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Denmark - S°lyst

A fine country residence for over 250 years

Sølyst was built in 1760 by the merchant Just Fabritius. In 1776 the property was acquired by Ernst Heinrich von Schimmelmann, Minister of Finance, who used it as his summer residence. During the winter season he resided in Copenhagen. The year before he acquired Sølyst he had married Countess Emilie Rantzau who died just five years later aged 28.

He then married Charlotte Schubart. Ernst and Charlotte shared a passion for the arts and with them the house and park developed into a colourful cultural venue which gained an international reputation popular with statesmen, diplomats, merchants and artists of all kinds. Famous artists, such as Adam Oehlensläger, Bertel Thorvaldsen, Hans Christian Andersen and Johan Ludvig Heiberg visited Sølyst and were inspired by the surroundings.

Photo above right by James McIsaac

Ernst Heinrich von Schimmelmann also owned sugar plantations on the Danish Virgin Islands – so in that tradition, rum is served with coffee after formal dinners held in the superb dining room at the house.

In 1949 Sølyst was acquired by the Royal Copenhagen Shooting Society. The association’s full name is “The Royal Copenhagen Shooting Society and Danish Brotherhood”. It was founded in 1443 as a Holy Trinity Guild called the Danish Company with the aim of training the townspeople in defence.

Photos (c) Klaus Møller

From the late 16th century the Company held game bird shoots outside the ramparts of Copenhagen, and in 1753 it set up the shooting range where the Copenhagen Museum is now. From that time Danish monarchs have been members, as is the case today with Queen Margrethe II, Crown Prince Frederik, Prince Joachim and the Prince Consort.

Throughout the centuries painted shields have been donated to the Society upon an individual’s acceptance into the brotherhood. The motives are varied and many of the country's foremost artists have painted these shields, which are considered a unique cultural heritage worthy of preservation.

Photos: Left (c) Klaus Møller / Right by James McIsaac

The Royal Copenhagen Shooting Society is still based at Sølyst but the property also serves as a venue for parties, receptions, meetings and minor conferences with attendances from 20 to 180 people under the auspices of Administrator Iben Marburger Juul and Executive Chef Henrik Nielsen, both of whom are Professional members of the Chaîne.

Mrs Juul commented, “Sølyst is a unique house with stunning sea views, but it is much more than that. It is a team of people who are passionate about personal service and this is what makes me the most proud.” Hence it was the perfect location for the Induction Ceremony and Gala Dinner – the pinnacle in the Bailliage’s 2014 Grand Chapitre programme in September.

Bent-Knie Andersen, Bailli Délégué

Photo (c) Klaus Møller