was only 11 years old, when his father Frederik 2nd died. The
first years until the crowning took place in 1596 the country was
governed by a Council.
Christian’s appointment took place in July 1596 by The Council. The 17th
August he signed an agreement of severe terms and few days later
Zealand’s bishop placed the marvellous king-crown, which to day can be
seen at Rosenborg, on the kings head.
Christian 4th got through his childhoot, of which a part was
at his grandparents in Mecklenburg, a healthy and natural upbringing,
but special good knowledge he did not acquired, but early his love for
naval life and construction art developed.
When he had grown up and he himself took over the governing, he soon
showed the quality, which made him Denmarks and Norways most popular
Ordinarily he was economical and fussy, but when it came to represent
the kingdom, he was generous, often extravagant.
To the many ships and castles, he had build, he himself drawed several
his politics he showed a formidable desire to act. He wanted to
execute everything himself, and he harbored great plans to expand his
kingdom and make it strong and rich. But in the crucial moments he
judged totally wrong about his own and his enemies power.
As an army leader he was not significant, and his eager to interfere
in the smallest trifles often resulted in the fact, that he lost the
In the first part of his time of governing, many of his plans appeared
to succeed, but when it became critical, it often showed, that his
power lay on shaky ground, and he left behind a diminished and broken
From appearance he was handy and powerful, he had an intense sensual
nature, and like his father he was indulged in immoderate drinking.
Christian 4th participated in the Kalmar War 1611-13, in
which Sweden became the loser and had to pay a large sum of money. When the war ended, it became the
beginning of 200 years of conflicts and wars between Denmark and
Denmarks part of The 30 Years War 1618-1648 was called The Emperor War.
During this war Sweden declared Denmark war in 1643 and all Jutland
became occupied. At the battle at Kolberger Hede 1st July
1644 the king was wounded and lost his left eye. It is from here the
famous song “Kong Christian stod ved højen mast, i røg og damp”
came. (King Christian standing by the tall mast, in smoke and steam).
Christian 4th founded Danish East-Indian Company, and by
establishing Trankenbar in India, Denmark became a colonial-power.
Christian 4th had his own orchestra, which consisted of
musicians from France, Germany, Italy and England. It was an invisible
orchestra, which should play in the bacement below the winter-garden
at Rosenborg, and through trapdoors in the ceiling the music entered
beautifully into the kings parties.
Buildings were erected: Rosenborg Castle, the district of
Christianshavn, Børsen (Stock Exchange) and Holmens Church,
Trinitatis Church and Rundetårn (The Round Castle) were finished in
1642. The existing churches in the capital: Vor Frue Church, Helligånds
Church and Nikalaj Church were embellished with spires. Frederiksborg
Castle was rebuild and Kronborg, which had burned down in 1629 was
year after his crowning Christian 4th was married to the
Brandenburg princess Anna Cathrine (1575-1612). She was daughter of
prince Joachim Frederik of Brandenburg and countess Cathrine of Küstrin.
The queen had a quiet and solitary life, and historic sources of her
life have not been found. She gave birth to six children, of which two
were dead. The second eldest became the later Frederik 3rd.
Kirsten Munk became in 1615 Christian 4ths second wife. She
was daughter of noblemand Ludvig Munk and Ellen Marsvin. No wedding
took place, but the marriage was considered valid because of written
agreements between the king, Ellen Marsvin and Kirsten Munk. She is
described as an intelligent and independent person, but also greedy
She gave birth to 12 children, of which 9 survived. The last child,
she gave birth to, was born after, she was expelled from Rosenborg
because of her love affair to a German count Otto Ludvig of Salm.
After that she lived at her Jutlandic estates Boller and Rosenvold.
Periodic she was baned to leave her estates and was imprisoned.
Christian 4th accused her of breach of marriage. The
fatherhood of her twelfth child was never determined. For some years
she was delighted by the power, which among others her daughter
Leonora Christina had. She was married to Corfitz Ulfeldt. Later he
became steward of the kingdom, the highest position after the king,
and achived a fortune, which exceeded the annual income of the state.
But at the death of Christian 4th in 1648 the situation
In 1657 Frederik 3rd took away Kirsten Munk’s titel as
countess of Slesvig and Holsten. Her Jutlandic estates she was allowed
to keep, and she died at Boller 19th April 1658.
His last years Christian 4th lived together with Vibeke
Kruse. She had been working for Kirsten Munk at Rosenborg and later
for her mother Ellen Marsvin at one of her estates. The relationship
was arranged by Ellen Marsvin, who wanted to be on good terms with the
Vibeke Kruse influenced the king considerably, and he gave her an
estate in Holsten.
After the kings death she was driven away from Rosenborg by Corfitz
Ulfeldt and died the same year.
Christian 4th was buried in Roskinde Cathedral.
Christian 4th and Anna Cathrine had the children:
born and died in 1599
1603-47, elected successor to the throne. Married in 1634 to Magdalene
Sibylla of Sachsen
born and died in 1605
1609-70, later king
Christian 4th and Kirsten Munk had the children:
1619-57, married in 1634 to Christian Pentz
1621-98. In 1636 married to Corfitz Ulfeldt (1606-64), who later
became steward of the kingdom. From 1663-85 she was prisoner in Blåtårn
1623-77, narried in 1639 to Habs Lindenov
1626-70, married in 1642 to Hannibal Schested
1626-78, married in 1642 to Ebbe Ulfeldt
Christian 4th and his mistress Kirsten Madsdatter had the
Ulrik Gyldenløve 1611-40,
colonel, died in Spanish army-service
Christian 4th and his mistress Karen Andersdatter had the
1615-45, married in 1641 to Regitze Grubbe (1618-89)
Christian 4th and his mistress Vibeke Kruse had the
Christian Gyldenløve 1630-58
1633-54, married in 1648 to Claus Ahlefeldt.