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Join Baroness Helle Reedtz-Thott on a tour of one of Denmark’s most beautiful castles and hear her story.
Upon arrival at Gavnø Castle, just outside Næstved, grandeur announces itself immediately. The trip across the narrow bridge, with Gavnø Castle towering in the background, sets the mood and an atmosphere you will not find in many places in Denmark. History plays out here – genuinely.
Gavnø Castle has been in the Reedtz-Thott family for more than 300 years, and today it’s run and developed with careful consideration of the history, tradition and heritage involved when such a castle opens up to the outside world. An outside world that can now experience history in the ancient castle halls, where the paintings of Danish kings, queens, barons and baronesses hang side by side. Or in the beautifully renovated guest rooms, where unique details, rustic furniture and classic materials testify to the past standards of living and ways of life – or the impressive castle park, which is known for its large tulip garden, the climbing courses “Gavnø Go Fly”, The House of Butterflies and the sweet African mountain goats, in honour of the park’s youngest guests. There is plenty to see here in the midst of history.
At the same time, the castle is home to Baron Otto Reddtz-Thott, Baroness Helle Reedtz-Thott and their three children, who live in the main building. A not-so-ordinary home. A not-so-ordinary life.
By virtue of her job as director of the Gavnø Foundation – the foundation that aims to preserve and develop Gavnø as a place of business and experiences – Baroness Helle Reedtz-Thott is also ultimately responsible for the development of the castle and its activities. A job that involves both seeing the big picture and focusing on the smallest of details.
Because there are a lot of those in a castle like Gavnø.
When walking around the area with the Baroness, her responsibility and sense of detail soon become apparent. She is on first-name terms with all the numerous employees – she greets gardeners, ticket sellers and instructors in the landscaped climbing park “Gavnø Go Fly” in a friendly manner. And she amicably, but clearly, points out if a sign needs polishing or a flower bed needs trimming.
Because Gavnø is not just for show. The immense castle and manor grounds are home to agriculture, hunting ceremonies, the “Gavnø Slotsbryggeri” castle brewery, rental homes, team-building courses, weddings – and a whole host of public events such as the Tulip Festival in the spring castle park, Denmark’s largest Antique Car Show in the summer and much more. The place is buzzing with activity all year round – and if you’re not a little spellbound by the work behind it all, you are made of special stuff. Passion is paramount here – and it shows.
And it’s also where the Baroness must find the balance between living, working, developing and publicising both the castle and the whole area.