Christian IV (Denmark and Norway)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Christian IV of Denmark and Norway, painting by Pieter Isaacsz , 1611–1616.

Christian's signature:
Signature Christian IV. (Denmark and Norway) .PNG

Christian IV. (* April 12, 1577 at Frederiksborg Palace ; † February 28, 1648 at Rosenborg Castle , Copenhagen ) was King of Denmark and Norway from 1588 to 1648. During his long reign he tried repeatedly, unsuccessfully, by military means - especially in the Thirty Years' War - to shape the Danish-Norwegian state into a great power . As a domestic political reformer, he laid the foundation stone for the establishment of absolutism and left behind the cities of Kristiansand , Kristianstad and Glückstadt as well as Christianshavn , today a district of Copenhagen , through his lively building activity .

Live and act

King Christian IV of Denmark and Norway

Christian IV was the eldest son of King Frederick II of Denmark and Norway and his wife Sophie of Mecklenburg , a descendant of Frederick I of Denmark .

After the death of his father in 1588, when he was eleven, he became nominally king. His mother ran government affairs with representatives of the Reichsrat while he was not of age . She was guardian in the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein , the government council with the imperial council guardian in Denmark. The relationship between the two guardians was tense or even hostile.

With the assumption of government on the date of his majority on August 17, 1596 and his solemn coronation on August 29, 1596, he ushered in an era of reforms. So he carried out a national armament, always keeping an eye on the future direction of Denmark as a military power, and had new fortresses built throughout the empire. He also set up a representative courtyard and promoted seafaring. The symbol for the latter was a sea voyage made by the young king in 1599, during which he circled the North Cape and went ashore in Lapland . He also financed three expeditions between 1605 and 1607 to clarify the fate of the Scandinavian settlers on Greenland .

In 1611 the Kalmar War broke out between Denmark and Sweden . Christian managed to overcome the weakness of the Swedish King Charles IX. to take large areas from Sweden and in January 1613 in the Treaty of Knäred to get all of Finnmark . The domestic political goal of setting up a standing army in the course of this war failed due to the resistance of the Danish nobility.

After the Kalmar War, Christian turned to northern Germany. He tried to gain territory on the Elbe and to give two of his sons the secularized dioceses of Bremen and Verden . Because his attempts to submit to Hamburg failed, he founded Glückstadt in 1617 in order to gain control of the Elbe trade and at the same time a North Sea port and base for military operations in the south of his empire. To attract able, wealthy merchants, he gave Dutch Remonstrants and Mennonites, as well as Portuguese Jews, religious freedom . Glückstadt received city ​​rights as early as 1617 .

In addition to founding Glückstadt and attempting to gain control over Hamburg or at least the Elbe customs , Christian IV also promoted the merchants. In 1616 he granted the first Danish East India Company the privileges.

In 1617 the king issued regulations against witchcraft and black magic , which subsequently led to increased persecution of witches in Denmark, Schleswig-Holstein, Norway (especially among the Sami population in Finnmark ) and Iceland.

In 1618 Christians introduced a new type of coin, the Corona Danica , because no profit could be made from the previous mark without devaluation.

After the Thirty Years' War broke out in 1618 , the Danish king invited the Protestant dukes of Lüneburg, Lauenburg and Braunschweig, the envoys from England, Holland, Sweden, Brandenburg and Pomerania as well as the expelled Winter King to the Segeberg Castle in early 1621 to revive the Protestant Union . In 1625 he then tried successfully to be elected as district bishop of the Lower Saxon Empire . After defeats against Tilly in the Battle of Lutter on August 27, 1626 and Wallenstein , Christian was able to secure his territories in the empire in the Treaty of Lübeck of 1629. In the following years, the Danish king tried above all to curb the growing Swedish influence under Gustav Adolf . This led to the Torstensson War in 1643 . This ended in 1645 with the Peace of Brömsebro , in which Denmark had to surrender large areas to Sweden.

Christian's last years of reign and life were determined by the transition of rule in the Baltic Sea region to Sweden and the growing influence of the nobility in the interior of Denmark. Above all, the husbands of his daughters from his marriage to Kirsten Munk, the so-called son-in-law party, gained great power.

His grave is in the chapel of Christian IV in Roskilde Cathedral . There is also a life-size statue of Christian, created by Bertel Thorvaldsen .

Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen, one of Christian IV's numerous buildings.


Christian IV left a rich cultural legacy through his lively building activity. In addition to the founding of the cities of Kristiansand , Kristianstad, Kristianopel , Christianshavn and Glückstadt , he also suggested the construction of the castles of Frederiksborg , Rosenborg and Halmstad . He staked out the construction site of his Glückstadt palace himself after initially having the royal court built there.

The construction of the later fortress Christianspries in today's Kiel from 1632 can also be traced back to his instigation. In return, Christian IV bought the surrounding estates Bülk , Seekamp and Knoop , as well as the parish Dänischenhagen , which was therefore called Christianshagen for a few years.

Marriages, mistresses and offspring

On November 27, 1597, he married Anna Katharina von Brandenburg (1575–1612), daughter of Elector Joachim Friedrich von Brandenburg , with whom he had six children:

  • Friedrich (August 15, 1599 - September 9, 1599)
  • Christian (April 10, 1603 - June 2, 1647), Crown Prince of Denmark
  • Sophie (January 4, 1605 - September 7, 1605)
  • Elisabeth (March 13, 1606 - October 24, 1608)
  • Friedrich III. (March 18, 1609 - February 9, 1670), King of Denmark
  • Ulrich III. (February 2, 1611; † August 11, 1633), administrator of the Schwerin Monastery

Even before the queen's death, he had a relationship with Kirsten Madsdatter († 1613) from 1610 to 1613 , who bore him a son:

  • Christian Ulrich Gyldenlöve, (born February 3, 1611, † October 6, 1640 in a battle in Meinerzhagen , buried in Wesel ), court marshal, Danish envoy to France, Spain and the Netherlands, colonel in the service of the King of Spain

From 1613 to 1616 he had a relationship with Karen Andersdatter († 1673 in Copenhagen), from whom at least two children emerged:

  • Dorothea Elisabeth Gyldenlöve (* 1613; † 1615)
  • Hans Ulrich Gyldenlöve, (born March 10, 1615 Kronborg ; † January 31, 1645 ibid) married Regitze Grubbe on October 10, 1641

In a marriage on the left hand he married on December 31, 1615 in Lundegaard Kirsten Munk (* July 6, 1598 - April 19, 1658), daughter of Ludvig Munk and Ellen Marsvin von Landskrona , who gave him 10 more children:

  • Anna Cathrine (born August 10, 1618 Frederiksborg; † August 20, 1633) married Frants Rantzau
  • Sophie Elisabeth (born September 20, 1619 Skanderborg; † April 29, 1657) married Christian von Pentz on October 10, 1634
  • Leonora Christina (* July 8, 1621 Frederiksborg; † March 16, 1698 Maribo Monastery ) married Corfitz Ulfeldt on October 9, 1636 in Copenhagen
  • Waldemar Christian (born June 26, 1622 Frederiksborg; † February 26, 1656 Lubin), Count of Schleswig-Holstein
  • Elisabeth Augusta (born December 28, 1623 Kronborg; † August 9, 1677) married Hans Lindenov on October 27, 1639 in Copenhagen
  • Friedrich Christian (born April 26, 1625 - † July 17, 1627)
  • Christiane (born July 15, 1626 Haderslevhus (Hansborg); † May 6, 1670) married Hannibal Sehested on November 6, 1642 in Copenhagen
  • Hedwig (born July 15, 1626 Haderslevhus (Hansborg), † October 5, 1678 Kristianstad ) married on November 6, 1642 in Copenhagen Ebbe Ulfeldt
  • Marie Cathrine (May 29, 1628 - September 1, 1628)
  • Dorothea Elisabeth (born September 1, 1629 Kronborg; † March 18, 1687 Augustinian monastery in Cologne), since 1646 a nun

The fatherhood of Christian's last child must be questioned, since at that time Kirsten Munk already had a relationship with the Rhine Count Otto von Salm , who was in Christian's service , for which she was later banished to her property as a punishment.

After the separation, the king began a relationship with Wiebke Kruse (* approx. 1605 in Holstein ?; † April 28, 1648 Copenhagen; reburied in Kølstrup, Funen), who served as a nanny at the court of Ellen Marsvin and whose origin has not yet been proven . She probably comes from Holstein, as her brother Hinrich Kruse, who can be verified, was a bailiff in Krempe and Segeberg and u. a. 1637 donated the altar of the church in Schenefeld . She had two children with Christian:

  • Ulrich Christian Gyldenløve (* April 7, 1630 Ibstrup or Jägersborg / DK; † December 11, 1658 near Copenhagen on "exhaustion in combat")
  • Elisabeth Sofie Gyldenlöve (* 1633 in Bramstedt ?; † January 20, 1654, burial. March 16, 1654 in Kiel , St. Nikolai Church) married Major General Claus von Ahlefeldt on June 18, 1648


King Friedrich I (1471–1533)
King Christian III (1503–1559)
Anna of Brandenburg (1487–1514)
King Friedrich II. (1534–1588)
Magnus I of Saxony-Lauenburg (1470–1543)
Dorothea of ​​Saxony-Lauenburg (1511–1571)
Katharina of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel (1488–1563)
Christian IV. Kg. Of Denmark and Norway
Albrecht VII Duke of Mecklenburg (1486–1547)
Ulrich of Mecklenburg (1527–1603)
Anna of Brandenburg (1507–1567)
Sophie of Mecklenburg (1557–1631)
King Friedrich I (1471–1533)
Elisabeth of Denmark (1524–1586)
Anna of Brandenburg (1487–1514)

As a result of family marriages, Frederick I of Denmark and his wife Anna of Brandenburg are Christian's great-grandparents twice.

See also



  • Carl Frederik Bricka / JA Fridericia (eds.): Kong Christian den fjerdes egenhandige breve. 7 volumes, Copenhagen 1878-1891 [ND Copenhagen 1969-1970].

Secondary literature

  • Theodor Christiansen: The position of King Christian IV of Denmark on the war events in the German Empire and on the plans for an evangelical alliance 1618-1625. [Phil. Diss.] Kiel 1937.
  • Karl-Erik Frandsen: Christian IV's Undenrigsppolitik i Nyt Lys [Christian IV's foreign policy in a new light]. In: Historik Tidsskrift 98/1 (1998), pp. 99-108.
  • John A. Gade: Christian IV, king of Denmark and Norway. A picture of the 17th century. Boston 1928.
  • Steffen Heiberg (Ed.): Christian IV and Europe. The 19th Art Exhibition of the Council of Europe Denmark 1988. Copenhagen 1988.
  • Hermann KellenbenzChristian IV .. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 3, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1957, ISBN 3-428-00184-2 , p. 234 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Paul Douglas Lockhart: Denmark in the Thirty Years' War 1618-1648. King Christian IV and the Decline of the Oldenburg State. London 1996.
  • Julius Otto Opel : The Lower Saxon-Danish War. Halle / Magdeburg 1872–94.
  • Klauspeter Reumann: Church regiment and great power politics. The intervention of Christian IV as Duke of Holstein and King of Denmark in the Thirty Years War. In: Bernd Hey (Ed.): The Peace of Westphalia 1648 and German Protestantism. Bielefeld 1998, pp. 41-63.
  • Bodil Wamberg: Christian IV. En mand under indflydelse , Copenhagen 1997. ISBN 87-12-02563-1 .
  • Robert Bohn : Danish History. CH Beck, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-406-44762-7 .
  • Jörg UlrichCHRISTIAN IV of Denmark. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 17, Bautz, Herzberg 2000, ISBN 3-88309-080-8 , Sp. 236-239.

Web links

Commons : Christian IV.  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Julius Wilcke: Møntvæsenet under Christian IV og Frederik III 1625-1670 ( Memento from December 26, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  2. Helmut Kahnt: Das große Münzlexikon from A to Z , Regenstauf 2005, p. 78
  3. ^ Landesarchiv Schleswig-Holstein, Department 65.1, No. 513.
  4. Antje Erdmann-Degenhardt: Wiebeke Kruse, the "Amasia" of Christian IV., A female figure of the 17th century
predecessor Office successor
Friedrich II. King of Denmark
Friedrich III.
Friedrich II. King of Norway
Friedrich III.