Friedrich III. (Denmark and Norway)

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King Friedrich III. from Denmark and Norway

Friedrich III. , also: Frederik III. (* March 18, 1609 in Haderslev (German name: Hadersleben); † February 9, 1670 in Copenhagen ) was King of Denmark and Norway from 1648 to 1670.

Friedrich III. established absolutism in Denmark and Norway , which lasted for almost 150 years in Norway and over 200 years in Denmark.


Friedrich III. was the third son of Christian IV of Denmark and Norway and his first wife Anna Katharina of Brandenburg .

Spiritual prince

His father tried through him to gain influence on the north German dioceses. At the age of five, Friedrich, who was baptized as a Protestant, was canon in Verden , and a year later in Bremen . In 1619 his father succeeded in having him elected coadjutor of Verden, and from 1623 to 1629 he was also bishop there . In addition, he became coadjutor of Osnabrück in 1626 and was provost of the cathedral in Halberstadt . Because of the Thirty Years' War, however , the young Friedrich grew up in Denmark. In the Peace of Lübeck on May 12, 1629, Christian IV had to renounce Frederick's claims in the north German dioceses.

In 1631 his cousin, the Archbishop of Bremen, appointed Johann Friedrich von Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf as coadjutor of Bremen. When Johann Friedrich died in 1634, Friedrich became Friedrich II. His successor as Archbishop of Bremen and also as Bishop of Verden. He kept the other episcopal seats, which was no less common among Catholic church princes of that time (cf. for example Heinrich XXVII. Von Schwarzburg and Ferdinand I von Münster ). Even during his time in Bremen, Christoffer von Gabel was Friedrich's close confidante who handled his finances. He lost these titles, which were associated with the possession of the respective Hochstifte , in the Peace of Brömsebro in 1645, when Bremen and Verden passed into the possession of Sweden after the Torstensson War lost by Denmark . This right was confirmed in the Peace of Westphalia . As a replacement for the lost revenue, Friedrich was appointed governor of the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein in 1647 .

Beginning of the royal rule

After the death of his older brother, Crown Prince Christian († 1647), he was his father's eldest son, but after the death of Christian IV on February 28, 1648, the Danish Imperial Council elected him only after long negotiations and concessions on the part of Frederick. On May 8th, he signed a preliminary election surrender , and in his homage he signed the final version.

Already at the beginning of his rule Friedrich tried to free himself from the superiority of the nobility, especially from the so-called mother-in-law party, the husbands of his half-sisters from his father's second, morganatic marriage to Kirsten Munk . The first to be dismissed in 1648 was Christian von Pentz , who had already fallen out of favor with Christian IV because of drunkenness. Friedrich conducted investigations into embezzlement against the most powerful of the sons-in-law, the Reichshofmeister Corfitz Ulfeldt . The assertion of Dina Vinhofvers in 1651 that Ulfeldt was planning an assassination attempt on the king led to Ulfeldt's flight - taking his property with him - to Sweden, where he supported Karl X. Gustav in the war against Denmark from 1657. His wife, Friedrich's half-sister Leonora Christina , was arrested in 1663 and spent 22 years in prison.

Friedrich III placed more trust than in the nobility. in his long-term bourgeois companion Christoffer Gabel, whom he appointed royal chamber clerk and envelope administrator and who was his most important advisor throughout his life.

In 1648 Friedrich, who was a fan of books, works of art and rarities, founded the Danish Royal Library , today's national library of the country.

War against Sweden

Friedrich III. from Denmark and Norway

On July 1, 1657, Frederick declared war on Sweden. He hoped to regain the areas lost in the Torstensson War in 1645. The opportunity for this seemed favorable in the summer of 1657, since he believed the Swedish king was occupied by the war in Poland . He had to accept the loss of his entourage on June 20, 1657 in the battle of Czarny Ostrów . Karl X. Gustav immediately left the Polish theater of war and on January 30, 1658, marched across the ice of the Little and Great Belts into Denmark and threatened Copenhagen. He was supported by Duke Friedrich III. von Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf , who, together with his chancellor Johann Adolph Kielmann von Kielmannsegg , wanted to end the duchy of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf's dependence on Denmark. He received funds from Corfitz Ulfeldt. Friedrich, who had not expected an attack on Zealand , had to consent to the Peace of Roskilde on February 28, 1658 , whereby he ceded Schonen , Halland , Blekinge , Bohusland , the islands of Bornholm and Hven and the Drontheim monastery to Sweden and the Had to recognize the sovereignty of the Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf.

In August 1658 the Swedes attacked Copenhagen again and besieged the city for a year and a half. With Hans von Schack, Friedrich appointed an experienced soldier and fortress commander as commander in chief and was able to repel the attack near Nyborg on November 14, 1659 in conjunction with a Dutch auxiliary fleet under Opdam and with the help of Elector Friedrich Wilhelm von Brandenburg and thus save Denmark's sovereignty. After the death of the Swedish king, the agreement from the Roskilde Treaty was essentially confirmed in the Peace of Copenhagen on June 5, 1660, but Trondheim and Bornholm fell back to Denmark, and the island of Ven passed into Swedish ownership.

"Treaty coup"

Friedrich then convened a Reichstag to discuss the consolidation of finances, the army, the navy and trade with him. The clergy and the bourgeoisie saw the humiliation of the nobility and the increase in royal power as a means , which is why Denmark was declared an inheritance in male and female lines and the king was declared completely sovereign (October 13, 1660). On October 18, 1660, after the hereditary homage, the estates took a new oath to the now absolutist ruler. On January 10, 1661, he was given the relevant file, and on November 14, 1665 he signed the " Royal Law " (Danish Kongelov , the " lex regia ") drafted by Peder Schumacher Griffenfeld , according to which a completely unrestricted monarchy in Denmark and Norway established and the Reichsrat and the Reichstag abolished; but one dared to make these innovations fully known only with the coronation of the successor in 1670.

Marriage and offspring

In 1643 he married Sophie Amalie von Braunschweig-Calenberg (1628–1685), who bore him the following eight children:

He was also the father of his illegitimate son Ulrich Friedrich, Count of Güldenlöw-Laurvig (1638–1704).


Christian III King of Denmark and Norway (1503–1559)
Frederick II, King of Denmark and Norway (1534–1588)
Dorothea of ​​Saxony-Lauenburg (1511–1571)
Christian IV. King of Denmark and Norway (1577–1648)
Ulrich Duke of Mecklenburg (1527–1603)
Sophie of Mecklenburg (1557–1631)
Elisabeth of Denmark (1524–1586)
Friedrich III. King of Denmark and Norway
Johann Georg Elector of Brandenburg , (1525–1598)
Joachim Friedrich Elector of Brandenburg (1546–1608)
Sophia of Liegnitz (1525–1546)
Anna Katharina of Brandenburg (1575-1612)
Johann Margrave of Brandenburg-Küstrin (1513–1571)
Catherine of Brandenburg-Küstrin (1549–1602)
Katharina of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel (1518–1574)

See also


Web links

Commons : Friedrich III. (Denmark and Norway)  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Fabricius p. 95.
  2. ^ Treaty text - Peace of Copenhagen (Swedish), Institut for Kultur og Samfund, Aarhus Universitet, Denmark, accessed on June 9, 2013
  3. ^ Walter Baumgartner (Ed.): Ostsee-Barock: Texts and Culture (=  Nordic history . Volume 4 ). LIT Verlag Münster, 2006, ISBN 3-8258-9987-X , ISSN  2075-3306 , p. 154 (306 p., Limited preview in Google Book search).
predecessor Office successor
Philipp Sigismund of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel Bishop of Verden
Franz Wilhelm von Wartenberg
Johann Friedrich of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf Bishop of Verden
Johann Friedrich of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf Archbishop of Bremen
Christian IV King of Denmark
Christian V.
Christian IV King of Norway
Christian V.