The Margrethe Town

Nyborg Castle was built around 1170. Its placement was strategic and favourable in the kingdom, which at that time including the (now Swedish) provinces of Skåne, Halland and Blekinge, as well as Southern Jutland. Nyborg would, with time, play a decisive role in Danish history. During the reign of Queen Margrethe I, the town achieved its basic form, which along with Christian III's building projects, still characterises the middle of town today.

Margrethe I (1353-1412) was the main force responsible for putting Nyborg on the map in the Middle Ages. After her armies' conquest of King Albrecht of Mecklenburg, she began her extensive building projects at the Funish castle and town. The castle was expanded and construction began on the Church of Our Lady, to celebrate the victory over King Albrecht. Margrethe I also started an impressive water-regulation project, the goal of which was to surround the fortified town with water. This also meant that the town was furnished with a steady supply of fresh water.

It was, without a doubt, a very demanding project. A sluice at Kullerup, 5 km. west of Nyborg, pressed water from the Vindinge River into Hjulby Lake. From here, labourers dug a new river, Barn River, down to the castle, where the water was held behind a dam and then led into new channels around the town walls. The carefully planned town structure can still be seen today; from the air, it is clearly heart-shaped. Nyborg can, with good reason, be called the Heart of the Kingdom of Denmark, not just because of its shape, but also since it is the pulsating point in the country from which the regent and the parliament once ruled the land.

The Danehof
From the 1200's until the 1400's, the Danehof gathered at Nyborg Castle. The Danehof was the parliament of its day; King Valdemar Atterdag (1340-1375) proclaimed in 1354 that the Danehof should meet at Nyborg Castle once a year to discuss the future of the kingdom. In 1377, Queen Margrethe I signed her son, Oluf's, coronation charter at the castle, which again emphasised the role of Nyborg Castle as the seat of the Danehof. In 1380, King Håkon died, and his son Oluf ascended to the Norwegian throne. This meant that his mother, Margrethe I, reigned Denmark and Norway in his name. When Oluf died, 7 years later at age 16, Margrethe I was named as regent over Denmark, Norway and Sweden: the Union of Kalmar took shape.