Gråsten Palace: Fish farming at the royal palace

Photo: Karsten Justesen

Carp are farmed close to Gråsten Palace, where – uniquely in Denmark – they are bred to be sold as food.
 

Gråsten Palace is one of Sønderjylland’s most attractive buildings, and the majority of the current white palace is from 1759 and built in rococo style.

Since 1936 the royal family has had the right of use of the palace, and Queen Ingrid spent a lot of time in Gråsten. Following Queen Ingrid’s death in 2000, the right of use was passed on to Queen Margrethe, who spends a couple of weeks here every summer. The palace itself isn’t open to the public, although the gardens and the chapel are – except when the royal family is present.

If you’re planning to visit, you can experience a fun fishing adventure by venturing into the woods behind the palace. Close to the palace lake there’s a fish farm, which consists of six ponds and several artificial lakes. Carp are bred here, and – uniquely for Denmark – the fish are sold as food.
 

Fish farming has taken place since the 18th century, and during the Second World War production reached more than 4 tons of fish per year. Today, the fish farm is maintained exclusively for culture-historical reasons, with 200-400 kg fish sold per year. The sale of carp takes place on one day only – typically the first Saturday in December – where the ponds are emptied, which is quite an event in itself.

The palace gardens at Gråsten are characterised by the many flowerbeds that Queen Ingrid was so fond of. But next year there’ll be even more to see in the palace gardens.

Part of the garden is laid out as a royal vegetable garden, which previously provided the royal family with fruit and vegetables during their summer visits. The vegetable garden was then reduced in size, but in 2020 a new and larger version of the garden will be opened.

Among other things, the vegetable garden will contain an orchard in which you can see the famous Gravenstein, which is Denmark’s national apple, and which originates from the palace.