While builders and architects are in full swing restoring Nyborg Castle, the museum’s department head, Janus Møller Jensen, is writing a book about one of the most important chapters in the castle’s history: the Danehof Parliament of the Middle Ages.
When, during these years, so much is being done to preserve Nyborg Castle and to make it accessible to the public, it’s because the castle is a witness to decisive chapters in Denmark’s history. Highest on the list among these is the Danehof Parliament meetings, held at Nyborg Castle for more than 100 years. There is a need to collect all the current knowledge about the Danehof and to put the institution into international context. Therefore, PhD and department head at Nyborg Castle, Janus Møller Jensen, is on a 3-month leave of absence to write a draft of a book on the subject.
Danehof in an International Perspective
“In many ways, Denmark was a pioneering country in the Middle Ages, and the story of the Danehof is therefore very relevant in an international context. The parliament as an institution arose at around the same time in many parts of Europe, but Nyborg Castle was possibly the only place that was decided, by law, as the fixed location for the a parliament, with a fixed meeting date that didn’t require the king to call the members together,” says Janus Møller Jensen.
The Roots of Danish Democracy
Normally, modern Danish democracy is considered a relatively new invention, that gradually unfolded after the June, 1849 constitution. But Denmark as a community founded on the rule of law has roots much farther back in time. For more than two centuries, the Danish parliament, called Danehof, met at Nyborg Castle. From the 1200’s and all the way until the beginning of the 1500’s, Nyborg Castle was considered the parliament’s fixed meeting place, and the Danehof was considered an expression of the rule of law.
Just by a stroke of luck, the very room where the parliament met is, to a great extent, well preserved. At the moment, it is being carefully restored, and our knowledge of the history of the Danehof is also getting an overhaul, so the story can be properly told.