprey, and white-tailed eagle. However, swans are rare on Arresø as they feed on bottom plants, which are limited on the dark lake bed where algae prevent sunlight from reaching.

Dronningholm Castle Ruins

Dronningholm is one of Denmark's oldest royal castles, serving as both a center of power, defensive fortification, and base for tax collection for 400 years, owned by kings, bishops, and nobles.

The Beaver Dam in Dronningholm Bog

The purpose of introducing beavers to Denmark was to create a more diverse nature. The beaver, an ecological keystone species, creates habitats for threatened animals and plants through its behavior and lifestyle. From 2009 to 2011, 23 beavers from Germany were released in North Zealand. The population has since grown to around 60 individuals. The beaver observation hideout was built by the North Zealand Royal Parks, the Danish Nature Agency, and Halsnæs Municipality.

Wooded Hills in Sørupvang

The landscape around Arresø has been the subject of several Danish landscape paintings. Johan Thomas Lundbye, a Danish Golden Age painter, depicted the uniquely Danish landscape in a romantic and idealistic style. Lundbye was fascinated by the hilly terrain at Sørup Vang, especially during the Golden Age's increasing interest in geology. Today, the landscape is more wooded, making it difficult to locate the exact spot where the motif was painted.