Back to Town Portal
General Information    Accommodation    Eateries   Shopping    The Bathing Houses    Art    History    Augustenborg Palace    The Palace Gardens    Augustenborg Forest  Walking and Running Routes   The Harbour

General Information

Augustenborg lies like a hidden gem in the hilly landscape around Augustenborg Fjord. If you arrive by the waterway, you are first met by the protected Augustenborg Forest with the impressive lime tree avenues and the historic bathing houses “Badehusene” at the waterfront, the rowing clubhouse and the Palace Gardens with Augustenborg Palace as the crown jewel. At the end of the fjord, you find the town, the harbour and the nature reserve “Lillehav” (small sea). The perfect setting for a ducal family, but also for a society that was born as a Courtly town, but today has its own identity and has evolved into a popular residential and tourist area within cycling distance of Sønderborg (8 km to the centre).
With its 3,288 inhabitants, Augustenborg is not too big and not too small. As a tourist, you will experience the great hospitality and helpfulness of the people of Augustenborg – a smile and a “mojn” [ˈmʌjn], a greeting that is used for both “good day” and “goodbye”.
Augustenborg is a fast-developing town with more than 40 voluntary associations working with everything from art, preservation and history to lots of sports, horse riding, sailing, revue, music and winter swimming. In the middle of the town is a large stadium and a state-of-the-art, environmentally certified, sports and cultural centre. The town has a large school with public library and after-school activities (SFO). Please see the town guide (map).

Accommodation

There are various possibilities for a pleasant overnight stay in Augustenborg. If you arrive from the main road, Fjordhotellet is situated on your left just before the embankment. The hotel has its own restaurant and is beautifully situated overlooking the fjord and the marina. The hotel is within walking distance of the town. In Stavensbølgade you find a small and cosy Bed & Breakfast next to one of the town’s pizza restaurants. There are two campsites in Augustenborg. One next to the marina and one on the outskirts of the town overlooking the fjord and within easy reach of the bathing houses. Please see the town guide (map).

Eateries

The Harbour Restaurant at Fjordhotellet offers good Danish food in a cosy setting overlooking the harbour. In summer, the hotel has an ice cream stand where you can buy ice cream cones. If you are looking for fast food, you will find a variety of choices at the two pizzerias and the barbecue / burger bar, which serves excellent Chinese dishes. Please see the town guide (map).

Shopping

Augustenborg has a good infrastructure with high street and shopping squares, where you can find supermarkets, grocery store, pharmacy, flower shop, bakery, hairdresser, burger bar, pizzerias, antiquarian etc. Please see the town guide (map).

The Bathing Houses

The town’s historic bathing houses – Badehusene – are beautifully situated on the forest edge at Augustenborg Fjord. There is a small sandy beach, a barbecue and a bathing jetty, which is extended by 30 meters in summer. The bathing houses are perfect for changing clothes and for finding shelter. If you arrive by car, you can park at the entrance to Augustenborg Forest or at the campsite and walk or cycle the rest of the way through the forest. It’s about 10 minutes walk from the parking area. The bathing houses are used by the locals and campers from the nearby campsite and they are very popular with winter swimmers.
The bathing houses were first mentioned in 1769, where swimming emerged as part of the back-to-nature movement. The site has been of great importance to many people and has served as a public bath with a total of 10 large bathing houses in two places along the coast. When Augustenborg Palace became a psychiatric hospital in 1932, the bathing houses were also used by the patients and part of the bathing area was fenced off. Today, a small group of enthusiasts work to find funds for a complete renovation of the bathing houses, so that they can again become a gathering place for the town. Please see the town guide (map).

Art

In 2009 the art centre Augustiana moved into the mansion in the Palace Gardens. Since then Augustenborg has evolved into an art town with much to offer for art lovers and the performing artists. Today, the town is home to KunstVærket, which are open artist workshops in the old town hall, Louise Augustas Plads 1, where there are about 50 artists. KunstVærket is open the last weekend of every month 11.00-16.00. Opposite KunstVærket you find KunstPunkt, which opened in December 2010 with 30 members. KunstPunkt is an artist association and an art gallery for 200 artists and handicrafters in the old post office, Storegade 14. Most of the exhibitions in KunstPunkt are free of charge. Together with the sculpture park and the art centre Augustiana, Augustenborg has become an “artist colony” where creative minds from all over the region gather. Please see the town guide (map).

History

The Ducal town of Augustenborg was founded in 1651 by Duke Ernst Günther, who married his cousin Auguste of Glücksborg and named the town after her. Since then Augustenborg was home to six generations of dukes, all of which have left their mark on the town. The present palace was built in 1776 and is the largest and most complete baroque palace complex in Southern Jutland. The ducal family fled in 1848 because of the First Schleswig War and never returned to Augustenborg.
Today, the town is a unique cultural environment that has developed around Augustenborg Palace as a very special mini-urban community – not a village – but a small town of functions, traders and craftsmen attached to the Court. The urban community already emerged in the early 1700s, but the central part – Storegade and Slotsallé – is today dominated by a number of buildings built over a short period of time from the 1760s to 1800s. The houses each have their individuality, but stylistically they all relate to the palace, which is from the same period. It is therefore a total environment of a very high quality and a character that in Denmark has Slotsgade in Møgeltønder as its only real counterpart.
The central part of the ducal town is protected by a historic preservation plan. In addition to the palace complex, there are 13 statutory listed buildings and 29 locally listed buildings in this small area. Especially in Storegade they form an almost unbroken row of a very fine character. The most dominant in this row of houses is “Hofrådens Hus” (Storegade 11), which is the largest and most significant building built for the Counsellor and Chief Inspector of the Duke. This building is statutory listed, but unfortunately has fallen into disrepair. In 2016, Hofrådens Hus was purchased by a private foundation, which is working to restore the building.
Many of the town houses are still named after their original residents; Mundskænkens Hus (House of the Cup-bearer), Postholderens Hus (House of the Post-holder), Hofpræstens Hus (House of the Court Preacher), Ebelings Hus (House of Ebeling), etc.

Horse Racing

In the first half of the 1800s, the thoroughbred mania reached Europe from England, and Duke Christian August of Augustenborg took it up. On many of his foreign voyages, the Duke had been particularly interested in horse racing and especially the thoroughbred breed. In 1820 he arranged the first race in Denmark. In 1827 the Duke opened a race track near Augustenborg. The outskirts of the track were Rumohrsgård and the Church of Ketting, and the whole area was surrounded by hilly terrain overlooking Augustenborg Fjord. It was by far the biggest day of public rejoicing. Most of the guests were from the island of Als, but there were also a number of foreign guests. The ducal family drove from Augustenborg Palace in pomp and splendour in beautiful carriages pulled by thoroughbreds. The horse race lasted several days, and it was these days of public rejoicing that started the sport known as tilting at the ring. The tilting took place on the fields of Augustenborg, where 300 to 400 riders competed. Stories tell that almost the whole island took part in the festivities. There were colourful uniform-like clothes with lances and pennants.
Tilting is still a day of public rejoicing and can be experienced in many towns in Southern Jutland. Also in Augustenborg.

Augustenborg Palace

The present Augustenborg Palace was completed in 1776 and was the seat of the ducal family of Augustenborg. It is one of the largest and most beautiful palaces in Denmark. The location next to Augustenborg Fjord and the palace gardens emphasizes the beauty and importance of the plan. To fully comprehend and appreciate the scale of the plan, one must begin at the eastern end of Slotsallé (the “Palace Avenue”). This is the beginning of the 1.5 km long symmetry axis which passes through the palace courtyard, through the garden hall, the gardens and along the lime tree avenue that leads to the fjord at the end of the forest. In the northern wing of the palace lies the palace church, which is an fine example of a royal chapel. Today the palace church serves as parish church.
For more than 80 years, the palace was as a psychiatric hospital, but in 2015 the hospital moved to Aabenraa, and today the palace is home to the Danish Agriculture Agency, which has begun an extensive renovation of the main building, which ends in 2019. In the gatehouse of the palace, you find a mini-museum that provides a good insight in the history of the ducal family. The exhibition is open every day and admission is free. There are guided tours of the palace and the town in July, August and October (in Danish and German). The bell tower is the meeting place for participants in the guided tour.

The Palace Gardens

The Augustenborg Palace Gardens are beautifully and invitingly situated overlooking the narrow Augustenborg Fjord. The gardens are open to the public and are used for many events such as concerts. Palace concerts have been held with well-known artists such as Elton John, Eric Clapton and Bryan Adams. And every year in August, the gardens are the setting of the traditional family concert En Søndag På Als (A Sunday on Als) with a cosy picnic atmosphere and a good mood.
There is access to the gardens from the palace and via Palævej, but also along the fjord, where a beautiful promenade connects the gardens with the harbour and the town.

Axes

The original layout of the gardens was based on a fixed axis with low hedges and parterres, vases, figures, straight gravel paths and a triumphal arch. Since then, the gardens were converted into a romantic garden in English style and has lost its formal character and thus also the important symmetry axis through the gardens. An axis that stretches 1.5 kilometres from Slotsallé, through the palace courtyard and the gardens to the lime tree avenue, ending at the edge of the forest by the fjord. The axis is most distinctive from the eastern end of Slotsallé.
The Augustenborg Palace Gardens are described in the recognized five volume work “Theorie der Gartenkunst” (Theory of Garden Art) by Christian Cay Lorenz Hirschfeld, who was a professor at the University of Kiel (1769). Hirschfeld’s description and Nickels Wögen’s map from 1796 draw a quite accurate picture of the gardens as they appeared in the late 1700s, with the formal part closest to the palace and then the forest with the avenues.

There are many preserved trees in the gardens. The Lime Tree of Hans Christian Andersen is one of the most beautiful and oldest trees. From the bench under the tree you can enjoy the view of Augustenborg Fjord. Here Hans Christian Andersen found shadow and inspiration for his fairy tales. The world-famous storyteller visited the Duke and Duchess several times. See the list of preserved trees in the palace gardens.

The Ice Hill

North of the Lime Tree of Hans Christian Andersen lies The Ice Hill, which was originally a five-meter deep cellar built of large boulders. The hill was used for storing ice blocks for the household of Augustenborg Palace.

The Sculpture Park

In the north-western part of the gardens lies one of Denmark’s largest sculpture parks – Augustiana. This part of the gardens is particularly beautifully located, which emphasises the many intriguing sculptures. For the children there is a special surprise in the form of a big green Hulk, which is hiding in the forest.

Augustenborg Forest

Augustenborg Forest is part of the baroque garden, which was situated west of Augustenborg Palace in the 1700s. An example of this are the three lime tree avenues, which are still present in the forest. If you follow avenue no. 2, you will come to “De Tre Edsege” (the three oath-oaks), which in 1674 was the setting of a secret meeting and an alliance against the most powerful man of the kingdom.
In the northern part of the forest lies “Kaninsøen” (the rabbit’s lake) where there was originally a small wooden temple with a dome carried by eight ionic columns connected with handrails and fixed internal benches. The temple stood on a small island in the water, and an arched bridge led over it. The dome was painted inside with clouds that formed a sky. The island is still there. On the outskirts of the upper forest is also Prince Æmil’s “philosophical residence” and the mansion where there was originally a peacock farm.
Today, Augustenborg Forest is a habitat for many birds, and the forest is designated as a Natura 2000 area. The vegetation is very varied with many old trees and deadwood, which provides good living conditions for cavity-nesting birds, e.g. short-toed tree creeper, stock dove, common merganser and great spotted woodpecker, all of which live in the forest and gardens.
On the forest floor, there are edible salmonberries, a North American raspberry species, probably from the old baroque garden. In spring, the forest floor is covered by a rich flora of white and yellow anemones. In addition, the forest has three hills, two bowl-shaped stones and the historic bathing houses (Badehusene), which are used as the main beach of the town.

Walking and Running Routes

The beautiful nature of the area can be experienced from the Augustenborg Trail – Augustenborgstien – which connects several natural areas around Augustenborg. The trail is approx. 7 kilometres long and starts at Augustenborg Palace, where you first walk through the palace gardens and the forest. Then the route continues along the fjord and ends in the beautiful natural area at Mjang Dam. Lillehav and the inner part of Augustenborg Fjord is a wildlife reserve. During the winter months, you can experience large flocks of tufted ducks, common pochards and a few greater scaups. If you have brought your running shoes, you can find lots of inspiration for nice running routes on the website of the local running club. Here you can find “Long Routes”, “Short Routes”, or “Interval”. And many of the routes are also suitable as an inspiration for a nice walk.

The Harbour

At the end of Augustenborg Fjord lies the harbour. In earlier times, there was great activity when grain, wood and apples were loaded and unloaded. Today, the harbour is characterized by the tall silos, which were used for grain and feedstuff, but also by the many yachters who use the harbour. Here you also find the cosy Augustenborg Sailing Club. On the other side of the fjord lies the marina Augustenborg Yachthavn. Here you find many good facilities for the many sailing tourists who visit the town each year, including a small forest with a nice barbecue area and playground for the children. The marina also has its own yard and a small campsite with views of the fjord and Augustenborg Palace. Please see the town guide (map).

Developed in collaboration with Hertugbyens Udviklingsforum

Share This