the History of Kongenshus

The history of Kongenshus is the history of the cultivation of the Danish heath landscape.

By the end of the 1700s, almost 1 million hectares of Denmark were covered by heather heath. A few places almost resembled an uninhabited wilderness. The great heaths, also called almindinger (commons), were considered crown lands according to the old conception of law. When a farm was abandoned, it reverted to the king.

The heath at Kongenshus is a part of The Great Common, which was a royal games preserve.

The efforts to transform the heath into fertile agricultural land were launched in 1723. King Frederik V issued a regulation, which, among other things, promised exemption from tax, exemption from conscription to the military and other advantages for those who had the courage to cultivate the heath.

However, it was not until 1751, when the king issued a new regulation, that things really started to happen. At this time, the first Danish newspapers had emerged, and this meant that the second regulation received much wider attention than the first.


recent history of the memorial park


Recent history of the Memorial Park
The objective of Kongenshus Memorial Park for the Cultivators of the Heath is to establish a memorial for the cultivators of the heath who transformed the hard soil into a fertile landscape.

Back in 1934, Laust Nørskov, member of the Danish parliament and chairman of the board of Hedebruget (the Heath Cultivation Association), aired the ideas of a memorial park in a radio talk. 

The Danish Land Development Service and the Heath Cultivation Association adopted the idea, and on 11 December 1937, Danish papers featured the news of the plans to realise a memorial park. 

The funds for the creation of the memorial park were to be raised via a nationwide collection, so that suitable areas could be purchased.

Several areas were discussed – including Kongenshus, but the area belonged to Charles H. Christensen, a merchant from Copenhagen, and it was not for sale.

However, Charles H. Christensen died in 1940, and the following year, the executors of his estate decided to sell Kongenshus to the land reclamation company A/S Jydsk Landvinding, which subsequently offered the areas to the memorial park committee at the same price as they had paid when they acquired the land – approx. 250,000 Danish kroner.

historical milestones


Via government grants, contributions from Viborg Municipality, the Danish Land Development Service, the Heath Cultivation Association and the nationwide collection, a sum of DKK 295,000 was collected, which made it possible to set up the independent institution 'Kongenshus Memorial Park for the Cultivators of the Heath' in 1942.
1,200 hectares of heath were officially listed for protection, and the planning of the memorial park began.

Kongenshus Memorial Park was inaugurated on 10 June 1953 by King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid.

A museum was built in connection with the Memorial Park. In addition to telling the story of the pioneers of the heath, the museum also included fauna and flora.

25 years after the inauguration, approx. 1 million people had visited Kongenshus Memorial Park.

This year, the 50th anniversary of Kongenshus Memorial Park was celebrated, and in this connection the book Det begyndte på Kongenshus (It Started at Kongenshus) by Gert Lynge Sørensen was published.

In 2004, Kongenshus Memorial Park received the international Carlo Scarpa Garden Award. 

In 2005, the Memorial Park opened the doors to a new nature centre, which provides visitors with an insight into the natural and cultural history of the heath.




Von Kahlen
- the captain from Mecklenburg


It was not until a German captain from Mecklenburg – Ludvig von Kahlen – arrived that the attempts at cultivating the heath got off the ground. He was given a free reign of the heath, and he built a house, which he named Kongenshus (the King's House).

Von Kahlen recruited several families from his home country and had them transported to the heath at Kongenshus. However, there were problems in getting the families to settle in the area. They did not find the good opportunities for cultivating the land that they had been promised. The local heath farmers also told them that they would never be able to grow cereals in the area.

After just eight days, they wanted to go back home.

The German colonists escaped in the dead of night, and von Kahlen tried in vain to stop them by setting up an armed night watch. Eventually, each family was paid money so that they could return home.  

Ludvig von Kahlen then tried to engage Danish labourers and servants, but he was not able to retain these either. Von Kahlen continued to work on the project over the following years, but with meagre results to show for his efforts.

In 1766, his request to be released from the cultivation attempt was granted, and he was thus able to leave Kongenshus, where it was evident that he had given up on the heath.




Access to the park
Access to the Memorial Park is free of charge. Signs with maps of the area can be found by the entrances to the Memorial Park and by the observation tower. You can follow marked hiking routes from these starting points. Please show consideration for nature and the sheep: Dogs must be kept on a lead.

There are car parks by the hotel Kongenshus Kro og Hotel, and by the observation tower. Access to the Memorial Park is free for both buses and cars. 

For people with reduced mobility

The Nature Centre and one of the hiking paths have been laid out for wheelchair users and others with reduced mobility. Furthermore, the observation tower is equipped with a lift to the observation platform six metres above ground.

Eating in the open
Enjoy your food in the picnic area around the observation tower. You will also find a bonfire site by the shelters behind the observation tower. Look after nature, and nature will look after you.

this is how you find the park

Her finder du Kongenshus Mindepark

The Memorial Park

Kongenshus Memorial Park

Vestre Skivevej 142
DK-8800 Viborg

Tlf. 8728 1013

Nature Centre

Kongenshus NaturE centre

Vestre Skivevej 142
DK - 8800 Viborg

Tlf. 8728 1013

The Inn and hotel

Kongenshus Kro & Hotel

Vestre Skivevej 142
DK - 8800 Viborg

Tlf. 97 54 81 25