The Royal Residence Town

From the end of the 1400's, Nyborg and eastern Funen again became the kingdom's centre of power, after King Christian I (1426-1481) had, for a couple of decades, spent more time in Copenhagen. The royal mausoleum was established in Odense, and new construction and restoration projects were started at Nyborg Castle. Frederik I was invited to Denmark by the royal council and was offered Nyborg as his capital. However, it was Christian III that carried out these plans, and in 1549, the enormous fortification project, the castle expansion, the restructuring of the town plan, the royal hunting grounds and last but not least, the tournament ground in front of the castle was finished. Simply stated, Christian III made Nyborg into the royal residence town.

When the kings were on eastern Funen, they stayed at Nyborg Castle, but until now, there had not been a concept of the capital city. The royal families and the nobles were nomadic, not having one place where they lived permanently. This was all changed by the king's massive investments in Nyborg. The administration of the country would happen here, and according to Christian III's plans, this place would be the king's starting point, it was here his work would be done.


One of the first things Christian III started to build was the tournament ground in front of the castle (now the town square). He wanted it to be up to the standard of other European tournament grounds of the time. The Church of Our Lady was expanded and the castle was restored and enlarged to become a four-sided complex of buildings around a central courtyard. Its great hall was worthy of a royal residence. The town's water system was greatly improved; pipes of oak wood were buried under the main streets, along which wells were dug, so the townspeople had handy access to water. Christian III also expanded the medieval town to the east, calling it "Nyenstad" or New Town. This would prove to be the beginning of the present town centre. Lastly, a monumental project to build earthworks and ramparts was launched; it would provide protection for the town and the king if they came under attack. Christian III made Nyborg a high priority, well aware of the importance of the fortifications and the well-functioning town. The planned royal residence town was ready to take the role of Denmark's first capital city.