Scan Magazine, Issue 113, June 2018

Page 36

Scan Magazine  |  Special Theme  |  Danish Culture Special

From castles to computers What do Scandinavia’s best-preserved medieval tower, a World War I-era fortress and an atomic bomb have in common? They are all on display at the Danish Castle Centre. Based in the town of Vordingborg in southern Zealand, the Castle Centre draws together the past and the present by looking at the structures, people and powers involved through a millennium of wars and threats. By Louise Older Steffensen  |  Photos: Danmarks Borgcenter

Though only the famous Gåsetårnet (‘Goose Tower’) remains intact, the partial ruins of Vordingborg Castle are in themselves worth a visit. Spread across 3.7 hectares, Vordingborg Castle was once Denmark’s biggest fortress and the home of three Valdemar kings, as well as countless normal people going about their daily business. Today, the castle is brought back to life thanks to augmented reality, which allows visitors young and old to shape their own journey back in time to the hustle and bustle of the 12th and 13th centuries. And just wait until you find out what is underground… “Digital storytelling and modern technology have allowed us to connect our present visitors to the past in whole new ways,” says historian and head of department Thomas Tram Pedersen. “Visitors can now use individual iPads to pick and choose the style and depth of infor36  |  Issue 113  |  June 2018

mation they receive as they walk around and focus on particular themes, stories or tasks.” Those looking for a non-digital experience need not despair either, as some of Denmark’s best guides are also available for tours in Danish, German and English. During the summer season, visitors can try out medieval clothes, crafts and games, explore the most recent excavations at the site and guard against enemies from the top of Gåsetårnet. “In the Middle Ages, Vordingborg was at the social and geographical centre of the Danish kingdom,” Tram Pedersen explains. “Later on, as Denmark shrunk and Germany’s borders moved all the way to the sea, the Vordingborg area became an important, strategic seaside location for protecting Copenhagen.” Between 1915 and 1918, 300 soldiers were stationed at the nearby, equally hidden Masnedø Fort, waiting for the First World War to reach

Denmark. It never did, but the fort remained in use through the Second World War and the Cold War. It is now part of the story of defence told at the Castle Centre’s equally camouflaged new exhibition centre: hidden underground beneath the ancient castle, 2018’s Rethink War exhibition explores the relationship between threat and ingenuity through the inventions of stirrups, cannons, computers and the atomic bomb, connecting medieval castles to ‘fake news’. And yes, the exhibition features a real-life atomic bomb.

Web: Facebook: danmarksborgcenter Instagram: @castlecentre Twitter: @Borgcenter

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